the best day ever in NYC

posted on: July 24, 2012

IMG_4178NEW copy

the first time i ventured to new york city, was in the summer of 2005.  it was a confusing time in my life, as there were some tough decisions to be made when it came to school, relationships, and growing up in general.  playing on my discman was the brand new coldplay x and y album, and most importantly the song fix you.  as our red eye flight approached jfk, the lyrics "lights will guide you home" played and before even landing in nyc, i had already fallen in love.  it had been a long dream of mine to visit manhattan and when we woke up the next morning to see it in the daylight, i was so thrilled that i threw up.  just like an excited puppy would. 


two years later, i found myself on the last day of our second family vacation to new york city.  and though i was two years older and wiser, i was once again in nyc to do a little soul searching (or perhaps i'm just a drama queen.  nah, boys are just the worst).  i call this particular day the best day ever in nyc.  and though it might not sound that special to you, it's a day that i often think of and smile.


i spent the best day ever in nyc alone, which was a rarity on a family trip with 19 others (how do the duggars do it?).  it was not to be wasted, and i was on a very specific mission; i was to act only as new yorkers do for the entire day while on a quest to find the spot where sally drops off harry at the beginning of when harry met sally.  my favourite movie and my favourite city.  with the sun shining and coldplay on my ipod shuffle for nostalgia, i set off.


my observations led me to walk as fast as i could like i was in a big hurry to something super duper important.  this was both fun and great exercise.  i also stood on the closest possible edge of the sidewalk or on the street itself when waiting for a moment to cross.  and of course, i took the subway with ease to my memorized directions to washington square park (a real new yorker wouldn't carry a map with them).  i even pretended to check my phone at times, though international roaming made it impossible to actually use. 


i was asked for directions 3 separate times by tourists on the way to the park.  twice on the subway platform and once while walking.  "people actually think that I'M a new yorker", i thought and i was even able to correctly answer their questions.  found my own way to washington square park and sat to read a magazine and people watch.  i then made my way over to the washington arch, snapped the above picture, and then stood in awe for a good 10 minutes.  felt an indescribable sense of happiness that i'd set off on a journey, though such a small one, and completed it.  nothing could ruin my mood.


took my time wandering around the city, getting lost in its beauty.  stopped in a coffee shop to rest my feet, shopped in any decent looking boutiques.  snapped a few more city pictures, with my favourite songs still playing in my ears.  and just when i thought this simple nyc day couldn't get ANY better, i heard someone yelling through my head phones.


"hey, you!  hey, girl with the sunglasses, slow down!"  they were yelling at me.  thinking i'd maybe dropped something or worse, that i had toilet paper stuck to my sandal or something, i stopped in my tracks and took my ear phones out.  i swivelled around to find myself face to face with an incredibly handsome man in a suit.   "i'm sorry," he said, "but i was having lunch with my co-workers and saw you walking past.  i just had to come talk to you."  was this a joke?  this kind of thing NEVER happens to me, and certainly not in vancouver.  i stood frozen, unable to say anything at all in return.  "i just ran this whole block to catch up to you, you sure do walk fast," he said, breaking the silence.  after explaining that i was from out of town, and him admitting that he was actually from new jersey (pffft) i believe we even exchanged numbers despite the fact that i was seeing someone back home.  for all his flattery, the least i could do was give him my phone number, right?  


we never saw each other again and to be honest, i don't even remember his name.  but in a moment of time when i desperately needed something good to happen, new york pulled through for me.  it was then that i realized that i'm a city girl.  not because some stranger hit on me (but really, i wouldn't complain if it happened often lol), but because before this day, i would have never gone to a coffee shop, eaten lunch, or wandered around downtown alone.  i wouldn't have dreamed of having an adventure myself.  the best day ever in nyc opened up my eyes to a world of possibility. 


i moved to vancouver soon after and i'm still with that guy i was seeing.  if you happen to still be reading, i'm so excited to announce that in exactly a week, we're headed to new york city for a much needed vacation together!!!  but we need your help.  we're looking for your expert new york recommendations, for anything from restaurants, shopping, sight seeing, must-visit neighbourhoods, cool things to-do etc.  your suggestions are much appreciated, thank you lovelies!

