New York Travel Log
When you were in high school, did you have fantasies or day dreams of where you would live after college?
Friends, when I was in high school, I dreamed of living in a big city. I wanted a little apartment right in the middle of all the activity. Me and my dog (Caleb wasn't in the picture yet) would live it up in the city. I would climb the corporate ladder to be a successful business woman and would live the dream walking to my favorite coffee shops and outdoor cafes. What a life, right?!
Well, fast forward ten years...I currently live in small town Bixby Oklahoma, with a pasture in my backyard with my two dogs, husband and many plant babies. I quit the corporate world to own my life and control my schedule...and being in New York City last week gave me major anxiety! *insert shocked face here* I can't believe how far I've come from that high school fantasy! lol
Last week, Caleb had the opportunity to go to a mortgage conference in NYC, so I decided to tag along and we made it a mini vacation. #owningyourownbusinessrules
We spent three full days in the city, almost walked a full marathon, and ate some amazing food during that time. So here is my three day guide to New York, the "Bigham-way".
We stayed right on Times Square in the W Hotel. It was very convenient, being right in the middle of everything, but it was extremely busy, loud and jam-packed with tourists and people trying to sell you all sorts of stuff. Next time we go, I'll definitely stay out of this area, but it was great for the short three day trip, and the hotel was very nice and modern!
Day 1: Highline, Whitney, FlatIron District
We arrived in New York around midnight on Thursday, so we didn't get to our hotel until 1am due to that great New York traffic. So we slept in Friday morning and completely skipped breakfast. We left the hotel around 10:30am in search of a ramen shop in Hell's Kitchen that I had found online. We realized fast that restaurants in NYC stay open real late, but don't open until 11:00-12:00 for lunch.
We found the ramen shop (Totto Ramen), saw the closed sign, and decided to keep walking around Hell's Kitchen to get a snack before we headed back for ramen. We found Aria Wine Bar, an Italian restaurant with the prettiest natural light and perfect inside decor. We split their Orecchiette Salssicia Rapini, which was amazing! And their bread and olive oil was so good also.
After downing the pasta, we walked back to Totto Ramen and arrived just in time for lunch and right before a long line formed outside. (Note: This place is extremely good, popular and very small). I think the entire restaurant fit less than 20 people, but it was amazing! They make the ramen right in front of you and have such a streamlined system that it was mesmerizing to watch. And the ramen was absolutely delicious!
After filling up on all the noodles, we headed towards the High Line.
We got on the High Line at 10th and 30th and friends, if the only thing you get to do in NYC is walk the High Line, you won't be disappointed. It is very impressive. It is basically a public park built on top of an old rail line that sits a few stories above the street that goes on for miles. It weaves in between buildings, on top of streets, and along the Hudson river. There are amazing views of the city and all the photo opportunities you can imagine.
The High Line ends at the Whitney Museum of Art, which has it's own amazing views from it's very minimal/industrial building. The Whitney is definitely worth seeing. There are five stories of exhibitions. What was most impressive was the Grant Woods exhibit, and the outdoor areas that were perfect for photos of the city.
After the Whitney, we were looking for something sweet and a place to rest our feet a little bit and came upon Sherry B Dessert Studio. They have an array of handmade creations of ice cream and cookies, and the employees were so incredibly nice. Their fortune cookie ice cream was amazing!
We then went back to the hotel to freshen up and take a nap before going back out for dinner. One of the employees at Sherry B recommended for us to check out Eataly for dinner. It's basically a farmer's market/2,000 square foot restaurant in one. It was such a cool experience. They have divided up the space by type of food, whether it's pasta, seafood, meat, cheese, desserts, etc, and you can sit down in little cafe areas in each section and order food from the section. It is a bit pricey, but the experience is definitely worth it! There is also a rooftop restaurant and bar, which was really cool.
Day 2: Rain. Coffee. Speakeasy.
On Saturday it rained....like all day! We had planned to head to Central Park and the Guggenheim museum, but after deciding to try and walk there, our plans quickly changed. We instead stopped our trek at the Columbus Shops to get rain jackets and books at the Amazon store, and decided to instead hit up a local coffee shop and wait out the rain.
Caleb had been told to find a speakeasy restaurant/bar in East Village called Death and Co that had won all sorts of awards for their hand crafted cocktails. So after drying off at Third Rail, we walked over. It definitely had a speakeasy vibe. Very little signage. But we knew we had arrived from the line outside a very old "pirate ship" looking door. A guy came out and greeted everyone in line and started taking names and numbers of each party and one by one would lead them through the door inside.
The inside was extremely dark, and had a very classy speakeasy vibe with velvet cushions along the wall and bar seating. The cocktails were phenomenal and the food was just as good. We shared the fried cauliflower, grilled peppers and beef sliders.
Being the Mumford and Sons fans that we are, we opened google maps to find out where we were and immediately saw "Tompkins Square Park" just a few blocks away. So of course, we had to walk through it and listen to the song. ( ; Then we took an hour and strolled through east village taking in the scenery and cute storefronts and apartments.
Day 3: Little Italy, 9/11 memorial, Brooklyn Bridge, Guggenheim, Central Park
Day three was the only day that we actually got up in time for breakfast, and we made it happen this day solely to check out Egg Shop. I had seen it in some NYC blogs and on some "best brunch" lists and had to try it. And it did not disappoint. We got there around 10am and there was a 20 minute wait. Thankfully there is a little coffee shop right next door (Cafe Integral), so we stopped in and got some coffee while we waited.
I ordered the El Camino Cruiser and Caleb got the BLT Benedict sandwich with a side of their fried chicken. And it was delicious!! The restaurant is tiny, but absolutely adorable and they made great use of the space!
After filling up, we decided to walk to the financial district and over to the 9/11 memorial. It was a long walk, but so fun to see each of the districts and shopfronts and murals. I loved this walk.
We didn't have enough time to make it to the 9/11 museum, which is on my list for next time, but the memorial was beautiful and very well done.
We then hailed a cab to the Brooklyn Bridge. Like I said before, I tagged along on Caleb's work trip, and the conference started Sunday late afternoon. So we had about 15 minutes to see the Brooklyn Bridge and then head back to the hotel for Caleb to get ready for the first session of the conference. So we didn't get to actual walk or bike the bridge, but we got to stroll up the East River Bikeway and take in the view.
Since yesterday's Guggenheim and Central Park trip got rained out, I decided to make a solo trip out of it while Caleb was in his meetings. As someone who doesn't travel much alone, I was a little on guard, but to be completely honest, I felt extremely safe using uber and then walking through the Guggenheim and Central park alone.
The Guggenheim museum is a must see. The architecture and building itself is amazing, and their permanent collection includes some of the greats like Picasso, Degas, Seurat, Kandinsky and Delaunay. The museum was installing an upcoming exhibit, so sadly the rotunda was closed off, but I was still able to go to each floor and take pictures. They also gave us half off admission because of the installation.
I then walked around Central Park. The weather was gorgeous and getting outside in the sun with the sunbathers, families playing, and couples picnicking was a breathe of fresh air.
To celebrate our final night in NYC, we decided to book a horse drawn carriage ride through Central Park after Caleb was out of the conference for the night. We booked through NYC Horse Carriage Rides and the driver was really friendly. This was a super touristy thing to do, but was a lot of fun and we got to rest our feet and see a lot of central park at night, which was really cool and romantic.
It was a quick three days of hustle and bustle in New York and we were very ready to be back in our slow paced town. But we had so much fun in NYC and will definitely be back.
If you want to check out more behind the scenes, I saved all of my insta stories from NYC in my Travel highlights.