Last summer, I blogged about our short trip to NYC in a post called “30 Hours in New York City“. We covered a lot of the highlights (Top of the Rock, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Neue Galerie, Tenement Museum) that New York City has to offer in a short period of time and it was a lot of fun.
Last week, I was lucky enough to spend a few more days in New York City. But, this time, I had a completely different experience for three reasons: it was my second visit in less than a year, I had time to spend on my own, and I didn’t overschedule myself.
This got me thinking about how nice it is to visit a big city for the second, third, or fourth time. So, what made this subsequent visit to New York City more meaningful?
For one, I was familiar with the pace and energy of the city and knew how to plan and what to expect. I knew it would take time to get around so I factored that in and didn’t rush myself. For those of you who know me well, I tend to run on the late side. You would have been surprised at how on time I was this week! I also anticipated the crowds and brought my patience. Finally, I walked on Park Ave more when I was in a hurry to avoid the crowds on Fifth Ave.
The second reason I liked going to New York this time is that I got more familiar with the neighbourhood I stayed in. After a few days, it was starting to feel like home. We stayed at 49th and Park, just a few blocks from the big tourist attractions of Rockefeller Center, St Patrick’s, Radio City Music Hall, Bryant Park, Moma, and all the shopping, of course. I figured out where to grab a sandwich (Pret a Manger), a drink or candy bar (Duane Reade), and where the best street vendors were for art souvenirs (around Moma).
Thirdly, it was more relaxing because I had done a lot last year and this year I could pick and choose what I wanted to do. There were three things that were important for me this go-round: going to a taping of Live with Kelly, taking in the major museums, and spending time with friends and family.
I have been watching Live with Kelly for many years now and just love it. There is something about the live host chat segment that I find topical, real, and fun, mainly because of the spontaneity and honesty of the hosts. As a last minute person, I had not gotten Live with Kelly tickets prior to the trip but opted instead to try the standby option. I got to the studio at 6:45 am and made it in to the show where Anderson Cooper was the guest co-host for the hour. Then, a bonus: two more taped host chats that will air in late June! It was so much fun and totally worth the early wake-up call.
The day I got to spend with one of my closest friends, who came in from New Jersey, was a beautiful sunny day, not to mention a real treat because we chatted and caught up as the day progressed. In the morning we saw the Boucher and Fragonard rooms at The Frick Collection and then walked on Madison a bit before enjoying lunch from Zabars on a bench in Central Park.
We spent the afternoon at The Metropolitan Musuem of Art where we chose only two parts of the collection to see. This made our visit more manageable as we focused on Modern and Contemporary Art and the Impressionists. I could have gone home after seeing Thomas Hart Benton’s ‘America Today’, a huge mural that hung at The New School for a long time. For some reason, I am drawn to Benton’s Regionalism paintings that depict life in America in the 20s and 30s, probably because I like fiction set in that time period and the art brings my favorite books to life. Then we walked from The Met down Fifth Ave, stopping to have Grom’s organic sorbet (me only) and to buy books (me only again).
Another reason this trip was more relaxing was because my husband and I didn’t really have any plans the first evening we were there. I wanted to walk to Bryant Park because I had been with my brother a few years ago and there was something sentimental about returning. It’s also a smaller, more intimate park than Central Park, and I love that the iconic New York Public Library is right there. Bryant Park did not disappoint with its cafes, fountain, jugglers, carousel, and people lounging.
After that, we walked to Times Square where we had been toying with the idea of seeing Beautiful, the Carole King musical, last minute. After taking in the bustling crowds and sounds of Times Square, we found ourselves near the tkts booth and stood in line. We bought two tickets at 6:50 pm, made it to the theater by 6:55, and loved every minute of the musical. Walking back to the hotel after the show in the cool summer air was magical, especially after watching a great love story full of music we knew!
Finally, my brother was in New York on business last week, and we got to see him the last night and day that we were there. We had drinks, caught up, and then I saw him again for breakfast the next morning. Shopping was next on the list for us, followed by lunch at Nobu 57 where my husband and a friend joined us. What a lovely way to wrap up four days in New York!
I’ve got my list already made up for my next visit to New York City because there is so much that I just haven’t done. But, again, that’s okay, because New York is a city to be explored and visited often. For example, next time I hope to go to SoHo, the Central Park Zoo, the Empire State Building, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, and go to the Statue of Liberty. It’s hard to believe that I haven’t hit those tourist-y highlights yet – that means I have a lot to look forward to!
Do you have any favorite activities you enjoy in New York City?Email This Post