About a month ago, I decided I was going to take Labor Day weekend to go to New York City to visit my sister. She moved to Manhattan in early July and was begging me to come visit once she had her little apartment together and a long weekend seemed like the perfect opportunity. Having an extra day off gave me the luxury of flexible times to travel, as well as a day at home to rest after what I knew would be a whirlwind of a weekend.
I have visited New York several times prior to her move to the city, including last summer when my parents, Jody and I took a day trip to see her while she was interning for the summer (This was also the day I asked her to be my maid of honor, which is a whole story that I could dedicate an entire blog post to). Nonetheless, I was excited for a little girl time and to see the city from my sister’s point of view.
I booked a train ticket and left for the train station straight from work on Friday of Labor Day weekend. With Chick-Fil-A in hand, I drove 90 minutes to Wilmington to catch the train into the city. The train ride was relaxing, which was much-needed after a long day at work. I filled my time by playing games and watching Netflix on my kindle and before I knew it, I looked out of the window and saw the New York skyline. Suddenly, all of my exhaustion disappear and I was filled with excitement and eagerness to explore the city once again.
Once I found Madison, we took the subway to the Upper East Side to her apartment that she shares with two friends from college. After a quick apartment tour, we changed and met a few of her friends at a nearby bar. Not too longer after that, we found ourselves roaming around Times Square, which I’ve seen before, but never seen at night. I finally understood why it is called the city that never sleeps — even though it was nearing 3 a.m., I was still wide awake being surrounded by all of the bright lights. After grabbing a slice of authentic New York pizza (yes, it was delicious) we headed back to her apartment and to bed.
The next morning had a slow start, which is my favorite kind of Saturday. We had coffee and pancakes and eventually pulled ourselves together to go explore her neighborhood. Our first stop was at Warby Parker, which was just around the block! I wanted to try on some new frames, and had never actually been in a Warby Parker store. These were my favorites!
After trying on some stylish frames, we continued on towards where my sister works. I was impressed that she tries to walk to work each day, as we had been walking at city pace (just short of running) for at least 20 minutes! She pointed out different cafes that she spent a good bit of time in last summer, and I commented on how many fresh flowers were on each block. I wouldn’t mind a mile walk to work if it meant I got to pass such pretty flowers every day!
Shortly after we walked around the Upper East Side, we made our way to Central Park for a wine and cheese picnic. Even though the weather was much cooler than it was forecast to be, we still had a wonderful time arranging our cheese board, people watching and just catching up. We could even hear Shakespeare in the Park from where we were sitting, even though we weren’t able to see it. It always blows my mind that even though we were in one of the largest cities in the world, it felt like we were in an entirely different area sitting in the grass, surrounded by trees. If I lived in New York, I would walk to Central Park every day — you’re all but guaranteed to see something new each visit!
Later in the afternoon it started to rain, so we headed back towards her apartment to warm up a bit before continuing on. Once the rain had subsided for the most part, we went window shopping, until we stumbled upon a cute little restaurant, Thais, that was advertising $5 happy hour, which are incredibly good prices for NYC. I tried the Strawberry Mojito (delicious) and Madison had a Lychee Martini. We ended the afternoon with pizza at Pizza Beach, which again, was delicious.
Later that night, we went out again with some more of her girlfriends. While the weather was not as nice as the night before, it was still interesting to try different bars and see the city different from how I’ve seen it before. We went to one bar, which I wasn’t particularly a fan of, but it was definitely a memorable experience to hear the entire room singing “New York” when the DJ turned it on. It reminded me of college, except it was “Wagon Wheel” that joined us all together in song. We even managed to find a rooftop bar, which was absolutely breathtaking with the low-lying cloud weaving their way around the buildings. The pictures don’t do justice for how beautiful the lights shined off of the wet streets.
On Sunday morning, I packed up my bag and headed to brunch, where we were going to meet a couple more friends before my final stroll around the city. We had reservations at The Spotted Dog, which was a quaint little restaurant, with the prettiest vintage wallpaper. I decide to try the Egg Skillet, which turned out to be more like tomato soup, but the apple sausage I shared with Madison was tasty! Plus, at this particular restaurant, all brunch items come with your choice of a Bloody Mary or a Mimosa – you can’t go wrong starting your morning off that way. 😊
Before I headed back to Penn Station to catch my train, we went to Midtown so I could see St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NBC Studios and Rockefeller Plaza again. I had been to all of these sites 10 years prior, but I was excited to see these attractions again, with a more appreciative mind for what I was seeing. I hope to attend Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral one day I’m back in the city!
As we walked through Midtown, we stumbled upon a Street market. While we didn’t have time to peruse, there were tons of vendors, with even more people. There were sandwich vendors, crepe station, and hand-woven baskets and candles to name just a few. Apparently, there is an even bigger Christmas Market in December, so I’m hoping to make it up to the city during the holiday season soon!
Even though I was in New York for less than 48 hours, I felt like I took advantage of a lot of what the city has to offer! It was neat to visit not just your typical tourist destinations, but to get a glimpse at my sister’s life as a New Yorker. I have to admit, I’ve said in the past that I could never imagine living in New York City, but after this weekend, I’m currently trying to convince my husband (and our bank account) that it is totally realistic and we should make it an option. I’m not sure that will happen, but I know that we will be back to visit again soon!