There’s really nothing I love more than a trip to New York City. (Except for the fact that I usually leave wondering why I ever moved away…) I visited at the beginning of the summer, but with my crazy travel schedule in July and August, I didn’t make it back for a visit until this month. And I guess I made up for lost time because I’ve been there twice in the last few weeks! ha But let’s talk about the first of my most recent trips.. Shall we? Lots of great recommendations!
I flew on Delta from Chicago to New York bright and early… Thanks goodness for breakfast (and a whole lot of coffee!) in First Class! Once I got in the car at JFK, I made my way through morning traffic to the newly opened William Vale Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I took the subway into Manhattan for a few quick meetings then made my way back to Brooklyn to explore and see all that’s changed since I moved last year!
One of my favorite things about Williamsburg, Brooklyn has always been the epic views of the Manhattan skyline. And the views at the William Vale definitely do not disappoint! I was in a west-facing room with the most incredible balcony complete with a view of the skyline… I spent every second I could out there and imagined how freaking amazing it would be to actually live there and get to see that every day. I guess vacation will have to do for now, haha!
It must have just been a coincidence, but the hotel delivered one of my favorite bottles of Pinot Noir to the room! I used to buy it all the time at my favorite wine shop on the Lower East Side, but haven’t been able to find it in Chicago. And admittedly, I didn’t know what it was called.. I just identified it by the typewriter. Grapesmith & Crusher for those of you who want to keep an eye out!
Oh and the pool?! In love. Don’t even get me started on those scalloped fringe umbrellas! I need one of those!
We kicked off the evening at the new Peruvian restaurant, Llama Inn, on their rooftop terrace. We didn’t have time to try any food, but it looked and smelled amazing. I can vouch that their pisco sours are on point, though! They went down a little too easy. Highly recommend! (And it was an easy walk from the hotel!)
For dinner, we went to Emmy Squared Pizza and it definitely did not disappoint! We had four different pizzas and I tried them all… So, so good!
Oh, and I also treated myself to a little early birthday drink… A boozy birthday cake milkshake from Momofuku Milkbar! GET ONE IMMEDIATELY… DELICIOUS.
On the next day, I finally checked Coney Island off of my bucket list! I had always meant to make it down to Coney Island when I lived in New York, but I never made it happen. If you’re reading this and live in New York, add it to the list! It was SO FUN! And I don’t even like rides very much. But it was just a fun atmosphere that takes you back to childhood for a bit! And plus, who can say no to Nathan’s hot dogs?! It was so cool to get to go to the original location!
Even though it’s so easy to get to and from Coney Island on the subway, we opted for a nice air conditioned Uber back to Brooklyn after being out in the hot sun all day! We stayed local for dinner and went to MP Taverna in Williamsburg, which had the most incredible Mediterranean food. I’d take some of that hummus & dip trio right about now! (The sangria wouldn’t hurt either…) We literally tried almost everything… Lamb chops, branzino, paella, lemon chicken, fries, broccoli, mustard brussels sprouts, feta mediterranean salad, scallops, octopus, and all of the dips. Yes, my mouth is watering typing this.
After dinner we swung by the rooftop at the Wythe Hotel for another cocktail before heading home! Hey, I was turning 27 at midnight and figured a dirty martini would help me ring in another year on the right foot. 🙂
I woke up and had a few Momofuku Milkbar Birthday Cake Truffles in bed… There’s truly nothing better than eating cake for breakfast, except when it’s Momofuku Cake. The best!
We tried to go to the Bagel Store in Williamsburg for those epic rainbow bagels that you see all over Instagram, but apparently we were too early and had to “settle” for regular bagels instead. If there’s one thing I miss so much about NYC, it’s the bagels. Toasted everything bagel with lowfat chive cream cheese… SO DAMN GOOD. My waistline definitely does not miss them though… Sometimes I look back at photos of myself and even though I’m pretty much the same clothing size, you can tell how much the NYC stress and NYC eating got to me. Yikes! Sadly, bagels are now just a special occasion thing for me, but a birthday bagel was the perfect start to a busy day!
After the Met opened to the public, we headed all the way downtown to catch a ferry to Governor’s Island! In all my years living in New York, I never made it to Governor’s Island, which I’m now kicking myself for. They’ve done SO MUCH to it and they’re still going… No matter if you live in New York or are just visiting, I’d definitely add it to your list to make a day (or even a half-day) out of it! You can only get there by ferry, so naturally you have fabulous view of the skyline on the way over. But with the awesome hills they’ve built on the island, there are incredible skyline views (and Statue of Liberty views!) from Governor’s Island, too! So many spots for picnics, gardens, hammocks, slides, and lots of space to spread out and relax.
PS: If you can make it to the island on a Monday, they offer free bike rentals all day to zip around!
Perfect Picnic has to be the most genius thing I’ve heard of… Maybe ever! I know you can get anything and everything delivered to you in NYC, but this just might take the cake. Our picnic baskets were delivered to us right at the ferry building, complete with sandwiches, salads, fruit, a cheese board spread, chips, water, and even GINGHAM PICNIC BLANKETS AND PARASOLS! Talk about a perfect Instagram shot…
So here’s the bottom line… I’m a creature of habit and love hitting up all of my old haunts when I’m in NYC. But there’s so much to offer in New York, especially outside of Manhattan! I wish I would have taken the time to explore other boroughs more when I had the chance. So if you live in the city now, start making it a point to do that! And if you’ve visited New York countless times, maybe start going off the beaten path a bit. I couldn’t have had a better few days exploring these new-to-me spots all over New York!
PS: I’ve added everything from this trip to my NYC Travel Guide. Be sure to check if out if you’re ever planning a visit!
A new hotel in Brooklyn, Coney Island, Governor’s Island, the #EmptyMet, and more!