A week in the city that never sleeps.
In November of 2016 I took a trip to New York City. Here is what I got up to.
Since classes for my MBA program were still in session, I took my first red-eye flight. Upon landing in Newark, NJ at 7AM, I killed (read: slept for) a few hour at the airport while my mom flew in from LAX. Once we were together, we bused to the NYC Port Authority, dropped our bags off at Park Central Hotel, and hit the ground running.
In true Meyer women fashion, we were ready to eat. We walked to Serafina, an amazing (and completely packed) Italian restaurant. The pasta was delicious, and only made better by a glass of wine with my favorite woman.
And if you know my mom, then you know we had to do a little shopping (OK, if you know me too, you know I was all in). We walked along 5th Ave, peeking in windows, trying on trench coats, and taking in the surprisingly fresh (and very cold) air.
If you haven’t window shopped 5th Ave during Christmas time, it needs to go on your life list. The displays are so beautifully and carefully curated and will get you into the Christmas spirit. My favorite, of course, are the windows at Saks Fifth Ave.
While along 5th Ave, we visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Although I am not religious myself, I love to visit churches and cathedrals. They are so peaceful and the architecture is always amazing and a piece of living history.
While it is extremely touristy to do, it was a ton of fun. Since we purchased tickets that day, we sat in the very last row, but our view was still plenty good. While the show is not a must-see, it was a fun way to get into the holiday spirit.
With that (and a few snacks from a local deli), we were ready to hit the hay!
After sleeping in much later than either of us imagined possible, my mom and I ventured out for brunch. We selected Petrossian cafe, famous for its caviar. Although neither of us had any caviar, the food was tasty!
The weather could not have been more perfect (although my gloves could have been thicker), so my mom and I made our way into Central Park.
New York in the fall is the most gorgeous thing. Between the reflection of the leaves on water or the clouds on skyscrapers, there is beauty all around.
Continuing the fun outside, we went to the Central Park Zoo. Although small, it was really cute and would be perfect for a day-date with your partner, best friend, or self.
We enjoyed watching the sea lions, bears, and birds! The whole zoo took about an hour and a half.
We then walked through the majority of the park, past the ice rink, many statues, and the lake.
We reached the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is located within Central Park.
Unfortunately, with our late start and long meandering throughout Central Park, we found ourselves with one hour before the Met closed. If you have been to the Met before (and luckily we both have been multiple times), you know there is a ton to see and an hour is not nearly enough time. We made our donations and beelined toward our favorite pieces.
We still made time for some silly pictures though.
After a quick refueling with a pretzel, we walked to Columbus Circle to check out the mall. It is pretty massive and we were happy to poke through the sale racks at J.Crew (and I was happy to sit on their couches for a little leg break). Purchases in hand, we walked all the way back through Central Park to our hotel, stopping only to make dinner reservations at the Redeye Grill.
The food was amazing, and the service even better. We opted for the prefix menu and champagne.
Being that we were in the city that never sleeps, we had to go to Sleep No More. This theatrical production by Britain’s PunchDrunk is based off Shakespeare’s Macbeth, with film noir influences. It is a totally immersive experience and takes place across many floors in a Chelsea warehouse. As a guest, you wear a mask and wander completely silently from room to room watching the actors interact, telling the story of Macbeth only through dance. It is like nothing I have experienced before and extremely hard to describe. If you are able, go! Special thanks to my friend AIi for suggesting this!
Happy Thanksgiving! Although it was weird to be on vacation during such a family-focused holiday, four years of retail employment has dulled the holiday spark. We started the morning with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was interesting to see it in person after many years of watching it on TV. Although, watching it on TV is way less crowded.
We walked around in search of breakfast and found ourselves at the Plaza Hotel. We feasted on an avocado toast and crogue madame at Tartinery. It was really good, although not the most inexpensive for countertop service, but that is New York for you!
My mom and I then hopped on the Subway to the Financial District. We went to the World Trade Center, which was a first for my mom.
It is an extremely thoughtful and provoking memorial and clearly communicates (as best a memorial can) what happened in the September 11th terrorist attacks and how many lives were lost. It was a perfect thing to visit on Thanksgiving, because it makes you so grateful for what you have and the freedom America fosters.
We went into the museum, which was a first for both of us. I would highly recommend it, although it is an intense experience.
After making it back to our hotel (which was an experience in itself because our Subway line wasn’t running), we met with some family members for drinks.
My grandmother, aunt, uncle, and their sons all flew out to NYC on Thanksgiving morning and they had just arrived at our hotel. We caught up over some drinks and then walked over to Trattoria dell’Arte. Here you find the walls covered in artistic pieces of the body, such as a nose, ear, and our personal favorite…a boob.
