Hold onto your hats, folks! We’re talking today about our little rendezvous to the Big Apple. I apologize in advance for the longevity of this one, but it’s New York City and how can you smoosh it down into a paragraph or two? You can’t. It wouldn’t give it due justice.
We were blessed to be given the opportunity to go along on the Nebraska Cornhuskers Suite Holders annual trip to an away game. The game happened to be against the Rutgers (who we beat!?) in New Jersey, so they flew us out Thursday morning to spend a couple days in New York City before hopping over to New Jersey for the game. Airfare, transportation, and hotel all taken care of and planned out for you, and all you have to do is go along for the ride. It was the perfect set up, but let’s get real here for a second. I don’t think that the purpose of the KJ and Company blog is to just make everything look like rainbows and sunshine, because it isn’t and life happens and that is what makes it beautiful in the end. So here it is: I was dreading going. Not traveling a lot in the past couple years due to not showing horses and getting settled in our married life, I became a big home-body and was not looking forward to packing, flying, bus rides, and going to a city that I knew was going to be swarming with people. Throughout the duration of the trip, I was pushed outside of my comfort zone and looking back now, I’m glad I was. On the plane ride back, it was almost like God said to me “See? That wasn’t so bad. All you have to do is trust Me”. You might think it’s ridiculous because it was just a trip to NYC, but I love how God teaches us through the little things in life like that. Also, I am super blessed to have such an understanding husband and family.
Ok, enough with the ooey gooey heartfelt stuff and onto the NYC goodies!
When we arrived Thursday afternoon to our hotel right on Times Square, they had a welcome party with hors d’oeuvres and an open bar, which is great because we will always take free food and drinks! Although, I went straight for the Starbucks attached to the hotel. No shame. None at all. We wanted to make the most of the time that we had in the city, so we got right on it. After we freshened up, we walked across the street to a place called Juniors for some burgers and cheesecake. It was a nice, low-key place for us hungry travelers to go to get something to eat with no fuss. It was also right up the street from the Phantom of the Opera on Broadway! Holy guacamole those people can sing! You definitely have to experience a show on Broadway – I recommended it hands down. The atmosphere, culture and overall experience is so neat and something you won’t regret. The inside of the theatre itself was so immaculate and made you feel like you were sitting in a French opera house with the Phantom lurking in the background. So awesome. I could just sit there and listen to the orchestra do their thing, and once you add in the amazingly talented singers you have the icing on the cake.
After the show, we wandered around in Times Square for a bit before heading to the hotel for a night cap. The View is the only rotating restaurant in New York City and just so happened to be on top of our hotel. How could you pass up having a drink there? It’s name is very appropriate, because the views were amazing! Not to mention one of the best amaretto sours I’ve ever had.
I think we crammed as many tourist things you can do in a day in NYC as you can. We walked a total of 9.8 miles and it was great. We all had things we wanted to see and do, but one thing we all agreed on is that we wanted to have time to just wander around through neighborhoods, shops, and of course get some classic New York City pizza.
After getting the necessary coffee and diet coke, we started the day by hopping on the subway that took us all the way down to the 9/11 Memorial from Times Square. Subways – a whole new animal in itself. I have never missed driving my truck as much as I did, but it was something fun to say that you’ve experienced. They also saved us a ton of walking time, and I think we started to get the hang of it in the end ?. The 9/11 Memorial was such a humbling experience. You have all the hustle and bustle of the city, until you arrive at the pools that symbolize where the towers once stood. You can actually hear the wind rustling through the leaves on the trees, and you can only imagine the horror that once consumed the area. If you go there and see a white rose on a name of someone who lost their life that day, it means that today would’ve been their birthday. We are so blessed to be where we are and to live with what we have.
