Cramming multiple trips into a fixed timeline can be tricky. Especially when winter is upon us and roads can be dicey at best. Thus far, since Chloe’s arrival a few short weeks ago, she has yet to see a Canadian winter. More often than not, our snowfall comes in February. So I knew Chloe wouldn’t get to see a lot of snow while she was here. And that’s also why I added Quebec City to the mix because they would definitely have snow there! But that’s another story for another day.
New York, New York! No city is more iconic. We were excited for our trip. I was able to snag flights for almost next to nothing. I also mentioned before that Chloe had a co-worker relocate to NYC, so we’d have a place to stay. Or so we thought….
Chloe had been trying to confirm our dates with her friend. For weeks before even arriving in Canada, this friend kept telling her ‘it’s a go!’ Radio silence occurred shortly before we were set to arrive in the Big Apple. Chloe’s friend bailed on us. Said she was in California and forgot, blah blah blah. We were a bit frantic trying to book something, anything before our flight! Chloe was able to book using a website from Australia. She felt really bad about her friend and offered to cover the cost of the hotel. It could have happened to anyone. Chloe was sweet for making the offer. It sucks we couldn’t save a bit of money when it came to accommodations, but we would make this work!
Chloe’s work on finding us a hotel paid off. We were all set to stay at the Hudson New York. It was located on W 58th Street, just steps from Columbus Circle. Both of us were quite pleased with finding something practically last minute! So New York City….here we come!
Our flight was later than we would have liked, but the price is something I wasn’t willing to pass up. We landed around 3-330pm. I had pre-ordered a shuttle to get us to our hotel. We followed the instructions on the confirmation, we checked in with the right counter. Our driver collected us, but the van was definitely not what we expected. There were 2 passengers already inside, and they jokingly filled us in on their short drive from their terminal to ours. Turns out this van service is more like a death trap. We all feared for our lives. When the last few people arrived, there was one too many people on board. The driver got confused and asked to see our confirmation. Turns out this was NOT our shuttle. But the girl at the counter told us the number for the van, and he was it! How were we to know! Thankfully, he let us out and our real driver was waiting right there. We thanked the new driver profusely because I think he saved our lives from the other van. This shuttle was lovely compared to the other one. I felt slightly bad for the other guys.
Ok well first hurdle done! Let’s get moving! Traffic was horrendous. I highly, highly recommend you do not take a taxi from the airport to downtown. It will likely cost you a fortune in bad traffic!! We paid $17 each way for our very comfy, very nice shuttle. Our early afternoon turned to a late evening arrival to our hotel. It was dark by the time we arrived which is not surprising given the time of year. We arrived at the hotel and tried to check in but the desk clerk said our room wasn’t ready. It was 6pm….how is our room not ready?! He apologized and gave us a drink ticket for their bar around the corner. We were to check back with him in one hour and our room should be ready to go. Ok so an hour later we come back to the desk. It’s a different guy this time. He says our room is not ready. Now we’re getting frustrated. He told us that there were flight attendants from the night before who had yet to leave because their flight out wasn’t until late. He apologized and upgraded the room but told us it still wouldn’t be available until the flight crew left. Not wanting to waste any more time, we checked our luggage downstairs and hit the town.
Our hotel was just around the corner from Columbus Circle, so we went in that direction. Just across the street is Central Park and there was a cute Christmas Market. Chloe and I decided to check it out and maybe grab something to eat. The market was cute and the apple cider donuts were amazing. We opted for a little bit of mexican food for our dinner which did not disappoint. But with how cold it was outside, and us not wanting our hands to be cold, it was a bit difficult eating nachos!
Afterwards we made our way back to the hotel. Finally our room was ready so we grabbed our luggage and made our way upstairs. The hallways felt dated and more like a hostel than a chic hotel. We opened the door to our room and I think we were both shocked at how tiny the space was. If this was an upgrade, I would hate to see what a standard room looks like at this hotel. Dealing with a tiny space is fine, we’d be out of the hotel most of the time anyway. But what I couldn’t get over and what we both found very, very strange was the bathroom. Typical bathroom but instead of a wall in the shower, it was a window. A floor to ceiling window. There were no blinds on the other side of this window so we could shower with privacy. Nope. We had to shower in front of each other. WHAT KIND OF HOTEL DESIGN IS THIS?!? I mean we’re best friends, sure. But it’s one thing to get dressed in front of each other, but it’s an entirely different thing to have to SHOWER in front of each other. We just had to make do with what we had, we both agreed to watch tv or turn and face the wall while one of us showered.
Our time was limited in the city what with the traffic keeping us from exploring on what should have been our first day. We had to make up for lost time here! So we hit the ground running! First up was Mickey The True Original Exhibition just next to the Chelsea Market. As a Disney fanatic, of course I find the one thing Disney (other than Broadway shows) on this trip! I bought these tickets ahead of time and made sure we were first thing in the morning. Our first time using the subway was fairly easy actually. Albeit crowded, it wasn’t too hard to get around and find our way around the city. A homeless man helped us find our way to the exhibit by pointing us in the right direction.
The exhibit celebrates Mickey’s 90th birthday and his influence on art and pop culture. It was an immersive experience that let us see all kinds of renowned artists’ take on the mouse himself. Chloe and I had such fun in each room! So many cool photo ops, and the artwork was incredible.
After the exhibit, we popped over to Chelsea Market. We were right there, so why not? We didn’t spend too much time here and made our way to the World Trade Center. The weather was beautiful despite the wind. The wind had a bite to it and it really cut through any layers we were wearing. We made it to the WTC area. I had no idea that it was made up of more than just the twin towers. There were seven buildings in total that made up the World Trade Center. After the horrifying events on 9/11, most if not all of the area was destroyed. Since then, new buildings have been erected leaving the area where the Twin Towers stood a memorial to those thousands of people who lost their lives. We were not planning on going into the museum, but if you are, get there early. I think it was just after noon time and the queue was very long. The memorial itself is definitely worth seeing. You don’t realize how vast this space is until you see it in person. There is a sense of calmness when you’re here. It’s a hard feeling to describe.
