A destination that’s at the top of big city travel lists? Definitely New York City.
Although I have been to the Big Apple once before during a Grade 11 performing arts trip, I wanted to make my way back since I loved the energy and the endless supply of things to do. Since my boyfriend had work-related stuff to do there, I thought I would join in since it’s been years since I was there last and I was in desperate need of a vacation.
We flew in last Wednesday through Westjet via Toronto, where the flight is only about an hour long, then grabbed an Uber to my boyfriend’s friend’s place in Williamsburg where we stayed. The last time I was in New York we didn’t go to Brooklyn (Williamsburg is a trendy neighbourhood in Brooklyn), and to be honest, it was never on my radar of places I would want to check out. I had this preconceived notion of what I thought Brooklyn was like just based on what I’ve seen on TV and the movies, and it was the complete opposite.
Anyways, more on that later… I had a list of things I knew I wanted to check out so on Thursday morning we got up super early since my boyfriend had work stuff Thursday night and Friday day, so we wanted to hit up enough things we could do together before we went our separate ways. We grabbed an Uber and went into Manhattan and stopped off in SoHo to go to Jack’s Wife Frieda, this middle eastern-inspired brunch spot that you’ll find high on the list of restaurants in New York. Afterwards, we walked around SoHo then decided to walk to the 911 Memorial since when I was there in 2005 it was still a construction site by that point. In case you haven’t seen photos of the memorial, it’s two large black fountains that are the shape of the two World Trade Center buildings. Around the edges are names of the people that were killed on September 11, 2011 during the World Trade Center attacks. There is also a museum, which I ended up coming back the next day to check out. If there are only a handful of things you’re able to do in New York I definitely recommend checking this out. I still remember that day so many years ago and it’s a very emotional spot to go to.
Afterwards we walked back to the Brooklyn Bridge and then across it for some photos and also because we got tickets to go see the David Bowie Is exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. I’m not a David Bowie fan, so although I didn’t appreciate it as much as my boyfriend did, it was still a pretty cool exhibit. Prior to that though, we made a stop at the TKTS booth in Brooklyn since I had Thursday night free and thought I would check out a Broadway show. Unfortunately all the shows I really wanted to see were either sold out (Hamilton) or too expensive (Mean Girls), so I wasn’t really picky on what I would be seeing. I ended up getting a ticket to Waitress, which is based off a movie and starred Katherine McPhee. I didn’t know anything about the show really, but it was funny and the music was really good (Sara Bareilles wrote the score). If you aren’t picky in what you want to see, I highly recommend going to TKTS the day of the show. I paid half price for my ticket ($91 USD) and was 10th centre, so it was an awesome experience.
After the show on Thursday, since I was so close to Times Square, I popped by there and checked out some of the shops. I didn’t really do any shopping in New York since the Canadian dollar is so bad and at this point we have most of the stores already. My boyfriend ended up meeting me in Times Square afterwards and we took the subway back to Brooklyn. This was my first time on the New York subway and after seeing how much easier it was than an Uber (cost and time – the traffic in NY is insane), I used my Metro pass for the rest of the trip since it was way more convenient.
The next day, I went back to the 911 Museum and spent a few hours in there. You walk down into basically the foundation of the World Trade Center and it was so crazy seeing all the things that survived the attacks. It was quite crowded in there, but I again I highly recommend checking this out, as you see parts of the building, listen to messages from that day, see parts of the plane that went into the buildings, and more. It was also interesting to read about the backstory of the attack, the heroes from that day, and how it affected the world.
Afterwards, I walked to SoHo to eat at a New York vegan chain called By Chloe and then walked around and visited the shops in the neighbourhood. At that point I had crossed off a lot on my list of things I wanted to see and do, but since the Flatiron Building was so close (about a kilometre away), I walked that way, got some gelato at Eataly, and then headed to Fifth Avenue.
I had read about this place called 260 Sample Sale before the trip but wasn’t sure where it was. As I was walking I ended up seeing it with a line outside, but thankfully I didn’t have to stand in line for too long. 260 Sample Sale is a big space where different brands host sample sales, which are sales where their items are considerably marked down. That day Swell, Moleskin, and Nest were the products, and since I already have two Swell bottles, I ended up picking some up for my friends. To give you an idea of how good the prices were, the regular size Swell bottle was $12 USD, whereas it’s like C$45 regular, so those were a total steal. I picked up a couple Nest candles for myself, and a Moleskin notebook for a friend. In total, for two Swell bottles, a notebook, a couple candles, a First Aid Beauty holiday set (this one was randomly there), it came to like $50 something dollars, American. If you’re travelling to New York and planning on hitting up Fifth Avenue, I highly recommend checking out to see which brands will be there the days you’re travelling.
Afterwards, my boyfriend at that point was done his work stuff and he was around there so we met up on Fifth Avenue and then walked towards Central Park. We hung out a bit around there before grabbing the subway back to Brooklyn, where we hung out the rest of the night.
The next day, we just ended up walking around Williamsburg for the day, which used to be filled with a bunch of warehouses, but is now a trendy neighbourhood full of cool restaurants, bars, and hotels (and a lot of street art and murals). We grabbed a drink at the Wythe Hotel at their rooftop bar and then grabbed Mexican food at Casa Publica since it was Cinco de Mayo. Afterwards, we wanted to check out the rooftop bar at the William Vale Hotel, but since the line was long we ended up just going to Mr. Dips, this cute ice cream truck, there instead. Afterwards, we make a stop at Milk Bar so I could pick up a few goodies and then back to where we were staying for the rest of the night (and the end of the trip for myself, I flew back early Sunday).
Although there were a few more things I would have loved to check out in the city, I had an awesome time and can’t wait to visit again. I find the flights to be relatively cheap from Winnipeg, but no doubt it is a very expensive city. Hotels, food, and drinks are all pricey, so if you’re planning on visiting make sure you save up well in advance. On the Wednesday night when we got in we met up with a friend of my boyfriends and went cocktail hopping and it was $16-17 a drink at each place. Keep in mind that’s American dollars, so you’re looking at around $20 Canadian for one drink. Granted, there’s ways to find anything for cheap, but definitely save up if you’re planning on visiting.
Like I said, I covered the majority of things I had wanted to do there, but the city is so large that I can’t wait to go back and explore the regions that I didn’t even touch on.
Have you been to New York before? What were your favourite spots?
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