(Original post on March 2016)
It has always been my dream to take my mom and daughter on THEIR dream vacation. And in March of 2016, that’s exactly what I did!
Three generations, ready to take on the world (ok, only New York, but you get the idea). Emotions were running high, excitement was in the air.. life was perfect!
We started our trip late Sunday afternoon.. it was my daughters first “real” flight and her nerves were getting the best of her.
We went over to the Empire Hotel – because no REAL Gossip Girl Fan can stay anywhere else – dumped our luggage, and took off!
We started out with a quick walk to Serendipity. Of course, we had the iconic Frozen Hot Chocolate.
Definitely worth the walk (and the money)
From there we walked over to the end of the block for a little pick me up at Dylan’s Candy Bar.. I had had enough sweets (never thought I would say that!) so I opted for a signature umbrella.. it broke after about 5 minutes…. yeah, all about decoration – functionality – ZERO.
The weather was still pretty crappy and figured it was a good “inside” day so we hit up the MET and the Guggenheim.. keep in mind we are from Texas. For us, those were FREEZING temperatures. For everyone else, it was just “chilly”.
By this point we were pretty frozen (again, we come from SOUTH Texas) so we made our way back to the hotel and got settled in for the night.. with PIZZA!
All in all, it was a WONDERFUL first day to our trip!
We started our day with a subway ride – a definite first for us all. The subway system is the main public transportation system in New York. It is one of the oldest and largest public transportation systems in the world (in terms of number of stations). With some 5.7 million riders on a given weekday, it is one of the primary modes of transportation for the majority of New Yorkers.
We, on the other hand, are tourists.. it was all new to us.. we spent ALOT of time looking at maps, phone apps, guides – but in the end we just ending up asking people where we should get off and what to do from there. Considering this city has a reputation of being mean, everyone was pretty helpful.. even the man next to us who did not seem as excited as we were to be on this train.. 🙂
We rode “the metro” all the way over to the South Ferry and made our way over to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. (Ok, so now we sound like natives.)
The Statue is free to see (obviously) but the ferry ride to get there is about $20. If you want to climb the 377 steps to get to the crown, wear good shoes – and it would help to be in decent shape. It’s NOT an easy climb, but well worth the $3 it costs to go up there.
From there, we walked over to the 911 Memorial. If you are limited as to what you can see in New York, make sure this place makes the list. You walk out of there with a whole new appreciation for life and this world we live in. September 11th will always be one of the days where you remember where you were the minute you heard about it.
“That day, at 9:03am, America became a neighborhood and we all became New Yorkers.The attacks of September 11th were intended to break our spirit. Instead we have emerged stronger and more unified. We feel renewed devotion to the principles of political, economic and religious freedom, the rule of law and respect for human life. We are more determined than ever to live our lives in freedom. –Rudolph W. Giuliani.”
At this point, our feet were screaming so we took a cab over to Grand Central Station. No self respecting Gossip Girl fan can be in that city and NOT go to GCS.
Totally took me by surprise that we were even able to have a decent dinner there.. you could probably even buy groceries and go to the salon. It is, literally, a city underground.
By this time, my handy dandy step counter said we had walked over 8 miles and my feet were feeling it so I did what I had to do.. I bought sketchers. Best decision EVER.
Times Square was all that they say it is.. it’s sort of like Vegas – on steroids. The lights were bright, the energy was amazing.. and the shopping was awesome.
We really couldn’t take anymore so us, thinking we knew all there was to know about NYC, took a subway to some random location and then realized we had no idea where we were so we took a $30 cab ride about 3 blocks to our hotel.. oh well.. lesson learned.
The sun was finally out and we had taken tired to a whole new level so we decided we’s take the day to “rest” – starting with a nice stroll through Central Park. We stopped and listened to the musicians, watched the dancers, and took in as much of our surroundings as we could possibly absorb.
The entire park is 843 acres and filled with a ton of attractions.. but we had one goal in mind.. that was to find the Pulitzer Fountain (Location @ Wollman rink) where Blair and Serena met and the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain where Chuck and Blair got married.
(Location @ in the middle of Terrace Dr 72nd Street)
It took about 4 hot dogs and several hours later but we finally found them both.
A late brunch (with a mimosa, of course) in the park and we slowly made our way over to the Empire State Building; stopping at a few stores along the way to shop.
Not gonna lie; It’s a bit of a challenge to get there and the 102 stories up but the views are totally worth it.
Not to mention that’s where Chuck was waiting for Blair.. so we HAD to go!
We walked back and stopped in at the New York Public Library where, apparently, they don’t hold any books anymore (disappointing) but the building was lovely and the shop inside made for some pretty interesting gifts.
We continued the 2 mile trek back to our hotel and, literally, ran into Times Square! We had no idea we had been so close all along.
A few more minutes in the Hershey store and we eventually dragged our way back to our room… completely “chocolate wasted”…
“Each neighborhood of the city appeared to be made of a different substance, each seemed to have a different air pressure, a different psychic weight: the bright lights and shuttered shops, the housing projects and luxury hotels, the fire escapes and city parks.”
Thursday (final full day in NYC)
We started off with a subway ride to Hoboken, New Jersey – home of Carlo’s Bakery.. We crossed the Hudson and easily found it.. and it was WONDERFUL! OMG! Those cannoli’s – TO DIE FOR!
From there, we decided we needed to burn off the hundred thousand calories we had just consumed by taking a stroll through the town. It was quaint and practically perfect.
“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” Tom Wolf
We easily found our way back to the City and made our way over to China Town.. it wasn’t my favorite place to be but something you need to see at least once.. it’s China INSIDE a city.. even the McDonalds was in Chinese!
We found Little Italy and walked through there to do some more shopping, then decided to head back to the hotel to “rest” before dinner…. only we all fell asleep..
All in all, it was pretty great. There were a few things we missed but we hit all of the “main” attractions.. Besides, NY isn’t a place you can only visit once. So we will definitely be back..