Thursday, March 26, 2015

New York: Part 2 // Welcome to New York

As the airplane slowly made its descent, I gazed out the window and there it was—New York City. I couldn't help but smile like an idiot as I saw that majestic skyline of the city as Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York” blared through my headphones.

Welcome to New York.

As I eagerly hustled off the airplane to baggage claim, my heart was racing with excitement. I could hardly believe that I was finally in this big, beautiful city. I’ll never forget that feeling as long as I live.

As I raced from terminal to terminal, Morgan and I finally ran into one another in the bathroom of all places, where I was touching up my makeup. Since we had landed at LaGuardia, we were technically in Queens, so we gathered our luggage and made our way to the Roosevelt Hotel. On our ride into Manhattan, Morgan and I kept looking out the windows of the vehicle in disbelief. “Could we really be in New York on our own?!” It seemed like that day would never come. 
To Manhattan we go!
Author and journalist, Tom Wolfe once wrote:
“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.”
That’s exactly how I felt upon arriving in New York. I had only just landed, yet the atmosphere of the city had already engulfed me.
Here is the map from my Part 1 to better orient yourself on the places
I refer to in this post.

The first day and a half of our trip was primarily dedicated to becoming better acquainted with our neighborhood and the areas nearby. When we first ventured out to explore, neither of us really had a clue where we were going. However, it worked out that as we were wandering around, we kept running into all of the places we were hoping to visit. For example, we were walking along and all of a sudden we were in Times Square. I remember looking at Morgan and saying, “Wait. I think this is Times Square right here. Do you think?!” like the clueless tourist that I was.

And there we were...tourist central! While Times Square was actually one of my least favorite areas of New York, I still loved naming off all of the different things that are located within its confines... "Oh hey, remember when Carson Daily hosted TRL right over there?!...Look up there! That's where the ball drops on New Year's Eve!...Oh my goodness! There's where Good Morning America is filmed!" I'm sure those were all probable exclamations that came flying out of my mouth.

During our time exploring in Times Square, Morgan and I did a little shopping at Forever 21, H&M, and Sephora. We also made a point of checking out M&M World. I've never seen so many different colors of M&M's! (I was pretty tempted to buy the Tiffany blue colored variety.) When we grew exhausted from all of the people watching, we decided to refuel ourselves at The Hard Rock Cafe. This was the first time I have ever eaten at a Hard Rock restaurant and my friend, Tasha recommended it. I enjoyed one of the best veggie burgers of my life!

I've never seen so many Sephora's in my life as I did in NYC!
I wanted to box them up and bring them back to Illinois with me!

I wanted this hat (and many others!) so badly!
I talked myself out of it at the last minute.

This picture does it no justice whatsoever.
Order the Veggie Leggie! It is topped with grilled Portobello mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash,
and roasted red pepper. The french fries were delicious too.
Pretty caloric, but ended up combining our lunch and dinner meals based on timing. 

After getting our fix of Times Square, we ventured out and ran into Radio City Music Hall. It was a bit surreal to think of all of the celebrities who had been in that vicinity for events over the years. And there two small town girls from the Midwest were in the same area. (That blows me away more than it probably should!) 

 Like I mentioned before, we had no idea where we were going half of the time, yet we kept running into where we wanted to be. This was no exception as we stumbled upon Rockefeller Center.

Morgan and I loved standing there and watching as people skated around. It's funny how small the rink is when you are there in person. After years of seeing this area broadcasted on television for the Christmas Tree lighting, I had always imagined this gigantic rink. However, next to all of the skyscrapers of NYC, it looked puny. 

As the skies began to grow darker, we reserved our spot for the Top of the Rock Observation deck. This was a part of our The New York Pass five day package. I highly recommend purchasing one of these cards if you are planning to visit for a few days. It easily pays for itself. 

The camera lighting was a bit of a struggle.
I <3 New York!

Gazing out at the beaming lights from the skyscrapers was one of the best ways I can imagine being welcomed to the city. Just as the lyrics of Taylor Swift's song narrated my landing into the city, I was again reminded of the words:
"The lights are so bright, but they never blind me."
And just like that, within a a matter of less than 48 hours, New York had my heart.

Welcome to New York. It's been waiting for you.

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