Late night, early morning.
After waking up super early and grabbing our mandatory Starbucks coffee from the hotel, we headed into the city. One of the first things we did after getting off the train at Penn Station was buy tickets for a ‘hop on, hop off’ bus tour of New York City. The tickets were relatively cheap ($50/person, Nate was free) and they lasted all weekend. It made the most sense to us given how much we wanted to see and I don’t think anyone really wanted to be getting on and off subway lines all day long, especially unfamiliar subway lines. We caught the bus at the stop closest to us and made our way down to the One World Trade Center.
As you can see from the pictures it was absolutely beautiful out! The hot weather was definitely something I was not expecting. We had checked the forecast a few days prior to leaving and knew it was going to be warm but it honestly was like mid-July weather down there! It was so hot and sunny that within a couple of hours I was beat red and getting a little crispy! I’m so glad that I always have at least one tube of sunscreen for Nate in the diaper bag because there’s no way he could have handled that much sun without any protection. He does have my complexion after-all!
Anyways, the whole experience at the One World Trade Center was overwhelming. Knowing what had occurred there 16 years ago and the significance of everything that has happened since, made it all the more important that we go. We didn’t go up into the Trade Center but we walked around the grounds and looked at both pools. The building itself is breathtakingly beautiful and striking in appearance. It was definitely a visit worth remembering.
The closest we got to seeing the Statue of Liberty. Maybe next time!
Thank you Pinterest for all the travel tips saying Magnolia Bakery was a must because it definitely did not disappoint!
Red velvet and vanilla butter-cream!
So after walking around the grounds of the One World Trade Center, we began our long, HOT walk down towards the water. Once we got down to where all the docks were, we stopped for a quick bite to eat. Street meat never disappoints me in Toronto but in NYC it was just ‘meh’ *insert shoulder shrug*. It wasn’t terrible but definitely doesn’t compare to the foot long hot dogs down by the Rogers Centre and it still cost about the same if not more!
But enough rambling about street meat!
Our Top View tickets also included a boat tour of the Statue of Liberty which was supposed to have run every 45 minutes, however; when we finally found our dock we were told the next tour wasn’t scheduled to leave until 3:30 pm and at that point it was only around 1-1:30 so collectively we made the decision just to walk around the water for a little bit then head back uptown. It didn’t make sense to us to spend up to two hours literally waiting around for a ferry ride and considering Nate has never been on a boat before, I’m not sure it would have been wise to risk potential sea sickness when we still had an entire day of activities left to do and see. It was still nice though; walking around the docks, seeing all the tulips in full bloom, and just people watching in general. There were all different walks of life hanging out at the piers. From locals, to tourists, to business men and women, it was jam packed with people.
Next we hopped back onto our bus and headed back uptown. Using Top View was great because we got to see so many different areas of the city and although we weren’t getting on and off at every stop, we at least got a quick view. There’s just so many attractions and sites to see in New York that it definitely warrants more than one trip! Even though we saw a lot of what I really wanted to see, we still missed several of the major tourist attractions including the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, High Line Park, and the meat packing district. I’m sure even if you’re a local, there’s still always things to do and discover! The break from walking was nice too plus it allowed Nate to get a short nap in. I’m not sure what it is about buses but seriously every time we would hop on, he would be out like a light within minutes! I don’t remember where we got off exactly but we started walking towards Times Square again and then made a quick pit stop to Magnolia Bakery to grab a mid-afternoon snack. I had seen numerous bloggers posting about how delicious Magnolia Bakery was and while I wasn’t searching it out, when we came across it, I couldn’t resist and had to purchase something sweet. It did not disappoint either! I think the sugar rush also helped perk us all up a bit because we were all hot and tired by this point in the day.
In order to escape the blazing sun and heat, we decided to do a bit of retail therapy. We headed to the nearest Macy’s and strolled around the floors. Can you believe there was nine, yes NINE levels inside this department store! My mind was blown. While I was as red as a lobster, being inside for sure helped me cool down. After getting our fill of shopping (let’s face it, we could have gone broke in there) we headed back to Time’s Square to grab dinner. Jen had her heart set on eating at Olive Garden so that’s where we went. Kurt and I had never been to one before so we didn’t really mind if that’s where we were eating. Good food, decent price, and child friendly. Win, win, win!
Note to self: learn how to take night time pictures on a moving vehicle better.
While eating, we decided what our next move would be. Included in our tickets were also tickets for a night time tour of the city. You couldn’t get on and off at the stops but it seemed like a great way to explore the city at night. The only downside to this plan, was the fact that numerous other people also seemed to think this was a great idea because we ended up waiting in line for just over an hour. But honestly, it was so worth it! Seeing the city lit up at night was gorgeous. It’s easy to see why it’s the city that never sleeps! I think all of us, except Nate because he of course because he was sound asleep, enjoyed it. The tour took us through downtown, past China town, and Little Italy then over one of the three bridges that go into Brooklyn and back downtown. I really wanted to walk the Brooklyn bridge during our trip but again it was one of the things we didn’t get to do so at least getting to see it from a short distance away was neat. Once we were dropped back off, we quickly headed to the train station in hopes of being able to catch the last shuttle bus back to the hotel. Unfortunately, we failed horribly and ended up having to take a taxi back. It didn’t cost much and at the end of the day, the night time bus experience was definitely worth missing our ride home.
As much fun and excitement as we had on our first full day in NYC, our second day was my absolute favourite! So stay tuned for that one folks!