My Mom and I were wanting to plan a trip together, just the two of us, but we kept putting it on the back burner. This year, for Mother’s Day, Brock surprised us with a trip to New York City! We were both very excited! I’ve been to the Big Apple many times, but my Mom had never been. So I was excited to show her around!
I love New York for multiple reasons, but one particular reason I love the city so much is that on a work trip in March 2012, Brock planned a trip to the city to spend the weekend with me. On our second night there, March 9th, we made a stop at the Empire State Building on our way to dinner. We went to the top to the 86th floor observation deck. While I thought we were about to pose for a picture, Brock dropped to his knee and proposed to me! I was so surprised and it was a pretty emotional moment for me! Needless to say, NYC will always hold a special place in my heart!
I wanted my Mom to be able to experience and see as much of NYC as possible in the short amount of time that we’d be there. Our hotel was in a good, central location near Times Square, so I knew we could get around to all the “highlights” fairly quickly and easily by walking and the subway.
We flew in to LaGuardia on Friday morning. After Ubering from the airport to our hotel. We stayed at the Belmont Hotel which was an older historic hotel with a great location. It was close to Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and Central Park. After checking in to our room, we were both pretty hungry. I think in all my excitement, I had not actually eaten anything that day, so I was starving. We decided to grab some lunch at a pizzeria right next to our hotel called Patzeria Family & Friends. It was great, the restaurant was not too crowded, the pizza and wine were just what we needed to get off on the right foot for all the walking we were about to do! My Mom had never had New York style pizza and was pleasantly surprised by how different it was from what she was used to! There’s just no comparison to a big fresh slice of NY style pizza!
It was actually raining on Friday when we arrived in NYC. It was remnants from hurricane Dorian that hit Florida and the east coast earlier that week. We knew it was going to probably be raining but we did not pack umbrella’s so we stopped into a gift shop on the corner and picked up a couple umbrella’s. From there we decided to walk to Times Square. As we checked out the sights we made our way to Carlos Bakery to see if we could catch “The Cake Boss” and also get some dessert! We got cheesecake and cannoli’s, which were amazing! The cheesecake was, perhaps, the best I’ve ever had! I was surprised to see that “real cheesecake” doesn’t actually have a crust!
From there we made our way down to 7th Avenue to walk back up through Time’s Square. We ducked in and out of some of the shops and walked by the Times Square New Year’s Eve crystal ball. It’s not as big as what you expect it to be!
Our hotel actually had a happy hour from 4-6 pm, so we went back to partake in that and get ready for dinner and a show. We decided to check out a little place called City Kitchen for dinner. It was an industrial-style marketplace with several different global food vendors. I grabbed a Lobster roll from Luke’s, voted #1 Lobster roll in NYC! I had never tried a Lobster roll, and was quite surprised by how good it was!
We had orchestra level Lion King tickets for 8:00, so after dinner we walked to the Minskoff Theatre. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Lion King on Broadway. I’ve seen all the movies, and even the newest live animation film, and have heard rave reviews from several people about the Broadway show. The production lasted just over 2 hours and I will say it was AMAZING! I loved every minute of it. It was like nothing I’ve seen before. They do not allow you to film or take pictures, so I was not able to capture any of the show in photos or videos. But if you have a chance to see it on Broadway, do it!
The next day, Saturday morning, we wake up and decide to grab breakfast at Junior’s restaurant. They’re known for being voted NYC’s best cheesecake! Even though some diners were eating cheesecake for breakfast, we decided to stick with the normal breakfast menu!
After breakfast, we started towards NBC studios to see the Today show and try to get on TV! They had just finished filming for the morning, but we were able to peek in the studio and see where the news anchors sit during their daily news filming. Dylan Dreyer was walking through the studio and waved at me!
Across the street is Radio City music hall, Rockefeller Center, and FAO Schwarz. When I was in NYC for Christmas last year, you couldn’t even walk in FAO Schwarz, the line was wrapped completely around the block! As we were walking by, it was right at 10:00 and they were just opening the doors so we walked right in. I found a couple of souvenirs for the boys, and also found Batman. Since Braxton loves Batman, I took a picture and sent it to Brock to show him that I was in “Gotham City” with him!
From Rockefeller Center, we tried walking down 5th avenue to head to Grand Central station, however, we ended up right in the middle of a Labor Day parade and was unable to cross 5th street to get to Grand Central station! So, instead we walked all the way back to the Times Square subway station at 42nd Street. We hoped on the subway and took the 1 train all the way down to the World Trade Center station. We visited the 9/11 Memorial. The site and the pools where the towers once stood is a beautiful memorial to what happened that sad day.
We walked across the street to the Oculus, which is a state-of-the-art retail and dining mall and serves as the centerpiece of the World Trade Center transportation hub. By this time, we needed to find food and restrooms! We made our way to MarketLane NYC where we grabbed lunch. The Oculus also joined to the subway, which we needed to hop on to get to the South Ferry station, which was just two stops, and the last stop of the subway in Lower Manhattan.
We made our way to the Staten Island Ferry terminal, if you do this be prepared for dozens of ticket salesmen to try to get you to take paid water tour. I knew that the Staten Island Ferry was free and that it would allow us to see the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and the Manhattan skyline. We had to get off the ferry on Staten Island, which gave us enough time to grab some ice cream at the terminal and then hop back on the next ferry.
My friend for over 20 years, Alison, lives about an hour train ride away from the city in Connecticut. We made plans to meet up for dinner. She had a favorite spot that she recommended we go, but before dinner we decided to meet for happy hour. There was a rooftop bar nearby the restaurant where we met up called Henry’s. It was a nice evening to sit on the rooftop, take in the views, and enjoy a refreshing beverage. From there we walked a short distance to one of Alison’s favorite restaurants called Le Relaise de Venise L’Entrecote. It was a unique steak house, and the only one in the U.S., with the original being in Paris. The prix fixe offering was a delicious steak, green salad with walnuts, and steak frites. We ordered a bottle of wine, and our meal was quickly brought to our table. Perhaps the best part of this restaurant was that they would bring you seconds if you wanted more! We ordered Les Profiteroles au Chocolat for dessert, which were cream puffs garnished with chocolate sauce. We chatted and enjoyed the evening and from there Ali took the train back to Connecticut and we called it a night and headed back to the hotel. We finished off the night with in-room facials while watching HGTV!
Sunday morning we woke up rested and refreshed, ready to start the day! We walked a few blocks up 8th Street to Pick A Bagel and had breakfast. The line was long so we knew the bagels were going to be good, and they were!
After breakfast we wandered around, did a little souvenir shopping and eventually made our way to Central Park. We walked around and checked out the sights and statues for a bit before it was time to head back to the hotel to gather our bags and checkout. On our way to the airport we were able to drive by the Empire State building, one of the sites we didn’t get a chance to make it to.
Our trip was a wonderful little getaway! I loved getting to spend time with my Mom and show her some of my favorite places of the city as well as some of the top sights and attractions. If you ever get a chance to travel to another city with your Mom, don’t put it off. Plan it now! It doesn’t even have to be extravagant, and you don’t even have to fly somewhere. Take a one-night trip to a neighboring city and get a hotel! You’ll make memories you’ll cherish forever!