Surprise! We’re going to New York City!
Yup! It’s Rob’s birthday (aka my guy), and what better way to celebrate than to spend a weekend in the Big Apple? He didn’t suspect a thing, and it was fun to watch while he unwrapped his gift, an apple! LOL! However, his face said it all (WTF?!); a clue to where we would celebrate his special day.
I could not be more excited to celebrate Rob’s birthday in New York City.
We stayed three nights at The Refinery, a boutique hotel in midtown Manhattan. It exudes style; from its painted black walls, scented candles, and hits of modern art and rustic antiques. It’s everything a cool hotel should be. The location is perfect, smack in the middle and central to everything. I love the rooftop bar with spectacular city views; you can practically touch the Empire State Building.
After our obligatory Manhattens, it was dinner at Fiaschetteria, a cute Italian restaurant in a quiet neighbourhood of the East Village, serving some of the best homestyle food. Pasta is made fresh daily, and their recipes are long-time family traditions with ingredients imported from Italy. It’s an ingenious wine list, a milk bottle rack loaded with flavorful imported wines brought to your table.
Although this was a quick getaway, we still needed to be strategic about how we would spend our two full days.
The next morning…
Armed with our coffee, it’s a brisk 45-minute (ok, more like an hour) walk to the Museum of Natural History, with sightseeing (and Rob taking photos) along the way. However, before you go, check the museum schedules and book your tickets online. Annnd, leave yourself ample time; there’s a lot to explore.
Next, we enjoyed a late lunch at Friedman’s, a nearby diner, then a stroll down Fifth Avenue, loaded with many sights to see, including a must-stop at Bergdorf Goodman if to admire the shoe department on the second floor. Wow!
A visit to New York wouldn’t be complete without attending a Broadway production. It would be insane not to. We purchased our tickets in advance (also recommended) to the Broadway musical Hamilton, which was an absolute masterpiece! We loved, loved it! Go if you get the chance; it will not disappoint.
After the show to Joe Allen, a Broadway institution since 1965. It’s a classic at its best, perfect for before, after the theatre, or anytime.
After a mini sleep-in, it was another full day ahead…
I have never visited The Whitney Museum. Seriously, how is that possible? The gallery is a sleek, modern building in the hip Meatpacking District. However, this was the last weekend of Edward Hopper’s New York exhibit, so reserving tickets online for this type of exhibit is a must. The gallery was packed!
The birthday boy had one small request, lunch at Katz’s Deli. And, who doesn’t remember the iconic “I’ll have what she’s having” scene from When Harry met Sally? Which was filmed at, you guessed it, Katz’s Deli. So, no, no reenactments were played out, but I’m sure some have tried. That said, the food is as iconic as that scene, perhaps even stealing the show.
Afterwards, needing to walk off our lunch, we headed towards the Brooklyn bridge—another box to tick off my list. The views are spectacular, and walking toward the center span of the bridge deck; you’re able to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty in the distance. She’s a beauty.
For our last evening in New York, we dinned at ABC Kitchen in the Flatiron District; I could use all kinds of buzzwords to describe this restaurant. Ultimately, this is a chic and happening place with tons of energy. Not to mention, it’s a great place to people watch. The menu is creative, serving seasonal and locally-focused organic food. The whole wheat pizza and grass-fed beef cheeseburger are delish!
Then to the Blue Note, it’s the epitome of New York City nightlife to visit this iconic bar. Here we listened to an unforgettable performance by jazz pianists Hiromi & Michel Camilo. As an aside, bar seating is limited; if you don’t arrive early, it’s standing-room only. Best to reserve a table.
With only a few remaining hours left in the big apple…
Sunday brunch was the perfect ending to our whirlwind trip. Balthazar, located in SoHo, is as legendary as they come.
This was a little snippet from our quick getaway to New York City. We covered a lot of ground in two days and walked for the most part, which, honestly, is the best way to experience this city. The list of things to see and do are endless and reason enough to keep going back. Can’t wait!