City Explorations: New York City, New York

If you want to skip the words and just look at the photos, that's cool too!

Friday, September 1st

Elizabeth and I landed in New York City just after 12:00 PM. We decided to take an Uber from LaGuardia Airport to our hotel, The New York EDITION. While Elizabeth and I waited for our room, we grabbed lunch at the original Shake Shack in Madison Square Park.

shake shack, madison square park

shake shack, madison square park

If you've never tried Shake Shack before, I'd consider it the In-N-Out of the East coast. It has a little more variety than In-N-Out, but their staple is still burgers and fries. I hadn't been to Shake Shack since we ate there at JFK on our way home from Paris.

shake shack, madison square park

shake shack, madison square park

After our nice lunch we killed some more time on New York City's famous 5th Avenue. There are literally retail shops for MILES. 5th Avenue is also home to some of New York's most iconic buildings: the Flatiron & Empire State building.

flatiron building, new york city

flatiron building, new york city

empire state building, new york city

empire state building, new york city

That evening Elizabeth and I went to the High Line. I remember planning our itinerary and thinking to myself "What the heck is the High Line?" Well, the High Line was originally built for trains during the 1930's and was used through the 1980's. The city took ownership of the land in 2005 and began turning the old train line into a beautiful public landscape.

high line, new york city

high line, new york city

high line, new york city

high line, new york city

Elizabeth and I walked the High Line from 30th St. to the Chelsea Market. Talk about another restoration project. The Chelsea Market covers and entire city block and is one of the greatest indoor food halls in the world. Originally a meat packing plant, the entire inside has been restored to house more than 35 food vendors. You certainly won't find a lack of food options here.

chelsea market, new york city

chelsea market, new york city

After much deliberation, Elizabeth and I chose to eat at Los Tacos No. 1. Once you purchase your tacos you take your ticket to the counter where one of the cooks prepares your tacos/quesadilla to your exact specifications. I had three tacos which were delicious and smothered in guacamole.

los tacos #1, new york city

los tacos #1, new york city

los tacos #1, new york city

los tacos #1, new york city

Saturday, September 2nd

Elizabeth and I got up early Saturday morning and took the subway to Grand Central Terminal (Station). I was half heartedly hoping to see a flash mob, but no such luck. It's always cool seeing a place in person for the first time you've only seen in movies.

grand central terminal, new york city

grand central terminal, new york city

Next, we continued down the street to Rockefeller Center. Elizabeth and I purchased the New York "C3 CityPass" so we could choose three of New York City's top attractions. Our first choice was the top of the Rockefeller Center or as they call it, the "Top of the Rock." If you get there right when it opens the lines are short and you can get to the top in just a few minutes. There are some great views of both downtown Manhattan and Central Park.

rockefeller center, new york city

rockefeller center, new york city

top of the rock, new york city

top of the rock, new york city

You'd be surprised how many bad photographers are at the top of this thing. It took four tries to finally get someone to take our photo without covering up the Empire State building in the background. Idiots...

psa: be a good photographer to others.

psa: be a good photographer to others.

After we got down from the Rock we walked a few short blocks to see Times Square. We grabbed an obligatory selfie, enjoyed the bright lights and then headed back towards our hotel.

times square selfie

times square selfie

One of Elizabeth's birthday presents (besides the trip itself) were tickets to Electric Zoo music festival. We met up with my friend Evan and a few other people and made our way to Randall Island Park to enjoy some of the best DJ's in the world. It ended up raining most of the night, but there was nothing better than listening to "I Want You to Know" by Zedd in the pouring rain.

electric zoo music festival

electric zoo music festival

electric zoo music festival

electric zoo music festival

Sunday, September 3rd

Sunday was our big tourist day. Elizabeth and I used our C3 CityPass to go to the 9/11 Museum first thing in the morning. I was only nine during 9/11, but there are still bits and pieces of that day I remember crystal clear. I think New York did an AMAZING job with the memorial and the museum. You could probably spend a whole day in there if it wasn't for the heavy feeling that looms in the air.

9/11 memorial, new york city

9/11 memorial, new york city

9/11 musuem, new york city

9/11 musuem, new york city

After we left the 9/11 Museum we walked to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty. We didn't ride the ferry out, but opted to look at it from the shore instead. It was a little further away than I was expecting so my pictures don't really do it much justice.

the statue of liberty is out there, i promise.

the statue of liberty is out there, i promise.

For lunch we went to SoHo to eat at Jack's Wife Freda. This was one of those restaurants Elizabeth had been following on Instagram for a long time so we had to try it. I thought it was good, but I wasn't blown away. I had one of their signature dishes: a fried duck sandwich, smothered in cheese with an egg on top. Elizabeth's dish looked way better than mine so I'd get that if I had to pick again.

jack's wife freda, new york city

jack's wife freda, new york city

jack's wife freda, new york city

jack's wife freda, new york city

One of the overwhelming suggestions I got was to eat at Katz's Delicatessen. Despite just eating a full meal, Elizabeth decided it would be in our best interest to go get a sandwich there too. If there's one thing I value in a deli sandwich, it's the amount of meat I get and Katz's certainly doesn't short you. There's got to be a pound of meat on each sandwich. Even though I wasn't terribly hungry I really enjoyed the pastrami sandwich we split.

katz's delicatessen, new york city

katz's delicatessen, new york city

katz's delicatessen, new york city

katz's delicatessen, new york city

That evening we took a stroll across the famous Brooklyn Bridge. It was a beautiful evening and the bridge was bustling with tourists alike.

brooklyn bridge

brooklyn bridge

brooklyn bridge

brooklyn bridge

After we crossed the bridge we went underneath it to Grimaldi's Pizzeria. Gramaldi's is famous for it's brick oven New York Pizza. I felt like a real New Yorker eating pizza and watching the Yankee's game.

grimaldi's pizzeria, new york city

grimaldi's pizzeria, new york city

To cap off our day Elizabeth and I grabbed an ice cream cone at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory and enjoyed the views of downtown Manhattan across the river.

brooklyn ice cream factory

brooklyn ice cream factory

downtown manhattan

downtown manhattan

Monday, September 4th

Since our flight didn't depart for Omaha until 8:00 PM we had most of the day to enjoy more of New York City. We used our final C3 CityPass at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

the met, new york city

the met, new york city

I'm the biggest bandwagon art find you'll find, so I only like to see the pieces I've seen in books. I got to lay eyes on arguably the most iconic painting in American history, "Washington Crossing the Delaware." The books just don't do this painting justice, it's absolutely MASSIVE in real life.

washington crossing the delaware, the met

washington crossing the delaware, the met

If you go to the Met you've got to check out the rooftop bar. There's only one elevator to get there so it's kind of tough to find, but it has great views of the skyline.

on top of the met

on top of the met

After we left the Met we walked into Central Park. For some reason it never registered how big Central Park really is. The amount of real estate dedicated to green space in such a massive city is unbelievable. Elizabeth and I spent the afternoon strolling through the park and enjoying our last day in New York City.

central park, new york city

central park, new york city

All-In-All

I really, REALLY, liked New York City. It made a great first impression and I'm already looking forward to planning my next trip there. The key to enjoying New York City is to decide what you want to see and just make it happen. I swear we walked 15 miles over the weekend, but we got to see everything we came for. New York City will wear you out, but man is it fun.

Who else loves New York City? What are your favorite things to do?