49 comments:

  1. I just moved back to Canada after having living 2 hrs away from NYC for the past 6 years and I miss the city so much. I used to go there a few times a month and stay with friends for the weekend. In terms of recommendations, you should definitely check out the High Line - it's amazing!

    Courtney ~ http://sartorialsidelines

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard only good things of the High Line, will make sure it's on the must see list! Thanks so much, Courtney. Hopefully you'll be able to visit NYC again soon :) xo

      Delete
  2. lol You are too cute! Such a romantic story (of you and the city!) I know there is an app called foursquare that would be perfect for your adventures. I'm not sure if you are an iphone user or not but It is what I rely on when I go to the city in search of an adventure.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Such a great way to tell the story!! I was really into it ;-) Have fun in NY, my hubby & I are going in a month and I can't wait. I'm a city girl too that happens to be stuck living in the country these days...it's pretty sad ;-/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I'll make sure to post all the fun things we get up to so you can add some to your NYC itinerary. Glad you get a city fix soon :)

      Delete
  4. This is a wonderful story! To be mistaken for a New Yorker is incredibly flattering and that day to yourself in the city sounded absolutely perfect; it's totally something I'd want to do. How exciting that you're returning to NYC, I can't wait to hear (read) the new stories you'll come home with!

    Marisa
    http://style-rhapsody.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. i love this story! it's something about this city, it does things to you ;) ...5 words...can i come with you?! new york city is one of my favourite places in the whole world! i've been twice and am getting the itch to go again. but now on to some suggestions (aside from some of the obvious touristy things)... my number one thing, the brooklyn flea market! i missed it both times that i've been, and it's supposed to be like....amazing!!! this one is kinda silly, but Justin Timberlake's restaurant/bar (kinda almost sports bar) Southern Comfort, really great food/beer. the new york city library, such a beautiful building and you're able to go into some of the rooms filled with soo many books (although they wouldn't let me get a library card :( you need to be an american citizen) and lastly an unexpected thing that i ended up loving was walking the highline, it has great views and runs along the lower west side.
    have such an amazing time!
    and if you happen to spend some time in TopShop.... i like presents!! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Remind me next time I see you, to tell you about the time Adam did shots with Justin Timberlake. Thanks so much for your recommendations, we are absolutely checking out the Brooklyn Flea. And Adam's obsessed with books he'll love to see the library!

      Delete
  6. Thanks for this post, Alicia. I could use some recommendations myself as I would love to visit as well. Sorry I'm no help, but I'll be reading the comments too. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha YAY! I'll take note of what is good and what to avoid. Have a great weekend xo

      Delete
  7. I agree with Holly about the flea/food markets in Brooklyn, two to be sure to go to are Smorgasburg (Saturdays)/Brooklyn Flea (Sundays--same location) and Artists and Fleas if you make it out to Brooklyn. Also, check out Racked NY and Eater NY also Refinery 29 New York edition for all the great shopping and new dining spots. As far as the library that Holly mentions, I am assuming she means the one on 5th Ave and 42nd St (we have HUNDREDS of libraries in NYC, but that is the big fancy one). I notice on your blog, you have amazing accessories, so you will be in heaven at Henri Bendel on 5th Ave. It is a store of only accessories and makeup! Ahhhmazing!

    As far as food, I am partial to the non-tourist places, just because the food tends to be better and they are not so crazy busy. But a few places that are mobbed, for good reason: Eataly on 23rd St, Shake Shack (several locations), anything by Daniel Boulud (DBGB, DB Bistro Moderne, Bar Boulud, Epicerie Boulud, etc---ALL YUMMY!--Epicerie and DBGB are the most reasonable $$-wise), and ANY Momofuku (delicious!!) and Momofuku Milk Bar for the best weird desserts you have ever had!

