One of the best things about finding your travel soulmate is that you travel the same way. You have the same objectives for travel, you are interested in similar experiences, have similar spending habits, and you have similar expectations. Travel is exciting and fun – but it’s also exhausting, stressful and expensive. Having the right travel buddy is crucial to making the most of your trip.
For my 28th birthday, Katy and I took a spur of the moment trip to NYC for a long weekend. It couldn’t have been more apparent that we were put on this earth to travel it together. We both thrive on loose agendas that allow flexibility to see where wandering can take us. We share meals so that we can try a little bit of everything instead of being constrained to just one entree. And we both live by the travel like a local mantra. Sure we like the occasional tourist hot spots, but the best way to experience a new city is to see it like the locals do. All of these things were present in our latest trip to the Big Apple.
Five Places to Stumble Upon in New York City
The Lodge at Gallow Green
We were in search of a rooftop bar to watch the sunset and rest our legs when we stumbled upon this treasure. If you’re a fan of Wes Anderson movies, this place is your Disneyland. The Lodge at Gallow Green in the McKittrick Hotel is charming, eclectic and delightful. The barstaff are part of the Sleep No More production and keep the facade up all the way to the rooftop. Forget VIP lounges and crowded booths – you’ll enjoy kicking back with friends on a set of bunk beds or in a private dimly lit library. While it’s not the best place to watch a sunset, we were more than satisfied what we found.
Ice Skating in Central Park
I’ve shared on the blog before how I have a soft spot for significant pop culture locales in my travels. One of my favorite Christmas movies is Serendipity starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. In the movie, they go ice skating in Central Park and John connects the freckles on Kate’s arm to trace the constellation Cassiopeia. So in homage to this lovable rom com, we did that too. Ice skating in Central Park was a bucket list item I was excited to cross off, but I have to admit that the Maggie Daley ice skating ribbon in Chicago is THE COOLEST place to ice skate in the U.S.
PRINT. A Farm-to-Table Restaurant
This Hell’s Kitchen restaurant sources locally and updates the menu daily to incorporate the freshest, seasonal ingredients. Since it was my birthday, I elected to feast on seafood favorites like octopus and oysters – but they had plenty of land-dwelling and vegetable proteins available as well. The food was delicious and ambiance was great, but the real winner here is the rooftop, THE PRESS LOUNGE. Before or after dining they invite you to skip the line and take the elevator up to the rooftop for the most stunning skyline views. Take a look at the stunning shot of the midnight Manhattan sky by Katy in the slideshow above.
In our research for the trip, we found that you could get the best view of the Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Bridge park in DUMBO is a popular spot to get a shot of the Empire State Building underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. We got dropped off at Front and Washington and didn’t even notice it. But when we came back through on our way to walk the Brooklyn Bridge we saw the groups of people with selfie sticks trying to get their best shot.
We loved the Brooklyn Bridge park – a recent art installment reminded us of the one in Amsterdam, though it was much harder to interpret the meaning of ‘YO.’ The weather was definitely on our side that day (mid-60s in December) so it was perfect for a stroll outside. We also came across a carousel, what 28 year old passes up a ride on a carousel? Not this one. Then we eventually made the trek back across the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan. While the bridge is spectacular and the views are great, I really don’t recommend it. There were way too many people crossing, too many cigars, and too many bikes plowing through the hoards of cigar smoking people.
This just might have been our all-time best brunch ever. If we could handcraft a menu with all of our favorite eats it would look just like the menu at Lexington Brasserie. The place was packed so a reservation was definitely necessary. The one missed mark was the customized bloody mary. They had a great little worksheet to mark all your favorite bloody mary fixings which was fun and a step up from a bloody mary bar. We were a little bummed when what was delivered wasn’t what we ordered – they were out of pretty much everything so our bloody mary was just the mix, vodka and a celery stick.
Bonus: And because we were there right before Christmas, we loved walking around to see all the light displays and decorations.
What’s next for Wandering Worldwide? We’ve been busy planning our two week trip to Brazil and South Africa. We’ll have so much to share about how we got free air travel for the trip, going to Lollapalooza in Brazil, and all of the crazy adventures we have planned for South Africa. Stay tuned <and> please subscribe!