• Li Do

New York City '16

I finally got to visit my dream city!

Finally at the age of 27, I got to see the Big Apple with my favorite guy and future husband. Planning this trip, I did want to stay within a budget but if you know me, you know I'm horrible with money. Nick didn't want to go at all but I convinced him and stated that this was our last trip before our wedding and after this trip we would save. Well jokes on him, haha.

We arrived late on Wednesday, January 27th. Too late to go visit our friends so we checked into the room, found comfort food, and explored around Times Square. The weekend before we came, there was a recording-breaking snowstorm and luckily, it did not interfere our trip. We definitely still got to experience this city for all its worth.


Thursday, January 28th

Before heading to NYC, Nick voiced his concerns about the subway and how it might not be safe for us to utilize it. After doing researching and asking around, it was one of the best and affordable ways of transportation for us. My anxiety was from all the different train stations and knowing which direction to take. The buying process of our metro card was fairly easy and with the help of google maps and screenshots of the stops, we got around pretty quickly.

After buying our metro card and taking our first subway ride of the trip, we ended up in Chinatown for some dim sum at Jing Fong. The restaurant was upstairs and I thought it was going to be a little ma and pa shop, but the restaurant was HUGE. We ended up sitting at a table for 10 with a random older Chinese gentleman across the table. Nick teased that he was probably part of the mob because every single worker there came over to say hi to him. It wasn't until I asked him to take a picture of us that he told us that he is a long time customer of 20 years. After brunch, I checked my dessert list and since 10below was within walking distance, we walked over for our first rolled thai-style ice cream. You'll notice that I will try to have dessert with every meal while we are here. The dessert options were endless and I wanted to try EVERYTHING!

Our next stop was the Chelsea neighborhood. We were planning on meeting our Cali friend that have moved to NYC at one of the Starbucks near his apartment. We sat there for quite some time not wanting to rush him by blasting his phone with 'where are you' text messages and when we finally did, we realized we met at the wrong Starbucks!! There was literally a Starbucks a block away and he was at that one instead. It had been a good six years since I had seen Arnold and it was great to catch up especially and get a little history of Chelsea. I knew living in NYC was expensive but didn't necessarily know the price tag and when he told me his rent, I freaked out. He invited us back to his apartment and let me tell you guys, it's pretty legit with a doorman and rooftop terrance with the Empire State building in the background, no big deal.

It was getting late and so we started heading uptown to Columbia University. It wasn't until the train operators were telling us to get off the train that we realized we were going towards the ferry and definitely not uptown. It was in the middle of rush hour so we were on the train for a good 45 minutes.

We finally arrived in the Upper West Side to meet up with our friends, Nicole, Tomek and their newborn, Casper. Our other California friends, Jaz and Walt, were also visiting at the same time so it was really nice to meet up and hang out. I was overly joyed because I finally got to meet baby Casper! He was so adorable and slept peacefully in my arms, probably had a lot to do with Nicole feeding him when we first arrived. I gotta give props to all parents, holding babies are a workout! My biceps were tender afterwards.

After contemplating on what to have for dinner, we finally decided to go to Dino's BBQ. Don't let four Californians navigate because what was supposed to be a 5 minute work, ended up a 15-20 minute walk! Nonetheless, it was nice and peaceful scenic route along the Hudson river.

After dinner, we take a taxi to our next destination, Momofuku, to meet one of my oldest childhood friends from Stone Mountain, Nicole Gathany! Out of all of my friends that we had met up with today, she was the one that I have not seen since 6th grade! It was definitely surreal because it was over 15 years since we had last saw each other and to meet up in NYC of all cities.


Friday, January 29th

We met up with Nicole, Jaz, and Walt for brunch at Jacob's Pickle. I would definitely recommend this place for breakfast, so delicious and lots of food, that's what happens when you hang out with locals. They know all the good spots.

