Empire State of Mind

Legit had that song in my head the entire time we were there. Just like Jay Z would want it.

New York, you hold a dear place in my heart. There is the most palpable energy radiating throughout the city. We had a magical time wandering through different neighborhoods, eating delicious food, oh and SEEING FRIKKEN HAMILTON (I shant ever recover). 

I have been thinking I would like to start recording some of my posts. I know that it isn't always possible for people to sit down and read a more (ahem, to myself) lengthy blog post. More like this to come. 

Here are some tips and tricks for your trip to NYC because you neeed to go. Feel free to read or listen along (or both)! 

Aka the Lifesaver app. Wish I knew who created this app so I could send them a bottle of wine. You put in your destination and it lets you know the different ways you can get there from riding the Subway to taking an Uber. It gives the time that each will take, cost involved, and what they suggest. We used this a lot when taking the subway since it gave us the direction we needed, different trains we could take, and where we needed to exit. Once you were off the train, it provided the exit you wanted down to the corner. You get a gold star City Planner app. 

Don't fall into the Olive Garden/Applebees in Times Square trap. There are so many amazing restaurants in New York why hit a chain that you could eat at anytime? Some favorites: Cafe Napoli (Little Italy), Upper East Cafe (Upper East Side), Egg Shop (Lower East Side), L'Amico (Midtown). 

Since we were going to be there for a few days and wanted to do certain attractions, this was a great way to go. The booklets give you access to various hotspots in New York at a discounted price since you are committing to visit all of them. The ones we chose: Empire State Building, The Met, Top of the Rock, 9/11 Memorial, American Museum of Natural History, and a skyline boat cruise. The booklets gave our days some structure. We chose a different one for each day and then after that went to explore a different neighborhood. Bonus: a lot of the places let you skip the long ticketing lines by using the CityPASS line when arriving. 

  • Empire State Building: make sure you know which day you are visiting. Get up early to get in line...the earlier the better. We were in line around 10 am and the lines were already building. By the time we left in the afternoon they were significantly longer. On the day you go, make sure to have some time that evening as you are allowed to come back at night to see the skyline from 86 floors up. 
  • The Met: probably one of the most magical places I have been. Granted, I was thinking about 'From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler' (if you didn't read that book as a kid that's a winner). It's unlike any other museum I have ever been. Go when you have the time to wander and take it all in.
  • Top of the Rock: such a great observation deck. Shorter lines than the Empire State Experience and amazing views of New York. You go up to the 67th floor and have unobstructed views of the skyline. You're able to go to the 69 and 70th floors as well. If you don't do CityPASS and choose between this observation deck and the Empire State I would choose this one. Not only is the Empire State Building in your view, it's completely open vs. having iron bars in your view. Also, the views of Central Park are EVERYTHING.
  • 9/11 Memorial: humbling and moving. It might sound strange but go for an afternoon and don't make plans for afterwards. You are somewhat emotionally drained and it's nice to just have a more relaxed evening to reflect. 
  • Boat Cruise: it's great to see the skyline from the water. Also, they float you past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Doug and I had both been to them before so it was a nice way to see them again without doing the full on tours of both. Make sure to board your ship early and grab a seat on the outside or your pictures/view will be full of people's arms holding their iPads. Our boarding time was 12 pm for our 12:30 pm cruise. We got there right on time and all of those seats were taken. (See the wall I refer to in the recording below).
  • American History Museum: it was raining on Memorial Day so we decided to do a museum. You could probably make it through it in a few hours so this could easily be paired with another activity in your day. 

See Hamilton. The end. XOXO, Ashley

A bustling market full of delicious places to grab some food and cute boutique like stores. For West Michigan friends think the Downtown Market x100. The High Line was a working railroad until 1980. A railroad enthusiast saved it from demolition and it is now a public park. Great views of Chelsea and the Meatpacking District. Nice for a leisurely stroll after the busyness of the market.

Grabbing a bench in Central Park and watching the world go by, taking in the view from our hotel room (especially at night), a cup of tea while getting in some good people watching, Grand Central Terminal, Trinity Church in the Financial District. 


We had a blast. What are some of your favorite places to visit in New York? Next time I think it's time to conquer Brooklyn...