"Concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there's nothing you can't do, now you're in New York!"
This past weekend, my family and I ventured up to NYC for a fun, touristy Easter weekend. I clearly have been living under a rock for the past 23 years, because I had no idea that Brooklyn is only a 2-hour drive from Philly. After our amazing weekend wandering around the city (my iPhone told me I took 40,000 steps!) – I can’t wait to plan my next trip! I finally understand the craze of loving New York City!
Here are some of my favorite things that we did:
Dinner at Juliana’s Pizza for authentic “Brooklyn Pizza”
Juliana’s is located right in DUMBO beneath the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge, and is operated by the ever-famous Patsy Grimaldi. Grimaldi’s impeccable recipe for his coal-fired pizza has awarded him numerous recognitions as the best pizza in New York, and even ranked Juliana’s as the #1 pizza place in the entire US. As a self-proclaimed pizza aficionado, I can attest to this pie being the best I’ve ever had… and that says a lot! It was well worth the hour wait, and I definitely will be back.
Morning at the 9/11 Memorial
I still remember exactly where I was on the day of the September 11th attacks. I was in 2nd grade and was completely confused as to what was happening. My parents tried to explain to me what was going on, but as an 8 year old, it went in one ear and out the other. As I got older, I came to understand the grave nature of what actually happened. I thought I had understood it all, but after visiting the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, I learned many more details that I had never known previously. I found myself in tears standing in the museum reading all of the testimonies and seeing all of the different ways that peoples’ lives were torn apart that day. Not to mention, it was a beautiful tribute to all of the heroes that sacrificed so much for their family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers. If you haven’t visited, I highly recommend going.
Afternoon in Central Park and Strawberry Fields
As we strolled through Central Park, I couldn’t help but think of Kevin from Home Alone and his pigeon lady friend – but on a serious note, this was my first time in Central Park and I absolutely loved seeing all of the people biking, relaxing in the grass, and sitting on benches as they took in the beautiful afternoon. It is truly a haven in the concrete jungle of NYC. We meandered through until we reached an area called the Strawberry Fields, which is a tribute to John Lennon, who passed away in the nearby Dakota Apartments. There is a circular mosaic in the center of the garden-area dedicated to him with the word “Imagine” written on it (in remembrance of his famous song). What I loved most was that there was a guy nearby playing guitar and singing some of Lennon’s songs.
Dinner and shopping in Little Italy
For spanning only a few blocks, NYC’s Little Italy has a lot to offer. It is such a charming area with Italian bakeries, small boutique shops, import shops with Italian meats and cheeses (and drinks! See below for the delicious clementine Italian soda I had), and many authentic restaurants. We had dinner reservations at Benito One and the food was delicious – I got the homemade lasagna! I also tried “scungilli” for the first time – which is snail! I don’t know if I would order it again, but hey, it’s always good to try new things. I also stopped in a little boutique shop called Mulberry & Grand - I got the cutest pineapple necklace and I'm obsessed. I'm hoping that they open one in Philly, but at least they have an online store!
Morning Walk on the High Line
On Sunday morning we headed over to the High Line, which is an old rail line that crosses above the Meatpacking District of Manhattan. The line no longer operates, so it has since been converted into an urban park! It is essentially a catwalk above the city filled with beautiful gardens and small vendors that set up their carts and art displays. I loved the vibe there with people just hanging out, reading books, drinking coffee and relaxing with friends.
Lunch at the Chelsea Market
Next we headed over to the Chelsea Market, which is also located in the Meatpacking District. It was previously a factory, but is now home to a variety of gourmet foods sold in a market-like setting. It reminds me of Philly’s “Reading Terminal Market”, with a more contemporary and upscale spin. Also, for a fun history fact: the building was previously Nabisco’s factory HQ and was the birthplace of the Oreo cookie. You may not be able to get America's Favorite Cookie there anymore, but there is an abundance of other treats to try!
Afternoon exploring in Greenwich Village and Washington Square Park
I wish I hadn’t filled up on lunch at the Chelsea Market, because the streets of Greenwich Village were crawling with the cutest restaurants and coffee shops. One of which being Bluestone Café which I’m dying to try! In the heart of Greenwich Village sits Washington Square Park, which features the well-known arch dedicated to George Washington. This is where we decided to end our day before heading back to Philly and we were lucky enough to stumble upon NYU's Accappella group who was performing in the park. Sadly, I didn’t run into any celebrities like I was hoping, but I did stumble upon a Goodwill (yes, I'm a thrift store addict!). I will be posting some of my trendy finds up on the blog soon!
So, that's my NY trip in a nutshell. I hope that if you haven't visited any of the above places mentioned, that I've inspired you to plan your next trip!