New York 2016: all the details

NOTE: To see pictures, click on the date. The pictures are in separate blog posts.


Our trip to New York was incredible. There just aren’t words to really describe how much I loved this trip. We were invited by our friends Weston & Shannon back in September or October (I can’t remember) and we jumped on the opportunity! I mean really, New York City for Christmastime AND New Years Eve? How do you say no to that? We scrimped and saved for the next few months to make sure we wouldn’t be in the hole after the trip… or at least too in the hole. ;) (don’t worry, we saved all of the next month’s rent and all that jazz—we aren’t totally irresponsible and spontaneous!) 


We enjoyed Thanksgiving and all of our Utah family Christmas activities but anxiously awaited for the days that we would head to Nevada for Christmas. We enjoyed a brown Christmas in Nevada with my family before heading off to New York the day after Christmas.


December 26, 2016
We woke up at an unforgiving hour to get to the Las Vegas Airport in time for our early morning flight. My parents were kind enough to wake up early with us and drive us down (thanks mom and dad!!). To our delight, we breezed through checking our bag and airport security. And then shortly after we got to our gate they started boarding our flight. It was awesome. We prepared ourselves for a terribly long flight (boring and lonnnng… well, longer than we’re used to) by loading up my iPad with Netflix downloads (if you haven’t tried these—you NEED to. They are magic), books, and random airplane naps, but were pleasantly surprised to find that there were free movies and TV shows on our flight. We still took random airplane naps, but we just enjoyed the complimentary shows and movies! It was such a treat! When we finally made it to New York, we called an Uber and he took us to our Airbnb in Queens. 

Our Airbnb was so cute and cozy. It was a two bedroom apartment (well, a bedroom and a living room with a pull out couch-bed). We had access to a kitchen, which was super nice because we ended up just buying breakfast foods at a nearby grocery store and eating breakfast before we left.
Soon after getting to our apartment, Parker and I decided to go exploring a little bit. We walked down to the Subway station, bought 7-day Unlimited Passes (which I highly recommend) and figured out how to get down to Times Square. You guys. Times Square is a hot mess of crazy but I’m obsessed with that place. It was around 5pm when we got to Times Square (which is d-a-r-k DARK in New York at this time of year) and it seriously felt like mid-day. The lights there are insane. We snapped a few phone pictures and walked around a bit. And then we decided to try and find the Rockefeller Center Tree. OH. MY. GOSH. People, that tree is gigantic. We turned a corner and there it was, in all its glory. I’m pretty sure I gasped. It was just so magical. We made the mistake decided to walk up to it and that was a little too crazy for me. There were so many people right up around it and actually the view from far away was better than the view up close, so there’s that. After we got out of the sea of people, we decided to head back to our apartment because Weston & Shannon would be getting there soon. We hopped on the Subway and started our ride back. And then some guy barfed on the Subway. (super gross, but it’s part of the story/experience)


December 27, 2016
you know the song Pioneer Children? The one that goes, “Pioneer children sang as they walked, and walked, and walked, and walked, aaaaaannnnnnddddd walked.” That one? Well, that was the theme for Day 2 in New York. We walked all over the place. Sure, we took a few subways, but I’m pretty sure we walked like 21,000+ steps that day. It was unreal. Our feet and backs were sore, but we were in New York so nothing could stop us. That day we saw The Statue of Liberty (just from the dock—the line was waaaay too long for us to stand in it that day, so we opted to preorder tickets online for another day, which I highly recommend), A giant Christmas Tree (that could have been the Rockefeller Plaza tree, I’m not sure—I could not for the life of me figure out how to orient myself in the city), we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge (!!!!!!!) during the day time (we would later go back at night), ate at Grimaldi’s Pizza, a bird pooped on my head while waiting in line for Grimaldi’s Pizza, I saw the Chrysler Building up close, we went to Trinity Church (you know, where the treasure is hidden in National Treasure) and then we watched National Treasure that night in our apartment, we went to the NBA store in Times Square, we went to the World Trade Center and Ground Zero Memorial (we didn’t go into the Museum because the line was incredibly long—we’ll just have to come back another time… darn it ;)), and probably more that I just can’t remember. This day was jam packed and we had so much fun, but we sure were glad to be back at our apartment at the end of the day.


December 28, 2016
This was probably one of my most favorite days on the trip. It for sure was one of the most magical for me. We started off the day with ice skating in Central Park. ICE SKATING IN CENTRAL PARK. The ice was awful, there were a ton of people there, I was not confident on my skates, but there we were ice skating in Central Park and it was too magical to even care about the negatives. I seriously felt so happy to be actually living in those moments. (Typing all of this out makes me feel a little weird, but this really was a moment of pure happiness for me. I am still giddy just thinking about it!) 


