Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Year - New Adventures! Round One: New York

 Live from New York, it’s Events by Chelsea!

Out of the many 2013 new years goals, or resolutions I made, the one I’m looking forward to the most is adopting my new motto, “New Year, New Adventures”. I spent New Year's in New York City, I’m headed to Cabo for Spring Break with my family, Chicago for the first time around summer and fingers crossed for Dubai next Fall/Winter to visit a college friend.

Planning a vacation is very similar to planning an event. You get recommendations from friends, do research on the Internet, make a budget, etc. I was extremely lucky because I had a great tour guide (a NYC resident) who was able to orchestrate seeing all of the sites without feeling rushed. Here's a look at our whirlwind itinerary:

Day 1.

This was by far our craziest day! We:

  • Walked Fifth Avenue
  • Saw the Macy’s Christmas Tree and Festive Windows
  • Took the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
  • Walked Wall Street
  • Got $1 Real Authentic New York Pizza
  • Saw Radio City and the 30 Rockefeller Christmas Tree, NBC Experience Store
  • Walked from 30 Rock to the Empire State Building
  • Went to the top of the Empire State Building
I’m a sucker for Christmas decorations, so I made a point to see as many trees as I could! The Macy’s windows were to die for.

Fun Fact: Macy’s Herald Square was built in 1902, it is the largest department store in the world, and it still has wooden escalators!

I highly recommend the Staten Island Ferry – it’s free (score!) and you get a picture-perfect view of the Statue of Liberty.

After the Ferry, we walked Wall Street and stumbled upon a great historical surprise – the monument marking the spot where George Washington was inaugurated!  The poli-sci nerd in me could hardly be contained.

Because I'm a DIE-HARD 30 Rock, The Office, SNL, and Parks and Rec fan, seeing the Rockefeller Center (the building, Christmas tree AND ice-skating rink) was a dream come true. As expected, due to the holidays, the whole area was teeming with excited tourists like myself.  However, no crowd could ruin that experience for me.  It was a top highlight of my trip, no question.  

My number one highlight, drumroll please, was going to the top of the Empire State Building. We had to wait for a solid 90 minutes in 32 degree weather. That was a trying experience for a California girl! But, after seeing the view, I would have waited twice as long. Seeing the skyline at night was breathtaking.  If you're going to brave the line, I highly recommend going at night - you won't regret it.

Fun Fact: The Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world for 40 years from 1931 to 1972. It's now  the 22nd tallest in the world and 3rd tallest in the U.S.

Here are some views from the top:

Day 2.

  • Saw FAO Schwartz
  • Walked through Central Park
  • Toured the Natural History Museum

I was really lucky to stay in a place that was centrally located. We were able to walk to Central Park! On the way, I got to view the underground Apple store – how chic of them… oh Apple, always outdoing themselves. I also saw FAO Schwartz aka Gimbles from my favorite Christmas movie, Elf.

Once I hit Central Park I decided to continue my walk and go all the way through to the Natural History Museum. I was amazed at how HUGE Central Park was! It was by far one of the most beautiful parks I’ve ever walked through. There was a castle, a couple getting married, and a horse drawn carriage all creating a perfect, snow-covered Winter Wonderland.  It was nice have a day to just wander the city and Central Park - a good break from all the running around the previous day.

Next up: the Natural History Museum. I love art (don’t get me wrong) but when it came down to a choice between the Met and the Natural History Museum, NHM is going to win every time. Dinosaur bones. Space exhibit. Life size blue whale. Sign me up!

Walking through Central Park and the Natural History Museum are both very time consuming things. You definitely do not want to rush because there is so much to see!

Day 3.

  • Walked through the Chelsea Market
  • Walked the High Line
  • Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge

By the last day we were tired but I was dying to go to the Chelsea market, for obvious reasons. Nearby the market is the High Line – a raised railroad track that they turned into a park. It has some beautiful views, was a nice walk, and what a fascinating concept!

We finished the last day by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was an incredible sight to see and WOW, what a landmark! I guarantee that you’ve seen this bridge in a movie or tv show multiple times.

There are millions of variations for itineraries, but I hope mine helps if you are ever planning a trip! The Big Apple is most definitely a city that never sleeps. 

XO, Chelsea