New York, New York! Days 1 & 2

12 Apr

New York is such an amazing city. James, Julian and I packed a whole bunch of touristy stuff in 5 days, and let me tell you I am freaking exhausted. We walked pretty much all day every day, occasionally taking power naps and sitting down for food.

OMG the food.

We ate so much. Seriously. There is no food left in New York because we ate it all.

Day 1

James and I arrived at our apartment around 5pm. Julian came from London and was stuck in customs for 4+ hours – his wait was almost as long as our entire flight!

Pretty much the first thing we did was buy a 7 day unlimited subway pass. We were only there for 5 days but the pass paid for itself by day 3. I didn’t realise just how big NY was – you know how Melbourne has the CBD and Seattle has Downtown? NY has a Downtown, Midtown and Uptown! It’s all linked by the subway, plus there are a whole bunch of cool neighborhoods in between. Stuff that looked walkable on Google Maps was really, really not!

We didn’t have anything planned for the first evening so just walked around Midtown taking in the stores. We went to the NBC store to have a look at the Community merchandise.

But you can just buy from the NBC website and James said he’d rather pay shipping than have to lug it all back, so fair enough! Then we hit up Uniqlo where James bought some long-sleeved shirts and socks. Uniqlo was enormous and maze-like – I got lost more than once.

And then our first meal! Apparently Halal Guys at 53rd and 6th is a NY institution. It was pretty crowded when we got there but the guys were really efficient and we had our food in no time.

It was $6 a plate – ridiculously cheap for such deliciousness. I think in terms of value for money in NY it would be pretty hard to top Halal Guys.

James and I both preferred the gyro (lamb) plate. I really wish I’d tried their falafels – next time! Both plates came with very generous serves of a garlicky white sauce.

We went to a nearby construction site to eat (oh by the way that’s one thing that the TV shows don’t show you – it seems like at any given time half the buildings are covered with scaffolding). I ate so fast I gave myself hiccups. The most expensive city in the world and you can still get a great meal for $6 – amazing. =)

Afterwards we walked to Magnolia Bakery and got some cupcakes to take back to our apartment.

I ordered the red velvet and James got the Michael J Fox Foundation cupcake (vanilla with white vanilla buttercream, orange sprinkles and a white chocolate disc). They were OK but no different from any other store cupcakes I’ve had and not worth seeking out IMO.

Day 2

On our second day we met up with Julian and had hot dogs for breakfast at Gray’s Papaya.

The hot dogs were on the small side and not particularly gourmet, but you can’t go wrong with 2 hot dogs and a papaya drink for $4.95!

The first tourist attraction we hit was Top of the Rock. We went fairly early in the morning (though not right at opening time) and it wasn’t too crowded.

A lot of people online say that if you only do one of the “view” experiences, that Top of the Rock is better because it’s less crowded. But we did Top of the Rock during the day and Empire State at night and enjoyed both. Of course the key difference with Top of the Rock is that you can see the Empire State building.

James said he was surprised by how much he enjoyed Top of the Rock. You really get a sense of how freaking enormous NY is and we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day. It has a cool elevator too – the ceiling gives you a bit of a light show as you’re going up and down.

We walked to Central Park and on the way was the famous LOVE sculpture, so of course we had to get a photo.

We rented some bikes nearby and cycled around Central Park. As with the rest of NY, I didn’t realise that Central Park was so enormous – it would have taken us the whole day to do it on foot! It was full of cyclists and runners (there was actually a race going on at the time) and people walking their dogs. I am insanely jealous of the people who live close by.

This is the view from Top of the Rock. Do you see that lake at the top? Note the size relative to the park.

Here is that lake (or part of it at least) from the ground.

Geez. Run around Central Park a few times and you’ve probably done a marathon.

We cycled our way to the Guggenheim museum. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and the building is a work of art in itself.

And the inside: (the coloured water in the plastic isn’t normally there; it’s part of the current exhibit).

We saw all the major museums except for the Museum of Natural History (which Julian had already seen, so James and I will do it another trip). We all thought that the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art were better – the Guggenheim had some weird art, likes giant pieces of paper that the artist had thrown himself through, etc.

All this before lunch! Though in all fairness we did have a late lunch. Our plan was to eat at off-peak times to minimise how long we had to wait in lines. Smart eh? We went to a place called Burger Joint which was tucked away inside Le Parker Meridian hotel. Even though we were there at like 2:30 the lines were still pretty long and we were very lucky to grab a booth.

The burgers were very juicy and very good.

You can see James making his burger face as he takes his first bite.

We went to Fao Schwarz, which has the big floor piano that Tom Hanks played in Big and is also the inspiration for the toy store in Home Alone 2. I’m sorry to say that the piano was super overrated. The keys were not as responsive as Big had led me to believe (damn you movie trickery!) and the black keys were just decorative.

Nobody is even pressing that key at the end! WTF. Also Julian said that it was out of tune.

James had his own wacky hijinks. He explored the lego area:

The candy section:

And the freaky baby area.

James thought he was just posing with the babies; he didn’t realise that the scary nurse had crept up next to him. After I took the photo he looked to the side and did a double take.

For dinner we went to Gramercy Tavern, which I’ll do a separate post about because it was a pretty long dinner! Our first full day in New York was jam-packed with stuff and the pace didn’t let up for the next few days.

7 Responses to “New York, New York! Days 1 & 2”

  1. The Lu Life April 12, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

    I completely agree with you about Magnolia’s, but next time you come across Magnolia’s, go for the banana pudding – it will make you change your mind about the bakery (unless you get their cupcakes again, of course).

    • pamperedhousewife April 12, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

      Oh, you know what? I think someone else recommended that I try the banana pudding! But I got mixed up and ended up looking for banana pudding at Shake Shack. The next time I head to NY I will give Magnolia’s a chance to redeem itself. =D

      • The Lu Life April 13, 2013 at 5:32 am #

        Haha is there a banana pudding at Shake Shack…? In any case, give the Magnolia’s one a try next time! =)

      • pamperedhousewife April 13, 2013 at 11:58 am #

        There is not. =( I got the frozen custard (strawberry and rhubarb because I couldn’t see banana!) and figured that I had just remembered wrong. =)

  2. Joan April 13, 2013 at 2:18 am #

    I’m looking forward to the next instalment, Kaye. I’m the same kind of tourist as you – next meal, please!

    Is the cream topping on the red velvet cupcake meant to be like that?

    • pamperedhousewife April 13, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

      When I got home I realised that Per Se was in NY (for some reason I had thought it was in Vegas) and was so cut that we’d missed it! But it just gives us something else to look forward to when we go back. =D

      And nah the frosting slid off a little on the subway ride home.

      There was a play we saw that you would have loved! It’s getting its own dedicated post because it was THAT amazing.


  1. First Trip of 2019: New York City! | Diary of a Pampered Housewife - February 4, 2019

    […] Thanks to the night before I craved greasy food all morning. I was also feeling very tired so spent pretty much the entire morning googling easily-accessible potsticker restaurants. I eventually settled on Halal Guys, since I remembered really loving it when James and I first visited NY. […]

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