What is the best way to celebrate the end of junior year? Why, a weekend trip to New York City of course!
My mom and I flew into Laguardia Airport around 10:30 AM. We only had backpacks so we hurried out of the plane and out to the bus stop. If you fly into LaGuardia, keep in mind that you need to take the bus to the subway station. Take the Q-70 bus line and get off at the second stop. Once you get off you’ll find the subway station and you can get on whatever line you need to take! Google Maps was my “go-to” for Subway and Bus routes. It really does help a lot, so be sure to download it if you aren’t familiar with the area. My mom and I bought one Metrocard to share for the weekend, we filled it with about $30.00 and that lasted us until our last Subway trip. Keep in mind this was for three days. The Metrocard is definitely worth it because it is the cheapest way to get around New York. Uber will be ridiculously expensive, especially at night.
Our hotel, Courtyard Mariot, was about 30 minutes from the airport. Times Square was just four blocks from our hotel and there were cool eats around us. The room here was nice and the service was good. One large downside was that the hotel didn’t have free breakfast, so if you’re on a budget when you’re traveling here, keep this in mind! We dropped off our book bags at the front desk and headed out to Central Park.
On our way there we stopped at Drink inside the American Eagle store in Times Square. This little cafe has coffee drinks, specialty drinks, blended drinks, and more. Their most famous drink is the “Pegasus Takes Flight” ($10.00) and that is what I ordered. It’s a drink that has white chocolate mixed with milk and a flavor of your choosing. The 20 oz. is just $1 more than the 16 oz. My mom and I decided on the blueberry flavor. The best part was all the goodies the drink is decorated with. The drink itself wasn’t amazing. It’s a very distinct flavor. To me, it wasn’t worth $10.00. This definitely isn’t something I would order again, but it was great for cute pictures!
1551 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
Central Park was 20 minutes from our hotel, we could’ve taken the Subway, but we didn’t mind walking. This walk is nice because you pass by Times Square, some Broadway theaters, various shops, and some of New York’s museums. Now, if you’ve never been to Central Park then you’re in for a treat. This park is massive and has so many unique activities. There are several restaurants/cafes, boats to rent, a zoo, bike rentals, carriage rides, statues, a carousel, and much more. You can probably spend an entire day at Central Park. My mom and I entered through the entrance by Columbus Circle and stuck around that area for the day.
For lunch we ate at Tavern On The Green, the to-go window. They have an actual sit-down restaurant and a to-go window. We shared the Smoked Turkey Sandwich ($13.00) that had smoked turkey, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar, and chipotle alioli. The sandwich was delicious and pretty filling. This is something I would definitely order again. So if you’re in Central Park and not really in the mood to have a full sit-down meal, head on over here. The menu has some yummy choices and the prices aren’t terrible.
Central Park West & 67th Street, New York, NY 10023
For the rest of the day we just walked around the beautiful Central Park. We visited John Lennon’s “Imagine” memorial in Strawberry Fields and Sheep Meadow. Sheep Meadow is absolutely beautiful! Lots of people come with blankets and picnic blankets just to relax here. My mom and I had been up since 4AM that day so we decided to take a small nap under a shady tree. The weather was gorgeous that day so we knocked out in an instant. I really forgot where I was for several minutes.
After our relaxing nap on Sheep Meadow, we headed back towards our hotel. We bought tickets to watch “Waitress” at 8PM so we needed to get ready. On the way back we stopped by Pret A Manger, which is all over Manhattan. We ordered the Avocado & Roasted Corn Salsa Flatbread and a Small Chai Latte. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the prices, but I remember it being pretty reasonable. It wasn’t too expensive. The flatbread was outstanding! It was so fresh and all the flavors went so well together. Both, my mom and I, enjoyed every bite. We wanted to order another one. The latte was also delicious. It wasn’t too sweet and tasted great. I highly recommend stopping here for lunch.
11 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036
When we got back to our hotel we quickly got ready for the 8:00PM showing of “Waitress.” Katherine McPhee starred at Jenna in this rendition and she was fantastic. This was my first time watching the critically acclaimed musical and I loved every second of it. It’s such a fun, light-hearted musical with a wonderful soundtrack. It is the first broadway musical to have a full female production team. All the music is by Sara Barrelis who is known for “Brave” and “Love Song.” If you’re looking to watch a comedic musical with a “love-pie” twist, this is the musical for you. Keep in mind it’s not a “kid-friendly” musical. There were some mothers that had taken young children that were not happy when they left the theater.
