Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New York City - May 2013

It’s been almost a year since our 5 day trip to New York City. I was finally ready to visit the Big Apple, and we decided that May should be perfect.  As always, I booked us through Expedia. We stayed at super old hotel on 57th Street – the Wellington Hotel. I have to say, the hotel wasn’t the greatest, but the location was perfect. Subway stop right outside the door. Close to Central Park, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and more.

Since this was our first time in this city, I wanted to make sure we cover “a few” things. We turned into tourists, which I quite hate, but we had no choice. There was so much to see in such a little time. I planned every minute of it!

We both loved NYC! Someone had asked me what was my favorite thing about it, and I have to admit the best thing for us was the subway system! You can get ANYWHERE in the city by subway!! It’s fairly easy, fast and super convenient. Chicago’s CTA is nothing comparing to NYC subway system. I was impressed. Buying a week subway pass was one of the smartest things we could have done. For only $30 we traveled the city for five days, sometimes 3 or 4 times a day, with different transfers, etc.

We arrived on Thursday before noon. After we checked in to the Wellington, we ventured out down 7th Ave, we walked to Times Square, and ended up in Hell’s Kitchen, where we got lunch. Next stop was The Colbert Report, which was perfectly located in a walking distance from the hotel. That was fun. I’m glad I got to see Steven and the show before the CBS sweeps him under their wings. After the show we met with some people, and went out for dinner and drinks. I wish I remember all the places we went out to.

Next day was packed with activities. Mainly walking. We headed south to SoHo, Washington Square Park and Greenwich Village, never made to Tribeca. Later we took the train to Madison Park to check out the old Flatiron Building. Around 6 pm we got back to our neighborhood, trying to get up to the Top of The Rock, but it was sold out all the way until 10:30 pm. We did the 10:30, but obviously, that was not the ideal timing for photography. The sky was black! The city lights were pretty, but nothing I haven’t seen before. I was so bumped out by not being able to get up there during the golden hour and the sunset. Maybe next time.

Saturday morning we decided to do the bridges. We walked Manhattan Bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Stayed in DUMBO for a bit, had lunch, walked around. On the way back we walked Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan. The day was gloomy and rainy, but we made it worth a while. I love bridges so skipping that part of our NYC trip wouldn't work. Back in Lower Manhattan, we did more walking, got a pick-me-up green tea/coffee and headed back to our hotel to get ready for dinner at Candle 79.

Upper East Side is sort of like the Lincoln Park neighborhood in Chicago. I wish we had more time to wander around the streets, check out local cafés, shops and boutiques. Again – maybe next time. We took subway to get to the restaurant, met with friends, had an amazing vegan meal and took the train all the way to Brooklyn. Destination Pork Slope – bar in the Park Slope neighborhood. We stayed out late, and took a 4 am train ride back to our hotel. Train was mostly empty, except few characters. It felt very safe to be on it, I didn't fear for my life as I would taking the train in Chicago at 4 am.

Sunday, we slept in a bit. Lunch at Red Bamboo, 2nd time. After, we made a quick coffee stop by Grand Central Terminal. What an amazing Building! I wasn't able to catch sunlight coming through the windows due to the weather, but snapped few long exposure shots before I got in trouble for resting the camera on the ledge. 

It was raining again. Central Park was on the agenda, and nothing, even the rain was going to stop me from checking it out. We didn't get to see all the parts we planned, but we got a glimpse of the park, and realize how HUGE it is! Unless you are there, walking it, you have no idea how large Central Park really is. We enter the park from The Upper East Side, went through the trail towards The Lake/The Bow Bridge, and exited on the Upper West Side.

Tim had to hold my umbrella as I was trying to snap some shots. It was getting cold, windy and the rain wasn’t going away. We stopped by the Whole Foods at the Columbus Circle to get something for dinner, and went back to the hotel to get rid of our wet clothes.

The rain finally stopped, it was around 8 or 9 pm, we walked out for our last evening stroll through the streets of Manhattan. We walked towards Time Square. It wasn't empty, but definitely not as many people as during the day. The lights, the fog, the evening was just perfect. Shopping was finally more fun.

Not wanting this trip to end, we stopped by some random bar maybe on 49th Street, maybe 54th Street… not sure where. It was dark, quite empty and had a lot cool art on the walls. We sat down and order drinks and talked about the last few days in this wonderful city.

Next morning we took the train all the way to Lower Manhattan, Tim wanted to see the Statue of Liberty. It looked quite small from the shore. I don’t know what he expected… 5 Pointz Graffiti in Queens was the next stop. It was pretty need to see, considering that it’s getting demolished right now. Quick lunch, and the ride back to the hotel to pick up the language, and head for the airport.  

I could definitely live in NYC, for a year or two. Probably not much longer. I would love the opportunity to photograph every forgotten corner, street, bridge, city sunsets and sunrises, document the life and come back to the Midwest, or go somewhere else :)

See more of my NYC photography on Flickr .


  1. I love New York. Did you take those pictures? They are incredible. I would love to go there but I need to find an affordable hotel or a place to stay. I have checked reservationcounter and some other sites but I can't seem to find anything that I like. Can you suggest me a hotel or a neighborhood where I should search?

    1. We stayed at the Wellington Hotel, I booked the flight and hotel on Expedia, as a package. 5 days plus flight from Chicago, for three people was $1,890... just over $630 per person. Hotel was pretty old, and noisy (drilling from the street) but we literally only slept and showered in the room. Majority of our time we explored NYC.


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