    I love thrifting in the Lower East Side and East Village, there are some great vintage stores on E 7th St., and 1st Ave below 14th St, Beacons Closet is a great place too, there are 3 locations. If you want to gawk at fancy things, 5th Ave/Madison Ave from 60th St and down is where you will find Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Tiffany, etc. PLEASE, for all that is holy, don't wait in that dumb line in front of Hollister or Abercrombie.

    I suggest just walking around and exploring, you are a city girl, so you will blend right in. Walk the West Village, Central Park, the Brooklyn waterfront. I hope you enjoy it here, and I hope my hubby and I run into you on your travels! Enjoy your visit! :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've never been to New York... one day :)
    BUT I did see this episode of "Worlds Weirdest Restaurants" (I love Bob Blumer) where they went to this place and it looked so freaking cool. http://www.ninjanewyork.com/index.html

    ReplyDelete
  9. Awe, wonderful story Alicia <3 So sweet that you ended up having your own adventure in one of the greatest cities on Earth!
    I loved NYC so much and I so wish I could go back with Jer this time - one day I suppose!
    If you're hankering a treat while you're there then go to Crumbs - I am telling you its the best freaking cupcake I've ever had in my LIFE!
    xx


    The Urban Umbrella
    xoxo

    http://www.theurbanumbrella.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think a city trip would be complete without a cupcake! Thanks Bree, I'll definitely check out Crumb. Hope you and Jer make it out to NYC soon too :) xo

      Delete
  10. On the night we got engaged my husband and I ate at a Japanese fusion place called Bond St. It's ON Bond Street in NoHo. It's hip, romantic and the food is great. Also a good shopping area!!!

    www.eye-of-arms.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your husband proposed in NYC? That is sooo romantic! Love Japanese fusion, will definitely check it out, thanks Aymara! Have a great weekend :)

      Delete
  11. Great story!! My first trip to New York wasn't as perfect, but I was 19 and it was my first time travelling alone. I went down to visit a friend in school and fell in love with the city.
    One of my favorite places of the trip was visiting a cafe called Alice's Tea Cup. I went for tea a scones with a group of girls to this adorable place that is themed completely after Alice and Wonderland.
    Since I loved it so much I save the bags of loose tea that I have from there so I have the address for you so you can check it out!

    102 West73rd st, 156 East64th st, and 220 East81st st. It has been a few year so I don't remember which exact location I went to , but I'm sure they are all equally great!

    Have a great trip!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You travelled alone? So brave and liberating! Will definitely try to check out Alice's Tea Cup. Thanks so much Kaiti, have a great weekend!

      Delete
  12. Aw what a fun story!
    I just got back from New York and you need to eat at La Nonna's in Williamsburg. AMAZING pizza!


    xo Jennifer

    http://seekingstyleblog.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Williamsburg + Pizza = WIN! Thanks, Jennifer!

      Delete
  13. Ohh, such a lovely little piece of writing here! I actually live about an hour away from NYC and visit with friends and family at least a few times every few months. I know the East / West Village pretty well, and I second the recommendation for Momofuku...try their ramen bowl, it's absolutely tasty and so huge for the price! The Village also has a bunch of cute little thrift shops and vintage shops, which are always fun to look at. Plus, if you're a bookworm, I totally recommend The Strand. It's an amazing, huge indie bookstore that sells both used and new books at great prices in the Village. SO AMAZING.

    - Samantha
    http://samlovesmakeup.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love this story! Those are the best moments when travelling.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Scroll down my blog. I had just been in NYC in March, and I totally fell in love. I nearly cried when I had to leave, as I can totally imagine myself living there! How exciting that you are going ere soon! My cousins from NY insist on Top of the Rock, and say it's the most amazing view. Sadly when we tried to go there twice, it was too foggy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One more thing....make sure you go shopping at Century 21!!!!

