I’m a west coast girl through and through. It’s a short (short for Hawaiian’s because it’s the closest piece of land to Hawaii!) 4-5 hour flight, the weather is always nice, and the time difference is not very much; it feels like my second home! I decided however, I would venture outside of my comfort zone (yikes!) and make the jump to the east coast, and see what all the hype was about.
I just got back from NYC aka “The Big Apple” and had every intention of making a fabulous post for you, my wonderful readers, right away! After a long 11 hour flight, and being passed out for about 4 hours after getting home, that obviously didn’t happen.
It was 800AM when we landed at JFK and very cloudy, windy, and forecast to be that way all day. What, a, bummer. By the time we had gotten to our hotel and settled in, it was already past 930AM. Weather still wasn’t looking good, after 9 hours on a plane, and it being 300AM HST, I was beat and I needed a N.A.P., A.S.A.P.
Fail Number 1: I had planned to leave immediately and charge on all day but the nap outranked seeing the sights and I had recruited a companion so, a grumpy me would have been no bueno.
Fail Number 2: Our day was SUPPOSED to start at 1200PM, I slept until 1230PM and we didn’t leave until 100PM. It’s okay! My short legs move fast (when I’m on a mission, all other times, it moves at a turtles pace).
My ultimate goal was to walk my way up to Central Park and catch all the sites along the way. I had convinced myself before leaving my hotel room that cloudy would be good and at the very least it would not be raining. We stepped outside and there was, (GASP! ) BLUE SKIES AND SUN! I was stoked, someone was watching out for me and wanted to make this day happen, and they wanted it to be amazing!
We started by walking through the theater district, and up to the famed Red Steps of Times Square. Taking in all the sights and smells (some not so great) along the way. When we got to Times Square, It was, much smaller than I imagined, but still amazing! The lights, the sounds, the people, all of it, even the weird was amazing. Leave it to us to find the only Hawaii girl there, and she was related to someone we knew to boot! (6 degrees people, although for Hawaiians I’m sure it’s more like 3 degrees.)
Tip1: Best place to take a picture is next to H&M in Times Square.
After snapping a few pictures, and talking story with our new Hawaii friend, we decided we would meander our way to the Rockefeller Center. On the way, we stopped at Magnolia Bakery, walked past NBC studios where “The Tonight Show, with Jimmy Fallon” tapes, passed Radio City Music Hall, and snapped a few more pictures. No lie it took about 10 tries before I got that panoramic shot below. I must’ve looked like a damn idiot. We stopped in Rockefeller Center ate our bakery goods and watched them set up the ice skating rink that is set to open in a few weeks. Bonus 2: Made some friends with some Korean speaking tourists who were also looking for Magnolia’s!
Tip 2: Get the banana pudding from Magnolia’s! (my mouth is still craving more!), Find out more about Magnolia’s Bakery HERE.
From the rock, we headed toward Central Park. On the way we made some friends with the NYPD (of course he was Asian), caught a Polish parade on 5th Ave and visited the famous St. Patricks Cathedral, one of the most BEAUTIFUL churches I have ever seen. While we were in the church there was a chinese lady on her cell phone who kept getting told my security to get off her phone, some girls dressed up in traditional Ecuadorian garb, and someone had brought in an alter for Lady Guadalupe aka Virgin Mary.
Tip 3: Come on a sunday and you are almost guaranteed to find a parade making it’s way down 5th Avenue. Find out more about the parade we caught HERE.
Tip 4: On sunday’s there’s a mass at 4pm at St. Patricks, definitely a must do if you’re catholic. Find out more about St. Patricks HERE.
Next, we passed by all the high end and luxury shops on 5th Avenue, where I couldn’t even afford a piece of lint. Finally, what do my eyes see? A treeline! Trees and the smell of food, had lured us to the front of the apple store. Go figure. We bought some Gyro’s from a man from Egypt who thought people from Hawaii don’t wear clothes (WTF?!). We sat for awhile and stared at the famous Plaza Hotel and shooed away some guy trying to peddle us a knockoff iPhone.
Tip 5: All the Food carts are pretty much the same, and pretty much have the same selections, and are pretty much the same price. Find out more about the Street Food HERE.
Central Park is HUGE, Ginaourmous even. I can’t even begin to describe how big and beautiful this park is. Every turn is a surprise, something to see and do on every path. It’s really amazing. It took us about 2 hours on foot to cover about half of the park, and that was with bathroom breaks, people watching, and mini photo shoots.
After leaving Central Park, we visited (by visited, I mean looked outside because it was closing, that would be fail number 3) the American Museum of Natural History, you know, the one on “Night at The Museum”. Walked toward Broadway getting a feel of the neighborhoods of the city, where we found a NYFD fire house, I hoped to see some firemen with no such luck. My luck had us covered with the weather and that was about it. While we walked along Broadway we people watched and tried to get a glimpse of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg at the New York Film Festival, snapped a few more pictures and pretended I knew how to dance ballet in front of the Lincoln Center. Then we continued to the famous “LOVE” art installation and walked back toward Times Square to forage for food.
Tip 6:Times Square at Night and Time Square during the day are two different animals and you must see both! Find out more about Times Square HERE.
We only covered about about 4 miles and there was so much to do or see! It is definitely NOT possible to do or see ALL that New York City has to offer, but if you start early enough it is definitely possible to see all the big tourist attractions. The architecture is so beautiful and the city is so easy to navigate. I have to say, I think I found a new city to love. I’ll be back New York!
Coming up on a future post: Individual reviews of each location I visited, a top 10 New York Tourist attractions post, and How to see it all in 24 hours!