New York. I don’t even know where to begin. Ever since I was a little girl, I always DREAMED about visiting New York City – walking down 5th Ave, visiting rooftop bars, watching a play on Broadway, strolling through Central Park, seeing the beautiful Statue
of Liberty in all of her glory, exploring the magic of Rockefeller center, wandering through Times Square, eating NY pizza, ice skating in Central Park, seeing Jimmy Fallon LIVE, driving across the Brooklyn
Bridge, visiting some of the most iconic spots seen in some of my favorite t.v. shows…and that dream of mine came true a few months ago on a perfect Autumn weekend in October when I got to explore the magic of New York City with my best friend.
We accomplished SO much during our five day adventure, and every single second of it was an absolute DREAM. We flew out of Burbank Airport on a Thursday night and arrived in the city at 6 AM on Friday morning, with no plans of sleeping that day except for on the plane. Yes, I realize we were CRAZY. But it worked out SO well, and Friday ended up being one of our most jam-packed days.
– DAY ONE –
We took a subway from the airport into the city (first timers, and we sure did look the part!) and dropped our bags off at the hotel. We stayed at the Lexington Hotel
which ended up being in the PERFECT location – only a few blocks away from Central Park, and a beautiful 10 minute walk from Times Square – we were in the middle of it all! Not to mention how gorgeous the hotel itself was, with its modern vibes and eccentric decor (our hotel room bathroom was floor-to-ceiling covered in MARBLE. Sooooo dreamy.)
The Lexington, Manhattan
Hotel Street View
(Fun Fact about our hotel: Marilyn Monroe actually lived in one of the hotel suites in the 1950’s!)
After checking our bags in, we set out for our first NYC meal and stumbled across a hot spot breakfast joint called “Toasties” where we ate yummy bagel breakfast sandwiches and eagerly anticipated the days ahead.
We then headed a few blocks over to the famous Rockefeller Center
which sure did live up to the hype! We spent a few hours browsing in nearby shops before heading to the top of the rock for one of the most INCREDIBLE views. I mean, honestly, does it get any better than THIS:
Top of the Rock
Top of the Rock
Top of the Rock
Before we knew it, it was time to get ready for our first night in NYC, which we got to spend with JIMMY FALLON on The Tonight Show! We were lucky enough to snag guaranteed seat tickets
a few weeks prior to our trip, and it was easily a highlight of the trip. We sat in the VERY front row (so close to Jimmy, we could almost touch him!). It all happened so fast. We were in and out before we knew it, and with no photography or phones whatsoever allowed inside, we tried to soak up every second of it.
Jimmy Fallon shared that John’s Pizza in Times Square is his favorite, so we naturally went there for dinner afterwards (Also later found out this is the same pizza place Lorelai mentions in season 3, episode 14 of Gilmore Girls; & the fan-girling
continues). Our first time eating NY pizza was a huge success (we also had some of the BEST cheesecake I’ve ever had in my life!)
We spent the rest of the night strolling around Times Square, overwhelmed by the hustle & bustle of it all. It really is true that everything happens so fast in that city, no one stops for even a second. But that adds to the magic of it.
– DAY TWO –
We woke up early the next morning and headed straight down 5th Ave for Tiffany & Co. where we had “breakfast at Tiffany’s” and shopped like royalty for a few hours.
We both splurged a little and got ourselves a necklace (because can you really go to Tiffany’s NYC and NOT get something?) By the way, everything in there is SO beautiful, every inch of the place sparkling in grandeur.
Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany & Co.
We then walked across the street to the Plaza Hotel
where we grabbed pastries and walked around the beautifully elaborate lobby and stopped in a few of the hotel’s many underground shops (searching for just one thing we could afford, LOL – no luck).
Our next stop was the Metropolitan Museum of Art where some of our Gossip Girl
dreams came true. We sat on the Met Steps (as “S&B”) pretending, just for a moment, that we were upper east siders taking on another ordinary day in
NYC (cue all the cheesiness). Afterwards, we walked through one of my favorite parts of the whole city: Central Park. My goodness – there is so much of it to see and we only merely touched the surface!
We then grabbed lunch at a Shake Shack in the Upper West Side before making my lifelong dream of ice skating in Central Park come true.