We all enjoyed eating family style and picking off each other’s pasta plates.
Carlos, Alex, and I then walked to Times Square and enjoyed some cousin time!
My grandmother, mom, and I started our day off at Park Cafe, a very generic American breakfast place, but it got the deed done (although you are paying more for location than for quality). My mom and I then went to the Museum of Modern Art.
MoMA is a great museum, especially during a cold NYC day!
My mom and I then walked to Times Square to visit the TKTS booth. We were hoping there would be tickets available for Hamilton (which my mom has been obsessing over), but everything we could afford was sold out.
Since it was Black Friday and we had a few hours to kill, we went shopping. Ann Taylor LOFT is our jam and we have more than a few matching pieces from her collections. It was definitely a successful shopping trip.
We met up with everyone for a round of drinks at the hotel before going back to the Redeye Grill for dinner (yes – it was that good we wanted everyone to experience it!).
We then broke off from the men and three generations of powerful women took to the streets of New York! It was a wild night that involved smelling perfume and wondering what bakeries do with their leftover bread at night.
As a large family, we went for brunch at JAMS, an adorable place filled with living walls of greenery and lots of natural lighting. This was a great place to get a relatively healthy meal with a side of beautiful ambiance.
Fueled up, we went to Chelsea Market for a little exploring. Chelsea is my favorite district in all of New York and I was excited to go back and spend some time walking around with my family. Being that we had a larger group and my grandmother, who is almost 83, cannot walk far distances, we decided to Uber. Although not the traditional way of getting around in NYC (the Subways are crowded for a reason!), it was the most efficient for us – and surprisingly inexpensive!
Chelsea Market is so beautiful during the holiday season! With walkways covered in twinkle lights, it is hard not to get into the holiday spirit.
We popped into different shops, including one stand where I bought a simple gold necklace during my visit in 2015. Fun fact, I wear that necklace every day and have barely taken it off since.
We then walked along the High Line. Miles and miles long, this expansive pathway provides excellent views of the city and an easy way to get your steps in.
There are lots of places to pull off and take a picture, listen to some live music, or people watch. And the architecture is amazing! If I could afford NYC, this is where I would settle.
We then went to a nearby mall and checked out the weekend-after-Thanksgiving deals. It was utter madness, although not as crazy as my mom purchasing three purses.
At my aunt’s request, we went to the Upper West Side to a favorite consignment store of her’s called Encore. If you are interested in quality designer products at high street prices, check this place out.
We then met with our entire family for dinner at Chola’s. This Indian food was delicious and made for the perfect way to dine family style.
We ended the night with a walk along 5th Ave, looking again at the window decorations.
My grandmother, mom, and I had a standard American breakfast nearby and walked to the Rockefeller Center to do Top of the Rock. I had only ever see the outside of the Rockefeller Center, but after reading BossyPants, wanted to go inside.
We bought our tickets and went straight to the top!
The views were amazing.
This is a great way to really take in this concrete jungle.
We then went to see the Rockefeller Tree, which had just gone up and wasn’t lit yet! It is crazy to think how massive this thing is and how far it is often transported to its new home in New York.
We stopped for some quick pizza because it is New York and a must! Arguably the cheapest way to eat, you will find pizzerias on every street.
We then changed and got ready for the main event: my cousin’s piano recital at Carnegie Hall. Carlos is an amazing pianist, but I am sure you could have gather that from the fact that he was playing at Carnegie Hall.
Carlos was one of 15 contest winners that we watch perform on their instrument of choice. It was amazing to be in a room with so many talented people, listening as the music came to life through years of passionate rehearsal and dedication.
I am so proud of Carlos and was so incredibly happy that I was there to witness this once in a lifetime honor.
We then went to the Russian Tea Room for dinner.
Located next to Carnegie Hall, this restaurant has been serving prestigious musicians and many of New York’s elite for over 80 years. Not at all inexpensive, it was a great way to celebrate a truly memorable night!
The traditional Russian food was delicious and the decor is amazing! We asked for a private tour of the upper floor and were surprised to see this massive glass bear! It not only brings in the Russian theme, it also serves as a fish tank!
What an amazing day.
This was our final morning in the city, so my mom and I wanted to spend our precious hours in Central Park. We had a quick breakfast nearby and walked to Central Park. Although it was cold, we lucked out the entire week with the best weather imaginable. Clear skies and lots of sun made for an amazing week in New York City with my family.
What I loved most about going to New York was how complete it felt. After quitting my job with Target in October of 2015 and moving back to Los Angeles, New York was the first place I traveled too. Being able to go back almost exactly one year later, feeling both like a completely different person and 100% my authentic self, was an amazing experience. It was a full circle moment in my life, and left me feeling complete and on track.
What are your favorite things to do in NYC? Let us know below.