NYC Travel Guide from a New York Enthusiast

I absolutely love New York City.  I totally get that it’s not for everyone though.  The way New Yorkers drive down narrow roads weaving in and out of lanes to the point where you just don’t look out the window, the waft of urine that hits you every 3 to 4 blocks or so, the people pushing past you as you speed down the cross walk.  It ain’t everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s SO mine.  If it weren’t for the lack of sweet tea in restaurants, the lack of ice in drinks at restaurants (weird), and the lack of Whataburger, I would move to NYC in a heartbeat.

There was a time when fresh out of college I decided to live the “Carrie Bradshaw” dream (I seriously watched all seasons of Sex & The City on DVD and decided to just go…young and dumb).  My friend Shaina had just gotten a job in sales for Time Out New York which also fueled my fire.  So I just went with the money I got from graduation and a one way ticket.  I slept on the floor of Shaina’s Brooklyn apartment, there was no hot water, no microwave, and no internet.  Every day I hit the pavement with my résumé in hand and a dream in my heart.  After a long stretch of radio silence from potential employers, and with my grad money quickly dwindling, I high-tailed it back to the suburbs of Houston and immediately got a great job (go figure).

I said all that to say, NYC is in my blood.  The good parts, the bad parts, and the ugly (and stinky) parts.  I cherish that time in Brooklyn (shout out to Carroll Gardens, what, what?!) and am thrilled every time I get to go back.  Recently I have been traveling back and forth to NYC for business (me, my husband, and our close friend are creating an app and the developers are located in NYC).  With these business trips I have gotten to re-live the glory days and much more.  Here are a few highlights and also some tips if you are planning a trip to New York from a New York enthusiast!

  1. If you can, splurge and stay at a place with a great view.  I am quickly loving staying at airbnb’s and that’s exactly what we did.  Being that this was a business trip and most expenses were covered, we were able to stay at an airbnb in one of the Trump Towers. From the 71st floor the view was breath taking.  You don’t have to break the bank for a place with a great view of the city or an iconic building.  There are great boutique hotels that I love to visit that are easier on the wallet, but central to all the excitement of NYC.  I love it here and here.

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  2. Wear comfortable shoes.  I know it’s tempting, especially in a place like New York, to dress for style and forget about comfort.  Please I beg you (and so do your feet) wear comfortable shoes!  An added bonus is when you can find something in your closet that is comfortable AND stylish.  During this trip I did pack a pair of wedges that are not the most comfortable, but I knew that I was only planning on wearing them for drinks out with our app developers and that I wouldn’t be walking around much.  Other than that I rocked my Tory Burch flats, Francesca’s low wedges, Converse Chuck’s, and TOMS classics which all fell into the cute/comfortable category (the TOMS have walked many many miles and may not be so cute any more.)  By the end of the trip I was blister free (although my pedicure chipped).
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  3. Socialize with the locals!  Before your trip find out what’s going on in the City and see if there is a means for you to participate.  For my latest trip I just so happened to be going during New York Fashion Week.  It’s been a dream of mine to go and experience #NYFW so my bestie and I flew up a couple of days before our business meetings to catch it!  It was amazing.  There is nothing like it!
    NYC Travel Guide Sideline SocialiteWhat in the heck does a girl wear to New York Fashion Week?!  After mildly stressing and being determined not to go out an buy something, I chose this White House Black Market cap sleeve dress (that I wore to my wedding rehearsal dinner 5.5 years ago) and these strappy Michael Kors heels that were actually super comfortable!  I walked several blocks in them.  I am SUPER proud that I found something that I already owned! GO ME!
    NYC Travel Guide Sideline SocialiteHere at the Naeem Khan show and totally geeking out at the sight of Iris Apfel (with the round glasses) and Christina Hendricks (from Mad Men) next to her.
    NYC Travel Guide Sideline SocialiteNYC Travel Guide Sideline SocialiteWhen the lights went down the phones went up!  The show was breath taking!  A little over 40 looks, and a couple million dollars to put on the show, and the whole thing was over in 10 minutes!  It was exhilarating.
    NYC Travel Guide Sideline SocialiteAll that time put into thinking about what I was going to wear and I told myself “don’t worry about it Britt, no one is looking at you, they are looking at the fashions.”  NOPE!  Everyone is looking at you so be prepared.  Still love my outfit choice though!  There were people there in everything from jeans, and sweatshirt hoodies, to avant garde creations.  Anything goes, but everyone is looking.
  4.  Get out of Manhattan!  Explore the other boroughs, don’t be scared, you might like it!  The other boroughs are filled with foodie gems and scenic spots.
    NYC Travel Guide Sideline SocialiteHere is one of my favorite spots that Cameron introduced me to.  We “trekked” to Brooklyn just for this view, just so he could get this shot at sundown.  We followed it up by going to this fabulous authentic brick oven pizza place that we would have never found if we would have stayed in Manhattan.
    NYC Travel Guide Sideline SocialiteDon’t be afraid to take the subway either!  It’s a really cost effective way to get around and google maps or maps (iOS) are amazing!  They give you directions to the best station to walk to and once you get on the train, where and when to get off.
  5. Do all the touristy things.  Because of my stint in NYC sometimes I forget that it’s ok to be a tourist.  I don’t have to be cool and try to pretend that I am one of the locals, and it’s ok for me to consult my subway station app to figure out which train to take!  Although you may be in line with the fanny pack wearing, zoom lens the size of a baseball bat toting, socks with sandals tourists of the world (I think fanny packs are coming back in?!) It’s cool to see iconic NYC places.  I still get chills when I see the Empire State Building up close.  Still on my tourist to-do list: go to a live recording of Jimmy Fallon, and a Statute of Liberty tour.
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    Gorgeous day in Central Park.
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    Look mom! A real life NYC protest!

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  6. Enjoy tea at The Plaza.  My friend was hell bent on going to tea at The Plaza.  I don’t know where or how she heard about it (because she didn’t get any of my Eloise references), but that was her dream.  I thought it would be cheesy, but she insisted.  And you know what, it was the bomb!  I loved every minute of it!  You need to make reservations in advance, and there is a dress code (business casual).  We placed the reservation the day before and were able to get in with no problem. We enjoyed the champaign tea which included sandwiches, scones, and desert pastries, as well as rosé.
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