We went to New York on Black Friday but not to shop. We went to celebrate a friends birthday and to tour the great city of New York! We stayed at a luxury hotel in Manhattan called the Lexington . We were treated like royalty from the moment we pulled up. Stanley came to our window and asked if we wanted valet parking. We said no until we looked around and realized we couldn’t find any so we took advantage of his suggestion at $65 a night. That’s New York for ya! The hotel had a great lounge area and was nicely decorated for the holiday season. The live music was a nice touch too. While they took care of our parking Stanley unloaded our bags and told us they would meet us at our room on the 11th floor. The room was small, possibly the smallest room we ever stayed in, but it was well done. The bathroom was really tiny but nice and served it’s purpose.
One of the best ways to tour the city is to purchase tickets for the Hop on Hop off Tour! The buses come every 20 minutes. Even though it was cold we had to take our chances and sit on top. How else would I get great shots! You can literally get off at any stop and get back on and head to the next destination whenever you are ready. This is a must while here!
(Day #1) St. Patrick’s Cathedral – No words necessary, it speaks for itself!
Rockefeller Plaza/Center – Everything below is a part of the Rockefeller Center. There was ice skating, singing, bells jingling and all kinds of other activities going on here. The NBC/Rainbow Room – we didn’t get to enjoy this restaurant, but it was inside the building along with many other shops! Observation Deck – they will tell you they have the best view in New York, but it all depends on your perspective and what you want to see. The Empire State Building and the One World Observatory are much higher, but you still get great views here. If you’re concerned about going super high the Observation Deck is your best bet. Radio City Music Hall – the line to go in was insane for the Rockett’s of course which I would love to see in the future, but that day was out of the question.
Grand Central Station – I was not expecting to see all we saw here. It looks exactly how it does on TV and in the movies, but there was soooo much more. They have shops, restaurants, food market access, and that day there was a large craft fair going on. I thought it was just a train station, but I was quickly corrected. Great place for photographers to take advantage of a time lapse.
Oxford Cafe (Lexington Avenue Location) – Small little quaint restaurant within walking distance of our hotel. They had THEE best and most flavorful pizza we had ever tasted. We heard about New York pizza being something we needed to try. There wasn’t much talking as we indulged in every bite. It by far was the best pizza either of us had ever had. We had breakfast here which was good as well.
Time Square – Just like in the movies! I would say the best time to go is at night to see everything light up. I was overwhelmed in a good way…we loved it!
(Day #2) Empire State Building – This was our first stop on the bus tour. We were initially told it would be an hour and a half wait to get to the top, but I’m guessing that was due to the amount of security we had to go through (belts off, cell phones out….the works!). The show on the ceiling of the elevator was neat. Nice distraction from my ears trying to pop! After security you take the elevator to the 8Oth floor where you can take a look at the view from the windows. You have the option to take another elevator to the 86th floor or take the steps…we took the steps. It wasn’t bad at all. You do have the option to continue onto the 102nd floor, but we both decided the 86th floor was good enough. It was super windy up there, but well worth the endurance.
China Town – Very busy! You will purchase something here on Canal Street. Don’t buy anything for the price they offer…always negotiate!
The Charging Bull – I’ve seen pictures of the bull, but never knew much about it’s significance to New York. Quite interesting…click on the link to read for yourself.
9/11 Memorial & Museum – This was something we could not come to New York and not see. It’s very different watching everything on the news versus actually being there and seeing what the people of New York went through. It made everything very real.
(Day #3) Brooklyn – A few of the tour guides told us to go outside of Manhattan and visit places like Brooklyn or Queens where it’s a slower pace but still plenty to do. We were so glad we took the opportunity to do that. Brooklyn reminded us of Washington, DC in a way. Our first hop off in Brooklyn was the Barclay Center so we took a peak inside. New York does have Target…I was oh so happy to see one. We stopped inside for a bathroom break and to buy Brandon another pair of gloves. Then we had Juniors for lunch. We both ordered a Ruben sandwich with fries. The waitress bought out pickles and beets with coleslaw to munch on while we waited for our main course. I thought Juniors was just a bakery, but once again I stood corrected. We ordered the New York Cheesecake for dessert as we were told. Very tasty!
Statue of Liberty – Something I’ve always wanted to visit during my travels to New York. We ended up having to take the ferry around Ellis Island instead of going onto the island due to a miscommunication from a tour guide we bought the tickets from earlier…but it worked out. I would not have achieved the below shots otherwise so I was happy. This was a 1 hour guided tour that provided pictures, drinks, and snacks. It did not disappoint!
One World Observatory – If you don’t mind going super high to get 360 views of New York and a few other states this is the way to go. After you go through security they shoot you to the top in the sky pod elevator in less than 60 seconds. The video you watch in the elevator is shown on all four walls and the ceiling. It’s a video of over 500 years of New York City evolution. When you step out they escort you into a room where you experience all different aspects of the city through a short video. The video ends with a spectacular view which I won’t spoil for you, then onto the main observatory! I was blown away especially since we enjoyed this experience during sunset. The only downfall to this is the lights in the background kept reflecting off the windows which made it really hard to capture good shots. I could have stared at that view all night. This is highly recommended though next time I would like to see it during the day.
Other places we visited during our stay:
Slate NY – Lounge
Dangerfield’s – Comedy Club (we had a great time here)