Monday, November 20, 2017

New York City Sister Trip 2017

The NYC Sister Trip took place during Veteran's Day Weekend and it left my legs sore and my heart full of memories. We stayed from Friday morning until Monday afternoon and housed ourselves at the Archer Hotel (I love that place) in a double room with an Empire view. It was about $500/night and split between the four of us. 

We immediately trotted over to Bryant Park to get some lunch and hot apple cider then hit up the free admission day for MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). After viewing the art and iconic works (Monet, Frida, Van Gogh and more) we then moseyed about until dinner time where we dined at Gato. Before our dinner reservations we walked about Washing Square Park. It was pretty cold all weekend with temperatures "feeling like" the 20's. We weren't prepared so we raided an REI and bought gloves, hats and hand warmers.

The view from our room. The Empire State Building was a different color each night.

This was the view if looking to the right. 

The subway was a must for all our galavanting about Manhattan. We got separated on our very first ride when the doors closed right behind Lindsey and I. Darby and Heather photographed subway rats until they caught up with us.

Sometimes during the weekend I would look over and see something as sweet as this...

... then in the blink of an eye, I would turn around and see that.

We took the Staten Island Ferry early the next morning to take in the sights.

Then made our way over to the 9/11 Museum, which was predictably packed to capacity on Veteran's Day.

Lunch had to be rather quick from a street vendor on our way to the TKTS booth. I am not sure if it was all the walking and the cold or if that chicken kebab sandwich was really that delicious. But it might have been the best meal I have eaten to date.

We waited in line for our discounted Phantom of the Opera tickets (which was as phenomenal as ever) in Times Square.

After dinner on a rooftop restaurant then taking in the show, we came home to a patriotic Empire State Building view.

The next morning dawned bright and cold, can you see the icicles on the fountain? We gravitated back to Bryant Park for breakfast. It is one block from our hotel and after Halloween it is decked out with a Holiday Village that sells both cute items and yummy foods. I had a chicken coconut curry empanada for the lunch the first day and then this particular morning I dined on a chewy warm waffle smeared with speculoos (cookie butter) and topped with whipped cream.

It was eye rollingly good. Then we grabbed marocchinos at Zibettos on our way to Central Park.

Fall in Central Park really is worth the visit to NYC in and of itself. Especially for this Florida girl who lacks all this splendor in her life.

We only got about half way through the park and then needed to turn back to make our lunch reservation. It was so lovely though... I could have kept strolling and ambling the rest of the day. It was neat taking in the joggers, dog walkers, babies getting photos in the leaves and people enjoying horse drawn carriage rides. 

We turned our bodies away from Central Park (but I think I did leave my heart there) and headed towards our lunch date.

I passed this sticker covering a crack in a window and it made me pause. But then we were back on our way to Serendipity3.

Serendipity3 was seriously a cute tiny lunch place with amazing frozen hot chocolates, and I got to top all that yumminess off by meeting my friend Jean there for a lunch date. <3

After lunch we walked about into various stores and rambled our way sporadically towards downtown. The sun sank and cast the most beautiful reflections around the city. Sunsets aren't much of a sight on the streets between the tall skyscrapers but late afternoon dazzles.

These particular reflections mesmerized me.

We did end up going into St. Patricks and lighting candles. It was moving.

We caught the subway and made our way to The Strand where I got to browse the bookshelves and stationary and socks to my heart's content. I picked up Murder on the Orient Express by Agath Christie(finished it already and loved it!), Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman and a book by my man, Leonard Cohen, Beautiful Losers

Then we walked about Greenwich Village at night and even stopped to see the Friends apartment building. I also swung into Aedes as well to sniff some perfumes.

They didn't have L'Orpheline in stock so I ended up leaving empty handed.

But I made up for it the next day by hitting up Chanel and buying a bottle of Coromandel.

The city was festive for the holidays and we enjoyed gazing into window displays, sighting the Rockefeller tree in its scaffold and watching the twinkling lights being wrapped around trees.

One of the last things we did was view the city from Top of the Rock. The Statue of Liberty is in the distance to the right of the Empire State Building. 

There were some bumps and hiccups and moments of frustration. I did end up getting ill and came home with an ear infection (can I tell you how painful it is to fly with an ear infection popping and pressing?) but all in all it was a lovely experience with memories I will never forget. I hope next time I visit the city it will be with my husband and girls. I know they would love it (the girls, not the husband). We wore our feet out and walked about 20,000 steps each day and a total of 36 miles over the whole trip. 

If you were to build a 3 day NYC itinerary what would you include?


  1. First, I'd be terrified just to be in NYC. LOL! I'm sooooo not big city material. Even going to lil ol' Minneapolis stresses me. But if I ever did go I'd have to see The Dakota (where John Lennon lived and died), Strawberry Fields in Central Park, and the Towers site. Beyond that, I have no idea.

    Looks like you had fun!