After meeting some of the actors we started walking back to our hotel. For dinner we stopped at La Famiglia. This was a small pizza parlor we stumbled upon. I ordered a Spinach Stromboli ($5.95), my mom ordered a slice of Margherita pizza ($3.95), and we shared four garlic rolls (4 for $1). I really enjoyed my Stromboli, highly recommend it. My mom, on the other hand, didn’t really like her pizza. The basil was burned so you could barely taste it and the pizza itself was as mediocre. The garlic rolls were pretty good. They weren’t too oily so you don’t feel too bad when eating them. Overall it was okay. If you’re going to come here I definitely recommend the Stromboli.
1806, 488 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001
It was Sunday morning in New York City and we didn’t want to skip out on mass so we headed to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We had to Uber to the Cathedral because it was a bit too far to walk and we didn’t want to be late for the 9 AM mass. The Cathedral was absolutely breathe-taking. The mass wasn’t long, it was a little shorter than a typical mass.
After mass we headed to Rockefeller Center to have breakfast around there. It was less than a 5-minute walk. Magnolia Bakery caught our eye on the way there so we ventured in. Magnolia Bakery is a little French bakery about a block from Rockefeller Center. Here we ordered a two lattes, a red velvet cupcake ($3.95), and their new cherry pistachio white chocolate magic bar ($3.95). My apologies for the prices of the lattes, I don’t remember them. The lattes were delicious! They weren’t too sweet and we really enjoyed them. The cupcake was very good. It also wasn’t too sweet, which I liked about it. The cream cheese frosting on top was very smooth and fluffy. The employees had recommended it to me, I’m so glad they did. Now, I am recommending it to you. Lastly, the magic bar was phenomenal! The employees mentioned to us that they had just released this bar in early April. All the flavors went so incredibly well together. It is a MUST try if you head over to Magnolia Bakery in NYC. I can still remember how wonderful it tasted. If it was between the cupcake and the bar, the bar was definitely better.
1240 6th Ave, New York, NY 10020
After our delicious, but small breakfast we headed to the Subway station. We were heading to Washington Heights to visit my mom’s old neighborhood and high school. Here my mom reunited with some old high school girl friends. I got to see her route to school and her hangout spots. It just made me envy the fact that she got to spend some of her high school years in New York.
While we were in this area we ate at Casa De Mofongo. I will just say this restaurant did not live up to the hype. Prior to our visit we heard rave reviews about this Dominican restaurant and were really excited to try it. Unfortunately, we were very disappointed. My mom ordered the mofongo with chicharrones (pork rinds) ($14.95)and an avocado salad ($5.95). I ordered a morir sonando ($3.95) and a grilled chicken breast ($15.95). The food was definitely over priced. I’ve had much better food for much less in other restaurants. My mom mentioned that the mofongo was very dry. The avocado salad was like any other dressing-less salad. My chicken wasn’t bad, but I’ve had better. We had also ordered tostones ($4.50) to share and they were tiny! Being from Miami, we were expecting some big tostones. Nope, we got little ones. It’s like they didn’t squash the plantain properly. We were cracking up. The morir sonando was my favorite thing that I ordered. If you aren’t familiar with what it is, it’s a Dominican drink that has orange juice, evaporated milk, and sugar. Kind of hard to mess up. So, I don’t really recommend this place. I’m sure there are better restaurants out there to get mofongo from. If you end up making your way out to Washington Heights, steer clear of Casa De Mofongo.
1447 St Nicholas Ave, New York, NY 10033
After spending a good amount of time in Washington Heights, we headed back towards the city. We decided to go by Lincoln Center. Lincoln Center is where Juilliard, the New York City Ballet, and more subside. After taking some pictures and watching the sunset, we took the Subway back to Times Square.
After walking around Times Square and admiring how beautiful it looked at night we stopped by a hot dog stand for dinner. We weren’t THAT hungry and had been dying for a New York hot dog since we had arrived. Our hot dog ($3.00) was topped with relish and sauerkraut. You can already guess it was delicious. If you’ve never been to New York, there are hot dog stands everywhere. Literally, almost on every corner. The prices may vary depending on what stand you go to, but from what we noticed, the prices were usually similar.
