Earlier this year, on a very cold, wintery Friday night in February, Gregg was sneaky and completely shocked me for the nine hundredth time in our marriage. This time it was with plane tickets and a booked hotel in NEW YORK CITY. He wrapped up a gala apple (from our fruit bowl) in a cute little bag, and attached a note to it that said “Pack your bags; we’re heading to the Big Apple.” I literally jumped off the couch in my owl pajama pants and oversized t-shirt, screaming and jumping with excitement. He had done it again, he surprised me.
Now listen, I love a good beach trip to Alabama or Florida probably more than anyone, when you don’t wear make-up for a week, and you literally spend the entire day on the beach people watching, reading a good book, napping and eating snacks you would never buy at home. But there’s something about venturing to a big city where there are coffee shops on literally every corner, and there’s an absolute possibility of seeing someone famous. A place where the buildings are taller than anything you’ve ever seen before, the restaurants are more authentic, the lights are so bright and beautiful, and the sights and sounds are so different than any place you’ve ever been. I couldn’t wait to be there.
Fast forward 3 months…..
It was finally the week we were going to New York, and it was the busiest week we had had in a while. We celebrated Mother’s day, 3 birthdays, and had 2 church softball games, not to mention going to work every day. It was a jammed packed week, but the anticipation of New York City and the fact we had so much to celebrate made the week fly by, which left me packing until 1:00 am Friday morning, the morning we left, but I didn’t mind.
Below you’ll find some of my favorite moments from the first few hours we were there. Oh and THANK YOU, to my gracious in-laws for taking us to the airport early, and picking us up when we returned.
We had a direct flight from Nashville to LaGuardia Airport, which put us in New York a little after 12pm their time. When we first got to the airport we learned that the company Gregg had booked our transportation through to the hotel had had some hiccups and we were going to have to wait an additional hour to leave the airport. So we cancelled our reservation with them, and hopped in a yellow cab, and headed to our hotel.
We stayed at a Yotel. ( Yotel-Manhattan)
When first walking in I thought I was in the future., There was no front desk with a person behind it to greet us and check us in, we had to check in at a computer, and guess what? That same computer made our hotel room key right there, it was just like an ATM, but for hotel room keys. My country mind was blown. We got in the elevator, headed for our room, but first made a quick stop on the fourth floor to look around. That’s where the hotel restaurant was, complete with comfy places to sit, and a lawn with chairs and a huge TV screen on it, apparently on certain nights they play movies up there. It was better than any movie theatre I had seen in all my life.
Our hotel was located right in Manhattan, to me it was the ideal location, close enough to Times Square, yet a far enough walk away to feel like you had walked off at least 1 out of the 3 desserts you consumed that day.
After arriving at the hotel, we unpacked, and headed out to Shake Shack for a burger and a milk shake, then off to our scheduled bus tour. The Bus Tour through City Sightseeing was probably one of my favorite parts of our trip. This was the third time I had been to New York, and the first time I had ever done a bus tour there.
The timing of the tour was perfect, just before sunset, and the latter part of the tour was dark enough so we could see all the gorgeous lit up buildings. The weather couldn’t have been better. The traffic throughout the tour wasn’t the greatest, but it worked out in our favor, giving us a longer tour, and more time to take in all the sights and sounds of New York City.
side note: Before leaving for New York, we found tickets for this tour on Groupon, making it only $22.00 for the both of us, not bad for an almost 3 hour tour, getting to cross both the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, a perfect view of the statue of liberty, riding through China Town, Little Italy, Greenwich Village, Soho, Times Square, Brooklyn, seeing the Chrysler Building, and so much more.
Our bus tour ended about 10pm, and boy were we exhausted. We headed back to our hotel, and called it a night. We had lots of plans for Saturday (the next day). First on the list Brunch at SaraBeth’s in Central Park where we had the most fluffy pancakes, with a side of fresh strawberries, and coffee. It was one of my most favorite meals while we were there.
After Brunch, we took a stroll through Central Park, made a visit to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Art Museum (for Gregg) and then onto 90 Bedford Street to find the apartment they filmed our all time favorite show after “Friends.”
Pictured below is Monica’s Apartment from Friends, and the little shop below that is supposed to be the coffee shop they always hang out at, called Central Perk. Now for a little confession, I did pray that we would see someone from Friends while we were in New York City, my eyes stayed peeled the whole entire time hopeful that David Schwimmer (Ross) would be eating at SaraBeth’s the same time we were, or Courtney Cox (Monica) would be casually running through Central Park as we were strolling through. Sadly, we didn’t see either one of them, but I’m just tickled that we got to see what we did, and that my best friend got to see it with me.
P.S. If you haven’t watched Friends, treat yourself on this dreary Saturday morning, and start at season one on Netflix, and watch all 10 seasons. You will laugh, cry, laugh until you cry, and quickly become the best of friends with Monica, Chandler, Ross, Joey, Rachel, and Phoebe. You will also find yourself quoting scenes from this show on a regular basis, and humming “I’ll be there for you” for the rest of time. I’ve inserted that song right below so you can the full effect.
After a full day of sightseeing, we went back to our hotel and got dressed for a fun night out eating dinner in Little Italy, and seeing the Lion King on Broadway. I couldn’t wait for Gregg to see Lion King. There’s nothing like a broadway show, and there’s absolutely nothing like a Broadway show in New York City. Back in 2012, my best friend and I saw it, and I absolutely fell in love with the music, the costumes, and the animals. I knew Gregg would love it too.
We had dinner right on Mulberry Street, at the cutest little Italian restaurant named Grotta Azzura in Little Italy. Gregg had the Gnocchi Petso Roso, and I had the Fettuccini Alfredo. We took our time and enjoyed each and every bite of our meal, and being amongst the busyness of Mulberry street.
Once we were done with dinner, we called an Uber and headed straight to Minskoff theatre to see the Lion King.
Once again, Lion King did not disappoint, not to mention I just love being at the Minskoff Theatre that overlooks Time Square, I love seeing all the hustle and bustle, and lights from up there. As soon as the show was over, we headed to 5th avenue to cap off the night seeing the Empire State Building.
Again, Gregg ordered our tickets through Groupon a while ago, so upon entering the Empire State Building, they quickly moved us from the “Buy your tickets here” line, to the express line, and we were able to go up 83 floors, make a complete circle up top, and see the lights from every angle, stroll through the gift shop, and come back down all within 30 minutes. If you’re planning a trip to New York City any time soon, you must plan to see the Empire State Building. If you purchase your tickets in advance off Groupon, the prices are way cheaper, plus you get to fill like a big deal getting to bypass all the long lines.
The Empire State Building was just like I remembered. The lights were beautiful, and the view will absolutely blow you away.
That concluded our first day and a half in New York City. I couldn’t wait to go to sleep that night, so we could wake up and do it all over again. Stayed tuned for part two (days 3 and 4), sweet readers! Thank you so much for following along!