March 14, 2020



I could go on for days with all the reasons I love NYC, but one of my favorite things about this busy city is that you can have a completely different trip every time you go. There are endless things to do, places to eat and shop, sites to see, etc. But, one constant is the infectious energy that radiates from this city. I never want to leave and always book another trip soon after I get home.


This is the second time that I've stayed with my cousin Nick, and his boyfriend, when I visit. They are a BLAST and obviously take me to the best eats and drinks. (The picture above is from his apartment). Many of the restaurants I mention (coming soon in part II) will be in the Midtown/Hells Kitchen neighborhood since that's where they live. It's a very convenient area right at the lower left corner of Central Park and a 20 minute walk to Times Square.



First, let's talk things to do:

Thrift Stores
Beacon's Closet (pictured above)
Buffalo Exchange
You'll find H&M, you'll find Coach, and everything in between.

Flatiron Building
Flatiron public plaza - A gorgeous spot to sit outside and have a breather on a nice day with some coffee
They also have a massive food plaza called Eataly  

Zerospace Museum
This was the coolest trippiest museum! Better described as a "psychedelic immersive art playground". I recommend 'the museum' instead of 'the show', because you go as you please. You can visit an exhibit 5 times if you want or spend 20 minutes on a bean bag in the laser room.
We're talking an augmented reality sand box, infinity laser forest, melt mirror, and interactive floor, just to name a few things. And none will really make sense until you experience it for yourself.
Oh, and did I mention they have a bar with overpriced drinks? I had a $16 margarita and don't regret it for a second.




I feel like going to Chinatown and getting a fake luxury item (that they pretend is real and great quality) is part of the NYC tourist experience. Look for women on Canal Street wearing a few Louis Vuitton bags and whispering "Louis Vuitton purse, Chanel bag, Gucci purse" when you walk by. If you can't spot them, go into one of the souvenir looking shops and tell them what you're looking for. I swear they're all connected, and they'll sneakily get you to someone who can help. 
Don't pay more than $60 for a bag and $25 for a belt (that's what I got them down to), and don't cave when they try to pressure you! Just say no thank you and walk away. 9 out of 10 times they'll chase you down with a cheaper offer.
They wanted $65 for a fake Gucci belt, and even though they hated me by the end, I got them down to $25. And Christian was whispering to me, "you can't go that low with them!". And I was like, "YES I CAN"
*Writes down as one of proudest moments*

PS, I think years ago they'd take you in a sketchy back room for the goods. That's never happened to me. This time they handed me a sheet with their products OR handed me their phone with photos and I would favorite the ones I wanted. Then they'd call or text their delivery boy, who would show up in about 5-8 minutes and smoothly pass off a backpack like they've got drugs in there, not fake bags. Hahaha I'm serious. 


Not the best photo, I took it on the subway to send to my mom, but here's a comparison of my authentic Pochette Metis vs the Chinatown bumbag. The colors and texture are SPOT ON! Quality.. not even close 😂



New York Public Library
This building is so crazy gorgeous! There are a few areas you aren't allowed in unless you're actually studying/researching, but most of it is free range! And while you're in the area, browse around Bryant Park, too.

230 5th Rooftop Bar
I feel like this fits best under the 'things to do' category instead of 'drinks' because it's not a quick in and out like I imagined. The heated "igloos" lured me in like the sucker of a tourist that I am, and I drug Nick with me (: There was a line on the street when we arrived, but it moved very quickly! The website said that there's no cover charge or drink minimum.. I must have missed the fine print that said "$40 minimum on Fridays and Saturdays". (That's what I was told when I said HEY the website says no entry fees! lol). With the $40, you get 3 $15 drink vouchers, so it wasn't as bad as it sounds, but I wanted ONE drink. Not THREE. So of course, I had three. Not my smartest move because we got home at 2:00 AM and I had a flight to catch in about 7 more hours 😶
One level below the rooftop bar, (which was complete with complimentary red snuggies and scattered heat lamps,) is more of a club scene. We did a lap around the room for some good people watching and called it a night.
To sum it up, would I do it again? Nah. Was I glad I went and can cross it off my list? For sure! Nick and I had a blast laughing at the "fireplaces" in the igloos and blurry view of the skyline. (See photos haha)

Whether you want to window shop or do some serious damage, you've got to go to 5th Avenue! Lots of high end stores like Louis Vuitton and Gucci can be found here, but places like Abercrombie and Nike are also in the mix!

The Shops at Columbus Circle and The Shops at Hudson Yards are two super nice spots

Also, go to every Tj Maxx you pass! They have much higher end items at the NYC locations, like Gucci and Valentino, plus all the other normal items and brands you expect to see there.

SOHO also has great shops. I love the cast iron detailed buildings and cobblestone streets here!


I'm working on part 2 of this post - coffee, drinks, and cheap eats - and will have it up soon!

See my past nyc travel posts HERE