    1. It definitely has a fast pace. There is no strolling across bustling streets... you are speed walking like your life depends upon it. Maybe that is why I enjoyed Central Park so much. Much more laid back. Next time I go I will look out for Strawberry Fields. The Twin Towers memorials were very moving. I will not be revisiting the museum during any further future trips though.

      It was a nice time! Busy and harried but fun.

  2. Wow! Your pictures are beautiful - they make me want to go back to NYC right now. I know I have not commented for a while, but I have been keeping up with you through your social media. I am so sorry you were sick during your trip. It is the worst being sick while not at home. I can't wait for your review of your Chanel purchase. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving - all my best, Ellisa

    1. Thank you Ellisa. It is so very hard to capture the city through a lens. It has a pulse and beat all its own. I love the details on the buildings.

      It really is the pits to get ill during such special trips and not having the ability to rest or medicate as needed. I am almost a little nervous about reviewing Coromandel. It is such a refined and haunting scent. I hope my words can do it justice. I hope you have a beautiful Thanksgiving as well my dear friend!! I am just about to make a couple pie crusts this evening to get a little ahead. Are you cooking anything this year? Having any family gatherings?

  3. Beautiful photos! <3 You really captured the heart of the city in these iconic images :) In 2007 and again in 2010 I was going there a few times a year to do research - my main site was the main branch of the NY public library, which is at Bryant Park, so eating my lunch there became a normal thing for me. There was a soup place (chain) there called Hale and Hearty that I LOVE. I would basically get that most days for lunch - just awesome soup. I wish they had it here, I would eat there constantly. I love wandering through the Lower East Side and have a few other food haunts I love, like Russ and Daughters for bagels and Doughnut Plant - both are amazing. One visit I spent my free time hunting down all the most acclaimed cupcakes in Manhattan - I even made an annotated Google map! LOL. On that trip, I found this amazing cupcake - turned out to be my fave - in a tiny place in Chelsea, the name of which now escapes me, but it was awesome. I also love the High Line, Chinatown, and I'm obsessed with the Flatiron. I think the Chrysler Building is amazing. I've never been inside the Empire State building(!) but I love the view from Top of the Rock! mostly I just love watching people and how they create these little private and detached worlds for themselves amidst the crush of humanity and concrete.

    I'm so sorry you got sick during your trip. Being sick is always terrible, but especially when traveling. :(

    this is one of my fave photos I've taken in NYC: next time you should wander the Lower East Side/Chinatown area. I recommend the Tenement Museum - a very well down historical site, humbling. Anyway, here's a pic for you:

    I hope you are well now! Happy Thanksgiving <3

    1. Thank you so much Nancy! That means a lot coming from you. New York was a challenge to capture but I tried my best. We walked about the NY Public Library and it was breathtaking. What a cool experience for you I hope. I would be a Bryant Park regular too. There were so many food stalls it was hard to choose. I definitely missed out on the Lower East Side this trip. But I did grab a bagel at Russ and Daughters the trip I took a few years ago and you are right... it is pure bliss. Honestly, I just want to experience NYC with you one day. Finding all the best cupcakes? Hell yeah. Chelsea Market was on my wish list but there just wasn't time. The High Line was missed too. And Chinatown and Little Italy and Koreatown. And the Flatiron building. I think I just need to go back again. :-)

      I hope you don't mind but I just spent a good while enjoying your photos. You are so talented. Do you use film? I love the details and off the beaten trail images you sculpt.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too! <3 The augmentin (sp?) is kicking in and I am feeling much better! xoxo Any plans for the holidays?

  4. It looks like so much fun! Fall is definitely the best time to visit NYC. I'm amazed you walked out of Aedes empty-handed!!!

    1. It was really nice! And I agree. After going twice in the fall I don't think I could imagine going any other time. New York will always be fall to me. I know... I know... even my sisters said I HAD to buy something in there. But the two things I wanted they were out of. So I took it as a sign. I did almost pick up Gypsy Water. But then backed out when I remembered the Coromandel you gifted me and knew I NEEDED that instead.

  5. Your pictures are lovely! I love your picture of the perfumes from Aedes, I used to work nearby but I've never been to the store - I think I will have to go now. I hope you and your sisters enjoyed Gato - my family and I really liked it when we were there last year. It's funny, I love modern art but I've never been to MoMA. I suppose because I'm local and I have that "oh it will always be there" mentality. Your waffle from Wafels and Dinges - YUM!

    If I were vacationing in the city my activities would 90% revolve around food. Doughnuts from The Doughnut Plant or Dough (or both!), Smorgasburg and/or the Brooklyn Flea in Williamsburg, drinks and a distillery tour at the NY Distilling Co. in Williamsburg, BBQ at Hometown BBQ in Red Hook, a walk on the High Line, a quick tour through Bergdorf Goodman and Barney's so I could feel thoroughly under-dressed, the Conservatory Garden in Central Park, The Museum of Natural History (great for kids and pure nostalgia for me) and then walk across Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If I felt like a trek I would go out to Flushing, Queens to the Chinese malls for lunch. I've also never walked across the Brooklyn Bridge so I might squeeze that in if I had time.

