Shortly after starting my new job, I had a work event in New York City. Since I had never been to the Big Apple, Clayton flew out and we decided to extend the trip through the weekend to explore. We did all of the things — Central Park, ferry to Staten Island, speakeasy in Brooklyn, you name it. I can see why this crazy city steals your heart, it was definitely a trip to remember.
The first half of the week, I stayed in an Airbnb apartment near Times Square/Hells Kitchen and it was the full “city that never sleeps” experience. Located near a bus depot, above a Dunkin Donuts (thank goodness), it was a perfect home base for me to get my bearings with the city.
I actually traveled to New York on my birthday and Clayton (despite the fact that he wasn’t physically present) helped me celebrate with flowers and champagne. The champagne was appropriately drank as we walked through Central Park to celebrate the exciting week ahead of us. Full NYC-style, in CATS cups. FYI – I would highly recommend this activity to anyone visiting the city, first time or not.
After a week of putting on a killer conference (if I do say so myself), Clayton arrived to the city. The first night we walked through Times Square and caught my first ever Broadway show and most importantly, musical: The Book of Mormon. The whole evening was incredible, sensory overload at times, but incredible.
We stayed the rest of the weekend in a loft in Brooklyn which was 10/10 much calmer than our Times Square digs. On Friday morning we grabbed breakfast and headed to the Staten Island ferry terminal. The free ferry ride was packed but allowed for a wonderful view of the city, especially the Status of Liberty. Pro tip: when you board the ferry, head to the right side as that’s the side that will pass by Lady Liberty on your way to Staten Island.
After arriving to Staten Island we wandered over to The Flagship Brewing Company and perhaps not so surprisingly, were the only ones there. The brewery has a super cool vibe and pretty tasty beers. Unsure if we should relish in the fact that it was noon and we were drinking alone because everyone was at work, we rounded the corner to DaddyO’s BBQ for lunch.
After disembarking the ferry on the Manhattan side, we walked through downtown and caught site of the Trinity Church, Wall Street Bull (and Fearless Girl!), and made our way to the One World Trade Center. The stark contrast between the height of the new One World Trade Center (tallest in the western hemisphere) and the fountains takes your breath away — the whole experience was incredibly humbling.
In the afternoon, we made our way over to the Brooklyn Bridge and ventured half way across. Throughout the week we experienced the city through different vantage points like rooftop bar, ferry boat, airplane, but I think the Brooklyn Bridge was my favorite way to take it all in. You’re stuck between Manhattan and Brooklyn, sitting above heavy traffic, while wild bicyclists speed past — totally captures the energy of the city. Right off the bridge in Dumbo is Bluestone Lane, a quaint little cafe, and perfect spot to stop for a glass of wine.
That evening, we went to dinner and had the ultimate surprise planned for Clayton and Austin. A few weeks prior Darlene had texted me that since both her boys were going to be in the same city for Mother’s Day, she’d love to surprise them. Naturally, I loved the idea. She was a ninja – took a cab from the airport and waltzed into the restaurant, shocking both of them. Success.
We spent the rest of the weekend touring the Museum of Natural History (hello, Night at the Museum) and Grand Central Terminal. There are a ton of Google-worthy secret facts about Grand Central but my favorite is about the small, dark patch on the ceiling.
“If you look up at the giant zodiac on the ceiling of the Main Concourse in Grand Central Terminal next to Cancer, the crab, you’ll find a small, dark patch of brick. This brick reveals what the station’s ceiling looked like before it was cleaned during the restoration project in 1998. What made the brick so dirty? You’d think it was soot or ash from the trains of old but the grime is actually 70% nicotine and tar.”
— Untapped Cities
In summary, it was a trip for the books and I can’t wait to go back.