New York… The Big Apple… The City of Dreams… The Concrete Jungle…
Whatever you call this magical city, New York City is undeniably one of the most exciting cities in the entire world.
I explored NY for the first time last year and completely fell in love. There’s just something about the fast paced-ness in the streets, the window displays in my favorite department stores and all of the lights in Times Square that make me want to dream bigger and do better.
If you know me at all, you know one of my specialties is cramming in as much adventure as I can, in the shortest time possible. And to no surprise, that’s exactly what we did during our second trip to NY. Luckily for me, Paul is always down for an adventure and always down to conserve his vacation days.
This trip actually starts two days before, in Boston where we had 24 hours to embrace the city’s history, visit a famous bar and eat as much lobster and clam chowder as our bellies would hold. Click here to read about our time in Boston.
The morning of December 13th 2018, Paul and I woke up in Massachusetts and headed straight for New Jersey. We drove through Connecticut where we did a bit of sightseeing and stopped for lunch at one of my favorite little taco spots, Bartaco.
But we didn’t just eat our weight in glazed pork belly and tortillas… something amazing happened.
IT STARTED SNOWING!!!!
You guys, this 28-year-old Florida girl saw snow for the first time in West Hartford, CT. I still can’t believe it. It was so beautiful and even prettier than I thought it would be. The sky looked enormous with the little white fluffy dots falling from it. It was truly like a movie with the thin sheets of snow on the cars and roads. I can honestly hear the sound of you Northerners as your eyes roll back in your head but I really can’t describe how seeing snow made me feel.
We only spent a few short hours driving through Connecticut, but it will always hold a very special place in my heart.
We arrived at The W in Hoboken, New Jersey late afternoon. Paul pulled some strings (as he does) and we were upgraded to a beautiful suite overlooking the Manhattan skyline. You guys, The W is for sure one of the nicest hotels I’ve stayed in. From their lobby, to their rooms and of course their ridiculous views, it’s a whole experience. Definitely recommend.
Anyway, since it was basically freezing outside (a theme you will notice through this entire trip), we decided to throw on some cozy clothes, brew up a few shots of espresso and enjoy the view until we were ready for dinner and some more exploring.
After a very unexpected but much needed nap, we threw ourselves together and made our way down the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway until we stumbled upon a BBQ spot called House of Que. Nothin’ like good old fashion, stick to your ribs mac & cheese to warm you up on a cold December night. After dinner we walked the Sinatra Park and then back to the hotel for more cuddles and a Jersey Shore re-run. Did you catch that?
You guys, we watched Jersey Shore… in Jersey!
In the morning, Paul and I enjoyed breakfast at the Halifax and then ordered a “black car” to head into the City. Also, since I’m throwing out recommendations here, I do not recommend that you leave your nice camera and all of your SD cards in the hotel lobby and I also don’t recommend taking the hotels advice to get a black car service. Spoiler Alert!!! It’s not really “black car service” it’s simply an old, dirty, Honda Accord in the color back and a driver who gives no fks about scamming you out of an extra $50.
Phew. Sorry, still a little mad about that whole experience.
Anyway, we met our friends at the hotel and got down to business. The first thing on our itinerary was to visit DUMBO and the Brooklyn Bridge Park, so we hopped on the M (I think but don’t quote me on it) and then the A (again, who even knows if this is accurate) and wah lah… DUMBO.
DUMBO was just as pretty as I expected it to be, and if you follow fashion and lifestyle bloggers like I do, you’ve probably seen the iconic DUMBO photos all over your IG feed. Regrettably, I did not get a photo on that super cold afternoon and it might haunt me every day until I do. #imsoannoyingidgaf
Now, the Brooklyn Bridge Park was equally, if not even more incredible. The view of Manhattan from this little pier was breathtaking and we spent about an hour taking it all in, and making sure Instagram knew we were living our best life.
After we snapped 150 photos (at least) we decided it was time for a slice of Brooklyn gold so we ordered a few pies at a local pizza shop and then made the trek across the Brooklyn Bridge into the financial district. We stopped by the 9/11 memorial ordered our tickets for the one world observatory and then headed back to the hotel for a GLORIOUS nap.
It being our first night in NY, we had arranged to have a casual dinner at Blue Smoke, yet another BBQ restaurant. If you ever go to Blue Smoke, please for the love of god, get the Mac & Cheese. I swear to the heavens, it is ri-di-cu-lous and I googled for way too long looking for a copy-cat recipe. If you know of one, please send it my way… Seriously, please.
After dinner we waddled onto the subway to search for this cute little girly bar called Pietro Nolita. Basically, the entire bar is pink and neon and sassy and super super super small. Okay, I’m not gunna lie, it was too small. And, it being like 30 degrees outside, the bar decided it was appropriate to heat this little shoebox up to 85 degrees and I was having a mini panic attack the entire time I guzzled my “Violetta”. Anyway, not a fan, but cool if you’re into those instagramy places.
