Growing up in Delaware has certain perks, and one of them is being a hop, skip and 2 hour car/train ride away from the greatest city in the world, New York. I’ll never forget the first time my mom took me; we explored the city and saw The Lion King on Broadway, and I remember thinking “Oh, this is what all the fuss is about!” We visited during the winter to see the tree and theRockettes, and now that I’m older I see how lucky I was to have experienced those things at such a young age. In college, we had friends who went to NYU, so it was nothing to take a quick train up and back in a weekend. When my boyfriend and I first started dating, that was where we spent his birthday. No matter how many times I go, I always find myself in awe at the spectrum of people that walk the streets, the towering buildings and the hidden gems I never knew about. Here are my top ten things to do & places to see for a quick getaway to the Big Apple.
1. Explore Eataly Flat Iron
Mario Batali’s Eataly can only be described as a shopping mall for food. Filled with restaurants, take out counters and markets, there’s a delicacy for any taste bud that enters. Located on 24th and 5th directly across from the famous Flat Iron Building, it offers a shmorgasbord of meats, cheeses, pastas, and even kitchen tools! Plus, if you need to pee there’s a public restroom (very rare find indeed.). Grab a traditional Italian coffee and a seat across from the Flat Iron to marvel in the wonders of architecture. If you plan on eating at the restaurants, be advised that you will probably need a reservation. Also, there’s an entire store devoted to Nutella, so be prepared to enter straight bliss. Even if you don’t eat there, it’s worth a stop to explore and people watch!
2. See a show in the theater district
I love musicals, and really if you’re going to see a show, do it in New York. Yes the most popular shows are likely to be expensive or sold out, but there are so many theaters that everyone can find something they like. I mean, there’s even a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical! We saw Waitress, the story of a small town girl who gets knocked up by her abusive husband and copes through her baking skills and advice from sassy friends. Not only will you be captivated by the music, they give out mini pies in the aisle! What else could you need?!? Pick something that suits your interests…you won’t regret it!
3. Grab dinner along 46th Street
When you’re done seeing a show, walk over to 46th Street and peruse the restaurants. There’s options from steakhouses to sushi joints to Italian eateries and Dim Sum palaces. We opted for Bourbon Street, a New Orleans themed Cajun place. For $30 we got appetizers, entrees with sides and two ginormous servings of beignets, which I’m currently snacking on. People always think NYC is the most expensive city, but you can always find something affordable!
Skip the crowds and Home Alone 2 flashbacks and avoid Central Park (unless you’ve never been there, then go at least once!) and visit Hudson River Park in the Financial District. The city transformed a deteriorating 4 mile stretch of sidewalk and piers into a scenic path that allows you to view Jersey, the Statue of Liberty and the Freedom Tower while enjoying a picturesque stroll along the river (beware of floating soccer balls and possibly bodies…).
5. Visit the 9/11 Memorial & Freedom Tower
After walking the river, stop and pay respect at the two beautiful fountains where the Twin Towers fell. Even if you’re a conspiracy theorist like me, you’ll be able to appreciate the sadness and reverence for the thousands who lost their lives in September 2001. Marvel at the enormous new gleaming Freedom Tower, and just take in the enormity of the catastrophe while standing on the same ground where life changed for all.
6. Get tickets to see a live taping
There are so many fun talk shows headquartered in NYC and most take requests for studio audience members through their website. Between Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America and Live with Kelly and <Insert Co-Host Here>, there’s a show for every taste. We went to The Chew, but be forewarned you will need to smile, laugh, clap and cheer on cue as many times as they ask you. Dress nice, get there early and SMILE like your life depends on it if you want to get on TV! Also, Carla Hall dances in the audience and is SUPER NICE about taking pictures 😉
7. Visit the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
A lot of people skip this because they think it’s too expensive, but I’d say it’s well worth it to see one of Americas most famous sights. You can buy tickets to go up in the Statue, either to the pedestal or crown, but be aware that the crown sells out very quickly. We only went to the pedestal, and I only feel like i regret not going to the crown because I wanted to reenact the scene from Jungle 2 Jungle where he tries to get the fire from the torch. You can get perfectly great views even if you don’t get tickets for either, plus you can stand in front of Lady Liberty with a water bottle and pretend you’re her. The ferry also takes you to Ellis Island where you can explore the museum, look for your family name, and have the full experience by waiting in an overcrowded line for a boat. Buy tickets at Statue Cruises.
For our latest trip to New York, I wanted to go somewhere we had never been and see something rare. Enter Stone Street, a cobblestone pedestrian only walkway lined with restaurants in the Financial District, not too far from One WTC. It’s one of New York’s oldest streets, and feels like a scene out of an old time movie. Grab a snack or drink, and use the backdrop to take gorgeous pictures!
Ok, I know I’m going to get shit for this because *~ReAL NeW YoRkERz~* avoid this place like the plague. But you’re probably a tourist so it’s ok. You HAVE to see Times Square at least once, and the crowds of gawking tourists are part of the scenery. Watch the creepy off brand characters from afar, or they’ll charge you $5 for standing near them. Don’t talk to anyone or they’ll try to sell you their mix tape. Don’t eat or shop here because everything is super overpriced, but do explore the stores because they’re enormous and fun. Wear black and keep your head down, and people will ask you for directions.
Manhattan is fabulous, but if you need a break from the commercial hubbub and some artsy scenery, take the C train into Brooklyn. While you’re there, go to Sweet Chick and get THE BEST chicken and waffles EVER (and I lived in the south, so you know that’s serious!). Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, visit Prospect Park or give Coney Island a whirl.
Empire State Building
A little expensive and overrated, but worth doing at least once for the views. Don’t add on the Top Floor ticket, unless you like being smushed in a tiny tower with 10 other people trying to look out the teeny windows. Also, dress warm and prepare for high winds and dizzying heights. Buy tickets at the Empire State Building Website
I’ve been here twice, along with the one in LA and New York definitely wins. Tickets are $30 on Madame Tussauds’ site, and I’d say the pictures you get with your favorite celebrity are well worth the cost.
A little cheesy and touristy, but this restaurant located in the Financial District is definitely fun! The waiters dress like ninjas, and constantly break through walls or engage in fisticuffs while taking your order. Make reservations on their website and get ready for a weird night.
Christmas Tree in Rockerfellar Center
DUH! Prepare for crowds, but it is a sight to behold and there’s magic in the air. Watch ice skaters at the rink, or walk along 5th Ave to see the stores’ holiday displays, including Macy’s over the top window shows.
Tell them Erin Duh sent you. They’ll understand 💎