Our last day in the city that never sleeps. Our flight was leaving at 8:30 PM that night, but we had a jam-packed day planned. After waking up and checking out, we started walking to find somewhere to eat from breakfast. We decided on Gourmet New York. It looked pretty busy, which was a good sign. My mom and I decided to share the Cinnamon French Toast ($14.45) breakfast platter. I also ordered a small caramel coffee ($2.50) and my mom ordered a hot teat ($1.65). This plate is customizable, you can take off certain food items or add-on.
Our breakfast was so yummy. Everything came out really good and service was wonderful. This was surprising because it was incredibly busy during this time. The prices also weren’t bad, especially because we shared our dish. It is a large dish and sharing filled both of us up. So if you’re on a budget in the city, this might be a great place to share a breakfast. It’s small and similar to a cafe, but there are good amount of seats.
287 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036
After our large breakfast we headed towards to the Subway to get to our next destination. We were headed for the Brooklyn Bridge. I had walked the Brooklyn Bridge on my last visit to New York and absolutely adored it. There’s certain things in New York I care to just do once, but this is something I’d want to do every time I visit. We accidentally started from the Brooklyn side, but it was okay. We walked from Brooklyn to Manhattan. The views from the bridge are breathtaking. You get such an amazing view of the city. The bridge itself is also magnificent. If you’re a history buff, you’ll love all the details of this long-time-standing bridge. There’s even a brief history of the bridge on the bridge itself when you meet in the middle. You don’t need to worry about cars because the pedestrian walkway is separate from the road. The walkway also has a bike path.Depending on how you fast you walk it, the walk is about 45 minutes to an hour. You can start it either in Manhattan or Brooklyn.
When we finished it left us near the Freedom Tower so we decided to explore that area a little bit. The Freedom Tower is where the Twin Towers once stood. There is a grand memorial to all those who passed away during the 9/11 tragedy. After spending time in that area for a bit, we headed back into the city.
We got off at a station near Bryant Park. Bryant Park is a small park located a couple of blocks away from Time’s Square. There a several cafes inside the park, but my mom wasn’t in the mood for anything on their menus. For food we went across the street to Whole Foods. Whole Foods was insanely packed at this time for lunch. I ordered a hot matcha tea ($4.25) and filled a brown box with different foods. The boxes in the Whole Foods cafeteria are $10.00 for every pound. My mom ordered the same. The food was okay. It’s just Whole Foods, nothing really great. The matcha was delicious though.
After lunch, we went off to explore. We began to aimlessly walk around the city, seeing where we would end up. Our journey took us to Bibble & Sip. This was a cute little cafe we found after walking through Time’s Square and beyond. The atmosphere was really cute inside and the menu was different. I love discovering cafes in different cities. This si definitely somewhere I could see myself coming to on the daily if I lived there. Here I ordered a match and jasmine hot tea ($4.75). If you can’t tell, I love matcha. My mom ordered a macchiato ($3.25) and we shared a strawberry shortcake (around $4.00). My tea was outstanding. I treasured every sip I took. It was definitely the jasmine in there that enhanced the flavor. My mom enjoyed her mocha. The shortcake was delicious. We ate it pretty quickly because of how good it was. This is something I’d order again, but I also see myself trying something else because that shortcake set the standards very high for their other treats.
253 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019
After our cafe encounter, we started heading back to the hotel to pick up our bags. We were able to leave them with the front desk for the day so we wouldn’t have had to carry them around. After collecting our belongings we stopped at one last place to have dinner. This restaurant had caught my mom’s eye the first day we arrived. It was about a block from our hotel. It’s called The Hummus & Pita Co. and you can already guess what is sells. You’re able to fill your own pita with whatever your heart desires. My mom and I shared a pita that had falafel, peppers, and hummus ($6.95). We also got some Baba Ganoush ($4.25) that came with pita slices to dip. This meal was fantastic. The falafel was so fresh and the pita was delicious. The baba ganoush was addicting. I wanted to eat it all with a spoon after one bite. This was probably one of my favorite meals in the New York. You HAVE to stop by here if you’re in town. You definitely won’t regret it.
585 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011
And that brings my amazing weekend trip to an end. I love you, New York. That was definitely not that last time I’ll be visiting
All Photos By: Bismarie and Bairene Plasencia