In Trips & Tips on
January 11, 2017

NYC Recap From a First Timer’s Point of View

nyc recap

Josh and I had initially planned for a longer baby moon: two + weeks of gallivanting through Europe was the original plan. However, once we realized how fast time crept up on us, we honestly weren’t prepared for such a big trip. Also, the idea of being so on the go whilst being 6 months pregnant didn’t seem like fun (and y’all know how much I love to travel…). So after a heart to heart, we decided to break up that longer trip into a few smaller trips and weekend getaways. One of the destinations I knew we had to go was NYC! And after having such a great time, I can’t wait to share my NYC recap with you all! 

new york city NYC recap

new york city NYC recap

nyc recap

NYC Recap

Why NYC? Because I have never been….what?! I know, it’s so wrong, right? 30 years on this beautiful Earth, 30+ countries, yet I haven’t been to perhaps the most popular city in the world…

It was baffling and we needed to change that….like ASAP!!! And what better of a time to go to NYC than at Christmastime?

Our time in NYC was magical. Time went by way too quickly and we’re already planning our return (we even looked up two-bedroom apartments to rent!!!) Obsessed much? Probably. I just think that NYC truly lived up to the hype that everyone creates it out to be and exceeded our expectations.

the plaza christmas in new york

how beautiful is The Plaza? such gorgeous decor!!

the plaza christmas in new york

NYC recap: what we did…

We um, had quite the lofty aspirations to see a lot in just a couple days. However, we didn’t quite understand how far a single block would take to walk. Haha so once we had taken that into consideration, we slashed our to-do list in half and tackled what we could.

top of the rock NYC new york sites

new york city top of the rock

new york city top of the rock

Rockefeller Center

This was kinda a no-brainer, especially at Christmas time. Cuz hello, the Rockefeller tree!! It was fun to finally see this area that is so coveted and such a landmark to NYC.

rockefeller center

Top of the Rock

We almost didn’t do Top of the Rock. I had seen another blogger quote the price as $25 for admission – which seemed justifiable. However, the prices were actually $34/pp (check before you go to be sure!) and that seemed like a lot. So we actually left the first time to continue shopping and somehow, we kept coming back it. Since neither of us had seen NYC from way up, we decided it was worth the splurge.
And I’m so glad we did. We got lucky with the views and visibility (NYC got a storm the next day) and it was amazing to see the city from a birds eye view. Also, we got all these epic shots and did our “gender reveal” shots. See those here 🙂

top of the rock NYC new york sites

top of the rock NYC new york sites

Central Park + Wollman Rink

Since our hotel was so close to Central Park, we knew we would have to take an hour or two to stroll through it. So we decided to go on a nice walk before our flight home to exercise Phoebe a bit. Even though it was wintertime, it was still beautiful. And we stumbled upon the beautiful Wollman Rink. I have seen this site numerous times in movies and was so excited to see it in person. Since I was pregnant, we were limited to just people watching, so no ice skating, and to be honest, that was fine by me.

wollman rink central park nyc sites

wollman rink central park nyc

central park nyc new york city

NYC Ballet Presents The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center

Our hotel was directly across the street from Lincoln Center, which made seeing a show almost mandatory. And since it was Christmastime, what perfect of an opportunity to see the Nutcracker. I wish we had planned out the day better to have time to dress up + get dinner beforehand because we went to that show tired and hungry. Haha we were quite hangry. Despite our hunger, it was so fun to see a show and beautiful ballet. Josh was definitely a good sport going along with seeing a ballet.

lincoln center nyc new york city ballet

Shopping!

