The day after I returned from my trip home, Danika arrived in NYC! I hadn’t seen Danika since July, so it was GREAT to have her here! This was her first trip to NYC, and we made sure to do as much of the big things as possible — inlcuding seeing the ball drop in Times Square on NYE! More on that later… but needless to say, she now loves NYC.
Danika arrived Saturday evening and therefore our first NYC outing was dinner. We went to Empanada Mama’s near Times Square and oh my gosh, it was amazing. Especially the caramel and cheddar empanadas. Sounds strange, but it was phenomenal. After consuming our fair share of empanadas we went to Times Square to see the sights, and find the AMC Theater we would be celebrating at on NYE. We ended up staying in the area pretty late, and spent quite a bit of time in the 4 story Forever 21 store. We both slept like babies that night.
To start our first full day we headed to Little Italy for brunch at Grotta Azzurra. I had Danika try my Eggs Benedict and she fell in love — it’s officially the best way to eat an egg, and we decided we could eat it daily, and therefore had it many other times throughout the week.
After brunch we went on a walking adventure through Little Italy, Greenwich Village, and the West Village. We found an awesome store in the West Village called Stick, Stone & Bone where we each picked up new dream catchers. I’m obsessed with mine.
Next, we made sure to stop by the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. apartment building in the West Village. After all the walking around in the cold, we were in the mood for warmth, caffeine, and sugar. Cafe Angelique was the answer to our needs. We each got a phenomenal Dirty Chai, and had cupcakes, a scone, and an eclair. It was perfection.
Following our sugar high, we hopped on the subway and headed to Central Park to see Strawberry Fields and the John Lennon Imagine mosaic. For dinner that night we decided to just go back to Little Italy and ended up at Mambo’taliano Ristorante and Piano Bar. Let me just say right here that all food in Little Italy is amazing. We were stuffed, and exhausted from a long day filled with activities. Girls just want to have fun!
Monday, NEW YEAR’S EVE:
On Monday we found a place near my apartment, Virage, who serves weekday brunch, and both ordered the Eggs Benedict. Amazing, so amazing.
We didn’t do much in the afternoon because it was time to start getting ready for NYE in Times Square! The plan was to pick up our tickets at 6pm, arrive at AMC close to 7pm when it opens, take advantage of the appetizers and open bar, and then head outside to watch the ball drop. Surely 6pm was early enough we told ourselves, everyone will arrive later, we said.
Let’s just say our plans were shot. We arrived to the ticket pick up location and saw a line. It won’t be too bad we assumed… we were SO WRONG. Once we finally found the end of the line, we had officially walked completely around a New York City block…. and for those of you that know, crosstown blocks are much longer than uptown/downtown blocks. We stood in line for 3 and a half hours, just to pick up our tickets that we had already paid for. Thankfully, after an hour or so, we struck up a conversation with the people around us, and the time passed quicker than we thought. We were freezing, but at least we were in good company.
After picking up our tickets we made our way to Times Square. We had tickets so we should be able to get right in, right? WRONG. Due to our time in line taking so long, millions of people had already packed into Times Square, and multiple entrances were officially closed. At this point, after over an hour of walking from block to block trying to get in, and being turned away, we were both beyond frustrated and close to tears. Somehow, we found the “right” NYPD officer that let us through, and then 3 more (there were many many barriers).
It was already 11:00 p.m., so we decided to just find a spot where we could see the ball and STAY PUT.
Even after all the chaos, it was TOTALLY WORTH IT. We saw the ball drop and celebrated the beginning of 2013 in the heart of Times Square in NYC! It’s an experience we can both now check off our buckets lists, and NEVER. DO. AGAIN. I would never discourage anyone from going, but be forewarned, it’s one hell of a ride.
After the ball drop, we made our way through the confetti filled streets towards AMC, because the party was still going! We stopped along the way for photo opps with FDNY and NYPD officers.
We had to wait for some unknown reason for AMC to let guests enter after the ball drop, and met a sweet girl from Belgium that we ended up hanging out with all night. Our night was a huge success, even after we thought it was going to be a failure. Officially the TOP NEW YEAR’S EVER, so far at least.
As you can probably assume, we were absolutely exhausted on January 1 after one hell of a NYE. But we didn’t let the day go to waste! We visited the 9/11 Memorial, which is such a moving and emotional experience. It’s very powerful, and a great symbol of our nation’s unity and resilience. It is a must stop location if you are to ever visit NYC. I pretty much plan to take all of my guests there.
Next, it was to Battery Park to catch a view of the Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately, the island she is on is closed due to Hurricane Sandy, but we were able to catch a gorgeous dusk viewing of her shimmering in the river along the skyline.
For dinner we headed into the Flatiron District for dinner at Eataly, Mario Batali’s restaurant and Italian store. FYI, this was by FAR the best Italian food either of us has ever had — and we eat lots of Italian (it’s my favorite food ever).
Wednesday was LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON day!!! We literally spent the entire day at Rockefeller Plaza standing in various lines with a lot of waiting around in order to pick up the tickets Danika had reserved weeks prior. But we prevailed and ended up being in the FRONT ROW for the show! It was such a great experience watching the show being taped and the process they go through (there are SO MANY people who make that show happen). And hey, we were on National TV! So that is pretty freaking awesome. We also each received a free copy of the Portlandia book from Fred Armisen (along with everyone else in the audience).
We had a quick bite to eat at an Irish Pub before heading back to 30 Rock for Top of the Rock — which is easily the BEST view of the gorgeous NYC skyline. It’s breathtaking.
We decided to sleep in Thursday morning, the multiple days of activities had just worn us out. We went out for a late brunch at Virage for some more Eggs Benedict before Danika had to catch her flight home.
I love so much that Danika was able to visit and spend NYE with me in NYC. It will be a time that we will always remember and cherish together. Now we are already making plans for our next meeting! I’ve missed her so incredibly much these last few months, but as I said in my last post, distance knows no bounds, and she’s forever and always one of the most important people in my life. BDFM! 🙂