Living close to New York City is both a blessing and a curse.
All I have to do is hop on a Coach bus from New Jersey, and in a matter of minutes (sometimes more), I’m in one of the most interesting cities in the world.
But what’s the bad part then?
Well, one of my gripes is that I have to catch the bus before a certain time to make it back home at a decent hour. And the least pleasant aspect of the journey is…wait for it…Port Authority Bus Terminal. A gritty and chaotic commuter hub located right next to Times Square. It’s one of those places you travel through only because you have to not because you want to. And that’s a generous way to put it, if you ask me.
Anyway, imagine how happy I was last week when I got to stay in Manhattan without having to take the bus back home to Jersey? Since my brother had booked a hotel room in Midtown for New York Comic Con, my family and I decided to stay there for just one of those nights.
And not going to lie, I loved it.
I wasn’t frantically leaving the office in Times Square this time (where I used to work) or staying out late to meet up with friends and family. I was able to relax and appreciate my go-to spots on a whole new level. (Not to mention, I didn’t have to go through PABT. Hallelujah, amen!)
Even though I have a love-hate relationship with New York City, I have to admit that it’s a fun place to explore. And no matter how often I visit, I always discover something new.
Scroll down for highlights from my short staycation!
During the week of October 4th, Brit+Co held a five-day pop-up event called #CreateGood. While I wasn’t able to attend the workshops and speaking events, I did get to check out their free event on Friday October 6th.
To say the event was “colorful” would be quite the understatement, as there were decorations and tiles of all colors illuminating the venue. To say that I am cheap would also be an understatement. But then again, who doesn’t love free drinks and snacks right? I thoroughly enjoyed my scoop of Talenti Gelato and the finger snacks provided by Brit+Co.
I also made a pair of wool earrings at the DIY station there, which was surprisingly fun (and a little frustrating, not going to lie). I’m not much of a DIY’er but I’m starting to get why people enjoy crafts.
Anyway, if Brit+Co throws another #CreateGood in 2018, I’ll definitely be attending. Can’t wait to see what they come up with next!
I rarely buy clothes when I’m in SoHo but I love window shopping and browsing the boutique shops in this trendy neighborhood. I not only stumbled upon numerous vintage shops but also one particular craft market that caught my eye immediately (pictured above). I don’t remember the name of the place specifically, but there were a lot independent shop owners inside selling handmade jewelry and other intricate crafts.
Hungry after all the walking, my mom and I decided to get lunch at the closest restaurant we could find. We wound up passing by Ruby’s Cafe, which seemed to be a popular restaurant among the twenty-something crowd. Thankfully, we only waited 15 minutes despite being told the wait would be longer.
Overall, the food was delicious and the portions were just right. I know there are a lot of places to eat in SoHo but I’d definitely recommend Ruby’s. If you’re dying to check out an instagram-worthy restaurant I’d choose Ruby’s over Jack’s Wife Freda. Just saying.
Every Friday, the MoMA offers free admission to the public from 4pm to 8pm. If you’re willing to brave the crowds and see some artwork, don’t miss this opportunity. Although we showed up to the museum at peak time, we didn’t wait more than 10 min to get in. The craziness was waiting for us inside as swarms of people filled the exhibition areas.
My mom and I spent about 10 minutes on each floor (starting from the top floor) and rushed through each gallery. Once we were done, we decided to take a much-needed break in the garden area of the MoMA. I had never been to the MoMA for UNIQLO Free Friday, but I guess the free admission was worth it? I don’t know.
If you really want to see the artwork and take your time, you might want to visit the museum some other day. Just my two cents!
Rockefeller Center is always crowded but it’s one of my favorite places for people-watching. Sometimes, they hold special events in front of 30 Rock (like the car show pictured above). Of course, I can’t wait to come back for the holidays. The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center never disappoints.
If you’re in the area, you should definitely check out St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It’s a beautiful gothic-style church by Rockefeller Center and it’s worth a peek inside.
Greenacre Park is a secluded park in Midtown East, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Tucked in between two buildings, this quiet space features a waterfall, a small cafe, and a whole lot of greenery. It’s a great place to unwind and read a book!
I didn’t take pictures of our dinner at Gyu-Kaku because, well…we devoured the food before anyone could take out their phones. Needless to say, we enjoyed our meal.
If you aren’t familiar with Gyu-Kaku, it’s a popular chain of Japanese BBQ restaurants known for the array of meat and marinades it serves. You get a lot of meat for what you pay, so that’s always a plus. I’d recommend Gyu-Kaku for group gatherings, including family dinners and meetups with friends.
If you’re looking for an accommodation in Midtown East, The Hilton Garden Inn is a solid, affordable option in the city. We were somehow upgraded to the suite on the top floor, which offered a nice nighttime view of New York. I really enjoyed my short stay here (if you couldn’t tell) and have a newfound appreciation for the contemporary neighborhood of Midtown East.
That’s it for today’s post but I hope you enjoyed the recap of my staycation in Manhattan. If you know of some hidden gems in this particular part of the Big Apple, do comment below! 🙂