Manhattan, New York City
The City That Never Sleeps
Ever since I was a little girl it was a dream of mine to visit the city that never sleeps. I remember watching movies of young women living and pursuing their dreams and it inspired me to breathe the air that has inspired so many. Well I went, and I miss it every single day.
How did I end up in the city? Caleb was so sweet enough to give us an excuse to go out there. You see, there was a broadway show that I was dying to see ever since I heard of what the show was. It was Anastasia on Broadway! Anastasia goes in my top 5 list of favorite movies. Unfortunately, the show was only being played in New York City, and in my heart I kind of knew it would have been impossible for me to go see it as I live in Ohio, and I just didn't understand how I could travel to New York at that time.
The Christmas of 2016 season came around quick and me being me, I hinted around the idea of the broadway to Caleb about a million times but it was one of those begs that you knew would never come out to a possibility! Caleb and I have really big families, so it's always been a thing for us to open all of our gifts for each other on Christmas Eve, as we would hardly have any time to open presents from one another on the day of. The night we opened our presents for one another was the day I found out that Caleb got us tickets to Anastasia on Broadway! I remember crying and staring at the tickets and reading where the location was. New York City. Then it really hit me again that not only are we just going to see this amazing broadway, but we are traveling to the city of my dreams!
There were multiple dates that Caleb could have picked for us to go, but he put a lot of sweet thought into it and decided to do it the week of our 5 year anniversary together. Our anniversary is on April 15th, and we decided to go from the 12th-16th. The broadway, was on Thursday the 13th. There was so much excitement leading up to the days of leaving for New York City after Christmas, but it was all worth it. A whole 538 miles of worth it to be exact!
The time we were going was a very popular travel time for New York City in general, and there were no Airbnb's available at the time so we had to scramble for a hotel, and we landed the most perfect one for our budget and preferred location. We stayed at the Seton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, and we booked through Expedia! Expedia kept it very simple for us, and gave us a great travel deal. The hotel was just 2 blocks from Grand Central Terminal, and if you know anything about "blocks" in NYC, it really means you'll be there in a split of a second!
To the left you will see how much we ended up paying in total for the hotel, and how much each night ended up coming out to. If this $700 hotel stay is similar to your budget for a 4 night stay, I'd highly recommend checking into Seton Hotel and explore NYC while being in the best location possible. Not to mention Peter Dillon's Pub right next door for a proper drink, and on the other side Shake Shack for a delicious treat.
When Caleb and I arrived to the hotel it was already late in the afternoon. We decided to go ahead and unpack everything, and explore the hotel. The rooms are small, but when you are in a massive city and you are a regular couple without thousands of dollars, I'd say the Seton Hotel was the finest and most efficient you could get. My favorite part about our hotel room was the bathroom because the shower had a window that you could open in the mornings and you could let in morning NYC air. Trust me, that was a treat all by itself!
After we unpacked we decided to head to the Grand Central Terminal and my eyes truly saw beauty. It was such a work of art, especially on the outside! When you walk into the main grand room, look up. When you look up you see all of the zodiac signs and my heart melted! I fell in love with New York City at that moment!
We then decided to go look at the subways and our hearts started racing. It's a very difficult concept to understand, but I swear you'll get the hang of it. Your best friend? Google Maps! It will tell you what trains you should be taking and it will be very easy for you. Grand Central was very close to Times Square, so we just decided to go check it out. While we found it with ease, it was underwhelming. Not that it isn't a sight that you should skip, but trust me, when you watch the New Year's Eve countdown on TV, you pretty much see all that Times Square has to offer. Hey, it's cool I suppose. Just be careful, you might be scammed by a monk (yes, we were scammed by a monk).
We decided to head back towards the hotel, and we found that Shake Shack and a Pub was on either side of the hotel, and we took advantage of quick and delicious food and drinks before we crashed for the night! We were exhausted.
I remember waking up feeling like it was Christmas again! It was the first full day of exploring the city, and also the day of the broadway. The first thing I did was take advantage of our shower with the window that you could open. I remember starting up the steaming shower, opening the window and only hearing cars honking at one another. I laughed and said "Yep, we are not in Ohio anymore".
Caleb and I decided to go to a local vape shop for him, and then we decided that we needed breakfast and something delicious! Caleb actually found this amazing spot that I will go back to a million times more. The spot was called Friedman's. It's an expensive spot, but what in NYC isn't expensive? I remember walking in and they were packed! I also distinctly remember how the layout was. It was one big restaurant, but on the left side it was dark, more laid-back, sultry, it had a very rustic decor, but the right side was all white, vibrant, fast paced and it looked like it's where all the Insta' famous people would want to take pictures at (lighting was phenomenal on the right). -- Did we get the right side? No thank god. It was too early to be slapped around in a big white room, even if it was photo quality lighting.
I remember trying to sit down because all of the tables were very close together to another table. I didn't mind being so close, but when you have thighs the size of Texas you hope that your butt doesn't scoot over your neighbors latte and then proceed to spill it all over their omelet.
I also distinctly remember seeing other people's orders coming to their table and thinking, wow I am getting that! Caleb and I both got the same thing-we decided to get the French Toast with Berry Compote and Maple Syrup, we also decided to get a big plate of fruit to share and the fruit was next level fancy. I think it was the way it was cut and plated, not that grapefruit and oranges are "fancy" but, I was living my best life. Caleb asked me what the green leafy topping was on top of the fruit.. (it was mint, he thought it was lettuce) (fancy doesn't come easy in Ohio) (give him a break). Anyway, the food was top notch and it was the best breakfast I ever had in my entire life.
