If you have the chance to travel, take it. Even if it’s a short opportunity. Even if it’s somewhere you’d never planned on visiting. Just do it. I recently went on a business trip with my dad to New York City, and we squeezed in a boatload of activity in our two days in The Big Apple.
After landing in LaGuardia and battling traffic (and the stupid amount of construction at the airport), we checked into our hotel off Times Square and then Ubered to Chelsea Market.
Chelsea Market is basically a mall, but most of these stores are restaurants or food shops. From house-made donuts to Japanese, this spot has it all. We opted for Los Tacos No. 1 because Mexican food is my favorite! Out of all Mexican food, tacos aren’t my favorite, but wow, these tacos had me second guessing that preference. So juicy, so filling. I never liked guacamole until that night. (Note: I ordered it as a quesadilla, but it looked just like a taco.)
For dessert, we walked over to Bar Suzette where I ordered a chocolate strawberry crepe. Not the best crepe I’ve ever had, but it did the trick.
After leaving Chelsea Market, we headed over to the Oculus, a boujee shopping mall with high-end stores and a building in the shape of an eye with eyelashes, hence the name Oculus. We meandered into stores like Kate Spade and the Apple store (where they have charging docks if you’re low on juice).
Near this shopping area is a 9/11 memorial, which is both beautiful and sobering. It’s worth a look. If you have more time, I’d recommend the museum, which you can read more about.
After sleeping in, I headed out for a late breakfast at the Red Flame, which had been recommended to us by our hotel. It was packed, but service was quick. The spot was on the more casual side, but it was clear that they had their regulars. We were in and out in under an hour, no problem.
From there, we headed to Times Square to look into Broadway tickets for that evening. You can head to the Broadway box office the day of for discounted tickets, but it wouldn’t open until later that day when we had other plans. Connected with this said box office, the app TKTS was also recommended to us, and although it was helpful to check prices and show listings, we ended up buying from a guy off the street. It sounds sketchy, but it wasn’t. He was with TicketTellers, and he showed us a list of showings that evening. Alex was mindful of our price range and called back to his office to see where the seats were and how much they’d be. We walked back with him to his office, paid through Square and had no issues with our tickets. We asked the box office and people sitting near us later that night, and the price we paid was comparable to what it would’ve costed last minute.
While my dad was in a meeting, I got some good me time and caffeine at a coffeeshop near our hotel called La Colombe. I ordered their black tan, which had the right amount of kick and added sweetness from the couple drops of syrup I put in. I’d come there to get some work done, but they didn’t have Wifi. I asked the lady sitting next to me if they had internet connection. She said, “No, it’s like they actually want us to talk to people.”
Imagine that. Other than the no Wifi, I enjoyed the atmosphere with its honeycomb-tiled floors, long wooden tables to stand at and typography-covered walls.
I’d been to the Met before, so we opted for something new. We spent some time at the Frick Collection, which is a museum of European art. It’s much smaller than the Met but a nice change of pace. It really didn’t take us terribly long to get through the museum, but it was worth it.
The indoor garden stole the show with its stone pillars and water fountain, but the works of Monet, Manet and Degas still have me oohing and ahhing. I listened to my headset in French, which helped me flex my language skills while learning about the art. (Do not take pictures of anything except the garden; the guards can and will tell you loudly.)
If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time or have ever spoken to me in person, you know I love France. And even if I’m not in France, I’ll find a way to tell you about how the word you said comes from a French word or that one time in Toulouse. Naturally, I had to visit famed macaron store Ladurée where I ordered and tried my best to savor slowly their world-renowned desserts. I was even able to order in French with the cashier from Burkina Faso.
If I’m being real, I didn’t quite get the hype around Central Park. It was a bunch of half-dead trees and grass, but that could be because it was March on the East Coast. If you’re more outdoorsy, this could be a good opportunity to get a good bike ride in.
For dinner, we went to Spice Thai, and people were lined up out the door for it to open. The spot was small, but we had quick service. The presentation was lovely, but I wasn’t crazy about the thicker sauce on my pad thai.
But I made up for it at dessert. There is an entire establishment for Nutella. Is this real life? Just a hop, skip and a jump away from our dinner spot stood glory, err, I mean the Nutella store. There we sat down for a bite of Nutella gelato. Yum! (You also probably didn’t realize how many different ways you can prepare Nutella.)
I believe every town or city has a story, but New York is one with many, many stories. It’s such a colorfully diverse area with countless nooks and crannies to discover. We had a bit of time before our Broadway show, so we just walked around the city. I found this beautiful door at a synagogue, and later that night, we walked into a church in Times Square. Just because we had time and wanted to explore. Doing all the big activities and seeing the big sights are great, but your eyes and feet can take you a long way too.
After our meandering, we made our way to see Mean Girls on Broadway. I was entirely shook that my dad agreed to see this show as this is anything but his cup of tea. (Seriously, brownie points for life, Dad!) The cast had a lot to live up to from all the fame of the movie, and they rose to the occasion. Unlike the movie, the show was a musical, and it really served to reinforce the themes of the show. The set was transformed seamlessly from a high school to a mall, and they projected pages of the burn book onstage.
Another recommendation from our hotel, the Brooklyn Diner off Times Square was a bumpin’ place on that Saturday morning. I ordered the gluten-free French toast topped with maple syrup, fresh strawberries and pecans. Our waitress was pleasantly sassy, and I found out the people at the next table were from Paris. We had a lovely conversation about their trip, and I was able to practice my French.
From brunch, we headed back to pack up and return home. It’s impossible to do the Big Apple in one weekend, but it was a great complement to my previous trip. For more things to do in New York, take a look at 11 things to do in NYC.