We knew we wanted to shop while we were in NYC. We hit up Gap Kids for buying little outfits for Cam, boots at Aldo for me, and a couple things from J Crew for the both of us. In addition to shopping for ourselves, we did our fair share of window shopping at fabulous stores such as Tiffany’s, Bergdorfs, and Cartier. And omg, the stores were so dreamy and looked fabulous all dressed up in beautiful Christmas decor!

rockefeller center

Eat

We were so excited to try some of the foods NYC is famous for: B&W cookies, NY style pizza, bagels, Italian…Did we try them all? No, but we did have fun trying! We had bagels at Ess-a-bagel (45 min wait for decent bagels), ate late night NY style pizza at Mariella near Hell’s Kitchen (again, decent) and had a fancy lunch at Del Friscos Grill (really good!). We also couldn’t resist stopping by Magnolia Bakery to refuel with cupcakes (very tasty, affordable and no wait!). 

magnolia bakery nyc cupcakes nyc eats

yummy cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery. probably could’ve had three more…#pregoproblems

Where we stayed: The Empire Hotel

We stayed at The Empire Hotel solely based off the price. Since we booked this getaway so last minute, we were scrambling to find something somewhat affordable during the holiday season. And we lucked out big time with The Empire: $150/night! To say we were excited about it was an understatement. And after reading some reviews and seeing the location, we booked it asap!

Upon arrival, we were happy with how cute it was. It definitely has a fun, boutique hotel vibe to it, which we love and usually gravitate towards. The room was cute and cosy and perfect for our little getaway. Some of the reviews said it was noisy, but we didn’t have any complaints in regards to noise when we were in our room. However, I can definitely see this being a fun hotel, perfect for girls getaways or bachelorette parties.

The hotel is also extremely dog friendly too and within close proximity to Central Park. This made it perfect to walk Pheebs in the mornings and for potty breaks.

Overall, I would recommend this hotel if you’re looking for a fun place with a great price! I think though, if this is your first time like mine, I would recommend maybe something in Midtown to be closer to all the major sites. We spent a lot of time walking and being in the thick of it would’ve saved us a good amount of time.

empire hotel nyc

empire hotel nyc

What we’d do next time…

Definitely stay in the middle of things in Midtown or in Lower Manhattan – that way we can spend a day near Central Park/great shops/Broadway, spend a day checking out World Trade Center, Wall Street and make our way over to Brooklyn. Maybe spend an extra couple days so we can leisurely spend our days at the cute cafes I’ve seen in the West Village or Upper East Side. Definitely moving at a slower pace would be nice to really soak in the New York vibe and culture.

What to wear in NYC in winter

I knew the fashion in New York would be all-time and the men and women of NYC really lived up to that stereotype. I loved their fabulous coats, amazing OTK boots, and chic accessories. Also, I fell in love with Canada Goose (everyone – men & women were wearing these!) while we were there and it is already on my wish list for next year. 

Also, I was surprised by how many women wore comfy boots such as Uggs. I guess when it’s 25 degrees with a 15 degree windchill you do what you gotta do to stay warm and comfortable! Regardless, they made these work and look so stylish (tell me your secrets…) I also loved the mix of high/low fashion and different ways of mixing things up. I left inspired to step up my own fashion game! So below is what I would pack for our next trip to NYC.

 

 

Thanks again for coming by! We absolutely love NYC and can’t wait to go back! Hope you loved my NYC recap and feel free to reach out if you have any questions! 

XO,

Chloe

new york city NYC recap

 

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  • So glad I stumbled upon your blog and what a timely post given that I’m in NYC. You should definitely visit when it gets warmer and just tour the entire city. You hit some great sites and there is so much more, especially in all of the boroughs (incl. Staten Island hehe). Upper West is my personal preference over Upper East, but it is all glorious. I’ve lived everywhere and now we are making our home (aka renovating 2 bedroom) in the Bronx (who would have thought). XO!

    PS. Shopping the winter and summer sales at Saks, Bergdorfs and Barneys is kinda like winning the luxury lottery. I’ve spent the same amount on shoes at J.Crew as the Pradas I can walk away with at the final discount days. NYC is the best!

    • Hi Heather!!

      We definitely want to go back! It was amazing and definitely want to come when its warmer haha. I couldn’t believe how cold it was with the windchill! And ya, we definitely want to see more of the boroughs now that we’ve kinda seen some of the major sites. Next time hoping to get further down in Lower Manhattan (since we didn’t see any of it this time around) and make our way over to other areas.

      The shopping sales sound amazing!! I’ve heard amazing things from there so maybe next time we’ll plan our trips around that. Haha. My husband actually likes to shop so I’m sure he’d be in on that! Thanks for coming by and sharing the sales tips!!! XO

  • Definitely a great idea to visit NYC around Christmas! I agree that I’d want more time or a return trip too – it looks lovely!