After ice skating, we walked around Central Park for a while. I was obsessed with the place. I mean how often do you go to a gigantic park that also happens to be in the middle of a ginormous city? For me, not often. But then we all got hungry. So we found this little diner called Lindy’s Diner and we just walked in. We didn’t have any recommendations from friends or family to eat there, we just saw it and walked in. I ordered some sort of heaven sent waffle with ice cream on it. Probably one of my better decisions in life. 


This day Parker and I got to meet up with one of my childhood friends, Karli who is living in New York. We went out for dinner at The Meatball Shop and got cookies on our way back to the subway at Insomnia Cookies (I’m seriously still thinking about those cookies and how we need one of those shops in Utah County. Get this: they’re open until 3AM AND they deliver.). We visited with Karli for a good while and it was just so good to see her. I was sad to say farewell. But really, it was more like, “see ya next time!” Because I’m really hoping there will be a next time. (hint, hint Parker ;))


December 29, 2016
This day was cold and rainy. But we were in NYC with limited time, so we didn’t let a little rain stand in our way. We had been watching the weather forecast all week and had previously decided that this would be the day that we went to indoor places like The Met. Buuuuut apparently so did all of the other billion people that were there that week. So we waited in line (semi) patiently to get into The Met and boy am I glad we did. Guys. I love art. Not just in a “I call myself a photographer so I should sort of appreciate art” way, but in a “holy cow. I can’t do any of that and I’m so impressed” type of way. I love seeing the history and stories from hundreds of years ago in paintings and sculptures. But I also love seeing the stories from today’s artists. I love the wonder of looking at a painting and thinking, “What on earth does this mean to the artist? And what does it mean for me?” I love seeing sculptures and photographs that have meaning. I love it all. Parker on the other hand, does not. The Met was probably one of his least favorite things… I did enjoy listening to his commentary as we passed through the modern art exhibits. 


*walking past a piece of modern art* “I call this one ‘Pile of Garbage.’” 

Or seeing a piece called “Oil, Graphite, and Crayon on Canvas,” – “I didn’t know [Sweet Girl’s] pictures made it into The Met. Your sister must be so proud!” (note: Sweet Girl is 2) 

There were many other hilarious comments made by Parker, but I can’t remember them in this moment. He trudged through The Met with me as I gawked at all of the art that he just didn’t even care for. BUT I have to say he was impressed with the paintings by artists like Monet and Van Gough. He also liked looking at the sculptures and weaponry. 


After The Met, I don’t remember where we went. But I do know that we walked around for a while... I remembered. We went to Yankee Stadium. It was neat, but none of us are Yankees fans, so we just took a few pictures, went into the team store for a minute and then left. After Yankee Stadium we went to see this giant Cathedral called Cathedral of St. John the Divine that Shannon and Weston had happened upon on Wednesday. It was beautiful and BIG. We learned that it is the second largest cathedral in the United States and fourth largest in the world! We waited for it to get dark and we went to Grand Central Station. That place is just massively beautiful. Also, right next to Grand Central Station is my beloved Chrysler Building. Oh, how I love that thing. I don’t know why I love it, I just think it is so beautiful. I love the way it lights up at night. *sigh* 


And then to top off the night, we went back to the Brooklyn Bridge after it got dark. I 10/10 recommend the walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at night towards Manhattan. Seriously. It was incredibly beautiful. I could barely stand it. I was just snapping pictures right and left because I was so in love with the scenery.


December 30, 2016
Friday was our early day. The rest of the trip we slept in until about 9am and headed out the door around 10 or 11. But on Friday we had tickets for The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. 


GUYS. The Statue of Liberty is the hugest woman I have ever seen. Like you can’t even fathom how big she is because pictures just DON’T do her justice. (kind of ironic when you say it like that….) But she’s massive. And seriously worth the ferry ticket. We wanted to go up into the crown, but tickets for that were sold out through January, so we just walked around the base of her. All of us were seriously blown away at her grandeur. After walking around the Statue of Liberty, we hopped back on our Ferry to Ellis Island. We didn’t stay there for long because we had to get back to Manhattan for our play, but Ellis Island is also way bigger than I had imagined. The movie Hitch did not prepare us for how large Ellis Island was. But that’s okay. I was able to snap a few pictures and we were off. 


We hustled over to the theater for Phantom of the Opera. Oh. My. Goodness. It was incredible. There is just something about Live Theater that my head just cannot wrap itself around. The special effects. The acting in real time. The energy. The music. All of it. If you’ve never seen a show on stage, I HIGHLY recommend it! It’s worth the price. The experience is unlike any other. Go! 


After the show, we went to a restaurant called Jacob’s Pickles. It was this swanky little place in Amsterdam that serves southern soul food and of course, fried pickles. Two things: 1. If you go there, get their fried pickles. They were so yummy! 2. GET THE MAC AND CHEESE. I know I sound like I’m 5, but seriously, their Mac and Cheese was to. die. for. It started snowing while we were on our way to Jacob’s Pickles and that was just magical.


