It’s no secret that I am in love with The Big Apple, this is my third blog post! I’ve been to NYC what seems like a hundred times over the course of my life. I’m extremely grateful for living within day trip distance to Manhattan, that’s something I had taken for granted until my late 20’s. Growing up, trips were always planned around going to see shows on Broadway, Rockefeller Center or The Big Apple Circus (fun fact: my neighbor was an owner and professional clown). In no way am I complaining about my time spent in the city, but only going to see shows left us with a limited schedule on where we could go and what we could do with our “free” time. Once I started going back as an adult with only the agenda to explore is when I really fell in love with New York. One thing I love about the city is that each time is a new experience. There is an overwhelming amount of things to do and places to see, not to mention all of the delicious things to eat and drink! Moving to Texas has made my trips to the big city few and far between, but I still manage to squeeze in a little adventure when I’m visiting. Since this is a recap of my third trip to New York after moving to Texas, if you would like to learn about some other amazing sights to see that aren’t included in this guide- you should definitely check out my other guides!!
One thing that made this trip completely different than alllllll of the other trips combined is that my grandfather came along this time. I was so excited to show him some of the new architecture in the city and experience some of my favorite things. I’ve gotten the subway down to a science, but he still said I walked his a$$ off LOL.
As usual, we took a bus into PABT (Port Authority Bus Terminal) so we made sure to hit the ever so crowded Times Square first thing in the morning. I’m not knocking Times Square, the lights are enchanting, but I’ve been there hundreds of times and I would much rather spend the day in one of the many neighborhoods exploring on a smaller scale.
We had lunch in Times Square and walked to Bryant Park, one of my favorite places to go to in the winter in NYC are the shops in Bryant Park’s Christmas Village. In addition to the ice skating and bumper car rink, Bryant park is transformed into a magical garden of wooden huts and hand made vendors. This year was also the first time I stopped into the bar as well. It was a dream, think heated tree house meets urban park. Around the corner we met a friend for a round of drinks at The Keg Room. I was so happy to get off the beaten path and enjoy a beer with the townies. The Keg Room was perfect, I am always down to go to an Irish Pub, they have the best beer and the best bar food!
I absolutely made sure we went to Hudson Yards. The Vessel was for him and Little Spain was for me! Hudson Yards had just opened right before my last trip to Manhattan and I HAD to go back. It’s basically a huge mall – BUT – the bottom floor is a Spanish food hall complete with different vendors from wine, meat, cheese and pastries, plus SO much more! Directly outside of the mall is the architectural structure known as The Vessel, which basically reminds me of a giant bee hive with a stellar view of Hudson River. I highly recommend adding Hudson Yards to your itinerary!
We braved the subway again to go down to The Oculus and One World Trade Center. I really outdid myself this time because unknown to my knowledge the subway went directly inside of The Oculus, it was perfect! I had wanted to see the architecture from the outside based on photo’s I’ve seen online, I didn’t realize it was also a mall much like Hudson Yards. I loved seeing the inside during winter with all of the lights, decorations and a winter village of vendors just like Bryant Park.
I can confidently say Little Spain is my second favorite place in NYC… because Etaly is my number one! I vow to never take a trip to Manhattan that doesn’t involve a stop at Eataly. Whether you’re going for a meal or searching for authentic Italian imports, Eataly is my go- to restaurant and grocer. There are several locations throughout the city, originally I loved Flatiron just because of the neighborhood, but after traveling to The Oculus, we found the Taj Mahal of Eataly’s. I was in complete awe admiring the cheese and pastries! OH AND THIS BAR.
We finished our day in Manhattan with a trip to One World Trade Center. I had never been to ground zero before, it was always too far of a trek from any of our other trips. But it was absolutely breath taking, as it should be. The vibe is very somber and respectful. The two fountains outlining the World Trade Centers with everyone’s names is a mix of heartbreak and gratitude- it’s something you need to see for yourself. I snapped a few photos to capture the beauty of the monuments, but I mostly went to take a moment of silence and soak in the reality. I am so proud of the monument dedicated to those who lost their lives on 9/11, I think it captures the brevity and sincerity we all feel thinking back to that day. If I never get to go back to NYC, I’m okay with that knowing I was able to see Ellis Island and One World Trade Center, two of the most fascinating and important places in the history and culture of the U.S.
As usual, if you have any questions or comments about my trip to New York or need help planning a trip of your own, feel free to comment or send a message!