To begin my story, my grandmother, my cousin, and I have birthdays that are pretty close to one another. Since we had two milestone birthdays (a 21st and a 65th) we celebrated in New York City last weekend!
This was my first time to the Big Apple and I have be honest, I fell in love! I loved every second of being surrounded by the city's bright lights, big crowds, and loud traffic! There's something about this city that is simply magical and I know it's where I belong.
On the first day, we said "hello" to Lady Liberty! It was amazing to meet her in person, finally. We had a blast reading the fun facts while walking around the island. After our boat ride back to the city, we stopped for lunch at a cute Chinese restaurant where I drank this bad boy...
Sake. Never again. #enoughsaid
After lunch we went to visit the 9/11 Memorial. Here, I was disheartened by the environment around me and this was my least favorite part of the trip. 9/11 was a tragic occurrence in America's history. As I reflect on the lives lost by the pools, those around me were not so reflective and solemn. I saw families smiling and taking their family portraits, groups of girls taking selfies, etc. Perhaps this is just me, but I felt like this type of behavior was a bit out of place.
Enough of my ranting...
Later that evening we went to Sardi's for the best dinner I have ever had! There were two levels to the restaurant with the bathroom on the second level. Sardi's is visited by celebrities very often. On my exit of the bathroom, there was a fairly large group of people gathered around the stairs pointing into one corner of the room stating "Oh my gosh, is that Bob Hope?!" As I returned to our table downstairs, I announced to Caitlin, my cousin, and my grandma, "I think we are dining with a celebrity this evening! Supposedly Bob Hope is upstairs!" Caitlin didn't know who that was so we IMDb'd him and finds out, he died back in 2003. Guess we weren't dining with the rich and famous?
After dinner, we hustled over to the theatre to watch Vanessa Williams and Cicily Tyson in "The Trip to Bountiful!" Grandma really outdid herself on this one as she got us front row center stage seats. This was also my first Broadway play experience and it was amazing! There were a few moments where I did tear up; Williams and Tyson were perfection!
The next day we toured the home of the Rockettes, Radio City Music Hall. While on the tour, we learned a lot about the Rockettes and the hall's history and we even got to meet one of the stellar (and very well-spoken) dancers! Once our tour concluded, we ran into Timber Brown, the amazing acrobat semi-finalist on America's Got Talent! He was a super friendly guy so vote for Timber!
Check out those abs!
After the excitment of Radio City, we explored Central Park, looked at the shops I can only dream about shopping at on 5th Avenue and bought a few cheap scarves at the Brazilian Day festival that brought crowds on crowds together in a few blocks. I have no idea what Brazilian Day's purpose was (I assume bringing all the Brazilians in NYC together to celebrate their heritage?) but it was loads fun and definitely validated the idea of NYC being a mixing pot.
The nightlife of the Big Apple was amazing! After Grandma went to bed, Caitlin and I explored the city's bars and clubs. The first lounge we visited was the Ava Lounge which was this adorable penthouse and rooftop bar. It was the epitome of a late 20-something's place to hang out with friends after work. It was a little out of our league so we went down the road to the Iguana, a Mexican restaurant and dance club. We had an absolute blast there and that's all I'm going to say about it! #WhatHappensInNYCStaysInNYC
The next evening we went to Connolly's, another rooftop bar and hidden gem that was across from our hotel. We went there a few different nights during our stay and it was by far one of my favorites! The first time we were at Connolly's we were approached by three German gentlemen. We had a very lively debate on the current state of America's government. It was neat to get the opinions of our country from an international standpoint!
The second evening we went to Connolly's we made friends with the table next to us which had a family from Texas. They were all graduates of Texas A&M and were so much fun! We stayed at O'Connolly's until about 4 in the morning just hanging out!
Speaking of 4 A.M. you meet some interesting characters at this early in the morning (late at night?) in Times Square! We witnessed a guy jump up to the street lamp and do pull ups, and we even ran into a guy who was from the same small hometown as Caitlin. It's a small world after all, even in the NYC!
I absolutely loved my experience in the Big City! It was an extended weekend filled with good food, great cocktails, and even better company! I couldn't have asked for a better Labor Day!
I definitely see myself living in NYC, especially as a 20-something post-grad. It would just be amazing to work there with the hustle and bustle of people in their suit & ties and it would be an amazing place to grow new friendships with the wide variety of bars and nightlife the city has to offer! It's only been a week since my return to Ohio and I am definitely homesick for NYC!
Have you ever been to NYC, darlings?