Take Me Back to NYC

Inevitably when you return to visit a place where you once lived, things will be different.

Apartment 1E. My home for 5 years.

Apartment 1E. My home for 5 years.

I spent five years finding my way around Manhattan before I quit my PR job to travel the world. Hell’s Kitchen was my up-and-coming neighborhood, filled with cuisine from around the world & a gritty vibe — but not quite trendy. I worked at 55th & 3rd and eventually got the hang of the subway. (At least the ACE line.) I had a gaggle of wonderful friends, coworkers I loved and plenty of projects to keep me busy. My teeny tiny apartment that I shared with 3 other folks was at the same time ridiculously small and all I really needed.

I HEART NY!

I HEART NY!

In October, I decided it was time to go back for a visit. It had been way too long, and I missed my favorite city.

My "I miss NYC" face

My “I miss NYC” face

For just 3 nights in town, I sure had a lot of plans:

  1. Meet my college BFF’s new baby in Hoboken
  2. Visit the new WTC & the memorial
  3. See Aladdin on Broadway (thanks, Tieks!)
  4. Eat at all my favorite restaurants in Hell’s Kitchen
  5. Celebrate my ex-roomie’s birthday with karaoke
  6. Wander around in Central Park & see the changing leaves
  7. Spend $200 in NewYork.com gift cards on new NYC experiences

I started strong in Hoboken…

I love this precious baby!

I love this precious baby!

I never new Hoboken had such a beautiful view of NYC

I never new Hoboken had such a beautiful view of NYC! No wonder E loves it so much!

Hey look - I can see my old apartment!

Hey look – I can see my old apartment!

Took the PATH Train back to the new World Trade Center…

At the World Trade Center Memorial

At the World Trade Center Memorial

The new WTC

The new WTC

On to Times Square to see Aladdin on Broadway courtesy of Tieks by Gavrieli. (Note: the dancers wear Tieks for several of the big production numbers – how cool is that?!)

Excited to see Aladdin on Broadway!

Excited to see Aladdin on Broadway!

Disney always does a great job on Broadway

Disney always does a great job on Broadway

Times Square hasn't changed much since my last visit

Times Square hasn’t changed much since my last visit

On to the business of eating at some of my old favorites… Delta Grille, 5 Napkin Burger, Lime Jungle… unfortunately I had more restaurants on my list than meals to eat, so I have to save some of the best for next time.

Brunch at the Delta Grille - yummy Louisiana cuisine in Hell's Kitchen

Brunch at the Delta Grille – yummy Louisiana cuisine in Hell’s Kitchen

Promised a delicious burger at 5 Napkin... but was rather let down. And I forgot how much drinks cost in NYC - sticker shock!

Promised a delicious burger at 5 Napkin… but was rather let down on this visit. And I forgot how much drinks cost in NYC – sticker shock!

My time as a New Yorker was filled with karaoke, so I was excited to revisit that side of myself on this trip. I was dismayed to learn my old Hell’s Kitchen karaoke haunt was no longer having karaoke night – WHAT?! But it’s NYC, so with a little Internet research, I was able to celebrate my old roomie’s birthday in Midtown West with some beautifully sung (in my opinion) showtunes in a private karaoke room. Fortunately, there are no photos or videos of that particular NYC happening…

Up next, Central Park…

Rather than plonking down an exorbitant amount of money for accommodations – NYC just isn’t cheap, especially on a 3-day weekend – I bunked in far more glamorous and comfy digs, with a family I once used to babysit when I was a poor publicist. They’re situated near the Museum of Natural History and Central Park, so I spent lots of time at both locations.

Central Park

Central Park

Bethesda Terrace

Bethesda Terrace

Can never get enough of Bethesda Terrace, the Boathouse & the Bow Bridge

Can never get enough of Bethesda Terrace, the Boathouse & the Bow Bridge

At the Museum of Natural History - full of people on a rainy October day

At the Museum of Natural History – full of people on a rainy October day

And my last big items on the old NYC To Do List was to figure out how to spend $200 from NewYork.com, an awesome online resource for booking shows, sightseeing adventures, hotels and more in New York City. I wanted to do activities I’d never done before and to see the city in a new way, so I went to NewYork.com, agonized for days over the hundreds of possibilities, and ultimately reserved 2 tickets for:

  1. Top of the Rock Observation Deck
  2. Marvel’s THE AVENGERS S.T.A.T.I.O.N. in Times Square
  3. Circle Line Sightseeing – Harbor Lights Cruise.

Well, Top of the Rock was a bust. We waited so long to see if the weather would clear up that by the time we arrived at the check-in desk, the wait to head up to the observation deck was over an hour. So those tickets are in my desk awaiting the next visit.

Bottom of the Rock.

Bottom of the Rock.

My traveling companion is a huge Marvel fan, so we decided to check out the Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. exhibit in Times Square. Sure, its interactive displays are mostly geared toward kids… but sometimes grown women like me date grown men who wish they were Captain America, and so you end up at the superhero attraction rather than the MOMA. In reality, I enjoyed the whole experience – it was more fun than I expected and I learned more about the Hulk than I ever imagined there could be to know.

As you move through the Marvel exhibit, you scan your card to participate in interactive displays

As you move through the Marvel exhibit, you scan your card to participate in interactive displays

My favorite experience from the NewYork.com list was the Circle Line Harbor Lights Cruise – it did not disappoint! I can’t recall ever taking a cruise from Midtown West all the way past the Statue of Liberty and up to Midtown East around the island of Manhattan. The cruise departs at sunset, so you get to see the whole city light up. It’s really a wonderful way to get a feel for the layout of imposing Manhattan.

It seems so sparkly and compact when you look at it from the deck of a boat.

Manhattan will always be home.

Manhattan will always be home.

The Brooklyn Bridge & the new WTC at dusk

The Brooklyn Bridge & the new WTC at dusk

Nighttime on the East River

Nighttime on the East River

Remember Big Apple Angie? Lady Liberty does.

Remember Big Apple Angie? I’m still here =)

From the deck of the Circle Line Harbor Lights Cruise

From the deck of the Circle Line Harbor Lights Cruise

So what did I learn from my quick 3-day Columbus weekend in New York City?

  • My old apartment is SO SMALL. How I lived there with 3 other people is beyond my comprehension. My 20s were an interesting time!
  • Three days isn’t enough to see everyone I need to see, do everything I want to do and eat everything I want to eat.
  • Hell’s Kitchen is so different! So trendy, so hip! There are boutique hotels everywhere, and even more delicious restaurants than there were when I left.
  • The new World Trade Center & memorial left me speechless.
  • Hoboken is alright. I get why people live there. The PATH train is the jam.
  • Karaoke never gets old. (My traveling companion begs to differ.)
  • I’ll never stop loving New York City, no matter how challenging a place it is to live in/visit. It’s simply the best.

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Very special thanks to NewYork.com for the gift card that allowed us to have some really fun new experiences in the city I love so much. Check out the site if you’re planning a visit! 

COME AWAY WITH ME!
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