Since we were in the area, and since I’m a pro New Yorker now, I had to show our friends China Town and Little Italy. Together we all enjoyed a few cannoli’s, other different baked goods and of course some light harassment from the “Louis Vuitton” street vendors and by this time, our friends were ready to call it a night. Paul and I on the other hand were just getting started so we convinced everyone to go to a little pub a block away from our hotel for “just one more drink”.
On day two, the plan was to walk the highline and have lunch at the Chelsea Market. I really don’t remember what we had for lunch, all I remember was the dozen of mini donuts we had after. Bomb.
After lunch we did Grand Central Terminal which was super cool because Paul hadn’t been before and it was fun to see his reaction to it all. Then, we hit up central park for a ton (and I mean a fk-ton) of pictures, we went through St. Patrick’s Cathedral and then headed back to the hotel for our daily nap. Y’all, I know I keep saying this but it was so damn cold outside. Every time we got into bed it felt like we were defrosting and I was always in shock when I took my shoes and socks off and my feet weren’t black and/or frost bitten.
For dinner, we decided to get a bit fancy and made reservations for one of our FAVORITE Italian restaurants of all time, Carmines. We ate so much pasta, so much veal, and so much sauce. How did we not explode!? After Carmines, we all made our way to the other side of town to see Bryant Park’s Christmas Market… Not a fan and honestly a complete waste of time. Next on the itinerary was the Knickerbocker Hotel for their rooftop bar, which was really pretty but way too cold to really enjoy it like it should have been. We stayed a short while before we decided to call it a night. Maybe next time we’re in New York we’ll try again.
Ahhhhh, day three. This was my favorite day of all. The day Paul and I ventured off on our own. We started the day waiting in a one-hour line for bagels at ess-a-bagel. The line moved super slow, but everyone in line confirmed it is worth the wait and I am here to say… it was 100% very much worth the wait and I dream of these bagels all the time.
After breakfast Paul and I met my cousin and her kids at Starbucks for a coffee and to catch up for a bit and then we headed to see the Rockafeller Tree. It started raining and we just had the best time chattering and shivering and trying our hardest to get a half-way decent photo. It was comical.
Next, we headed somewhere I had never been… The shops on fifth avenue. We walked in and out of Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Fendi, and Cartier. We went into Saint Laurent, Zara and Saks Fifth Avenue, and one of my favorites, Bergdorf Goodman! Paul bought himself a new piece luggage from Tumi and I added a bunch of new bags to my wish list.
After we spent the morning with the rich and famous, we grabbed lunch and a beer at the Perfect Pint. It was so cold and so rainy… all day long, but we had so much fun exploring NYC hand in hand.
For dinner, we met back up with the gang and they wanted to go to a super popular, instagramy restaurant called Serendipity. Honestly, the food was very basic and super overpriced but their décor and desserts were MONEY! If you want my advice, I would say to have dinner at a nice steakhouse and then make reservations at Serendipity for dessert. After dinner we headed back into town where we all took photos in front of the Rockefeller Tree and this time, we got some really good ones!
Day 4 – FINAL DAY
On our last day, Paul and I had our engagement photoshoot!! We woke up super early to get ready and then met the photographers (my cousin and her husband) in the hotel lobby where we headed down to the Brooklyn Bridge. We started shooting just after sunrise and it was incredible. We were one of the only ones on the bridge at that time and were able to get some really beautiful photos. I do want to throw out some advice to my fellow Floridians… if you’re planning a trip to the northeast in December, and decide to do an outdoor photoshoot… bring a freaking jacket. I don’t know what I was thinking but I was so cold that after about an hour into our photoshoot my entire body went numb. How I didn’t get hypothermia or pneumonia is something I can only describe as a miracle. Thank you Jesus!
After we walked the entire bridge, stopping here and there to take different photos as the lighting changed, we jumped into an uber and made our way to Radio City. See, I made a compromise with myself while we were planning our New York Trip. If I wasn’t going to see a Broadway show this time, I HAD to see the Rockettes, and that’s exactly what we did. We met up with the gang and after waiting in the longest line ever we ordered a few hot cocoa’s and a very large cookie, found our seats and waited for the show to begin. It was unbelievable. It was cheesy, unexpecting, the dancers were completely in sync and the Christmas Spectacular really brought me right back to my childhood. And yes, I absolutely cried… two or three times at least.
Now that we were on a sugar high and completely full of the Christmas spirit we decided to spend the last few hours we had, waiting in yet… another line. This time, it was for the One World Observatory.
Ya know, NY should really adopt that nickname. The City of Lines. I totally think it would catch on…
Paul and I had been to One World just a year prior but we never miss an opportunity to see the amazing city from 1,776 feet above. We didn’t spend too long exploring until we realized it was time to grab a small bite to eat (we chose pizza at Eataly) and head to the airport.
This trip was different for us. It was cold, rainy, more fast paced than even we like, but it was another adventure. Another chance to get inspired. Another opportunity to experience something new.
I truly believe that no matter where we are in this world, no matter what we’re doing, or who we’re with… as long as I’m doing life with Paul… it will always be my favorite.
Another one in the books.