Hello everyone! Today I wanted to share my NYC trip with you!
I wanted to give a bit of an explanation why I didn’t post last week. I thought I would have more time than I did during that week leading up to my trip and then I was in NYC on that Sunday so I ended up not being able to write a full post. Plus, I really needed that break! But I did want to share my trip with you to make up for it and because so many of you were so sweet to wish me a good trip.
So a bit of background on why I was in New York City, my sister really wanted to see a musical that was closing on Broadway Be More Chill. Her roommate said “well let’s go before it does” and so when the closing date was announced, they started planning. They were so sweet and invited me along! Her roommate also asked if she could invite her mother and I said yes (how considerate was she that it wasn’t even my trip and I was asked if it was okay for another guest to join in!) and so the four of us booked our trip and off we went. Here’s what I got up to in the Big Apple!
Day 1 in NYC: Saturday
Travel to NYC
So I had headed into the city to spend the night with my sister and her roommate before we left for the trip. Since our flight was incredibly early we chose to go together. It was the first time that her roommate’s dog, Raven, wasn’t absolutely terrified of me so it was so cute seeing her little personality come out a bit more! We barely got any sleep as we were so excited and my sister was working on her outfit for NYC (more on that later) but we somehow dragged ourselves out of bed for our 6am flights out of O’Hare.
We flew on United and had an average experience I would say. We had bought basic economy so I ended up having to buy a backpack because we weren’t allowed any normal carry on bags, just a personal bag that fit under the seat and/or checking a bag. For a 3 day trip it wasn’t worth checking a bag so backpacks it was! Since we weren’t checking a bag we couldn’t check in to our flights until we arrived at the airport (so they can verify your bag isn’t too big) and even though we were told we weren’t going to have seats together my sister, her roommate, and I all got into the same row both times. Her mom didn’t as she was a separate reservation but that was nice. The plane amenities were lacking though. The first flight didn’t have a screen on the back of the seats but I had plenty of podcasts to listen to. The second flight had one and had access to TV channels so my sister’s roommate and I watched HGTV next to each other and commented on the episodes. The snacks were yummy though and the crew was very nice and professional!
First up, the Brooklyn Bridge! This was my request, on accident. I joked about going to get the picture for the insta and my sister and her roommate ran with it. I’m glad they did though because it was so cool to walk across and experience! I didn’t end up getting that photo for the insta that every other gal gets but I got this one with my sister and that works for me!
Lunch at Juliana’s Pizza
We then went off to find lunch in Brooklyn. We arrived at Juliana’s Pizza, which is a famous pizza place in the city, about half hour after it opened for the day. They already had a line! We waited for probably an hour I think before we were seated. We had nearly left but we were determined to eat there! We’re glad we held out as it was really delicious. We had a margherita pizza with pepperoni added on and I’d highly recommend!
New York Aquarium
Next, we continued south to the New York Aquarium! I will say, this was the longest train ride we took (we walked or took the subway everywhere) and we were all sooooo sleepy. It felt like it took forever but after this trip every other ride felt so fast by comparison!
I do prefer the Shedd in Chicago to the New York Aquarium but that’s not because it’s a bad aquarium at all. In fact, they had a hilarious sea lion show (pictured above) and an amazing shark exhibit, in addition to a ton of great conservation exhibits and outdoor animal exhibits as well. It’s a great aquarium and we were glad we went. I will say that we all were really dehydrated on the trip because the show made us feel so bad about plastic water bottles that we refused to buy any and therefore didn’t have nearly as much water as we should have. Oh well!
Since it was right next to the aquarium and my sister’s roommate’s mom wanted to see it, we took a walk down the boardwalk to the park on Coney Island! To be honest, I had no idea it was a real place that existed today. I totally thought it was either made up or had disappeared in the olden days. LOLS! Now I’m older and wiser.