    For the record, my favorite cupcakes in the city (so far) are from Baked in Tribeca, we even had them at our wedding! Magnolia does a good cupcake and they are the iconic Sex & the City cupcake but Baked is better.

    I hope you feel better soon! Being sick on vacation is possibly one of the most uncomfortable things ever.

    1. Thank you Joanne! And thank you for all your recs. They came in handy! We all LOVED Gato! The food was great, the atmosphere was cozy and the service was excellent. I hope you do decide to check out all the cool things local to you eventually. MoMa has free admission on Friday afternoons around 3pm. :-) No loss if you don't enjoy it! But it is pretty cool to see all the incredible work so I doubt it would be a bad experience.

      That waffle was nuts. So freaking good.

      Food. Yes ma'am. I knew I liked you. I tried to incorporate as much food as I could but some of the gals aren't really foodies and don't think spending money on it is in their best interest. So I kinda had to go with the flow. :-) But all these places you mention will get jotted down into my one day wishlist.

      I did have a Magnolia cupcake the last time I went and it was good. I had no idea it was tied to Sex and the City.

      Thanks! I am still taking my antibiotics but I am feeling much better. <3 How are you doing? Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. I went to New York for the first time this past May, and I absolutely loved it! I also went to Serendipity 3 and the Strand while I was there! The frozen hot chocolates were amazing, and I was in heaven at the bookstore. I could spend years in there looking at all the different books and bookish items! Another one of my favorite places was Magnolia Bakery. They were featured in Sex and the City, so of course I had to try out their cupcakes which were just as amazing as everyone says.

    I'm so glad you had fun on your trip! I know I can't wait to go back and visit NYC :)

    1. How fun!! Did you like it in May? How was the weather? I am just like you. Give me a chocolate loaded iced treat and miles of books and I am one happy camper. I did hit up Magnolia Bakery a couple years ago when I went to NYC with my best friend. it was quite yummy! We walked past it this time but didn't stop in.

      Thanks! I am glad you had fun too! We can both day dream about NYC again. :-)
      Happy Thanksgiving!!

  7. Julie, your photos. Viewing them made me wistful, but you stamped them with your own vision and it's so well done. I laughed at the fact you all had to purchase gloves/scarves! Not a weather app among you, or do you just not own any?
    We too wished to visit St. Pat's but there was a graduation ceremony going on (for an all male college) so we stood across the street and watched the men file inside all congratulatory, which was cool too, but it's a must someday. Love to see the speculoos, the Strand and the Arch. I was bummed to miss out on Greenwich Village, but it really requires lots of ambling time. Such a city of wonders, viewing your rooftop photos recalled this quote and I think it fits:
    "Mine was the twilight (late afternoon in NYC) and the morning. Mine was a world of rooftops and love songs."-Roman Payne

    1. Thank you Jay!

      I am a super planner so yes I was closely watching the weather from about one month out up to about two days before. It was projected to be in the 60's most of the time with a little rain. But then the night before we took off it plummeted when a cold front came through. But also no we do not own gloves and such as it is generally not needed down here. We get very sporadic cold weather, usually once or twice getting into the 30's throughout winter. Scarves yes, gloves no.

      How cool you got to see a graduation. That is special. <3 Greenwich was a ton of walking for sure but it was one of my two things I picked to do on this trip (The Strand and Greenwich Village exploration). I love your quote. It makes we want to plan on going back already. But probably won't be a few more years yet. I would next like to experience it with my husband and girls. So maybe in about 5 years.

      Do you plan on going back again one day?

      Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Fact: Food and beverages consumed in the cold after a full day of walking around out in nature will be the most delicious things you have EVER eaten in your life. Waffles and kebabs in the cold? Oh my lord, save me now.

    This looks like such a fantastic trip, Julie, I hope you had a wonderful time. You and your sisters are so beautiful, and you all look so much alike - not a bad lookin' family!

    So you go to New York, which has a climate very much like Ottawa's, and need to get hats and mitts, and I go to Florida and...I also need to get hats and mitts. Like, no doubt you needed them - drat that blasted "feels like" temperature reading, it's good for nothing but making you feel colder - but we should not have needed hats and mitts on your end of things! I was seriously eyeing up the puffer jackets at Uniqlo at Disney Springs, it was so friggin cold at the end of October in Florida.

    1. I believe that fact!! I was ravenous and it was like manna from heaven.

      It was a great trip and one I will remember forever. Much like your recent trip down here. <3 Thank you for the sweet compliment. I share a dad with two of my sisters and I share a mom with the other two. But they kind of grew up together even though our families were separate. Complicated but that is life sometimes.

      LOL! Right?! We only get that cold a couple times a year and we pretty much stay indoors for it. And look at you coming down just in time for one of those freak cold snaps. We don't have gloves and such because we so rarely need them. I love Uniqlo and stop in there any time we go to Disney Springs. The Japanese shirts are my favorite. Did you eat at Morimoto? Love that place too.

      Have a nice weekend!