Rounding the corner off of the expressway, just coming from the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, we found ourselves in the throws of traffic heading into New York City. As we turned to go into the tunnel that would take us into the city, the skyline appeared to us like a mirage in a desert! It was an unexpected site to see. I have seen the NY skyline hundreds of times in pictures and movies, but like most things in life, one must see it in person. It was larger than expected as if we were driving up to MT Rushmore or the Grand Canyon, almost hard to believe!
We found ourselves flowing through the traffic as though we were veterans of the city commute. Driving large trucks in Chicago may have contributed to my ability to adjust quickly, but whatever the case, our voiced guide was leading us to our hotel, just off of Time Square. Once parked, we settled in to the room and started our adventure, in Times Square.
Times Square was kind of like the eastern version of Vegas. Neither Teresa or I were impressed. But nevertheless it was something that we both wanted to see and experience. All the “eye candy” of lights and shops and street performers, distracted us from our growling stomachs, until we caught the whiff of the hamburgers from the Hard Rock Cafe. We filtered through the traffic of people and sat down to a well overpriced hamburger. Of course, we had to get a sweatshirt as well just to prove that we actually ate there.
Night was fully engulfing the city and our travel day had caught up with us. It was time to head back to the hotel. My son had a knack of navigating the city like a pro. Without a map or phone to guide him, he felt right at home, and to put it into his words, “Dad, this city makes sense!”
Our next day was loaded with adventures with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Both were breathtaking and historically fascinating. We made sure that we got a tour guide so that we could discover the most out of the day. Worth every penny…
That evening we wanted to make our way to Brooklyn and had heard that Juliana’s was the best place to get pizza in the city…or so many said. So, without thinking much about it, we started to make our way from Battery Park to the Brooklyn Bridge. You know, things look much closer when you are far away, until you have to walk to it! We plodded along, finally making our way to the bridge.
If you have never walked across this historical bridge, I highly recommend it! I loved the cyclist, the tourist (such as we were), the locals, and all the vendors who can make a $5 bottle of water sound like a great deal!
Our destination was before us, we had put in about 9 miles of walking up to this point and we were ready for the “best NY pizza in town.”
Juliana’s did not disappoint. luckily we didn’t have to stand in line too long. We were called in and sat at a table tucked in the small but busy pizzeria.
What does a Chicagoan say about NY pizza? I have to admit, it was pretty good.
We decided that another trip across the bridge was probably not in the best interest of our 16 y/o daughter who happened to wear “cool” but “non-efficient” shoes, and was at her max steps for the day. So we boarded the subway for our first adventure underground!
Our subway delivered us about a block away from our hotel, and as wiped as everyone was, we decided to call it a day.
Our next day was rather random. Since Central Park was close, we wanted to saunter around the most famous park in the world and pretend we were in a movie, like “When Harry Met Sally” or “Hitch”. Once again our stomachs were telling us that walking 4-5 miles before breakfast, however healthy, had to be re-fueled. This is where we found a local breakfast place called “Good Enough to Eat”. Here, I believe, I ate the best bacon I have ever had in my life.
If you are even a little close to this place, it’s a must stop and eat!
These were the little places that we loved to discover. We liked to find our selves tucked into the culture of NY, and be among the locals. We loved finding places like this and it proved to be some of the best food and conversation we had.
Central Park, 9/11 Memorial, Chinatown, Little Italy, and SOHO captured the rest of our day. We found another gem in Chinatown for the “best dumplings outside of mainland China” at Joe’s Shanghai. Another must for anyone wanting authentic dumplings and Chinese food. Don’t worry about the common seating arrangements. You may meet some of the coolest people during your meal!
What can I say…this is a must. If you are in NY, you just have to see a Broadway Show!
Afterwards, grab a meal at Juniors or a piece of Cheesecake that can double as a meal!
NY, you surprised me. I loved walking your streets and finding myself in your Burroughs, and little nooks and crannies. I loved walking everywhere to get a sense of how people live and work and play. I loved your off the beaten path treasures, and mainline attractions. I loved your history, while discovering a piece of mine. I never thought I’d want to visit you, but now I can’t wait to come back and get to all the places that I didn’t get to see! No wonder people say, “I Love NY”. I think I get it now…