We were in a bit of a rush though to go back and check into our hotel before the musical later that day (we’d dropped our bags off earlier in the day) so we sort of speed walked through it. Looking back, I wish I’d been more present in this moment but I was very distracted by… email. I know I should have turned off my work email sync during the trip but I didn’t and I do regret that now.
What I did see of Coney Island though was super fun and enjoyable. I can see why it draws a crowd!
The Hampton Inn Times Square Central
We headed back to Times Square to check into our hotel, the Hampton Inn Manhattan/Times Square Central. We really liked the location of our hotel. It was super central to everything, close to all our musicals we were attending, and just overall a great area. After picking an Airbnb a bit farther from downtown in San Antonio, I figured I’d take what I learned and pick a place closer. Sure it cost more, but factoring what we would have spent for subway rides/lyfts/ubers/etc. in addition to time we’d spend going back and forth, I’d say it was worth it. Especially since it was nice to have a place to go back to rest when we needed to. The hotel was great with amenities as they had free breakfast (which was really good), free water/coffee in the lobby (where we got most of our water from), and a great staff. The rooms were quite small, we booked a double/double for all four of us and it was tiny, but honestly it wasn’t terrible. I’d stay there again for sure! We were also next to the theatre where Pretty Woman is playing and across the street from Aladdin which was super cool.
The Phantom of the Opera
Well, you all know me well enough by now to know I wouldn’t go to NYC and not see at least one Broadway show, right? We watched the evening performance of The Phantom of the Opera and WOW. It was an incredible performance. The production has been at the Majestic Theatre for 30 years I believe so they’ve clearly put a ton of effort into making it the best they could, which has really paid off. We were all astounded that the chandelier started ON THE STAGE and then CRASHED BACK INTO IT. All the one in Chicago did was go up and down maybe ten feet. By comparison this was way better. Do you guys want a full review of this musical? I know I’ve done one but I’m willing to do another! It was really an amazing show though and I’m very happy we all picked it as our musical together.
After Phantom we headed back to our hotel. We didn’t know the area that well yet and so we just walked back the way we came. Through Times Square. We were completely unprepared for the amount of people! I tell everyone I’ve been in downtown Chicago on accident for so many big events such as Lolla, St Patty’s, Pride, etc. but they were nothing compared to Times Square on a Saturday night! There were so many people everywhere and the crowds were not moving fast at all. We ended up getting separated from half the group so we all just met up at the hotel since it would have been impossible to find each other. Good thing we stayed close by!
Day 2 in NYC: Sunday
Statue of Liberty
We chose to start our Sunday by saying hello to Lady Liberty! We had made the decision to go see her but we wanted to do the free ferry instead of the paid tour. The paid tour was going to be a little bit more money than we wanted to pay in addition to more time than we wanted to spend so we headed to the harbor and took the Staten Island commuter ferry. It’s free but it doesn’t stop at the island with the Statue of Liberty, it just goes by the front of it. It seems weird that there are people who see this amazing landmark every day! It was really cool to see her in person though.
If you’ve followed me for awhile, you’ll know I became obsessed with the musical Hamilton (along with just about everyone else). So when we made plans to walk to our next destination I noticed that Trinity Church, where Alexander Hamilton is buried, was just a tiny bit out of the way. We walked by the bull statue on Wall Street but Fearless Girl was moved and for some reason we didn’t think to look up her new location, which was actually quite close. Maybe next time! As for A. Ham., the cemetery and church seemed closed for renovations but we were able to see the tombstone from the street. Unfortunately, it was elevated so we couldn’t see Eliza but it was still cool to see!
