Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What's Hap-pinning Wednesday: New York City Recap

Brandon and I had an awesome long weekend in New York City to celebrate his 30th birthday and our last kid-free vacation before Baby #2 arrives in May! 

Warning: This is a picture-heavy post and my formatting is being a little goofy today!

We dropped Walker off with my in-law's bright and early, then headed to the airport for our flight to LaGuardia. After a three-hour flight, we landed in NYC with perfect views of Manhattan from the plane. We took an Über from LaGuardia to our hotel, the Intercontinental New York Times Square

The hotel was a perfect location: right off 44th Street and 8th Avenue on the border of Hell's Kitchen, Times Square and Midtown; not quite on the busy area of Times Square, but close enough to be right near the action. {And a bonus was that a subway station was located right next door!} 

We got a corner room on the 23rd floor with sweeping views of Manhattan and the Hudson River. Our room was small, as they are in New York, but very clean, comfortable and well-put-together. We were even greeted with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries the first night for Brandon's birthday! {Too bad I couldn't partake in the bubbly! Ha!} 

After a quick change, we walked to Patsy's for a pre-theater dinner. It was very good and we especially loved the dessert cart that came by with delicious Italian-inspired desserts. {The tiramisu was amazing!} 

After dinner, we hightailed it over to Radio City Music Hall to see the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. It was just that: spectacular. Neither of us knew exactly what to expect, but it was wonderful. The Rockettes' performance, narrated by Santa, with a little bit of ballet thrown in from The Nutcracker and a live Nativity scene sung to "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" and "Joy to the World" was enough to bring me to tears. If you ever have an opportunity to see the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, we highly recommend it!

Once the show was over, we walked over to the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree with all the other tourists. It was completely packed, but we both wanted to see it. It was beautiful and I couldn't get over all the lights!

We then walked along 6th Avenue to peek at the Christmas décor, and I couldn't get over the spectacle of it! We both were in awe!

We both had our very first NYC subway experience! Having lived in London for six weeks in college and becoming very familiar with their {crazy easy} tube system, the NYC subway system was a bit confusing; you really have to know where you're going. However, thanks to Google Maps, we were easily able to navigate which train we needed to take, and I highly recommend getting a MetroCard if you're going to be doing a lot of sightseeing. We paid about $20 each and it got us all over the city; much, much cheaper than a taxi and allowed us to go a lot more places than just our feet would allow!

Our first stop on Saturday was meeting my brother at Freemans for brunch. The restaurant is a small farm-to-table restaurant located in the East Village, just east of Nolita. It's located at the end of Freeman Alley, surrounded by a bunch of apartments. It was the coolest place…and the food was awesome! {Just be sure to make reservations!}

My brother has been living in NYC since August through a Baylor study program, where he just completed an internship with CBS Sports. He graduates next weekend and we couldn't be prouder of him! 

It was great to meet up with him and let him be our tour guide for the day.

The menu changes with the season, but Brandon and my brother both had the bacon, fried egg and cheddar cheese buttermilk biscuit with a side of cheese grits: 

And I had the poached eggs with collard greens over cheese grits. It was all delicious, and we all agreed the cheese grits were heavenly. {And let me tell y'all: being from the South, I can freely admit that!} 

After brunch, we wandered around the East Village for a little while, then took a subway up to The High Line, a linear public park built on an elevated section of an old New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line. I would have never thought to go here, but I now recommend it to anyone visiting NYC! It's so beautiful and gives you awesome aerial views of the city. 

After walking portions of The High Line, we took a subway downtown to see the World Trade Center Memorial. I would have loved to have seen the museum, too, but it takes about three hours to get through it and we just didn't have the time. Next time, however, I definitely will be going! {Just buy your tickets in advance.} 

There is still so much construction going on in the area, but the entire site is literally breathtaking. The new One World Trade Center is massive and is such a symbol of America's perseverance. The twin reflecting pools are located on the exact sites of 1 World Trade and 2 World Trade, and I just couldn't believe I was standing in the exact spot where so much devastation took place 14 years ago. This is definitely a must-see when you come to the city…just be sure to bring your tissues because it's particularly moving. 

We were starving after our afternoon, so we took the train back up to Midtown to have a late lunch at John's Pizzeria. We waited for a table for about 20 minutes, but it was well worth it! The NYC-style pizza was to die for! {We ordered the small Margherita with pepperoni and it fed all three of us well! We also ordered the cheesy garlic bread. Yum!}

We spent the evening walking through Times Square with all the other tourists. Seriously, I  now know why locals avoid that place like the plague; it's ridiculously crowded, people are so odd and it's just a madhouse. It was definitely something we had to see, but not something I'll need to see again!

