New York State of Mind
Our trip to New York was really like a homecoming of sorts. I lived in the city for 4 years and loved it. The week Austin and I got engaged, he got a job offer in Chicago and so I picked up and moved right before our wedding. I hadn't been back to NYC since moving away and I expected the city to be so different. It wasn't though. Everything was exactly as I remembered. I could recall which stops to get off on the subway. I remembered how to navigate the West Village's nonlinear streets. The smells were the same- for better or worse. Every meal was memorable. The eclectic and electric people were just as fascinating. And it was fun to remember that I was one of them once upon a time. I had missed New York more than I realized. Not enough to move back though. While that part of my life is over, I'm so thankful that I lived it. It feels like another lifetime even though it was only 2.5 years ago, but I think it will always feel that way. A distant memory that still fits like glove.
For me, New York City is a unique and fickle place. I love the food and culture and diversity of characters, but there are times the city takes its toll on me and I'm pretty certain reveals the fact that I am not and will not ever be a New Yorker. However, it's a city I love to visit. In a confined period of time I truly feel I get the most out of this place without it wearing me out. Abby and I log our 30 thousand steps and cover every neighborhood and taste and see whatever newly created innovations the city has to offer and still find time to indulge in the ones we've always been fond of. We embrace the rat race and chaos that surrounds you at every turn; we delight in the ever changing weather and laugh at the outlandish displays of personality; we embrace the city for what it is without trying to change a thing, and that is how we truly experience New York City. Come as you are, because the city ain't changing for you. You can bet it will shape you in a newfound way and impact you to see things from a new perspective. That is the beauty of NYC: IT IS WHAT IT IS!
Since New York is always changing and evolving, most of the restaurants we tried were new to me! We visited a couple of old favorites, but everything was amazing, both in atmosphere and flavor! Restaurants marked with an * are must visits in my humble opinion. Check out our list of favorite places, restaurants, and tips to navigating the city below!
Playa Bettys- UWS
Cafe Cluny- West Village
Lafayette- West Village
Prince Street Pizza- Soho *
Peter Lugers- Williamsburg, Brooklyn * (courtesy of Austin and his love of steak)
Meatball Shop- UWS
Jack's Wife Freda- West Village
Shake Shack- the original in Madison Square Park *
P.J. Clarkes- UWS
Pinkberry- all over NYC
Sights and Sounds-
Shop for books at Book Culture on the UWS and/or at The Strand in Union Square
Jackie Kennedy Onassis Reservoir
Shopping in Soho
Walking around the West Village, East Village, and Greenwich Village
Washington Square Park
Club Monaco Flagship Store
Metropolitan Art Museum
The Rooftop at the Met
High Line park- Starts at Jane St. in West Village and goes all the way up to 34th St.
1) Carry cash. Some restaurants in NYC are still cash only. Also, most restaurants will not split up checks, so to settle up with friends you'll need that or a cash app like Venmo or Square cash.
2) Never get into an empty subway car. There is a reason it is empty and you don't want to find out why.
3) Avoid Time Square, unless you're going to a Broadway show. Also avoid Herald Square (34th St between 5th Ave. & 9th Ave.) and Union Square (14th St between 6th Ave. & 4th Ave) Too crowded.
4) Use Open Table to make restaurant reservations!
5) When Uptown, the crosstown bus is your best friend. Most buses going East to West or vice versa drive straight across Manhattan and it's a free transfer on your metro card.
6) Download the MTA subway map onto your phone for handy access.