Another trip, another item to cross off my Day Zero List.
17 stops and 6 hours and you will arrive in New York City from Richmond via Amtrak. I hadn’t been to New York City since I was 10 years old so I decided to make a trip to see friends and the Big Apple during the holiday season. I wasn’t disappointed.
Being a social media / app addict I can honestly say that visiting NYC and using apps like Foursquare, NYC Mate, Embark NYC and NY Waterways made getting around so much easier and we were able to see so much in three days.
Everyone has their own personal agenda so my friend and I created a list of things we each wanted to see and then some additional things that if we were able to do we would.
- Top of the Rock – instead of going to the top of the Empire State Building do this. It’s only $25 vs $64.50 for an Express Pass to the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building. It’s easy, you get to see the Empire State Building instead of being on it and you can stay up top as long as you want. Go right before sunset so you can see the city come alive. Probably one of the best things we did.
- Rockefeller Center – this area was a madhouse since it was close to Christmas, but well worth it. You can go see the famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree and the Ice Skating Rink.
- Times Square – it’s just something you do. Go during the day and night to see the difference.
- Walk the Brooklyn Bridge – we stayed in Brooklyn so one morning we took the East River Ferry to the Brooklyn Bridge Park and then walked the Brooklyn Bridge to Ground Zero to see the 9/11 Memorial.
- 9/11 Memorial – while this site is still under construction, you can get a free pass to tour the memorial. A reservation is required. You can also pay $30 for an audio tour.
- Central Park – get a photo of the city from the lake at night.
- Chinatown, Little Italy and SOHO – After lunch at Katz’s you can take a nice walk through all of these areas and end up back at Union Square.
- Walked 5th Avenue – American Museum of Natural History (81st & Central Park West) to Empire State Building (34th & 5th Ave).
- American Museum of Natural History – went to the “Our Global Kitchen” exhibit on the global food system. Really cool. Do it if you have time.
- Union Square Holiday Market / Union Square Greenmarket – local food, art, clothing, etc. Great place to buy a gift or grab some fresh food or produce.
- Webster Hall – Saw Ghostface Killah (Wu-Tang Clan Member). That’s so NYC.
- Christmas Storefront Displays – Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Saks, Bergdorf Goodman
- Caracas Arepa Bar – If you are in Brooklyn give this place a try. It’s a dive of a restaurant, but the Arepa were very good. You can also get a beer and shot of rum for $5.
- The Meatball Shop – Do the make your own and try their Special Ice Cream Sandwich. That night it was homemade PB&J Ice Cream with Snickerdoodle cookies.
- Eataly – This place was awesome. So may different choices and the concept is great. We ate at La Cucine which serves La Pizza Napoletana S.T.G.
- Momofuku Noodle Bar – Pork Belly Buns and the Momofuku Noodle Bowl are what’s up. Just do it and ask questions later.
- Katz’s Delicatessen – opened in 1888, this is one of those NYC landmarks that you just must try. Get the Cornbeef & Pastrami Sandwich.
- Doughnut Plant – I got the Triple Chocolate Blackout which was chocolate cake filled with chocolate pudding topped with chocolate crumbles. Ridiculous.
- Lavagna – Excellent Italian, small, quaint and amazing Ravioli.
- Big Gay Ice Cream Shop – The Salty Pimp is where it’s at. It was so gay… I mean good. Vanilla Ice Cream with dulce de leche in the bottom of the cone and drizzled on the outside of the ice cream. Then a lot of sea salt is added and finally dipped in chocolate.
I’m not sure how I let 24 years go by without visiting again, but I certainly won’t wait long before I return.
Below are some photos of my trip.
Big thank you to Lauren for providing a place to stay, Tei for a great tour/lunch and Jay for hanging out on a work night and going to see Ghostface Killah. And to my buddy Rich for being a great travel partner.