We wandered over to St. Paul’s Chapel of Trinity Church. It’s just across the street from the memorial. Chloe wanted to go inside, but there was a mass going on and we didn’t want to disturb. Instead we wandered through the cemetery. Despite the busy street traffic, I didn’t hear much noise as we walked through the cemetery. It was a very peaceful place. It’s amazing there was no damage done to it on 9/11. They say that’s how it got its nick name, ‘the little chapel that stood.’
From here we made our way to Wall Street. Chloe wanted to see the ‘Charging Bull.’ Of course as with anything that’s made iconic, there was quite the line to get a photo with the bull. Unfortunately the ‘Fearless Girl’ statue is no longer there and had been moved to the New York Stock Exchange. No matter, the bull was enough. Snapping a few photos of Chloe we made our way to the Seaport District to catch our harbour tour. Once on the boat, the lulling of the cruise and the warm sun on my face, I fell asleep. Chloe made her way to the top deck to snap some photos and while she was away some random people sat down next to me. Unaware because I was dead to the world, Chloe eventually came back and tried to wake me by calling my name from the aisle. The guy next to me had to tap me on the shoulder which scared the shit out of me. Waking up to a massive bearded man was definitely not what I was expecting. We had a good laugh over that once we were off the boat. So needless to say I missed most of that tour, but that’s ok! I did get a shot or two of the Statue of Liberty and the skyline.
The Seaport District is very pretty. With its old world charm and cobble stone streets it is a definite must see. Here you can also get some spectacular views of the Brooklyn Bridge. There are plenty of shops, restaurants and bars to keep anyone entertained.
The sun was setting and it was getting dark, but Chloe and I weren’t finished with the city just yet! We ventured over to the Grand Central Terminal. It is truly remarkable. It was also insanely busy because we were right around rush hour and dinner time. The hustle and bustle of travellers heading on an adventure or the 9-5’er who just wanted to get home, we had fun just people watching here. There is a massive food court located downstairs and if we had more time, I would have liked to explore it. But we were down there just for the washrooms and we made our way outside.
We walked through Bryant Park because there was a little Christmas Market. Everything looks so beautiful lit up at night time. But it was nothing compared to being in Times Square, which is where we ended up for the night. Taking it all in, we just stood in the middle of the Square in awe of it all. We noticed how hungry we were and opted to dine at Bubba Gump’s. A word of warning here, which we got from the hostess at the restaurant: IF you want to eat any where in Times Square, get there before 5pm. He said at 4-430pm the place was empty, but as soon as 5pm hit there was a 2 hour wait to dine. We opted to wait just over an hour but honestly we didn’t mind. It was so cold outside with the wind and no sun to warm us up, we were happy we were inside keeping warm. Dinner was good and we had a few good laughs over drinks and shrimp. It has been quite the day here in NYC. We had one more full day before we were set to leave the day after.
We were exhausted. Falling asleep that night was no problem at all for either of us. We woke up early the next morning because we still had some things to see/do! Today we would go to the top of Rockefeller Center! That was scheduled for 1pm, so we had some time to explore! Having gotten up really, really early we made our way to Central Park. Another beautiful day here and the early morning sun was nice to see. We eventually found, by accident really, Tavern on the Green. Having not had breakfast yet, we decided to take a look. They were having a holiday brunch special which included a 4 course meal for $70. What the hell, why not! We took a seat at the bar, ordered a drink and we were sat fairly quickly. The food was amazing. Absolutely amazing. From the basket of fresh pastries and coffees to start all the way through to dessert. It was the best $70 I had ever spent on food.
Now extremely full and well fuelled, we continued our walk through Central Park. I was on a mission to get to the Natural History Museum. Sadly I wouldn’t be able to explore it as there just wasn’t enough time, but I needed to get to the gift shop to find something for dad for Christmas. We did make it there and it was hella busy. We asked the security guard if we needed to buy admission if we just wanted to get to the gift shop. He took a look around, and let us go in! We were very lucky I think! This building is stunning. I’ll have to come back one day and really explore all the museum has to offer!
Time was short, we needed to get to Rockefeller or we were going to be late! We made it there by the skin of our teeth. Literally. We were the last 2 people in the 1pm group and they cut off the line right after us. Phew! This was an unexpected stop for me, I didn’t even really know this existed. Not the Rockefeller, but going to the top of it. I have Chloe to thank for this as she booked the tickets before coming. It is breathtaking from the top. 360 degree views of New York City from Upper Manhattan to Lower. If you get the chance to, I would highly recommend adding this to your NYC adventure!
We spent the rest of our afternoon and evening wandering along 5th Avenue window shopping because we couldn’t afford anything along here. Eventually we made our way back to Times Square because we wanted to try Shake Shack. I always see it on movies based in NYC, and people do say it’s good. And it was good, I must say! It was incredibly busy and we barely found seats to eat, but we managed to snag a spot. After dinner, we did some shopping and eventually made our way back to the hotel. We had an early, early flight in the morning and our shuttle was picking us up around 4am.
It was truly a whirlwind visit to the Big Apple. I will definitely need to come back and plan a longer visit to accomplish a few more things! But all in all, this trip did not disappoint. I think Chloe and I managed to fit in as much sightseeing as possible. I’ll be happy to get home if only to have a shower….privately. Haha…
Well, with NYC complete, we are looking ahead to our next adventure! This next trip won’t take us too far but it will be a weekend of fun for sure. Toronto never disappoints!
Until next time…