  • Kat

    This makes me miss NYC so much. I went there years ago and absolutely fell in love with it but I’ve not yet had the chance to go back… I’d also love to go around Thanksgiving/Christmas time. I totally get what you mean that it’s hard to cram it all in, we barely had time to scratch the surface, especially with the jetlag coming over from Europe!

  • Glad you enjoyed NYC! The city really does have a different charm during the holidays. I love the city for it’s food – there’s so much of it that I had to write a blog post about it. Congrats on being able to do a babymoon!

  • I’ve only been to NYC during the late spring/early summer but I would love to go for the Rockefeller tree lighting. To be honest, NYC wasn’t my favorite. Except for Central Park and Broadway. I loved those. Everywhere else was way too crowded for me.

    I had to laugh when you mentioned that the women wore Ugg boots during the winter. It reminds me of here in Chicago. It’s no use trying to be fashionable when you’re just so cold all the time. #FlyAwayFriday

  • I’ve never met anyone who was disappointed by NYC! I went for the first time last February and was so sad that we only had two days there. It definitely lives up to the hype and I’m still working on a plan to get us back there. Love your pictures! #FlyAwayFriday

  • Erin

    Hi Chloe,

    Sounds like you had a blast in NYC. I bet the Nutcracker was incredible. It’s added to my list for next time! I also agree, you really want to stay right in close to the action. We made the mistake of staying to far out based on cost. Next time you visit, try the ‘Sleep No More’ It’s an interactive theatre which a few locals told us to experience. They wouldn’t tell us any more than that. It’s weird and crazy but has lasting impressions. #FlyAwayFriday

  • So cool! I was in NYC for 10 days in December. I think our dates there overlapped in some way. Went to the top of the rock for the first time. That was awesome! I have been to NYC before but this time I had more time to explore new places. But, my list of NY keeps growing! I want to visit during spring or summer next time. #FlyAwayFriday

  • Lynne Sarao

    You are so adorable! It looks like you accomplished quite a bit in the short time you were there. I think the holidays are the perfect time to visit NYC. The lights and festivities add an extra layer of charm!

  • Hahaha I love that Phoebe was along for the ride! You look so happy and glowing, sounds like New York was a blast! You can always go to Europe to gallivant once the baby is born 🙂

  • Editor-in-Style Good

    I love NYC! I got engaged on Brooklyn Bridge when there 🙂 I love Rockefellar Centre! The tree always is incredibly magical. I cannot wait to go back. Magnolia cupcakes are to die for! Hubby bought a 6-pack for my birthday while there and they didn’t last long 🙂 #flyawayfriday

  • Great photos of Rockefeller Center, the Plaza, and the Lincoln Center! I visited NYC in winter and loved it. I’m glad you got to enjoy some highlights and have plans for future trips.
    http://passportcouture.com

  • I took my littles (not-so-little-now) to NYC at Christmas time when they were 1 and 3. Such good memories. We did Radio City instead of the Nutcracker, but I would LOVE to see it there! Such an amazing town any time of year. Cheers from little Copenhagen! #flyawayfriday

  • nattiekaf

    Love New York! I was there in June and had a blast running around Brooklyn and Manhattan, there are still so many things I’d love to do like Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock, I’ll have to go back haha. Looks like you had a great time!

  • David Johnston

    Looks like you had a great time in NY. I’ve never been but it seems like a place everyone wants to go at least once. That skyline is so amazing, can’t wait to one day see it in person. Hotel sounds pretty great too! #FlyAwayFriday

  • Young And Undecided

    Look amazing! I’m going to NYC in May and Top of the Rock is Top of our list! It looks amazing! We are going to try and time it so we are there for sunset! #flyawayfriday

  • This sounds amazing! I am dying to go to NYC and can’t wait to go and see that skyline! Its awesome that you take Pheobe everywhere with you! Is it hard to find hotels that allow dogs? Your post made me want to book a flight asap and go to that cupcake shop haha! Love the photos!

  • I didn’t know if was your first time! YAY! The photos are amazing! Can’t wait to go back in May! xo

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