Honestly, NO WORDS.
We ended the evening with dinner & drinks at the lobby bar in the Empire Hotel (cue Gossip Girl dreams again).
We both even ordered a drink called “The Chuck Bass” (YASSS!)
Empire Hotel Rooftop
– DAY THREE –
With a 100% chance of rain on Sunday, we headed out (with 100% eagerness) for the Statue of Liberty, to witness it in all of her glory. It was absolutely POURING RAIN when we got to the island, but it didn’t matter, we made the most if it!
One broken umbrella later, we made it to Ellis Island
for an experience that actually surpassed my expectations. If you ever make it out to NYC and have never been, its a MUST SEE. All of the people who work on the island, in the museum, are actually a relative of someone who came through Ellis Island and experienced the immigration gateway firsthand. All of the artifacts in the museum, and all of the stories, possess a bittersweet beauty. It was well worth the visit.
We then took an UBER across the Brooklyn Bridge (in the pouring rain. STUNNING.), and had lunch at Juliana’s
in Brooklyn. SO YUMMY. And again, we stumbled across this place accidentally, later to find out its one of Brooklyn’s most top rated spots (apparently, people wait HOURS for a table here, but because it was POURING rain when we stumbled across it, there were no crowds)!
Because of the rain, we spent the rest of the night at our hotel, watching Gossip Girl with a view of the city outside our window creating the BEST backdrop. We also dined at a restaurant attached to our hotel called “Raffles”
where my best friend, Sammy, found the *ahem* love of her life, *ahem* (cue inside story, to be shared another time).
– DAY FOUR –
Our last full day in New York was spent in the lower parts of Manhattan at the 9/11 Memorial Museum
. I can’t even put into words what this experience was like. My eyes were filled with tears the WHOLE TIME. It was SO powerful, so humbling, so heartbreaking. I couldn’t help but walk through the whole museum reminded of how desperately this world is in need of our Savior. You have to make it out to the museum if you visit NYC. It was a huge highlight.
We ate calzones for lunch at “Stage Door Pizza”
(are you catching on to the Pizza theme we have had so far…) and then walked across the entire Brooklyn Bridge (ONE OF THE BEST EXPERIENCES OF MY ENTIRE LIFE).
The Brooklyn Bridge is absolutely STUNNING. Every.Single. Piece. Of. It.
View of Manhattan Bridge
We then stumbled across another iconic Gossip Girl location (another theme of our trip – accidentally stumbling across some of the most popular spots! – you can find directions, here
). This part of town, known as DUMBO Brooklyn, was to DIE FOR – the cobblestone roads and all of the brick buildings. I could stay F.O.R.E.V.E.R.
Do any of you Gossip Girl fans recognize this spot? (Hint: If you look closely, you may spot Dan Humphrey peeking out the window up there in the corner).
We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Brooklyn Park
, trying to not get blown away by the STRONG winds that accompanied this incredible view…
We then headed back to the hotel and got ready for our night out on BROADWAY, where we saw Wicked (again, DREAM COME TRUE). But first, we wandered into Grand Central Station (once again, accidentally) before spontaneously deciding to dine at the Hard Rock Cafe
in Times Square. Such a character of a place.
Hard Rock Cafe
Grand Central Station
Seeing Wicked on Broadway was an experience I will never forget. The performance was AMAZING. I mean what beats seeing a play live on Broadway – in the middle of the city where dreams are made of?!
– DAY FIVE –
Our last few hours in NYC (cue all the tears) were definitely not wasted. We ate breakfast at Sarabeth’s
on Central Park South (where I had the BEST French Toast ever) before making one last stroll through the beautiful Central Park.
The Best French Toast
We ended our walk at Laduree in the Upper East Side where we snacked on a few
We then walked back down 5th Ave and did some Upper East Side window shopping. We even ended up at the original Kate Spade!
Shortly after, we checked out of our hotel and headed back to the airport. Our time in New York was short, but so special. I will never forget how it felt to experience all of my NYC dreams come true, at my fingertips. I can’t wait to go back and experience more of the dazzling Concrete Jungle!
Top of the Rock
xoxo, B. 😉