Hi, good friends! What a set of weeks it has been. We went to New York for the weekend right before I started my new job, and it was a blast and had me hitting the ground running here once we were back.
It was a mini trip, but Markus' first time in my personal favorite city in the world, so we ran around like crazy and had a great time! Recapping it today makes me happy and nostalgic already!
My three quick tips for a weekend in New York:
- Before arriving, we got a loose plan of the big things we wanted to do and bought Explorer Passes. This is a bulk purchasing system for multiple tourist things where you pay for three upfront and then pick from a long list of options of what you want to do. The cool thing is you do not have to pre-select what you use it on, you just present it and a place that is on the list and they mark it as used. We definitely knew that we were going to do three attractions over the three days we were there, and a lot on the list appealed to us so it was a great deal! Buying the pass already gets you 20% off the door at most attractions, but I realized that Costco sells the passes on their website for members so we got them at an even cheaper rate. OH MY COSTCO how I will sing of your praises for all of the days.
- The only person I have ever seen Markus get in a near brawl with was a cab driver in Dallas (who was being outrageously awful, btw), so I was nervous to go to the city with a spouse who is so yellow car averse. We use Uber Dallas a lot and tried the New York version and equally loved it. You download the Uber app and load your credit card on there, and then request car rides through the app. No tipping, no swiping your card or needing cash at the end of the ride and it will pre-estimate your rate for you before you request the car so you know what to expect. If you don't already have it downloaded in Dallas, you should, and it is definitely worth downloading the New York version before traveling there! Our Uber drivers were so nice, as always.
- With that said, we only took Uber three times on our weekend and two were airport transfers. We got Metro cards as soon as we got to the city. After looking into a little, my suggestion to fellow NYC long weekend guests is the seven day unlimited is still way cheaper than the amount of a la carte rides you will buy over a 3-4 day period. As far as knowing what trains to take and run times, I found the Google Maps app I already had installed was easy and accurate.
Right after we landed, we got to our hotel (I got an awesome rate at the Omni Midtown from using Jetsetter, which I highly recommend for people who are into hotels like Markus and I but still on a budget) and started walking toward Times Square because we had tickets to the Friday matinee!
My mom was excited for our trip and got us tickets to Annie because it was my favorite musical growing up. Because of that very reason and the subsequent watching or singing of Annie eight million times growing up, I thought I would be bored but it was an amazing production. The orphan/adoption storyline totally tugged at my heartstrings in a different way upon this viewing with us currently in the adoption process. I cried pretty much the whole way through. My mom clearly has a knack for picking out musicals, because she also took me to see Mama Mia the week before I got married where I also cried. Emotional ungluing via musical theatre is one of her many talents.
After the show we walked up to Rockefeller Centre and used the Explorer Pass for the NBC Studio Tour! As an SNL and Seinfeld obsessed kid growing up, this was really fun for me. I got to see studio 8H where they film SNL and learned even more cool tidbits about the show. And I also cried here a little when I was feeling overwhelmed thinking of all of my personal heroes who had stood on the stage that I was looking at. Basically New York is awesomely overwhelming and I should not fly at 5:00 a.m. as it clearly leaves me unraveled.
We cleaned up and went down to Greenwich Village for dinner. If you are gluten-free or just a carb lover and in New York, pleaseeee go to Risotteria. I had meatballs, unlimited breadsticks, pizza, risotto and very good espresso. They also have the longest gluten-free beer list in the city, which I decided not to try as see earlier re: emotions. So good. I think of the meatballs every day.
After dinner we had reservations at another venue of insane comedy legend: the Comedy Cellar. This is where Robin Williams, Chris Rock and the best go to work on their acts and there is always chance of a drop in. Jerry Seinfeld tested his new material here in his documentary Comedian and it's also in the opener for Louie. We saw Tom Papa, who I have seen open for Seinfeld before and love, and some other really funny people. Stand up is Markus and I's love language and I had not laughed so hard in a long time!
When we woke up it was raining, so we headed to the Met since that was on our list anyways. We used the Explorer Pass here and there was the added bonus that they have a special line for guests with prepaid passes so we skipped a huge wait!
We saw the Punk exhibit and I loved it. I read Patti Smith's Just Kids on the plane and it was a great primer. I will never forget it because while we were walking through Markus turned and said the nicest thing ever to me, "You are the most rock and roll person I know."
From the Met we took a walk through Central Park and played on my favorite part: the Alice in Wonderland statue.
And we took a break to load up on every gluten-free and/or blogger's favorite treat: macarons!
We also went from Columbus Circle over to Grand Central Station, which I had never been to before and was mesmerized by. Markus was equally mesmerized by the Apple store inside of Grand Central Station. Yay - something for everyone!
One last New York emotional overload was the real purpose of our trip, to see my mentor and high school theater teacher's play, Division Avenue, that made Midtown Theatre Festival! It was such a good show, far above even my wildest expectations, and I loved being with so many people that I was close to in such a special way growing up. It was like being in a dream world to all be in New York together. I came in from Dallas and others were from D.C. and Los Angeles.
And I don't think you could ever tell because they are far more stunning than me, but the two look alikes in the top left are also my cousins! Double happy!
Sunday was for walkin' around, so we first we walked down to the Empire State Building and caught it as it was opening for some morning views and the last use of our Explorer Pass. I thought of An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle and Markus really liked being able to see each building's water tanks (life with a civil engineer). Huge points to the Empire State Building for letting us bring our outside coffees with us through the line! 'Preciate it.
Next we walked Flatiron where I went to design junkie Heaven, ABC Carpet and Home. Five floors of amazing. I loved this dip dyed bed linen set! I love eateries that are inside retail stores (Zodiac Room, RL Restaurant, etc), so next time I am in town I really want to make a reservation in their gorgeous dining area.
Last stop was to Brooklyn to take the engineer to see the bridge and the food loving wife to stuff her face at Smorgasburg. We were weary but happy campers and I cried one last time thinking about going home.
Three days and two love birds in the city that never sleeps, and we barely did either!
What are your tips and must stops when visiting New York?