NYC Travel Guide Pt 1: What We Saw & What We Did

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Hey y’all! I’m so excited to share our New York Travel Blog/Travel Guide with you. We had such an amazing time, and we saw/did so much! I decided to break it down by each day of our trip. In addition, I’ll be sharing my top tips for visiting NYC (or traveling to any big city) on Friday.


Day 1

Miles Walked: 7.5 miles, 18,200 steps.

We arrived at JFK around 9AM (the one-way flights from CHS to JFK are so easy) and took the AirTrain to the subway, which we rode to our AirBNB in Brooklyn. We stayed with a childhood friend of mine who graciously offered us her spare room, which she rents out occasionally. You can find her listing here. Once we dropped our suitcases off, we hopped back on the subway and headed into Manhattan.

Our first stop was Little Italy/Chinatown. We ate lunch at one of the touristy restaurants in Little Italy and I do NOT recommend this option. The food is incredibly overpriced and really didn’t taste great. While your in Chinatown, if you’re looking to find knock-off designer items, you’ll want to head down Canal St. At the intersection of Canal and Centre St, we found a group of people selling these items. They will approach you, and it will feel sketchy, but I love my new “Kate Spade” bag. Also, they will barter on price and make sure you check that the item they bring you (it will be in a black plastic bag) matches what you picked out.

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Next up, Ryan and I visited the 9/11 Memorial (and the whole area around One World Trade Center). The memorial is deeply moving, and I highly recommend visiting it. We did not visit the 9/11 Museum, but I definitely want to on our next trip. You can purchase tickets online and judging from the line at the ticket office, this would save you time. After walking around the Memorial for a while, we headed to Eataly in World Trade Center 4. You DEFINITELY need to check out Eataly—they have several different Italian restaurants, tons of shopping, a coffee shop, a dessert shop, etc.

Once we got some coffee and rested our tired legs, Ryan and I hopped back on the subway and headed to the Javits Center, which is where BookCon was on Sat/Sun. We wanted to get an idea of where it was located. Once we got a feel for the area, we headed back to Brooklyn and had supper at Bareburger, which was absolutely delicious! It is a chain, but I highly recommend it.

Day 2

Miles Walked: 7.7 miles, 19,977 steps.

On Saturday, we woke up SUPER early to hop on the subway for BookCon. We arrived at BookCon… super early! Nevertheless, a long line to get in the building had already formed, so we met up with some author friends of mine and spent the next three hours (waiting for BookCon to start) hanging out with them. BookCon was a lot of fun; however, there were soooo many people! It was a little intense. Plus, a lot of the events (book-signings, panels, Advanced Reader Copy releases) involved standing in long, long lines. I wouldn’t necessarily go back for that, but I had so much fun seeing my friends and just experiencing it.

After hanging out at BookCon for a while, we headed over to the Flatiron District and actually ended up eating lunch at the Eataly there. Ryan and I shared pizza, pasta, and tiramisu, and all of it was amazing!

That afternoon, we visited the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan. It’s a great spot to find small NYC gifts that aren’t too touristy. After that, we headed over to Washington Square Park (which was insanely busy) and listened to some street performers for a while.

To wrap up Day 2, we headed over to Times Square to meet up with all of my writer friends at the Hard Rock Café. This wasn’t our first choice for a meal, but they could accommodate all of us, and it was fun to eat in a Times Square restaurant. The food wasn’t very good at all. Take my advice and don’t fall prey to these tourist traps. Not worth the $$.

Day 3

Miles Walked: 9 miles, 21,067 steps.

On Sunday morning, we met Ryan’s aunt, uncle, and cousin (the cousin lives in Brooklyn) for a quick brunch. When we were finished, we hopped back on the subway and headed to BookCon where we hung out with my friends for a while longer. Once we wrapped it up at BookCon, we headed over to the NYC High Line.  If you’ve never seen this, be sure to look it up! What was formerly an elevated train track is now a walking path and garden for people to enjoy.

From there, we hopped on the subway (again) and headed to Grand Central Station, mainly to see it and take it all in. I didn’t realize how many restaurants and shops there were in Grand Central. From there, we headed to Rockefeller Center and the NBC Store because I wanted some Friends t-shirts.

Next up was St Patrick’s Cathedral, which is absolutely stunning. It was packed, though, so we only stayed a few minutes. Shortly after we headed back out on the street, it began to rain, so Ryan and I ducked under the shelter of some art gallery and just sat, waiting for the shower to pass. I pulled out my phone and played Henry Mancini’s Moon River, and this was easily one of my favorite moments of our trip. Just rain, the busy NYC streets, and Moon River.

Once the rain passed, we ended the day by visiting the NYC Public Library (featured in the popular film The Day After Tomorrow and many others) and Bryant Park. When we go back to NYC, I want to spend more time in Bryant Park. It was so beautiful and peaceful! Finally, we headed back to Brooklyn and ended our day with Shake Shack, one of the meals I had been looking forward to the most. Can we please get a Shake Shack in Charleston already?

Day 4

Miles Walked: 11.3 miles, 27,900+ steps

On our final day in the city, we were determined to make the most of it. We headed back to Rockefeller Center early in the morning and actually ended up getting to be on the Today Show! I was THIS CLOSE to Jenna Bush Hager, who I love! (We’re over the left shoulder of the guy in the white, who just happens to be Bon Jovi’s son).

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After the Today Show, we took the subway up to the northern-most corner of Central Park and then walked South, enjoying all the pretty paths and trails .When we reached the Met , I just wanted a picture on the front steps, but Ryan decided we should actually go inside. Y’all… you could easily spend an entire day in the Met, and it’s absolutely amazing how many artifacts you can see. We probably saw 1/8th of the museum before we left and headed to Tiffany’s. We mainly just walked around for a few minutes and admired some beautiful jewelry, but I didn’t buy anything.

Lunch on our final days was a recommendation from my coworker; we ate at Joe’s Shanghai, which is actually a chain. We ordered the soup dumplings —their specialty—and wow! They were fantastic! This restaurant looks really sketchy, if I’m being honest, but the food was amazing. We highly recommend this.

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After we ate lunch, we headed down towards the World Trade Center area and ate dessert (pasticcini) at the Eataly Bakery. When we took the train to that area, we actually arrived in the Oculus building, a relatively new train station. There are so many amazing shops in this train station, and we spent a while perusing some stores.

After dessert & coffee, we headed into Greenwich Village to one of the most famous apartment buildings on television—Monica and Rachel’s apartment from Friends. This was yet another one of the big highlights of our trip!

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To wrap up our final evening in NYC, we headed back to Brooklyn, into the area of town called Dumbo. We walked a little ways out onto the Brooklyn Bridge and looked over the NYC skyline… breathtaking! After walking 11 miles in one day, we were EXHAUSTED, and we ended the day with dinner at Cubana Cafe in Brooklyn with Amanda, my friend whose AirBNB we stayed in.


This was truly the trip of a lifetime, and we had so much fun! We were absolutely worn out by the time we made it home to Charleston on Tuesday, but it was all worth it!

I hope my travel guide gives you some great ideas if you’re getting ready to visit NYC. Next week, I’ll be sharing a few more specific tips (not just places) for traveling to NYC or any city that isn’t home, really, so be sure to check those out!

Please let me know if you have any questions about our trip. I’d be so happy to answer them if I can!

Bye y’all,

Emma

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