G and I recently returned from NYC, and as some of you may already know, we didn’t do the best job of planning for our big NYC vacay before we left. We booked our flight and hotels a few months ago, but just a few hours prior to our flight leaving we still had nothing planned for what to do once we actually arrived.
So, we did what all self-respecting, red-blooded American New York City tourists should do – we turned to our friend JayZ to help us get into an Empire State of Mind.
Things I did in NYC because JayZ told me to:
Be hood forever
Saw Tribeca (didn’t see DeNiro)
Checked out Broadway (and walked past a McDonald’s)
Cruised down 8th Street
Brought my boy with me
Got welcomed to the melting pot
Took a Yellow Cab, Gypsy Cab, Dollar Cab (not sure which)
Statue of Liberty, long live the World Trade
Take a bus trip
Things we didn’t quite get to (apologies to JayZ):
Sip a mai tai
Trip a referee
Three dice, Cee-lo, three-card Monte
Labor Day Parade
Slip an Ambien
Next time, Jay. Next time.
Our NYC adventures started with a cab ride from the airport to Chelsea where we stayed our first night. I was doing that thing the entire ride where I gawked out the window looking at buildings, bridges, skylines, etc. and the first thing I recognized (from Sex & the City, of course) was the Chrysler Building (which always makes me think of Mr. Big). At one point we were driving through a tunnel with a Beyonce song blasting and I couldn’t help but ask, “Is that from someone’s car or does New York just pipe that in?”
Once we arrived at our hotel (the Hilton Garden Inn, Chelsea) we got ourselves settled and then spent the afternoon wandering around the neighborhood, seeing things like Madison Square Garden, Parsons from Project Runway, and a glimpse of Times Square before we turned around and headed back to our hotel to get ready for dinner.
A few initial observations about NYC that surprised me:
- Lots of smoking! Most of Madison (my city) is non-smoking, and it seems like NYC doesn’t allow smoking in restaurants, but I was surprised by how many people were smoking on the sidewalks. I felt like I was breathing in smoke nearly everywhere we went.
- Almost all the women wear flats! I’m pretty sure this was the first vacation I’ve ever packed for that didn’t include at least one pair of heels. I heart my heels – and I’m sure NYC ladies do, too – but I rarely saw a woman in heels!
- Two words: Black pantyhose. Sorry ladies (and those 3 guys)…this is one trend I’ll pass.
For the most part G and I discovered that NYC is a “wing it” sort of city. Even though we didn’t have plans prior to arriving we had no problem finding things to do. In hindsight, however, the one thing I wish we had pre-planned was dining. We didn’t have any idea about NYC’s best places to eat, so I took it to Facebook and got some great suggestions from readers (thank you, Carissa, Delnott, Jill, Harmony, and everyone who tried to help us out!) ABC Kitchen sounded amazing to us, but sadly they were booked for the night.
In the end we hit up Asuka Sushi on W. 23rd St. and enjoyed a great meal (after texting our sushi-ordering expert BIL Ben for a little help with the menu) and 2 for 1 drinks. They tried to sit us at the “tourist table” (I’m convinced every restaurant in NYC has one) and at one point asked me if I wanted to use the baby chopsticks, but the food was delicious and the service was wonderful, so we give it a thumbs up!
We spent the remainder of our first night in NYC bar-hopping back to our bed.
(I’m pretty sure that’s how JayZ spent his first night in town, too.)