After Trinity Church we headed off to the 9/11 Memorial. We hadn’t really planned to go see it but my sister’s roommate’s mom who was with us really wanted to. She kind of wanted to see the museum and go through it but we weren’t really into it so she ended up deciding not to go. We just figured we didn’t want to be devastatingly sad, you know? We did walk up to the pools which are located over where the Towers stood. As we looked over them we could see some of the names had a white rose on them. I found a sign that explained that the staff at the Memorial put a white rose on the name on their birthday, which we all found very touching. It was a beautiful memorial and my sister’s roommate and I had a brief conversation on how we’re just so unused to having these kind of events happen on American soil that we don’t have a ton of memorials like this. It’s very surreal and moving to visit the Memorial but I’m glad we did go.
Be More Chill
After the morning’s exploring was done, we headed back to the hotel to change and go to our next musicals! My sister, as I mentioned, really wanted to see Be More Chill, so that was the reason why this trip came to be. Her roommate and the roommate’s mom went to see Hadestown, which I was sad I didn’t get to see but I do intend to catch it once it’s in Chicago! As for this one, it was their last show so we headed over to try to get photos but it was packed, so we just waited a bit, got in line to go in, and took our seats for the performance!
Even though they did close I think I will still do a full review on the musical later but for now I’ll say that I did really like it! The musical was definitely more for a younger audience (think high schoolers) but it had a great message and amazing music. I think the staging was quite simple but that wasn’t a bad thing for this one. It was really fun and since it was the last performance, emotions were high. Several actors did get emotional after their big numbers when the crowds would cheer for them, and especially since there were so many standing ovations.
At the end the cast and crew got the biggest and longest standing ovation I think I’ve ever seen. The audience only settled down once the composer came out and asked everyone to take their seats as they had more material. He did a lovely speech about the journey of the musical to Broadway and what it meant to him to see his work so loved by so many. He also apologized to the five or so people in the audience that had no idea what was going on (aka me LOL) and then he and the rest of the cast and crew did one more song.
Once it was over we headed out and my sister debated if she wanted to try to fight to get to the front of the line for the stage door. She decided to wait until the crowds cleared out a bit more but they never did until someone came out and said that everyone would be going home so with that we headed back to our hotel. We’d intended to go to Chelsea Market that night but since we spent so long waiting to see if we could get any signatures we ended up realizing that it closed at 8pm on a Sunday and we’d likely not get there in time to see anything. Ah well! We just went off to find dinner, walked around the area for a bit, and then headed back to the hotel.
Day 3 in NYC: Monday
On our last day we decided to head to Central Park! We checked out of our hotel, left our bags, and then walked down Broadway to the park. The people at the entrances with their carriage rides and such were super annoying and aggressive. We pushed past them and walked around the park a bit. The park is huge so we think we walked and saw about 20% of it. We saw the lake from a distance I believe (or at least one lake, apparently there’s multiple) and then we went to Strawberry Fields and saw the Imagine mosaic. At this point my sister’s roommate’s mom was tired and chose to sit and enjoy the music performers that were at the mosaic. We agreed to meet her back there once we were done because we had one more place to visit!
American Museum of Natural History
We headed off to the American Museum of Natural History! We wanted to go to a museum and since this one was nearby and seemed really interested we decided to go. There are a ton of museums in New York so it was hard to pick one. I had seen it was free but when we got there we could see prices. We looked it up and saw that they did have prices but that the museum is a “pay what you can” museum so if you want to go in for free you can!
By this time we were exhausted but really wanted to see as much as possible and I think we saw a majority of the exhibits actually. We started trying to find the oceans exhibit for my sister (giant whale pictured above) and then we also saw dinos, the Central/South American exhibits, and more. It was a lot of fun and we really enjoyed the museum! Oh, and I believe this is the museum from the movie Night at the Museum so that was cool too!
After that we headed back to Central Park to get the roommate’s mom and then we all headed off to find lunch. Once we got some food we went back to the hotel, picked up our bags, and then headed back to the airport to catch our flights home!
And that was our trip to New York City! I honestly did love the city a lot more than I thought I would. It was really surprising and I’m happy I gave it a chance. We did a ton so we really took full advantage of our time there and it was amazing! I’m so happy we went and explored.
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