Day two included another full schedule.  We got up early to hit the ground running and went straight to grab breakfast.  We were told by several people that we had to check out a diner for breakfast at least one day in New York.  So, we did our research and picked The Red Flame.  It was a Monday morning and you could tell that it was a mixture between tourists travelers and business women and men.  The locals sure love their diners! 

67 W 44th Street #1
New York, NY 10036
(212) 869-3965

The food was good and the atmosphere was great.  Up next, more coffee.  We are slightly obsessed love good coffee.  Bluestone Lane is located within the heart of midtown Manhattan adjacent to Bryant Park and was a coffee shop that we were told to check out.  Bluestone is influenced by the renowned coffee culture hub of Melbourne, Australia.  They've got a great selection of quick bites in addition to serving wonderful coffee.
1114 Avenue of the Americas
(corner of W 43rd & 6th Ave)
New York, NY 10036
(212) 764-0044 

Just around the corner, we ran into Bryant Park.  This space is awesome.  It is such a gem right in Midtown.  It hosts great outdoor work space right in the middle of all of the hustle and bustle.  And, it has the ability to make you feel (and look) pretty small.  There is such a giant world around us!

After our coffee stop we decided to begin walking south to catch the train.   We wanted to make sure to see the Empire State Building up close and Jess was dying to see Macy's on 34th Street.  There is so much to look at while walking in NYC.  In no time, you've walked blocks.

We peaked our heads into the Empire State Building and realized that we were able to go inside the lobby.  We wanted to stop by to check it off the list to see the iconic building up close for ourselves.  Following the Empire State Building, we headed to Macy's.  Macy's wasn't actually open yet since we were so early, but we got to see it (the outside, at least).  Another check!

Next up, we jumped on the train and headed south to walk around Battery ParkBattery Park is a 25-acre public park located at the Battery, the southern tip of Manhattan Island.  Following that, we walked to the Staten Island Ferry terminal.  The Staten Island Ferry is FREE and provides great views of the Statue of Liberty.  Jess took two boat tours the first time she went to New York and thinks that it's a great way to see Manhattan and have a better understanding of where things are.  This stop will take about an hour, but we think that it's worth it.

 After the ferry, we headed to Wall Street.  Wall Street is something that you should definitely see when visiting New York.  It's doesn't take a lot of time and it is so rich in history.  Wall Street is a pretty easy walk from Battery Park.

You probably know by now that planning out our meals and "must see restaurants" is just as important to us when traveling as the other details.  New York is known for having great bagels (and we both love bagels) so that was something we wanted to try on our trip.  It wasn't a hard pick - Leo's Bagel's has a neat story, which we are total suckers for.  Owner and founder, Adam Pomerantz couldn't get a real NYC bagel anywhere so he left his corporate job as vice president at Merrill Lynch and started a new business... a bagel business. 

Leo's Bagles
3 Hanover Square
New York, NY 10005
(212) 785-4700

The bagels were awesome and the atmosphere was great.  Lots of customers were people who worked on Wall Street or locals that ran in to grab something.  Needless to say, there isn't much seating because everyone is on the go.  We were lucky enough to snag two of the five seats at the window bar and enjoyed our bagels while watching people pass.  We are used to choosing between a few options of bagels and maybe regular versus non-fat cream cheese, that's it.  Leo's was a whole new ball game.  They had spreads upon spreads and additions that you could die for.

After filling up on Leo's, we headed to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.  This is a place that we both wanted to visit in New York.  We each had our own memories of where we were, who we were with and how September 11 changed so much.  It was a very somber visit.  We've watched a number of documentaries together about that day, but being at Ground Zero taught us things that we wish we never had to learn.  God Bless all of the people whose lives were directly impacted and changed forever on that day and God Bless the United States of America.

180 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
(212) 312-8800

Adult Tickets to the museum are $24.  We spent time outside at the Memorial before going into the Museum.  You can pay additional fees if you would like guided tours throughout the Memorial or the Museum, otherwise everything is self-guided.  

We would recommend purchasing tickets online or at one of the kiosks outside of the building.  It helps you bypass the line for general admission tickets.  In addition, be prepared to wait to go through security before entering the museum.  Instead of complaining, thank the people who are there working to keep you safe.

