Do you have a really cool friend? I think we all do. You know, the one who lives a pretty awesome life and seems to always be doing really cool things. I actually have several like that but one in particular goes to NYC every six weeks to get her hair done. If that’s not cool, I don’t know what is! She would say it’s really no big deal, cheap direct flights, good hotel deals, fly in one day, out the next, etc. Still, I say it’s pretty cool!
Back in December, I was ogling her pics on Facebook, ooooing and ahhhhing over them. She told me she was going back in January (about 4 weeks later) and asked if I wanted to tag along. She was planning on seeing Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden, too, and even had an extra ticket. Of course she did! Because that’s how she rolls! So I checked my airline miles balance and with little hesitation, a short while later my flight was booked. I had never been to New York before. It was on my top 10 places I wanted to visit so to say I was excited was an understatement.
The time passed quickly, and before I knew it, I was on the plane headed for the bright lights of the Big Apple. New York in January is cold, people! It was even snowing when I landed and snowed off and on for the next 2 days. Did I mind? Not one bit! Being in NYC after wanting to go for so long was surreal!
Arriving at the hotel was so exciting! We stayed at the Hilton Midtown.
Hilton Midtown NYC
She had already checked us in and snagged us a great corner room with 2 windows! We could even see Radio City Music Hall from one of them!
Room with a view
As soon as I dropped my bags off at the hotel, we headed straight for Rockefeller Center, then to Times Square.
Doesn’t everyone? Pretty soon it was time to get ready for dinner and a night out. We ate at Capital Grille. I’m still craving the lobster mac and cheese! Then we had tickets to see Pippin, which was fabulous!
We capped the evening off with, what else? Cheesecake! We were going to go for Junior’s but it was totally packed, so we opted for Lindy’s instead.
Strawberry cheesecake from Lindy’s
It was so creamy and delicious! It was also much lighter than I was expecting but the slices were HUGE!
The next day began by meeting some of my Princess Posse friends who live in the area for breakfast at Maison.
Breakfast with Princess Posse friends at Maison
I loved being able to introduce some of my BRFs (best running friends) to one of my oldest childhood friends (old as in number of years we’ve known each other, not old in age, obviously). Then, it was off to the Top of the Rock. The city was so pretty from way up there!
View from the Top of the Rock
The elevator ride was pretty cool, too.
The Top of the Rock elevator had a glass top so you could see it going up.
After that, a shopping trip to Macy’s was in order, followed by a trip to the 9/11 Memorial.
It was so cold that one of the fountains was frozen so it was turned off. The other fountain looked like it was just before freezing, too. Being there was a very somber experience. We then headed to Little Italy for dinner at La Mela.
I had the largest piece of Chicken Parm I’ve ever seen in my life!
Chicken Parm from La Mela in Little Italy
It was one of the best, too! After that, we really wanted Junior’s Cheesecake still, so we got some to go and headed back to the hotel for an early turn-in.
Junior’s Red Velvet cheesecake
We had a really early wake up the next day because we were heading to the Today show.
Us at the Today Show
It was still pretty cold so there weren’t that many people on the Plaza. We were part of the opening shot of the show and one of her friends was able to get a pic of her TV with us on it!
Us on TV
How fun is that? Two other highlights were Matt Lauer waving to me and Al Roker posing for a pic just for me.
Al Roker! I know him!
After a few hours of standing in the Plaza, we found a tiny diner for breakfast. Then it was time for her hair appointment so we said our goodbyes for a few hours. I headed back to Times Square to do some shopping at, where else? The Disney Store!
Times Square Disney Store
My people! Then I set out to find the famous Serendipity 3 Frozen Hot Chocolate.
Serendipity 3 Frozen Hot Chocolate
On the way, I got a little lost and walked by Bryant Park, which I totally didn’t mind at all.
Bryant Park, getting ready for Fashion Week
I also stopped in Dylan’s Candy Bar and tried to find Bloomingdale’s.
Dylan’s Candy Bar
I know I was in the area but I never saw it. Strange! I also meandered through Central Park for quite a while.
I heart Central Park
Ahhhh, I heart Central Park! There was still snow covering the ground and it was so gorgeous! I headed toward 5th Avenue and saw the famous Plaza Hotel.
Afternoon tea there or maybe even just a cocktail is definitely in order next time! Then I found Trump Tower and walked around there a bit.
It was then time to meet up with my friend again. I must say she looked fabulous! We were both starving, so she suggested we go get burgers. I kid you not, this girl knows all the cool places! She led us to Le Parker Meridien Hotel where there’s this red curtain in the lobby. It looks pretty non-descript, and you would never know unless you know, which she did, that there’s a burger joint behind the red curtain. Who knew?! After that, we went back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner and Billy Joel. Dinner was at Max Brenner, a restaurant famous for all the chocolate. All. The. Chocolate.
Dinner turned into more like a shared appetizer and desserts. Yes, plural. I had a chocolate martini, hot chocolate, and a plate full of chocolate desserts.
All the chocolate
Then it was off to Madison Square Garden.
Madison Square Garden
Her excited face
Billy Joel was fabulous! The man’s voice is amazing, and he sang for about 3 hours straight.
The next morning we headed out to Battery Park. Since we weren’t doing a harbor tour to the Statue of Liberty, this was the only way I was going to get close enough to her to see her at all.
Lady Liberty from Battery Park
There was so much ice in the harbor, I really don’t think they were doing tours out there anyway. Then we went to the Empire State Building.
Empire State Building
It was intensely cold that far up! I actually liked the Empire State Building better than the Top of the Rock. I liked being higher than anything else around me.
View from the top of the Empire State Building
It wasn’t too terribly crowded, either. After that, we headed back to Rockefeller Center for lunch at Rock Center Cafe. There was one, lone, ice skater out on the rink.
Ice skater, Tara Lapinski, maybe?
It was obvious that she was someone who knew what she was doing. She was being photographed, too. Another one of my friends later identified her as former Olympic Gold Medalist, Tara Lapinsky. He said she was rehearsing for her Jimmy Kimmel appearance being filmed later that day. He showed me video evidence that she was, in fact, on Jimmy Kimmel, so we’ll go with that. We had just a little bit of time for some shopping in Rockefeller Center before I had to collect my belongings from the hotel and head back to the airport to come home.
Rockefeller Center Christmas tree marker
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. It was a trip I will never forget!
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