After checking into our beautiful hotel, we had a quick bite to eat (foodies will hate us for most of the food choices we made while in this city filled with so many different unique options - for example, our first NYC meal? McDonalds.) before heading to pick up our bus tour tickets.
When we were planning our trip, I was overwhelmed with deciding what to do in what order, and so to minimize the stress of planning a vacation in such a big city, we decided to go the ultimate tourist route. Double decker tour buses.
The buses allowed us to hop on and off (on most of the tours), which made it easy to get a closer look at what we wanted, and to get a glimpse of everything else. I would strongly recommend this type of tour (Grayline New York was the company we went through and they were wonderful), especially for those who have never been to the city before. The tour guides are the best part - all of ours were funny, kind, and full of NYC knowledge that we never would have learned had we trecked it through the avenues and streets on our own.
We took the Downtown Tour first, which led us through Greenwich Village, Times Square, Empire State Building, Union Square, Soho, Chinatown and East Village, Rockafeller Center and the World Trade Center Site.
The first place we hopped off was at the World Trade Center site. This was something I was really looking forward to, as the memorial was not built the last time I was in New York.
L: HH in front of the new Freedom Tower, currently under being built; Middle and R: the memorial fountains
The footprint fountain memorials are really beautiful, and I think it is so special that they put the names of the those who lost their lives there on the fountains themselves. It must be really special for the families of the victims to come and see their loved ones' names engraved there forever.
After spending some time soaking up the intense combination of sadness and patriotism at the WTC site, we hopped back on our bus to check out Wall Street, Rockafeller Center and more.
The gorgeous trees lit up at Rockafeller Center, in a pit below the flags is where the famous ice skating rink is.
After hopping off the Downtown Tour, we headed back to our hotel and got ready for our first dinner in the city! Something super special about this dinner? We were going to be joined by Best Friend Fashionista! She literally moved to the Big Apple a week before we got there for our vacation, so it was a fun little addition to our trip to get to spend some time with my bestie.
We had a wonderful dinner full of seafood towers, sushi rolls, wine and lots and lots of catching up and laughs at Blue Fin Restaurant in the lobby of our hotel.
After dinner, we headed up to our hotel room to show Fashionista our room, and grab our coats before walking over to a cute little wine bar to meet another old friend of ours who had also since relocated to NYC.
After quite a few glasses of wine, HH and I said goodbye to our old pals and stumbled back to our hotel for a good night's sleep before waking up on our two-year wedding anniversary!
Tuesday morning, we slept in (I firmly believe in sleeping in on vacation, unless in Disney World, where you should run yourself ragged to see it all). After rising and whispering some sweet Happy Anniversary nothings in each others' ears, we were off to see the city! This time? By cruise!
The face you see on the left is one of a hungover girl.
The cruise might have been my favorite part of the trip. While it was freezing and we couldn't stay outside for longer than a few moments at a time without crying (okay, that was just me), it was such a cool way to see the city. I've been on one of these cruises before, but it was at night, and they were both so great I would recommend doing a day and a night cruise.
Post-cruise, we took a bus back to our hotel, did a little walking around Times Square, and then went to our room to get ready for our very special anniversary dinner. While it was still hours before our 8pm reservations, we decided to get all ready so we could see and do more before dinner!
Our plan was to take another one of the bus tours - this time the Night Tour that would take us into Brooklyn where we would get to see Manhattan from across the river, after our tour, we would swing by Fashionista's apartment to see her new NYC digs, and then head to our dinner (the location a surprise to me!).
The Night Tour was amazing, and while I loved the views, again I was freezing. I never knew how much of a California girl I was until this trip.
Looking at Manhattan from Brooklyn - gorgeous photo, taken by HH!
After soaking in the night tour, we struggled to catch cab (we are so not New Yorkers) to go check out BF Fashionista's new apartment. It was a quick cab ride away, and we were glad that we hadn't decided to hoof it, because it started sprinkling while we were on our way! We made our way into the big ole building that Fashion now resides in, and were met with a friendly doorman who directed us to her darling little apartment. Fashionista totally lucked out, let me tell you. If I'm being real? Her apartment in expensive New York is nicer than any place she's lived that I know of! She's one lucky girl, that Fashionista. After a little tour and some catching up, HH and were off to our dinner, and I was about to find our where he had picked to celebrate two years of wedded bliss!
We hopped in another cab, and were dropped off in front of this:
Handsome Husband had arranged for us to have dinner at the ultra swanky, Nomad Hotel. The restaurant was very fancy, and the food? Impeccable. We shared some appetizers, and I had my all-time favorite meal, steamed lobster, while HH had duck! The service was wonderful, and we shared a few desserts afterwards as well.
On our way out of the restaurant, we asked the hostess to take our photo. While it's not my favorite ever (let's just say she shouldn't quite her
day night job), I love it because it is a photo of us on our day. I'm not insanely into anniversaries, but it is a special day for us, and it will always be special. I loved how thoughtful HH was in choosing a restaurant to celebrate our anniversary, he sought help from NYC transports that we had known in high school to get their best recommendation for a wonderful place to take me. Sometimes, when I least expect it, I fall in love with the silly ginger all over again.
Wednesday morning, after another luxurious sleeping in sesh, we awoke and packed up our bags. We had previously had big plans of taking more tours, and thisthatandtheother, but after two days of hustle and bustle? We kind of wanted to calmly wing it on with our last few hours in the city.
After checking every last nook and cranny of our hotel room (I am notoroius for forgetting things in hotel rooms), we dropped our bags off with the bell check and made our way down the noisy streets in Times Square to pick up some souvenirs from the city.
HH just hanging out in the lobby of the W Hotel
We stopped for a quick sushi lunch, and then headed to Rockafeller Center, where we shopped around in the NBC Store, and sadly got asked to attend a taping of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, but couldn't make it due to our train leaving during the taping.
My handsome guy at the Rock
Then came the moment I was looking forward to for the entire trip. Our stop at Magnolia Bakery! I'm not sure why I hyped this up as much as I did, but I was just itching to get myself a Magnolia cupcake from New York City!
We indulged our sweet tooths (sweet teeth?) - HH had the famous Magnolia Bakery Bananna Pudding and I had the above pictured cute pink cupcake, and then it was time to go grab our bags and make it to the train station.
All in all, our trip to the Big Apple was lovely. It was wonderful to be somewhere new with my Handsome Hubs, to see some sights that I had already seen and some new to me also. It was great to see BF Fashion, and our anniversary dinner was amazing.
Next time? I'll tell you all about our day trip to Washington DC!