After breakfast we hopped back onto the subway and headed to sightsee a little bit, and ended back up in Times Square funny enough. If you don't already know, NYC is FULL of tourists, like us! I kind of feel bad for the actual New Yorkers who are just trying to live and you have to stop every 5 seconds because someone in front of you is taking a photo of every little thing. Again, I am guilty. With there being so many tourists, you get a lot of people stopping you asking you if you would like to get on a sightseeing bus. Caleb and I actually never even put it into thought if we wanted to do this until someone came up to us. We knew we wanted to see as much as we could in the short amount of time we had, and honestly getting a sightseeing bus really is the only way. AGAIN, if you want to see the city and all it has to offer, get your ass on a sightseeing bus and climb to the top deck. Caleb was very sweet enough to go ahead and pay for our tickets. We were able to get on and off the bus as many times as we wanted, and there were multiple packages you could get! We decided to team up with "Big Bus" and our ride lasted about 3+ hours. Well worth it!
Later that night was the broadway and Caleb and I both got dolled up and headed back down to (yes, you guessed it) Times Square. We were truly in Times Square more than we thought we would have been. The theatre was called Broadhurst. We both got some alcohol to enjoy during the play and completely drowned in the beauty that was Anastasia. I remember crying when the very first song was played. Seriously you guys, it is my favorite movie and story line. The story holds so much history, and the actors did a phenomenal job. 10 out of 10, would recommend to a friend. At the end of the night we just headed back to the hotel because it was very late and decided to order some city pizza!
Here is the site for the play: Anastasia on Broadway
The next day we decided to sleep in a bit and enjoy just being with one another in bed. Later that afternoon we decided that we wanted to grab some street hot dogs and and enjoy them at this amazing park called Bryant Park. It was very cool because it was also very close to our hotel room, and it was filled with tons of games! Yes games! Board games galore. There were tables everywhere and you saw families and friends just playing board and card games with one another outside and that was very awesome. I wish my local community would do something like that. If you ever just want to relax with your family in NYC, and you are in Midtown, I highly recommend because there are are plenty of street food options, drinks and seating. You'll also be able to enjoy a beautiful fountain while you enjoy your company.
Caleb and I also decided to go visit Central Park! Central Park was a real treat. We were able to walk past the zoo, and we were also able to visit the Alice in Wonderland statue. We also found a very neat spot by a good sized pond that held a bunch of small remote controlled racing boats. Right next to this pond was a drink and bakery and we were able to grab some more hot dogs and a cookie the size of our faces! I told them I wanted two cookies before I saw them picking out the cookies for us and realized that we only needed one because again..the size of our face. No lie!
Saturday was our very last full day of exploring NYC before we left early Sunday morning. It was also a very special day because Caleb and I were celebrating our 5 year anniversary. We decided to take a long trip downtown on the Subway to head to the 9/11 Memorial and to also visit the Statue of Liberty. Seeing the 9/11 memorial was a sad experience. Listen, I can flood your ears with many conspiracy theories, but at the end of the day it was still a place where many of innocent people lost their lives. Just down the street a couple miles was the landing of the Statue of Liberty. Beware, if you plan on going on a boat to get closer to her, you will be waiting 3-5 hours before even loading. Like I said, NYC is a very touristy area. Caleb and I decided to skip the boat, and just get as close as we could to the water because we could still see her! I decided to face-time my father yelling that I finally got to see Lady Liberty!
Later that night Caleb and I decided to go to a very fancy restaurant in Midtown Manhattan. We both made reservations to a great steakhouse called Benjamin Prime. We spent over $300 on dinner that night, but it was well worth it. It was probably the best dinner I've ever had. Seriously, go to New York for the food! They know exactly what they are doing.
Benjamin Prime Steakhouse
We both started with seared scallops for an appetizer. It was on a delicious bed of celery root puree and caviar beurre blanc.
Caleb had a huge steak, and I decided to get the surf and turf which was a filet mignon, lobster tail and shrimp. We both also shared lobster mac and cheese as our sides!
Oh- I could also never forget the dessert that we shared. We decided to get our very first creme brulee! First ever! I felt like a high class lady. I told my waiter (that was absolutely hilarious by the way) that it was my first creme brulee and he told me that I need to set higher goals for myself! HA!
Words to live by from a very rich waiter in the busiest part of NYC that received a huge (well deserved) tip.
Right after dinner we were already pretty buzzed from our drinks at dinner, but then we decided to end our trip the only way we knew how- back at the pub. It was a spectacular day and night, and even though my heart was breaking because we left early the next morning to go home, my heart was extremely full because I got to spend the trip of my dreams, with the man of my dreams. My best friend. My life. I couldn't have asked for a better vacation.
So you're thinking that you want to visit NYC right? Do it! Save up some money and do it. It's a city that I will visit many times again, and I promise that it's an experience that you will never forget about. There is so much that this city has to offer, and I know that there was so much that we missed in our short amount of time but I still have a lot of days ahead of me, and I'll be able to read the city like the back of my hand one day. I know I will. Truly, a beautiful city.
If you asked me what my favorite part was, I would tell you the the people. There is something about the people of NYC who just are proud to be living there. NYC seemed to bring people together. There were more cultures, races and religions holding one another's hand as friends than I've ever seen in my own home town. There were artists and performers at every corner without a care in the world. If New York can teach you anything, it's to love and live.