New York State of Mind

Is it possible to go to NYC without doing any shopping?  I don’t think so!  Even the pouring rain couldn’t stop my mom and I from hitting the city right up until the hour before we had to catch our flight back to Chicago.  The only thing that almost derailed our plans.  I woke up to this view…




However it looked completely blurry!  In my attempt to leave New Jersey quickly and take as little as possible to the city for the night, I forgot to bring my glasses AND my contacts.  Yikes!  I didn’t have a lot of options and knew that I couldn’t explore the city searching for cupcakes with blurry vision.  I called my aunt and my dad, begging them to take a detour across the George Washington bridge to bring me some eyes.  Although I had shopping on the brain, my mom and I were also interested in checking out the 9/11 Memorial, and I thought that sounded more legit than searching the city for cupcakes and sales.  Because my family is fantastic, after rush hour they brought my contacts to the city and dropped us off at the subway with plenty of time play before our flight home.  I owe them a HUGE thank you for saving my last day in New York!  They even lent us an umbrella!


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We took the train all the way down town, and then joined the ranks of tourists in sneakers toting umbrellas on the streets.




We walked a few blocks over to the Memorial, which is still a work in progress.


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The pouring rain didn’t stop people from coming by to check it out.  We didn’t do the full inside tour but walked along the roads, looking at the buildings and admiring their grace towering above the city.  We are planning to come back with the rest of the family when the Memorial is finished, and I am looking forward to it!




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The buildings are so impressive that my mom was actually able to spot them from our airplane when we landed at Newark!


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The last time my mom and I were down near Ground Zero, it was shortly after 9/11.  As we walked we remembered how unbelievable it was to see a beautiful church unscathed in the middle of the ruin.  We were both silent as we walked past the same church during this visit.


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On a funnier note, when we were last here I was interviewed by a Japanese TV station.  We have pictures somewhere, but I don’t think they are digital.  We stopped under an overhang to take some pictures of the memorial and I couldn’t help but be impressed with the sea of umbrellas floating down the street.


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My cousin had mentioned a store to us called Century 21.  Have you been there???  He said that it is very popular and we happened to pass by it after the Memorial.




It was definitely an impressive store….tons of selection and the kind of place where you could spend an entire day shopping. However, the line for the fitting room was a little to intense for my liking!


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We walked out of the store, and I plugged our lunch destination, BabyCakes, into the navigation.  It was only a mile and a half away and despite the rain, my mom and I decided to walk it.  My cousin called as were walking and just happened to be right in front of the federal building where he worked.  He came down to meet us for a midday stroll through town.  I was excited to take a slight detour around his building to where the court houses are.  Why, you ask?  Do these buildings look familiar?


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These are the steps where my all-time favorite show, Law&Order are filmed!  Insert theme song here!




The three of us made our way through some unfamiliar and adorable neighborhoods on a mission to find cupcakes.








We arrived at BabyCakes NYC.  This tiny storefront is located on quiet Broome Street surrounded by old buildings and cafes.


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I started to share my pictures and pastries and then decided that BabyCakes will need it’s own post.  There are just WAY TOO MANY mouth watering pictures to include here (and my NYC post could go on for days…ha ha!).  After cupcakes for lunch, we headed west towards 5th Ave for our next stop, Fishs Eddy.  We said farewell to my cousin who had to head back to work before heading farther north.  By this point, the rain had stopped and the sun was starting to come out from behind the clouds.




We had so much fun walking, talking, people watching, and taking in the sites.


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And of course, we had to stop for a street pretzel!!!


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We arrived at Fishs Eddy, which is a unique housewares store, with only 45 minutes before we needed to catch the train to the airport.


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Challenge accepted!  We had just enough time to browse, pick, and pay…




You know me…I wanted one of EVERYTHING from this store.


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But I limited myself to one small package.  We headed north to catch the Path to Newark.  I used my walk and snap photography method to grab some last minute city shots now that the sun was finally shining.


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We met my Dad at Newark airport, reorganized our bags, found room for our new purchases before boarding our flight home.  Shortly after take off, my mom pulled our our package from BabyCakes.  Best ToGo box EVER!!!  Even my dad was impressed with these gluten-free, vegan, sweets!





What a fantastic day in the ‘city that doesn’t sleep’!  I can’t wait to do it again soon!



What is your favorite thing to do in NYC?

Home (ish)


We arrived back at our car just as the sun was setting over O’hare. It was a beautiful ending to a special family weekend out East!!! For the night, I am back at my parents (and blogging from my phone again) for an easy trip into work tomorrow. I have fun pictures and stories to share, including today’s lunch at Babycakes NYC. Lots of NY love to come…

Good night!

Black Friday In NYC

I am not typically a Black Friday shopper. I think it was all of those years working retail through high school and college that turned me off from the mall on crazy days like the Friday after Thanksgiving or the Monday after Christmas.  My mom and I have been known to hit up an Old Navy on Thanksgiving (What?  It’s right next to the Jewel when get our last minute groceries).  This year on Black Friday, I found myself in Washington Heights (the north tip of Manhattan) on another 60 degree and sunny day (we had beautiful parade weather too!).  My only requirement for this day was that I wanted to get moving.  When my cousin suggested a walk down to the lighthouse under the George Washington bridge, I thought it was a wonderful idea.  I laced my my sneakers and we all hit the road.




We wandered through Washington Heights, enjoying the sunshine and views of this unique neighborhood.  My cousin and his wife have lived here a few years and are super knowledgeable about the area’s history.





My mom mentioned something about being ‘green’ and my cousin immediately suggested that we check out the High Line.  I had no idea what they were talking about, but since none of us had ever seen it, we figured would be a fun thing to do and the perfect way to spend our afternoon.  We made our way to the subway and headed down south.


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I must admit, I’m not exactly sure which stop we got off at.  But it was a beautiful day and we continued to walk through the streets.  We walked past a gorgeous building with a sign out front.  My cousin’s wife immediately recognized it as an artisan market for up and coming designers.  The ladies headed straight in while the boys went in search of some food.





Inside the market, we found the most wonderful clothes and I fell in love with this Japanese designer.  Her clothes were unique, adorable, and flattering.  Plus, they were totally affordable.  I could have bought everything, but settled on two fabulous tops.


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The market was full of clothing, jewelry, and accessories and probably the least crowded (and underrated) Black Friday shopping area.  If you live in NYC, check it out.  I know that I’ll be going back soon!




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We left the market bags in hand and headed towards the meatpacking district.  I hadn’t been down here in YEARS and couldn’t help but referencing the Sex In The City episode where Samantha gets into a fight with the drag queens outside her window in this up and coming neighborhood.





We entered the High Line at Gansevoort Street with more than enough time to walk the trail, enjoy the view (don’t worry, I took tons of pictures), and soak in the afternoon sunshine.  I loved spending the day with my family and getting to catch up on life.  We walked all the way down to west 30th Street, and I was happy that I wore my gym shoes.



It was one of my favorite days in NYC and a much better way to spend the nation’s most popular shopping day than fighting crowds at the mall!  Plus, I got to grab a street pretzel for the train ride back home…a yummy treat!