In honor of that thing social media likes to do on Thursdays (#throwback), I thought I’d pause before posting my last segment on our day trip to Washington, DC, and instead throw it back to one crazy day last July.
In honor of Nick and I’s 6 years of dating, and our many, many day trips, we decided to make one day trip for the books. In one single day, we traveled to NYC and back (thanks to some seriously cheap flights) and saw all the city’s highlights. If you ever need a jam-packed one day itinerary for sight-seeing in NYC, I’d advise this one! Though by the very end of the day we were both pretty exhausted, it was worth every footstep and every subway ride! (Note: my photography back then just wasn’t quite as good, so you’ll have to excuse the photos, and instead be amazed at the absurd amount of things we saw/did in a day!)
We left on an airplane at 6 AM direct to NYC! Compared to the fact that when we’d make day trips to Asheville, or even to DC, we had a 3.5 hour car ride usually each way, a 1.25 hour flight was nothing. In fact, it was THE BEST. Peanuts and Coca –Cola at 7AM is for sure the breakfast of champions.
We landed at JFK at 7:30 AM and took the Long Island Rail Road straight into NYC’s Penn Station, and were in the heart of NYC by 8:15. How’s that for an early morning?
From there, we walked up 7th Avenue and took a quick pit stop in Macy’s. Up ahead we could see the Empire State Building, and we visited the bottom floor, too. Nick’s not too big on heights, and I’ve been to the top of the Empire State, as well as Rockefeller, so we decided to keep our feet on the ground there.
Our walking tour continued up 5th Avenue looking at all the gorgeous 5th Avenue shops (with a few visits inside, too). By 9AM, we made it up to the NY Public Library, which I’d toured with my mom when I’d traveled with her, and unfortunately it was closed given that it was a Sunday. Definite planning “oops”.
Oh well, that ended up giving us more time to visit Grand Central Station and Times Square! We spent the next two hours getting coffee in Grand Central, admiring the gorgeous buildings, and exploring the ENORMOUS Toys’R’Us in Times Square. (THEY HAVE A FERRIS WHEEL INSIDE – need I say more?).
Afterward, we made our way through Rockefeller Plaza, sat down for a snack, and made our way to St Patrick’s Cathedral at 11AM. Unfortunately, the cathedral was in the middle of renovations so there was a ton of scaffolding and construction going on, but the general awe-inspiring grandeur of the building still made an impact.
At lunch time, I had a surprise up my sleeve for Nick. I told him I’d planned for us to grab lunch at the Green Café (pretty tasty sandwiches and food) to take on a picnic to Central Park. We stopped in for lunch and got it to go, then ate in the park.
It was then that I told him the good news – we wouldn’t have to walk around Central Park to explore. Instead, I’d booked a pedi-cab tour! It wound up being amazing. Our guide was so kind, funny and knowledgeable. He played Pharrel”s “Happy” while we flew through the park. He allowed us to stop at Bethesda Fountain, the Bow Bridge and other movie worthy stops. And, although the official tour was supposed to end near where it started, he was even kind enough to drop us off by Belvedere Castle at my request. (If you’re in NYC and want an incredible way to explore Central Park pretty quickly, I’d highly recommend it!)
It was around 1:30 when we climbed Belvedere Castle and took in the city’s skyline. Its name actually translates to “beautiful view” in Italian. Pictures just don’t do it justice.
Around 2:30 we took a subway down to the Wall Street Area and explored the Financial District. We made it a point to stop at the World Trade Center Memorial, as well as St. Paul’s Chapel. That was really meaningful for me because in high school my choir sang there in honor of 9/11, and it was such a moving experience. They’ve kept the chapel just as it was during the aftermath of 9/11, with memorabilia from the time, and going further back in time they even have a portion of the pew George Washington used to sit in there. It’s really an incredible place to see.
Afterward, at around 4, we walked down Wall Street to Battery Park and took in the sights of the Statue of Liberty and the harbor.
We hopped on another train to Brooklyn and at 5:30, stopped at the famous Grimaldi’s for pizza by the Brooklyn Bridge. We found a table at the Brooklyn Bridge Park to eat at, and ate on the Hudson right by the bridge. The sites were incredible, the city was beautiful, and the pizza was absolutely delicious. I can’t think of a better NYC dinner, we ate the ENTIRE pizza!
Finally, we took a sunset walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. You really have to be careful on it, as there is a lane not only for pedestrians, but also for bikes. And, those bikes will fly by and probably run you over if you’re in the way!
After such a full, full day we got on the Subway at the Brooklyn Bridge stop, took it up to Jackson heights, and hopped on the Q70 bus through Queens to LaGuardia. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 9, but it got pushed back to almost 10, making it a much later day than we’d originally planned for, but we slept the whole way home! So, in just 14 hours we managed to see: Penn Station, Empire State, NY Public Library, Grand Central Station, Times Square, Rockefeller Plaza, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Central Park, Belvedere Castle, the World Trade Center Memorial, St Paul’s Chapel, Wall Street, the Statue of Liberty, and had Grimaldi’s NY Pizza on the River, with a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to top it all off. A successful day if I’ve ever heard of one.
If you’re at all interested in my itinerary complete with even walking directions and a timeline, just send me an email! I’d be happy to give it to you. It was completely do-able between walking, and the subway, plus train rides in and out of the city. I found that more reliable than worrying about a cab getting you in and out through the traffic.