There is something about New York City that I just can’t get enough of. I suppose there is something about New York City that a lot of people just can’t get enough of. A wild, unexpectedly beautiful, concrete-jungle of a city.
I’m a farm kid. Always have been. I was raised in the middle of Missouri, where my dad farmed Elk. New York City was literally unimaginable to me until I saw it for the first time.
I remember coming home and telling my dad all about the city he had no interest in visiting. “Dad there’s like no grass anywhere. None. Well except Central Park. But it’s crazy. And there are people everywhere. It feels like anything could happen there.” I then proceeded to show him tons of pictures and he pretended to care. (what a guy!)
I guess I go on this long winded story about my first visit to NYC just to convey how much I love it there. Anytime I get even the hint of an opportunity to go back, I jump on it as fast as humanly possible. So when Maggie texted me randomly one day and said. “Hey! Want to go to New York with me over July 4th?” I was all in. In no time our flights and an AirBNB were booked and we were planning our trip.
We spent the bulk of our first day in New York flying in and getting settled. After we grabbed lunch and went grocery shopping, we went back to the AirBNB and unpacked. Well, if tossing our suitcases on the floor and putting the milk in the fridge counts as unpacking.
That night, Maggie was going to see Wicked at the Gershwin. I love shows, but I had already seen Wicked last year, so I sat this round out.
While Maggie was there, I had about 3 hours to kill in Time Square. After wrapping up some work at a coffee shop, I went to a rooftop bar off 39th Street called The Skylark. I am in no place to make recommendations for rooftop bars in New York City, as there are tons of them and I’ve only seen this one, but I will say it was really cool. Set 30 floors above Times Square with a view of the Empire State Building, who cares if the cocktails are $19?!
Because Maggie and I had both been to New York City and had already seen Manhattan, we wanted to try something new on our second day of the trip. So we headed to the Atlantic Barclays station, where we hopped on the Long Island Rail Road toward Long Beach.
Relaxing on the beach with Times Square bustling just 50 miles away, is a wild feeling. I totally recommend doing a beach day in New York City if you have time on your trip!
After we got back from the beach, we quickly regrouped, got ready, and hopped on a train to Times Square. Maggie wanted to go to this little Spanish restaurant off 46th called Sangria 46. We split paella and a pitcher of sangria while we hung out and chatted about anything and everything.
Maggie had yet to see a rooftop bar, so we paid our tab and walked back to The Skylark. We hung out there for a little while before catching the Q train back towards Brooklyn.
Day 3: Happy 4th!!
We jam packed our third day in order to squeeze in all the fun 4th festivities! First things first, we caught a train to Coney Island to stand in line for a Nathan’s hot dog. The line took over an hour to get through, but it was the fourth. We had to, ya know? After that, we explored Coney Island for a bit before heading back to Manhattan.
Maggie wanted to go back to Wall Street, so we walked there. I really wanted to see the Oculus, which is nearby, so we also did that. Both are totally worth exploring! Before the fireworks show we needed to grab dinner, so we hit up one of my favorite NYC spots: Black Tap Craft Burgers and Beer.
They are known for their crazy milkshakes and delicious burgers. Fun, right? After dinner, we headed toward the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge to watch the fireworks show.
I was telling my friend that there is no cooler feeling than being in New York City on the Fourth of July. Particularly noticeable on the train to Coney Island and while watching the fireworks was a sense of community I had never felt before in the city. Generally, I think of New York as a place where people mind their own business and aren’t likely to strike up a conversation with the person standing next to them on the subway.
On the Fourth, it was entirely different. There was an overall joyful vibe as we all crammed into a subway car knowing full well that every single person on that train was about to also go wait an hour and a half for a hot dog at Nathan’s. Same for the fireworks. Sitting on the barricade of the highway entering the Brooklyn Bridge with a family from Texas on our left and a woman from Australia on our right, all watching a magnificent fireworks show together. It’s a feeling I’ll never forget.
We started day four at Best Bagel and Coffee off 35th, which is apparently a big deal. The line went out the door and down the street. I didn’t eat, but Maggie claims it was totally worth the wait.
After breakfast, we spent our morning meandering and shopping around Times Square. If you are into shopping, you have to check out Old Navy – 3 floors of great deals on cute clothes. I love it.
We went to the Mets game that night. Y’all already know I do my best to see a baseball game wherever I go, so I was stoked the Mets were at home. After the game, we went to a couple of fun bars off Orchard Street in the Lower East Side. Before heading home, we grabbed a slice of dollar pizza, just because we could.
We didn’t have a ton of time in the city before we had to be at LaGuardia, so we just packed up and grabbed lunch with a friend of Maggie’s from Queens. He wanted to take her to Brother’s Pizza… their families favorite pizza joint for years. It was delicious and felt so New York. After lunch, we got an Uber to the Airport and flew back home to the Lou.
I’ll never get tired of visiting the big apple. Something about it. But until I can get back there, I’ll just be over here feeling so incredibly grateful to have been.
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