I should start this post by stating that my husband can be a little bit EXTRA. When it comes to me, he is a very thoughtful and strategic gift-giver. He also LOVES surprises. I hit the romance lottery with him and I don’t take it for granted.
He came to me one day with a request that I take a Friday off so that we could spend time together. The caveat was that I wasn’t allowed to ask any questions and I would have to allow him to make all the arrangements.
So fun, right? Well sure, except he gave me zero information. For weeks leading up to the date, I was left completely in the dark. We’re we going to visit a brewery for a day trip? Were we going somewhere overnight? Was someone coming into town? Like I said, zero information. It was frustrating!
About ten days before I started getting daily clues in the form of hints via packing lists, small presents and cards. As part of these hints, I received money for appropriate clothes, new books, a gift card for music, travel toiletries, etc. It became pretty obvious that we were going somewhere for the weekend but still had no clue about our destination. So I did what anyone else in my position would do – I hauled out the big suitcase and packed as much as humanly possible to cover any scenario.
On the morning of our adventure, we set out early for somewhere. (No lie. He still wasn’t giving me any information.) Not until we pulled into a train station was I was allowed to know our destination… New York City!
We took the Acela. First time for both of us!
FAVORITE THINGS FROM OUR TRIP TO NEW YORK CITY
Can we all agree that one could visit New York a hundred times and still find new and fascinating things to do and see? It is impossible to conquer it all! Because my husband and I like to explore on foot as much as possible, we always wind up discovering something to add to our “next time we visit” bucket list.
On this trip, we covered a ton of ground (literally walking 13 miles most days) and ended up unearthing so many new favorites!
The Algonquin Hotel
I should preface this by divulging that I have been obsessed with this hotel for the last seven years. A writer I knew once told me about the hotel’s history and asked me to stop in for him while visiting the area and snap a few pictures. I fell in love immediately and vowed to one day return for an overnight stay.
The Algonquin Hotel is a gorgeous Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel. It is situated on 44th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues in close proximity to The Harvard Club and publishers like Conde Nast, Vogue and Vanity Fair. It is a short two blocks away from Times Square and Broadway. As far as boutique hotels go, it has remained one of my favorite finds with a vibe and charm unlike any other I’ve encountered. If you are a literary/history geek, it is nothing short of magical.
The Algonquin first opened in 1902 and became incredibly popular amongst the literati of the time in the 1920s. Each day, 19 of these luminaries would meet for lunch at the Algonquin from 1919 until roughly 1929 becoming known as “The Vicious Circle” or “The Round Table.” The group included many of the best-known writers, journalists and artists in New York City including Dorothy Parker, Alexander Woollcott and Robert Serwood.
- The Algonquin was home to actress Tallulah Bankhead and poet Dorothy Parker for a time and was the first hotel in New York City to open its doors to traveling single women.
- New Yorker Magazine was founded at the Algonquin Hotel by Round Table member Harold Ross.
How can anyone resist staying in a place with such a rich history? You could almost feel the creative energy pulsating through the lobby. (No lie. All I wanted to do was pull out my laptop and write.) Because we were visiting as part of a birthday/anniversary celebration, they spoiled us with a bunch of wonderful surprises in our room solidifying our love for this wonderful hotel!
OUR FAVORITE EXPERIENCES
We must have stopped by Bryant Park four or five times during our weekend. It was only a few blocks away from our hotel and right behind the New York Public Library, which I adore. A lovely oasis of gardens, cafe seating and wonderful lawn space we considered Bryant Park the perfect spot for a cup of coffee and people-watching. Billed as “a dynamic visual, cultural and intellectual outdoor experience for New Yorkers and visitors alike,” it’s no wonder more than 12 million people visit per year. We will certainly be back!
Fun Fact: Did you know that 37 miles of bookshelves from the New York Library are actually housed directly underneath the park?
Harry Potter & The Cursed Child | Lyric Theater
Still Potterheads and not the least bit ashamed to admit it, my husband and I were in our geeky glory when we went to see Harry Potter & The Cursed Child on Broadway. The moment we walked into the Lyric we knew we were in for something special. From the light fixtures to the curtains to the interactive (magical!) paintings on the wall and patronuses exploding off the wallpaper, we were immersed and dazzled immediately.
The show itself centers around Harry, Ron, Hermione and their children 19 years after they saved the wizarding world from Voldemort. No spoilers here but I highly recommend it if you’re a Potter fan!
Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge | 485 7th Avenue, 18th Floor
The most Instagrammable rooftop bar experience I’ve ever had, for sure! The decor morphs with the seasons but when we visited Magic Hour was completely awash with pink from the lighting and flowers to the naughty mini-golf course and fully functioning carousel with over 25,000 rhinestones affixed to it. (Yes, really.) When the sun goes down, you’re in for an even better treat – the views of the Empire State Building from the bar are second-to-none. (BTW, I hear brunching at Magic Hour is also next-level.)
I’m happy to report that the food, cocktails and atmosphere were perfection.
Favorite Drink: Hands down the Moira Rose (Rose Petal Gin, Fresh Lemon, Prosecco with a floating Rosebud ice cube made of Raspberry Tea.)
Serendipity 3 | 225 E 60th Street
If I had to put together a top five list of my favorite places to eat in New York, Serendipity 3 would be on it. We’ve visited the cafe twice ourselves with multiple friends also having an excellent experience. I first heard of it back in the 90s when it was mentioned in InStyle Magazine. It is most famous for the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, which I highly recommend as well as the Serendipity Truffle Mac. So good! The restaurant also claims world records for quite a few things (that must be ordered in advance) including the Le Burger Extravagant, Golden Opulence Sunday, Foot Long Haute Dog and at one point the super luxe Frrrozen Haute Chocolate ice cream sundae costing $25,000 and featuring gold, diamonds and a fine blend of 28 cocoas “including 14 of the world’s most expensive.”
Fun Fact: Serendipity 3 has been featured in several movies based in New York City, but most prominently in the movie (whose name was inspired by the restaurant) Serendipity with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale.
Top of the Rock | 30 Rockefeller Plaza
Oh the views! This was a fun discovery for me. I had no idea what Top of the Rock was before this trip. There is something really special about the 360-degree views of Manhattan from Rockefeller Center. Truly breathtaking and awe inspiring!
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge was one of our “must dos” for this visit in New York. Since the pandemic began, my husband and I have walked countless miles exploring various parts of our region and we’ve really fallen in love with discovering cities on foot. We took an early morning train to Brooklyn, grabbed some bagels and coffee, snapped a quick photo in front of the Manhattan Bridge and set out for the day.
In case you’ve not visited New York before, the Brooklyn Bridge is a suspension bridge in New York City that spans the East River between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan. Designed by a fellow named John A. Roebling, bridge construction began in 1869, took 14 years and cost $15 million (which translates into more than $320 million in today’s dollars).
The views are stunning and it is one of the best ways I can think of to burn off all of the delicacies consumed during your stay in the city.
- Apparently, not everyone was convinced the bridge was completely secure. In May of1884, P. T. Barnum led 21 elephants over the Brooklyn Bridge to prove that it was, indeed, stable.
- It takes approximately 60 minutes for the average pedestrian to walk across the bridge. (I’m sure native New Yorkers can make it over much quicker, though!)
And, of course, that was just the tip of the iceberg. It is virtually impossible to cover every wondrous thing we did without boring the hell out of the internet. The food was beyond scrumptious, the company was devine and the discoveries were plentiful. We can’t wait to go back!
What’s YOUR favorite thing to do in New York? Leave a comment and I’ll add it to the bucket list!