I made the boys humor me and stop at the New York Public Library's Main Branch adjacent to Bryant Park. {Y'all know it from the "Sex and the City" movie!} They were just closing as we got there, but we got to wander upstairs for a minute, see a wedding in progress and check out the picturesque building. 

After the library, we wandered through the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, where a ton of local vendors were selling their goods in an open-air market. We each bought a hot apple cider and just walked around looking at what they had to offer. It was so much fun!

Then, we walked up 5th Avenue to see the sights. 

We stumbled upon the Saks Fifth Avenue Musical Holiday Lights Display, which was awesome and definitely put us in the Christmas spirit! 

Right next to Saks is St. Patrick's Cathedral, which is absolutely majestic. 

We took a little detour up 6th Avenue to let my brother show us his building, the CBS Corporation Building, which was really cool to see!

Catty-corner to his building is the MoMA, and while we didn't go inside, it was neat to say we saw it!

My mom, who travels to NYC once a year, recommended the Foods of New York Tour of Greenwich Village, and I think this was our favorite part of the trip! If you have the time, I would highly, highly recommend this for your next visit to New York City. {Here's some information about our specific tour!}

The best part of the trip is that I finally got to meet my blogging friend, Gentel {and her husband}! They joined us for the tour and that was so much fun!!

We gawked and admired the beautiful scenery, walk-ups and restaurants in Greenwich Village while our super knowledgeable tour guide, Marie, took us to eight different restaurants to have a tasting, all while giving us historic background of the Village. It was amazing! 

We had pizza from Joe's Pizza; the best olive oil I've had in my life from O&Co.; a fried rice ball from Faicco's; a homemade butternut squash and pumpkin soup from farm-to-table restaurant Palma {where Bruce Springsteen had a private dinner party later that night}; eggplant rollatini from Ristorante Rafele; freshly baked cookies from Milk & Cookies Bakery; salami back at Faicco's; cheese from Murray's Cheese Shop; and cannolis from Rocco's Pasticceria

After the food tour {and stopping to purchase some of the heavenly Basil Olive Oil and Fig Balsamic Vinegar we tried at O&Co.}, Gentel and her husband joined us for a quick train ride uptown to Central Park. We saw The Plaza Hotel, took a gander inside, let Gentel buy something cute for her daughter, Gracie, and then we wandered Central Park. 

That night, Brandon and I grabbed a quick bite at Shake Shack, then went to see Les Misérables at the Imperial Theater.  As always, Les Mis didn't disappoint! We sung along to almost every song and just loved it! Brandon had never seen it on Broadway, and he couldn't stop talking about how awesome it was. I had seen it a couple of times before, but I think this time may have been my favorite! 

We had an early-morning flight, so we took an Über out of the city to LaGuardia for our flight. Thanks to Brandon flying on business all the dang time, we were able to use the Admiral's Club at both DFW and LGA, and I was thankful for the free food, clean bathrooms and outlets to charge my devices! ;) We landed nearly an hour early, and we were so excited to get to my in-law's to see our sweet Walker. He was a little confused and didn't really know what to do, so Monday night was quite interesting getting him back in the swing of things with us. 

All in all, it was a perfect getaway and we so enjoyed some quality time with each other before Baby #2 arrives! 

Linking up with Jessi and Jenn


  1. What a super fun and tasty trip!!! NY during the holidays is crazy busy, but also so much fun! Love that you guys were able to pack so much in on your trip!

  2. Wow, y'all has such a wonderful trip! I cannot believe you got so much in! I've been to new work only once during the holidays, and I really thought it was spectacular. Glad y'all had so much fun!

  3. Looks like it was a wonderful trip to NYC. I love NYC during the holidays. Oh John's Pizza is so good, totally worth the wait. Great pictures.

  4. What a fun trip! I've never been to NYC, but hopefully I'll make it there one day. It looks like you guys had a great time.

  5. Such a fun trip! It looks like you guys did SO MUCH and had a fantastic time. New York just looks so neat!

  6. Glad you all were able to get away together! Looks like such a fun trip!

  7. Looks like you all had a fun trip! These are great pictures and I love the massive ornaments!

  8. This sounds like the best little getaway trip ever!! I'm dying to go to NYC before Christmas and your post made me want to go even more! The Rockettes' show sounds simply amazing! So glad y'all had a great time together :)

  9. Your trip looks fabulous!! Isn't NYC just magical during Christmas time?! You guys did so much in a little weekend and now I want to plan a trip for us...haha Glad you had a great time!

  10. Ah! Your snaps alone made me miss NYC so much but now this recap makes me want to go like tomorrow and just stay through Christmas! Hubs has never been! By the way, you look gorgeous lady! Thanks for joining in on the link up! xo

  11. What a fun amazing trip! Your photos are gorgeous.