December 31, 2016
This was one of the days that we were most excited for/most stressed about. We had plans to go to Times Square for New Year’s Eve (craaaaazy) and I’d be lying if I said that didn’t cause us all a good amount of stress. 


We started off the day by going to the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. If you’re ever in New York around Christmastime, you have to go to this. It was so much fun for all ages! The Rockettes are… I don’t even have words. Actually, yes, I do. (please continue reading after you read the word I’m about to share) Satisfying. Every step was in sync. Every kick was equal height. Every move was perfect. This show was seriously so satisfying to watch. It made my little OCD heart so happy. We were also very pleasantly surprised with how Christian the show was. There was a Nativity at the end that was just incredible. AND I won the “guess which live animal will be in the show” game that we played. CAMELS. THERE WERE CAMELS. I was beyond stoked.

After the Christmas Spectacular we headed towards Times Square to be sure to get ourselves a good spot. We stopped by Chick-fil-A for some lunch and our last bathroom stop before going to Times Square and then we headed over. We were told by some Police Officers that they were letting people in at 49th Street. So we walked down there. There was a pretty large crowd and we began our wait for the night. We were pretty close to the front (but also very, very crowded) we made it through the first barricade after about an hour of waiting and began our wait to get through the next one. Remember, we were pretty darn close to the front for the first one and which meant we were pretty darn close to the front for the second one. When we got up to the front of the second barricade, we found out that this year, they were not allowing large bags or backpacks to be taken into Times Square. We had two backpacks. Even though we were bummed about not being able to go to Times Square, we were a little relieved that we weren’t able to go to Times Square. As we walked away from the large lines, we saw people with backpacks and large bags. We tried to tell some people that if they kept those they wouldn’t be allowed in, but no one seemed to listen. We also were pretty amazed at how close we actually were. We weren’t sure of how close we were to the front because the crowd we were in was still huge, but as we walked away, we actually saw how close we were and it was kind of a bummer to have to walk away from that experience because of our backpacks. Again, we were pretty relieved too. It was a bittersweet feeling.

Because we weren’t going to be standing in Times Square for hours, we needed to kill time, so we went back to our apartment and took a rest/nap and then we just explored. We went to Peter Pan Donut & Pastry shop. And if you know me, you know I love a good donut. These donuts were SO yummy. I was so grateful for this recommendation from Karli!
Instead of going to Times Square for New Years Eve, we ended up going to a little park in Brooklyn, sort of near the Brooklyn Bridge. We watched some fireworks, saw a bunch of people makin out, and rang in the New Year in a much more chill way. It was perfect.


January 1, 2017
Our last day in New York was pretty welcomed. All of us were exhausted and Parker and I were ready to sleep in our own bed. But we were also sad that our trip was ending. (However, one trip ending means time to start planning for our next trip, right??) We finished off our trip by going to church. We attended a ward (congregation) in the Upper West Side. The ward actually met in the same building as the New York Manhattan Temple. So we got to walk through the lobby area of the temple on our way to Sacrament Meeting. It was really neat. The ward we went to was actually the ward of one of Shannon’s family friends and it was her friend’s mission farewell. So that was really cool. I have to comment on how at home I felt in church. It truly does not matter where you go—the church is always the same. And I love that fact. I love that I can walk into any Sacrament Meeting and know that I will be able to take the Sacrament, hear talks, sing familiar hymns, pray and worship with people with my similar beliefs. I love that.

After church we went to lunch at Ray’s Pizza (this is the weird part of traveling… You go to church and then you go out to eat… I don’t love that) but the Pizza was good. It was definitely Parker’s favorite meal we ate in New York. He still talks about that Pizza. After our lunch, we hurried back to our apartment to clean up and get headed to the airport.

This trip was a trip of a lifetime. The memories and experiences we had were unforgettable. I’m so glad that we were able to go on this trip because it showed us another way of living. We saw what life is like outside of Utah. We loved staying in an Airbnb because we felt more like locals rather than tourists (even though we only did touristy things). We loved seeing the different scenery; it really is a concrete jungle in New York and it’s a little crazy how small you truly are compared to the giant buildings there. (And to think, those aren’t even the tallest buildings in the world!) We loved being together for a week straight. We loved seeing new sights. We loved being with friends and exploring a new city. In essence, we just loved this trip. New York was so good to us. Till next time, New York. Because there will be a next time!

To see all of the other posts (aka to see pictures!!!) from our New York Trip, visit these posts:

New York Trip Day 1

New York Trip Day 2

New York Trip Day 3

New York Trip Day 4
New York Trip; Cathedral of St. John the Divine

New York Trip Day 5

New York Trip Day 6
New York Trip Day 7