From there, we started our walking journey back up towards Times Square. If you really want to get submerged into the culture, I think this is the way to do it. It was probably my favorite part! We stopped by St. Paul’s Cathedral to finish off our 9/11 experience. It is such a historic building that had even more history added to it after 9/11 that you have to at least stroll through it to get an understanding. Then the real walking began. We hopped onto Broadway and used that as our primary street to go off of. Broadway took us right up into SoHo, and an amazing shopping district. I am shocked that neither John nor I bought anything! It was probably the amount of people throwing us off ha. But, it was fun to wander through the stores that we would normally have to shop online for because Lincoln is too small to host them. It’s ok, Lincoln, we still love you. We stopped in Dean & Deluca, which is an amazing market with food and goodies galore. It was dangerous territory. If we wouldn’t have flown here, I probably would’ve spent way too much money in this place. You have to walk through it! John and I got some chocolates that were divine and melted in your mouth. My fave was a salted dark chocolate covered goat cheese truffle. YES – dreamy.
SoHo then takes you right up into Greenwich Village, which is such a drastic change compared to all the other areas of New York that we had been in. The noise level went down immensely and you can tell it is where all the locals go and not so many tourists. The buildings were quaint and fun to explore, with something different on every street. There were little shops and restaurants tucked into areas that you don’t even know how they fit there. Doing some research, I found that Joe’s Pizza was the place to go for an authentic New York slice of pizza if you are in that area. Oh man, oh man it was good! Perfect slice to fold in half and snarf. You could tell the locals were a little irked with us, because we took longer than the normal 5 seconds per person to order ? it is a cash only place, so keep that in mind if you stop by. I’m always in for something sweet, and right next to Joe’s is a place called Pop Bar. I’m sitting here in Nebraska day dreaming about this place. Homemade gelato bars dipped and coated in whatever you desire and they are decadent. I went for the the pistachio gelato bar dipped in dark chocolate, and coated in crushed pistachios. Pop Bar can you please move to Nebraksa? Ok, thanks.
With full tummies and revived energy, we did some more strolling around before heading over to Washington Square Park. I turn around for a second (probably taking another picture of something) and John goes straight to all of the chess tables set up with a local waiting for someone to play. Only he would do that, and I’m glad he did. It was fun to interact with one of the locals with a close game of chess going on. He didn’t end up winning, but he said that if he lived there he would play every Saturday in the park with Wilson haha. He loved it! The park was fun to stroll through and the arch was definitely worth seeing.
We did mess up a little in our planning and coordination, because after we had wandered through Greenwich Village we realized we never saw the Statue of Liberty at least from the shore line. Figuring we would probably not be back in New York City for a long time, we decided to go all the way back down the the South Ferry shoreline to get a look. Yes, we were the people who pushed the “Help” button down in the subway because we could not figure out for the life of us how to get back down to that area. No shame at all, because once we got directions it was just a hop, skip and a jump. It was a fun, little adventure in itself and I’m glad we went, even though we didn’t get a close up picture of the Statue of Liberty, we got to see it on the shore line with the sun setting in the background. Back on the subway and it zoomed us right up to Times Square and our hotel.
We were all wiped, and starving. Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar happened to be right across from our hotel, so we couldn’t pass up the bacon macaroni and cheese burger. Heart attack on a plate. More adventuring through Times Square was done and the M&M store was conquered. Devils Food Cheesecake from Juniors in bed was the perfect ending to the jam packed day.
How can you go to New York and not see Central Park? We had to make it happen. Saturday morning gave a little bit of free time before we had to check our bags in and meet up with the rest of the Nebraksa crew for brunch before heading to the game. We decided to take advantage of it, wake up early, equip ourselves with coffee, and make the trek up to Central Park. I think that we are all in agreement that it was a win. Husker gear and all, we journeyed through the park in awe of the amount of dogs we saw! It was definitely a breath of fresh air for us small town, country heart folks making our way through the big city. Next time, I’m bringing my tennis shoes and hopping in for a run through the park.
Brunch, bloody marys, wine and more coffee before we jumped on our buses to head for the game. Fun group of people, Husker win, chili dogs and hot chocolate, what more could you ask for? Besides the freezing temps and flight delays at the airport due to their radar being down (yikes!) it was a success.
There you have it. Our New York City experience. Friends and family to keep you laughing, adventures to keep you going, delicious food to crave, being the winning team, and a nice, silky, smooth amaretto sour.