This week was glorious because the weather finally started to warm up, and the promise of cherry blossoms was in the air! Krysta, Caroline and I walked over to the Lincoln Memorial one day because the weather was just too good not to.
This week was Krysta’s “unbirthday,” and to celebrate we took a long lunch at Founding Farmer’s on Friday. Even though it is very mainstream D.C., FF is still one of my favorite restaurants. Their chicken pot pie is the best I’ve ever had (sorry Mom!).
Erica and I had been planning to go to New York, and this weekend seemed like the perfect time. We got on a bus at 6:30 Saturday morning, and we arrived in NY around 10:45. I had been to NY once before, but it was Erica’s first time so I was excited to be the person to introduce her to this amazing city!
We did some thorough planning and booked a hotel just a couple of blocks away from the bus stop, so we checked into our hotel first thing and dropped off our bags before making our way to the Rockefeller Center. Our tickets were for 2:00, so we had plenty of time to sight-see along the way.
Our first big touristy spot was Times Square. We of course had to stop in the Hershey store and M&M World. We did the custom fill-your-own bag of M&M’s, and it was insane to see all the flavors/colors offered. I may have went a little overboard (I think I bought a pound).
One of my best friends Nicole lived in NY for over a year, and she insisted we stop at this food cart on our way to the Rockefeller Center, “The Halal Guys.” It is so popular that there are even imposters along the same route, but we knew we found the original when we saw the line. We had this huge container full of lamb, chicken, rice, veggies, pita bread, and their special white sauce, all for six bucks.
The Rockefeller Center is on fifth avenue, so we did some window shopping while we were waiting to go in. We of course had to go in Saks on Fifth Ave; I can’t even imagine actually buying something in that place. They had a fur room if that tells you anything! We also went into American Girl, which was like being transported back in time. (Erica and I were distraught to learn that our dolls -Felicity & Samantha- had been retired.)
It was finally time to go to the top of the Rock. This was probably my favorite thing we did all weekend because it gives you such an incredible view of Manhattan and an appreciation for how large it is. I especially love the view of Central Park; how cool is it that this little piece of nature has been preserved in the middle of the country’s biggest city?
I could have stayed up there for hours, but there was a pretty brisk wind that made it quite chilly. After we left the Rockefeller Center, we meandered up fifth avenue and ducked in and out of stores. We bought new lipstick at the MAC store, played in iconic toy store FAO Schwarz, and of course made a stop at Tiffany’s.
Once we reached Central Park, we decided to take the classic carriage ride. I know there’s a lot of controversy over having the horses in the city, but ours looked well-fed and happy, and our driver was awesome. His name was Sal, and he was so knowledgeable about the history of Central Park and who lived in the surrounding buildings. The most famous person he’s given a ride to? Jackie O!
Our carriage ride was only twenty minutes, so once it was over we headed back into the park to explore on foot. We learned on our ride that Manhattan is built on granite, one of the strongest rocks, which is how the foundation can support such tall skyscrapers. We found some of this exposed granite and sat with dozens of others enjoying the last rays of sunshine.
After we were done sunning, we set off to figure out how to work the NY subway. Let me tell you, after experiencing the metro in NY I realized just how incredibly nice DC’s metro is. The NY metro was dirty, gross, and old. It’s also amazing how many stops there are; it took us a little while, but Erica and I figured it out and always got where we wanted to go!
On our way back to the hotel room to freshen up before dinner, we stopped at Dylan’s Candy Bar, which claims to be the largest specialty candy store in the world and is owned by Ralph Lauren’s daughter. There were two floors filled with candy and a bakery, and a third floor with a cafe that served all kinds of delights. Think of any obscure candy you’ve had as a kid and chances are you could find it here!
After freshening up at the hotel, we headed back out to eat a late dinner and catch a comedy show. We weren’t even very hungry because our portion was so huge at lunch, so we decided an authentic slice of NY pizza would be the perfect dinner. Although it didn’t look like much from the outside, the Yelp reviews for NY Pizza Suprema in Chelsea were off the charts so we decided to give it a whirl.
Oh. My. Gosh. This pizza was delicious because it encapsulated everything I look for in a pizza – thin crust, no marinara, and the perfect amount of cheese. The best part was the hunks of fresh mozzarella sprinkled on top. Yum!
After dinner we went to a comedy show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre there in Chelsea. The show we went to was improv, and based on secrets audience members wrote down before the show started. It was especially funny because my secret was one of the ones used. (No telling, Erica!) We loved the show!
The next day we started off by going to the 9/11 memorial. The museum doesn’t open until May so we were only able to see the actual memorial site, which really put into perspective how devastating the event was. The bases of the twin towers comprise the memorial, and it is pretty incredible to see how huge they were.
After going to the memorial, we just wandered around and enjoyed the day. We walked up to Chinatown, which aside from Times Square is the most crowded area of NY I’ve been to! We also saw Little Italy, and then walked to SoHo to do some shopping.
After checking out SoHo (which was adorable!) we walked over to Greenwich Village to go to Molly’s Cupcakes. I did my research on Yelp to find out the best place for cupcakes, and Molly’s Cupcakes was it! Erica and I shared their three most popular flavors, and mine favorite out of the three was easily cake batter.
The cake was funfetti with a blue buttercream frosting, sprinkles, and cake batter core. Normally I would pick something chocolate over this any day, but it was absolutely amazing. I will have dreams about this cupcake.
After enjoying our cupcakes, we grabbed falafel sandwich at a hole in the wall shop with a line sprawling into the street, and then ate in Washington Park. We then headed to Battery Park to get a good view of the Statue of Liberty. The sun was out in full force at this point, and we sat on the benches right by the water and gave our feet a break.
With our time in NY coming to a close, we headed to Herald Square to do a little more shopping. This is where the huge Macy’s is, which had been completely transformed. The theme of the store was “Secret Garden,” and the inside literally looked like a greenhouse! Everywhere you looked there were flowers and plants.
We went back to Greenwich Village for dinner at Westville. In my picture above you can see how small this restaurant was; there is no way it could have held more than 24 people. There were constantly delivery guys going in and out which must be how they make their money. It’s really popular because they have such a wide variety of farm-fresh sides, everything from plantains to brussel sprouts. We loved it!
Alas, two days in New York was not enough! I had such a good time going back, and of course Erica was enamored after experiencing it for the first time. It was so fun planning it together, and I can’t wait to go back!