When we finished up at the Museum, we got in line for One World Observatory.  Since we did Top of the Rock at night, our plan was to get to One World during the daylight (but we really wanted to catch it at the perfect time to be there for sunset as well).  We succeeded!  We literally got to watch New York change from day to night - all from a 360 degree angle.  It was the perfect way to experience it. 

We debated and went back and fourth on which tickets to buy... they have a lot of options.  We were told to go with the Priority or Flex Admission so that we wouldn't have to wait as long in line.  After calling (while planning the trip) we decided that we'd stick with Standard Admission since we weren't 100% sure when we would arrive.  

In addition, they told us that if we purchased Standard Admission and the line was really long that day - we could simply upgrade our tickets.  Thankfully, our wait time was only about 30-45 minutes so we didn't have to worry about it.

Once we were through security and up to the Observatory, we stopped for a snack at One Cafe.  We've had a lot of soft pretzels over the years, but this one came with the very best view.   There is also a full restaurant, which would provide a neat dinner experience if this is something that you are interested in.  We would recommend making reservations as it's a popular place!

We stayed at One World Observatory long enough to see the city light up again (Jess can't get enough city views at night).  Once we felt like we had taken in enough of the city's beauty, we left and grabbed the train to Greenwich Village.  This is a stop that we were really looking forward to.  We had heard such great things about the Village, located on the west side of lower Manhattan.  It is such a great neighborhood, right in the middle of everything.

Our first stop in The Village was Caffe Regggio, home of the “Original Cappuccino.”  This sweet stop is proud to be the first caffe in the United States to serve Cappuccino.  It was a dream.  The interior took you back in time and instantly made you appreciate all of the little things in life.  It was packed!  We shared a cappuccino to go and indulged outside on their cute patio while we watched locals walk by.  

119 Macdougal Street
New York, NY 10012 
(212) 475-9557 

 After our cappuccino, we walked around The Village laughing and talking about life (and maybe pretending that we were locals, too).  It was the perfect night in the city.  We had selected Arturo's for dinner based on a recommendation from our bosses (and lots of raving reviews).  This place is authentic, to the extent that there is even a bathtub in the single bathroom.  
There was nothing not to love about it.

106 W Houston Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 677-3820 

Arturo's is known for its coal-oven-fired pies & live jazz.  When you walk in, you get the old classic Italian vibe and it continues through the entire restaurant.  We had a hard time selecting what we wanted because it all looked (and smelled) so good.  

Finally, we decided on two things to share - the mussels and cheese ravioli with vodka sauce, yum!  In true fashion of us stretching things out, making the most of each day and experiencing everything that we possibly could... we held off on dessert because there was another place on our list to go.

Another train ride took us back north to Times Square.  We had heard a lot about Ellen's Stardust Diner,  home of the singing waitstaff.  The diner is multi-level and '50s-themed with singing servers and an extensive menu of American classics.  This is not a place that we would have gotten dinner, but we thought that it would be a good stop for dessert (and the experience).  

We ordered a milkshake to share and had the best time taking in all of the action.  This little diner is full of magic - and the wait staff is extremely talented.  It is a great NYC experience to put on the list.  Be prepared to wait (and be squished), it was packed.

1650 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
(212) 956-5151 

After the fun, we walked a few blocks north to our hotel to call it a day.  We remember getting back and realizing just how much we had packed into the day.  When we travel, we like to make the most of it and we certainly felt that we had accomplished that on Day 2 of New York. 

To see more about our trip to New York at Christmas, see below...
Day 1 - Brooklyn and Top of the Rock
Day 3 - Museums, Rockefeller and The Lion King
Day 4 - Central Park, Christmas Spectacular and Tree Lighting
Day 5 - The Today Show and Carnegie Deli
 The cheapest way to eat goof food in New York is at local diners.  Avoid the snack stands on the corners at all costs... the food there is lousy and overpriced.

Plan your days to make the most of each experience, just like we did with One World Observatory.

Ordering small portions allows you to try more food. 

If you didn't lean on day one: the train (subway) is by far the best way to get around the city.  It's also the fastest and the cheapest.  Take it from two small town southerners, don't be intimidated by it... just do it.

No comments