      Delete
  16. Gimme Coffee is probably the best coffee EVER. i would def. suggest you go there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And you know how much I love my caffeine. Thanks, Alexis. Gimme Coffee is officially on the must-see list :) Have a great weekend xo

      Delete
  17. New York is such a great city to visit! One of my all time favourite cities! You should check out Williamsburg in Brooklyn. It's a hipster area of Brooklyn full of good eats, vintage fashion and fun! As well try to hit up waffles & dinges truck, big gay icecream truck, momofuku and Luke's lobster rolls! Cheap and amazing eats :)

    B @ www.perfectinpurple.com :)

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  18. THIS IS THE cutest story ever! I am going to send you a list of NYC recommendations !!!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Check this out! it's the ideal guide for sure!!

    http://www.garancedore.fr/en/2011/01/18/kate-new-york/

    ReplyDelete
  20. NEW YORK CITY IS THE BEST...I HAVE TO SAY PERSONALLY. I AM FOLLOWING YOU :) I hope you can check my site out: http://theproverbs.net and FOLLOW. Thanks for your time. Hope to hear from you soon and joining :)

    bless,
    steven b.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great story! It's these little experiences that can mean the most - and is what makes travelling so great! :)

    Life Etc

    ReplyDelete
  22. Such a cute story I loved it!! I think it's so empowering to do all of those things alone and figure yourself out, your strengths and weaknesses and what you really love!
    and the man in the suit, obviously a bonus ;) and of course he would hit on you, you're gorgeous!!!
    I was in New York for the first time two summers ago and it was amazing, I cannot wait to go back :)
    I did all the typical touristy things and one my favorites was walking along the Brooklyn Bridge at night with ice cream :)
    hope you have an amazing time!
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  23. Lower East Side day! Vintage shopping and boutiques. Earth matters health food (LES) market and buffet lunch counter. Epsteins (also LES) for happy hour on makeshift patio. Dinner and margueritas at any mexican restaurant in LES. West Side day! chelsea galleries (maybe some openings), thai dinner at Pongsri then Art bar-really really awesome (west village) for drinks later. Central Park day! Of course the patio in central park and the MOMA to check out some Dhali. East side day! buffalo exchange and vintage shopping, mercury lounge for drinks. Wow I drank my way through NY:) Oh and the West Side Tavern-some say it's a frat bar at night, but love the 90's music!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Great story!!!! Makes me smile to read about your adventure, and to know that that was such a huge thing for you to venture out on your own!! But now we know it was just the beginning of great things that you would accomplish! Baby steps lead to great things and this was a step for sure! Hope you and Adam have an amazing time and create adventures of your own worth remembering. I can't wait to hear all the stories when you get back!

    Love,
    Paula
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  25. Awesome story! Makes me want to go back for sure. I know its super tourist-y but go on a food walking tour of Greenwich Village.We had awesome eats and gave us some good ideas for the rest of the trip. I would also go see a Broadway or Off Broadway show - Newsies or Rent!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Aweh - cutest. story. :)
    I went to New York City last March, but, considering it was my first time, I was THE tourist. I only had time to check out the most popular, typical, go-to spots. However, I definitely recommend walking around Soho, though that might be a given and in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if you've already been. But in case you haven't, it's the cutest! Chock-full of little boutiques, stores and restaurants. Also, I didn't have time to give this cafe a try, but I heard about it on an old Michelle Phan video, and totally regret not squeezing it into my schedule. It's called Cafe Habana (17 Prince St) and is supposedly grilled-corn heaven. Grilled corn, corn on the cob - Mexican styled, seasoned with butter, cheese, the works! If you try it out, let me know how you like it :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love Soho and the whole meatpacking district! Try to rent some bikes to ride through Central Park. We took a horse coach - much too expensive and not fast enough:)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hey Alica
    I love NYC! It's my favorite city in the world! I hang out in tribecca/ soho area so Here are some of my favorite spots.
    1)Check out the roof top bar at the Gansevoort hotel in the meat packing district. Its one of my fav new york spots with a great patio and great view!
    2) I know you love your coffee so I will share my secret for the VERY VERY best cup of Joe in all of NYC its called Gimme Coffee and its in little Italy between Prince and Spring in Nolita (6 train to Spring St).( Nolita is north of little italy).
    3) You can ask any local and they will tell you that Raoul's ( its a steakhouse) is the very best restaurant in town. Its been around forever and Robert Deniro eats there often. It was the best steak I ever had and not ridiculously over priced. 180 Prince Street, New York,(212) 966-3518

    I hope you guys have an amazing time!! Make sure you make a stop to Century 21! Can't wait to see your posts after a little NYC inspiration and shopping!! XO Denise

    ReplyDelete
  29. What a cute post! I love it! New York is such a magical city!

