As promised, I’m back today sharing more about my New York City adventure over the weekend.
I will preface this post by saying that despite living on Long Island for most of my life, I know little about getting around in New York City. My favorite questions to ask when I have to go in are always 1. Can I walk there from Penn? 2. Where is that in relation to Penn? 3. How long will the cab ride take me from Penn? Prior to the last couple of weeks, my trips there were few and far between — and just making my way out of Penn Station was an accomplishment. But something strange happened during this trip. The City that I once loathed for being crowded, noisy, and dirty became one that I now viewed as exciting, entertaining, and too much fun to leave.
And while I don’t have plans to move to the N.Y.C anytime soon, I developed an affinity for the City. So I thought I would share more about where I stayed and what I did while I was pretending to blend in with a sea of Manhattanites.
I was fortunate enough to stay at The Millenium Hilton (at 55 Church Street), in Manhattan’s Financial District. And almost immediately, I fell in love with the hotel. What’s not to love? The location is ideal (close to the Fulton subway stop); the hotel has views of the Hudson River; and you are in the heart of the Financial District (where there is a Shake Shack conveniently located!). The sleek black exterior, and modern interior was a place where I could instantly feel at home.
If the facade alone didn’t do it, heading up to my room on the 36th floor and seeing that One World Trade Center was going to be my roommate definitely sealed the deal. I apologize for the lack of interior hotel photos, but how could anything compare to that view? Architecturally, One World Trade Center is a breathtaking beauty. But looking just a few feet away and seeing one of the reflecting pools in the footprint of the original World Trade Center tower will take your breath away.
On the first night of my stay I did some sightseeing. From my window, I noticed what looked like a shopping plaza across the street. It seemed like an ideal place to visit. And boy, was it. The plaza was Brookfield Place (on Vesey Street), and it was home to stores like Hermès, Salvatore Ferragamo, Diane von Furstenberg, Theory, and Tory Burch, to name just a few. It’s also a good place to eat with establishments including, Chop’t, Black Seed Bagel, Financier Patisserie, Umami Burger, and my personal favorite — Sprinkles Cupcakes.
Yes, I finally tried my very first cupcake from Sprinkles — and I may never be able to eat a regular one again. I opted for a red velvet cupcake, and what it lacked in size it certainly made up for in taste. The frosting was some of the richest I have ever had and this little number was decadent and moist. Whom should I speak to about getting a Sprinkles on Long Island?
As impressive as the venue was, the pièce-de-résistance was a lighting display of 650 color changing lanterns in the glass enclosed Winter Garden at Brookfield Place. This open space was filled with Palm trees and lanterns for the Luminaries exhibit, which was designed by The LAB at Rockwell Group. It was an incredible exhibition to stumble upon and the tropical feel made me completely forget that I was in the middle of one of the largest cities in the world. If you plan on visiting Brookfield Place, definitely check out this installation. It is being shown until Monday, February 29th.
Once outside of Brookfield Place, make your way to the outdoor ice rink for some amazing views of the Hudson River. If it weren’t so cold and windy out the night I was there, I would have loved to hit the ice.
One thing I appreciate about the Financial District is how much more space there is than in the rest of New York City. I enjoyed taking a stroll along the Hudson River, stopping to watch the Colgate Clock on the other side in New Jersey, and viewing the sunset over the Statue of Liberty. And the best part was that all of these things were so close to my hotel!
The next day I had a meeting at The City Bakery (on 18th Street between 5th and 6th). I love stopping at bakeries in the City, and this one did not disappoint. Their hot chocolate was out of this world. It was thick and creamy — the perfect combination. I ordered a chocolate croissant, too, and may have overdone it with the sweets. On the way back I decided to walk from the bakery to my hotel. I had no idea how far it was, but I could see One World Trade Center in the distance, and figured it couldn’t be that long of a walk. Note to self: skyscrapers in Manhattan are never as close as they appear. So I walked….and walked…and walked some more. Seeing signs along the way for the FDR Drive and Brooklyn Bridge. Finally, I made it back to my hotel, with achy feet and a cold and tired body.
That evening I decided to visit the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. I didn’t feel right having the site of a horrific attack so close to me and not paying my respects to the victims. I highly recommend visiting the memorial museum should you find yourself in New York City. My words could never do justice to the impact that the museum had on me, or the many emotions I was flooded with as I moved through the rooms. The tragic loss of life that occurred on that day is present and brings you back to that moment when you first learned of the news. If you are planning to visit, I would suggest allowing yourself plenty of time to view the exhibits, and to watch the films at your own pace (suggested time: around four hours). There is a lot to see and each piece is too precious to miss.
My last night in New York City was a somber one after viewing the museum, but as I walked back to my hotel I glanced up at One World Trade Center and paid my final respects at the Reflecting Pool.
In stark contrast to my usual “I can’t wait to get home” attitude, I found myself sad to say goodbye to New York City when the time came to leave. The past two weeks taught me to embrace the hustle and bustle of City life, and to always look forward to the adventure that is New York City.