For Brandon’s 30th birthday, I decided to surprise him with a spontaneous weekend trip to New York!
New York has always alluded us, but we had never been. It is actually a shame, really, because we only live a mere 10 hours away from the city that never sleeps, and have driven just outside it’s border, but had never infiltrated the Big Apple.
Once I told Brandon we were going to New York, the preparations began! Where would we go? What would we see? And most importantly… how do we dress!?
With our suitcases packed to the brim with freshly shone shoes and recently steamed dresses, we embarked on what would be one of our more luxurious weekends.
Some places we went to were a hit, and others were a miss, so I thought I would share with you our itinerary of our favourite spots that we were able to get to on our weekend stay:
Murray’s Bagel (500 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011, USA)
My favourite bagel spot. Lots of selection, moderately busy, and cute traditional decor.
Best Bagel (225 W 35th St A, New York, NY 10001, USA)
Brandon’s favorite bagel spot. If you go in the morning, be prepared to line up outside (even in the rain) because this is a very popular bagel place.
Delmonico’s (56 Beaver St, New York, NY 10004, USA)
This was Brandon’s choice for his birthday meal, and it delivered! Delmonico’s is known for it’s aged steaks and for it’s well-known Baked Alaska, which has been on the menu there for at least 150 years. If you are looking for a fabulous meal, with a dark, romantic ambience, Delmonico’s is a must (bring your wallet, though).
The Halal Guys Midtown (W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019, USA)
We went here on reccommendation from Brandon’s colleague. This is a food cart, so there are no seats, but the Halal was really good. Ensure that if you go, you get the meal instead of the wrap. We wrongly got the wrap, and although it was delicious, it was also very messy and attracked a lot of seagulls to us.
Places to have a drink
Belmelmans Bar at The Carlyle (35 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021, USA)
We were lucky enough to have Brandon’s sister and brother-in-law arrange a surprise treat for us at Belmelmans. Decorated with the art of the Madeline artist, Ludwig Belmelman, this bar was by FAR my most favorite place in New York. Quaint, romantic, and filled with live piano, Brandon and I got lost in the moment as we sipped on champagne, and relished the talent of the pianist. I will be back again, guaranteed.
The Aviary NYC (80 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10023, USA)
Sitting high atop New York, we had the most interesting and spectacular drinks (they had their own contraptions!). If you are looking for an amazing drink experience with a fantastic view, you must check out the Aviary.
Century 21 (22 Cortlandt St, New York, NY 10007, USA)
This is a department store that has every brand you can possibly think of, but at a discount price. There are 2 Century 21 stores in New York, but the one on the upper west side is VERY tiny and has a limited selection. The one on Cortlandt Street is huge with an endless selection.
Bloomingdales (504 Broadway, New York, NY 10012, USA)
There are a couple Bloomingdales in New York, but I have to give a shout out to this particular one because their customer service was amazing! I had broken my shoe, and they had called their cobbler on his day off to see if he could fix it for me (I didn’t even buy the shoe from Bloomingdales!). Bloomingdales is a New York staple, and if you are looking for that “Big Brown Bag” to show you’ve shopped at New York’s finest you must go to this one.
Woodbury Commons (498 Red Apple Ct, Central Valley, NY 10917, USA)
We didn’t go there on our trip in March, but we have been to Woodbury Commons a few times before. It is by far the best outlet mall I have ever been to! It has any brand store you can think of from Valentino, Dior, Prada, and Tom Ford to the department stores like Saks Off Fifth. Bus loads of people from all over the world flood to this mall to find steals and deals. You can get a bus from downtown New York to this outlet mall and I would highly suggest it!
Phantom of the Opera
THE show to see on Broadway. It does not get more classic than watching the chandelier being lifted and a heart-thumping masquerade ball. The Phantom is a New York staple and we highly recommend it.
We spent hours walking (and sometimes hiking) through Central Park. It was a little chilly when we were there, but we can only imagine the beauty of it when it’s in full bloom or when the leaves are changing in the fall. You can always find a warm coffee, an entertaining busker and a peaceful view at Central Park. Now we totally understand why it’s always the place to go in movies!
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Admittedly, I wanted to go to the MET because of the MET Gala (I’ve always thought that looks like the most glamorous party of the year) and to sit on the steps. Once we stepped inside this monolith of a museum, it was clear that we had entered one of the rare places in the world where you are surrounded by work of grand masters from all over the world and from every era. If you like the Louvre than you will most likely enjoy the MET where you can browse everything from antique oil paintings, to larger than life statures, to modern abstract canvases. Plus, it feels really trendy to say “I spent the day at the MET”.
Grand Central Station
Brandon and I, actually, accidentally stumbled into Grand Central Station around 9pm when we were looking for a Shake Shack. It was calm during this time, and when I rose my eyes to look at the constellation studded cieling I was in awe. This large station blends in so well with the neighbouring buildings on the outside, that you don’t realize the beauty within. Grand Central is a place of infinite possibilities, and filled with the most diverse groups of people. If nothing else, go there just to people watch.
We chose to go to the Rockefeller Center and go to the “Top of the Rock” instead of waiting in a line at the Empire State Building, and it was a good choice! There was no wait time, the viewing decks were huge, and we could see the Empire State Building from the top which is the essense of the iconic New York skyline.
I hope our New York Itinerary was or will be helpful for you if you decide to visit the Big Apple. Watch our travel video below to get the real vibe of our trip to New York:
(music: Empire State of Mind- Jay Z and Alicia Keys)