Yesterday, Monday morning, I headed to the airport at 4am with a friend who works at JetBlue and was generously able to get us standby tickets for a 5:30am flight to New York City! This was a dream that was birthed during a dinner conversation we had together in December of last year. I have always LOVED new experiences and traveling to new places! But, my desire for travel has far outweighed the practicality of it. Especially in my current season, with three young children and a tight budget. So, when the opportunity of taking a day trip to NYC was brought up - I was ALL IN! The timing worked out perfectly too, because this Wednesday also happens to be my 32nd birthday! :)
It was an adrenaline-filled day, starting at the very beginning. The thing about standby tickets, is there is always a possibility you can get bumped. So when we arrived to the airport and found out the plane had almost completely booked up overnight - we sat there, anxiously waiting for someone to not show up!
AND, thankfully… someone didn’t (sorry to that someone, but also, thank you!) Once we were on the plane, I finally let myself start to get excited. It was REALLY happening. We were going to New York!
I tried to go into this experience with no expectations at all - except, to enjoy the adventure. We had no real plans. No itinerary or agenda, just the way I like it! Once we got on the plane, we started talking through the different things we wanted to see. I ended up finding this fun tourist map and it was a great help to us, as far as starting in Central Park and working our way down.
Once our plane landed at JFK, we decided to take a cab into the city. This was my first experience in a cab and, maybe, my last! The stop and go traffic at 9am rush hour, on top of the stuffy feeling of being trapped in the back seat with no A/C (is this normal?) was making my stomach turn (it could have also been intensified by the fact that I took an antibiotic that morning on an empty stomach. Whoops.)
But once the cab arrived to Central Park and my feet hit the ground - I was on cloud nine! The most beautiful breeze swept the air, and the blooming trees were heavenly. I have always admired cherry blossom trees on television and in photos, but up close and personal they were absolutely breathtaking! I called the droppings on the ground, “Spring snow.”
We walked around Central Park for a good hour or so, and then ventured from there into Times Square. It was kind of surreal being able to stand in the exact spot where the ball is dropped every NYE and stand on the streets of the Macy’s Day parade. One of my favorite stops was getting to visit the NBC Studios in Rockefeller Center (hi, Jimmy Fallon!) this was a spot I definitely knew I needed to come back to with my husband! We then ate lunch at a super yummy and convenient Italian restaurant Cucina & Co (downstairs of the Rockefeller Center) from the recommendation of a NYPD. We also used this time to charge our phones (because, oh yeah, probably don’t have enough battery to spend all day in NYC taking pictures and videos!)
After lunch, we wandered around Times Square a good bit. Visiting some well-known landmarks, but skipping out on any tours because of the wait time. When you only have one day in New York City, there is no time to wait! So we walked and walked some more (and when the day was over, we had walked 10 miles each!)
We then went on down to Little Italy, stopping for coffee at Joe and the Juice (amazing!) and then, got back on the subway to head down to Brooklyn. We wished we could have spent more time in this part of town. It seemed like such a fun and hip area! We shopped at the local market stands and walked over the Brooklyn Bridge, before deciding we probably needed to make our trek back towards the airport since rush hour traffic was approaching. We stopped by Macy’s (the largest store in the world!) and grabbed a photo at the newly-named, Sesame Street (was a little disappointed there were no Muppets in sight) and, to my delight, chose to ride the subway over a cab back to JFK!
I think my favorite part of the day was just getting to immerse myself in a different culture. A fast-moving, hustle and bustle lifestyle. The people of NYC always seem to get a bad rap, but from my perspective - they were just being themselves! They were culturally different and not as talkative; but, when we got lost (a time or two) on the subway - locals were quick to spot and offer us help (only one person asked for a tip, but he was quite the expert in his defense, ha!) I appreciated our cultural differences and loved engaging in conversation with the people we came across throughout the day. It’s not the pace I’d want for my everyday life - but for one day, I enjoyed every bit of it! I realized I’m a small town girl, with a big city heart.
(You can see more videos and pictures from my NYC trip on my instagram account: @cassidylrobinson)
Have you been to NYC?
What were your favorite spots?
Would love all the suggestions for next time!