After brunch, Nicole left us to go back home to baby Casper and Jaz, Walt, Nick and I went to explore the American Museum of Natural History. Thanks to Nicole and Tomek for our museum admission and Nicole for walking us to the front so we didn't take a nice little detour again. I'm not a museum person, but I was a good sport and we explored for a good 2-3 hours. It was cool to see Central Park across the street, unfortunately not once this entire trip did we actually step foot in Central Park.

After the Natural History museum, we headed to the 9/11 memorial and museum. There was so much to learn and see that we stayed longer than expected just reading all the artifacts. It was definitely emotional for me to stand at the North and South pool with all the lives lost that day. I still can't believe it has been over 14 years since I came home from 7th grade and we were all watching the news channel after channel, day after day in disbelief. We will never forget.

After a long, but interesting day at the museums, we said our 'see you laters' to Jaz and Walt and headed for dinner. We had Lombardi's which is the first pizzeria in the U.S. It was pretty delicious and I'm not a pizza person. I honestly don't recall what we ordered but the server was so patient and accommodating, who said New Yorkers are rude? After we were done with dinner, Nicole recommended Rices to Riches because we were so close. I was a little hesitant because I'm not a rice pudding person, but HOLY SMOKES. The butterscotch rice pudding was so delicious and I wished they would open a Rices to Riches here in SoCal. It is a little heavy, but since the rice pudding comes in a little container already, all we had to do was ask for a lid and it was still delicious back in the hotel. We also stopped by this bonbons place called Stick with Me and we picked our flavors and the guy placed the bonbons in this cute little box. Before heading back to the room, we grabbed some late night Halal guys for a midnight 'snack'. The service was fast, efficient, and the white sauce bottles were at our disposal. We couldn't go to New York and say that we didn't have the original Halal guys.


Saturday, January 30th

Today was a packed day because we really wanted to see the major attractions and utilize our city pass. I really wanted to watch the Book of Mormons but unfortunately it was sold out and I didn't plan ahead like I should've. We went to get discounted tickets for an off broadway show called the Newsical instead then headed to Top of Rockefeller Center observation deck.

We grabbed a quick lunch from Lenny's for their bagels. One thing that a lot of my friends recommended was to get pizza and bagels in NYC because they are phenomenal. My lox bagel definitely didn't disappoint, however Nick's bagel (I forget what it was) was as hard as a brick. After a quick lunch, we rushed over to Battery park for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Since we were very short on time, our visit at the Statue of Liberty was shortened. I didn't want to get off on on Ellis Island just to get back in line for the boat, but Nick did just for the heck of it.

We rushed to our show via taxi but not after some guy stealing our taxi! It honestly was hilarious but didn't do us much good on our time. Our taxi driver knew we were on a time crunch and he cut people off and drove like a true New Yorker to get us there sooner. We were still about 10 minutes late, but thankfully the usher was nice enough to seat us. The show was hilarious and I really enjoyed it. It wasn't what I had expected, not all that grand and crowded. It was a small theater with about 100 seats, but definitely more intimate. Nick and I had asked the box office earlier if there was a dress code, he laughed and said people wear whatever they want to nowadays to broadway shows. Because we were watching an off broadway, I wasn't too concerned with being underdressed and we definitely weren't with our jeans and tennis shoes. After the show we decided to walk to dinner to kill time since Jun-Men wasn't going to be open until later. We had Jun-Men for dinner because I really wanted to try the Uni Mushroom Mazeman. We then walked over to Donutplant and I wanted to try the Doughnut Plant's matcha green tea cake donut but they were sold out. Instead I got the peanut butter and jelly donut and then walked over to La Masion du Macaron for macarons.

Our last stop of the night was to see the city lit up from the Empire State Building. It was such a windy night that as soon as we stepped outside, the building was swaying and I had to really hold my balance. Nick thinks I'm exaggerating but I promise that the building was swaying and he just didn't want to admit that he felt it also.


Sunday, January 31st

The dreaded last moments in NYC and our awesome view of Times Square. Seriously one of the best cities I've ever been to and we felt like we did a lot, but we barely put a dent on what Manhattan has to offer. Thank you to all my friends that took time of our their day to hang out with Nick and I. Until next time, NYC!

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