    My man and I were just there in May and we had a fantastic time. I highly recommend getting the City Pass so that you can check out all the touristy stuff at a discounted rate. You can do the Empire State Building, a bunch of the museums, the boat cruise out to Statue of Liberty and Top of the Rock. Totally worth it. (http://www.citypass.com/new-york)

    I second some of the recommendations above- Gansenvoort Hotel roof top bar is a must. You def have to spend some time in Century 21- best discount designer finds ever! (I spent a fortune in there but left with so many goodies!)

    Lunch at Southwest Porch in Bryant Park is awesome (and great people watching!) Get a 'Wich Craft ice cream sandwich at the ice cream booth for dessert!

    We also did a tour with Gabby Cabby (check him out online at gabbycabby.com)which was fantastic and definitely a highlight of the trip for me. He picks you up at your hotel in the morning in an SUV and takes you on a full tour of all the boroughs and through the city with tons of insight and commentary. He can answer your every question about NYC past and present and is a hilarious character (reminds me of Larry David). It was an absolutely awesome day and I learned so much.

    Can't wait to see your post-New York entries! Have an amazing time! xo

    ReplyDelete
  30. Oh, as far as Century 21. GO THERE, yes...but a little known secret, there is one in the Upper West Side now, so you don't have to deal with the dirty, crazy Financial District one. It is clean, neat, quiet, and has great stock.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I say little known...if you live in NYC, obvs you know about Cent 21 on West 66th St...but most tourists don't come to my neighborhood (UWS) unless they are going to Lincoln Center for jazz or to Fashion Week. We also just got a DSW that gets like, NO traffic at all. I walked past today and didn't even know it was open yet, it was that quiet!

      That being said, there are lots of great concerts at Lincoln Center. MoMa is great, the Met, etc...Governors Island is a great, FREE little side trip, its a nice place to bike and take in the skyline.

      It is tough to recommend a restaurant (even though above I did--MOMOFUKU SSAM or NOODLE, GO THERE!! YES!!!). I know people say "oh, New Yorkers like this place"...but it is so subjective, especially depending on the neighborhood where you live, you have your favorite spots (like the Raoul's recommendation--my cousin who lives in the Village likes it, but I am partial to a place further uptown). Just avoid Times Square chain restaurants, and you are safe.

      A nice classy "grown-up" night would be at Gramercy Park hotel, if you can, catch a performance by Brian Newman. He is a friend of my hubby and puts on an AMAZING show. The restaurant in the hotel, Maialino, is excellent, try the pasta tasting on Sunday! Soooo yummmy!

      Delete
    2. You're the BEST! Thank you so much for all the recommendations, going to hit up Century 21 when we're Uptown! We're having tons of fun here, this city is so amazing :) xo

      Delete
  31. Great "only in New York" story. For trip inspiration, I recommend you check out the "date night" recommendations of Jenn & Emily from The Purple Passport:
    https://placeling.com/users/purplepassport

    They've great taste and an insider's track on the city.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. L to the Izzo? HAHA You're my fav. Thanks for the link, will go check out her date night recommendations :)

      Delete
  32. I would recommend that if you’re in the mood for some Parisian pastries, I would stop by the infamous, La Duree. I tried La Duree for the first time while in Paris last spring and I fell in love. They recently opened a small shop in NYC and it is their only location in the U.S.A. Their macaroons and tea are the best I've ever experienced. Happy Travels!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I mean really, who could say no to macaroons?! Thanks so much for the reco, Miranda! Have a fab weekend xo

      Delete

AddThis Smart Layers