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24 Hours in New York City

By on November 24, 2017 in New York Travel with 0 Comments

Brooklyn Bridge, New York City“One belongs to New York instantly; one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five days.” – Tom Wolfe

When my sister, Dina, and niece, Joanna, visited from Greece, I asked if they wanted to go to New York City. Of course, they did. I used points to book a Hilton property close to Times Square.

Note: At the age of two, I was adopted from Greece. At the age of 13, I traveled back to Greece and met my biological family. 

Day 1: Let the adventure begin…

We packed my car and left early in the morning. We had a list of their top choices to explore and other points of interest. I wondered how much we could accomplish in 24 hours. Ready. Set. Go.

Although I have been to New York many times, this was Dina and Joanna’s first trip to America. As we entered the big, bad city, their eyes widened and their lips curled up. I could sense their awe of the buildings towering over us, promising excitement. A wave of happiness shot through me as I watched them take it all in. That’s the beauty of exposing others to something you take for granted. You get to experience the world through their eyes.

Dina and Joanna, New York City   Joanna, New York City

We arrived mid-afternoon, parked, and ventured off to a pizza joint recommended by the hotel. We plotted our time, focusing on their top picks. First up was the iconic Empire State Building.

Empire State Building View, NYC   Gina Pacelli at the Empire State Building in New York City

The line appeared to be endless, and I wished I had purchased our tickets online. However, I was not really sure when we would arrive or how much time we would have. We had an idea of what we wanted to do, but no solid plan.

Empire State Building View, NYC   Empire State Building, New York City

When visiting the Empire State Building, you have two options. You can visit the Main Deck, which is located on the 86th floor. Or, you can view the city from the Main Deck and the Top Deck, which is on the 102nd floor. I opted for both decks, which was the right decision. I cannot imagine missing the outside views from the highest point.

Gina Pacelli, Empire State Building, New York City   Empire State Building, New York City

Travel tip: Purchase tickets to the Empire State Building before your visit. This will save time and money. To maximize your experience, splurge on the Main Deck and Top Deck combo. Pictures come out better without the window glare. 

Dina, Empire State Building   Joanna, Empire State Building

When we were in Boston, I had taken them to the Skywalk Observatory at the Prudential Center. At the time, Boston seemed to stretch on for miles. This was no longer the case. New York City exceeded their wildest dreams.

Joanna, Empire State Building   Dina, Gina Pacelli, Joanna, Empire State Building, New York

We spent some time at the top watching the sun descend over the city and the lights shine bright. However, we still had so much more to do. Off we went…

Empire State Building, New York City   Sunset, Empire State Building, New York City

Next up? Times Square! Lights, lights, and more lights surrounded us as we wandered through the crowd. This was their second favorite spot in the city. Times Square is chaotic, overwhelming, and incredible. I had to pull them away to take them to our next stop…

Times Square, New York City   Times Square, New York City

Their NYC highlight was catching a show on Broadway. I surprised them with tickets to a Cirque Du Soleil show, Paramour. I wanted to give them a full-on NYC experience, but I was not sure if the language barrier would be an issue. I have been to operas and plays abroad, and the performances have still moved me. I decided to take a chance, and give them an evening of acrobatics flying in the air mixed with Broadway’s storytelling. I figured they may have never seen anything like a Cirque Du Soleil show, and I was right.

Cirque Du Soleil, Paramour, Broadway, New York City   Cirque Du Soleil, Paramour, New York City

Travel Tip: Check out Travelzoo for discounted tickets, which is what I did. I was able to get tickets for a fraction of the cost.

The show left us with smiles in our eyes and grumbling stomachs. We ventured back into Times Square, then headed to Rockefeller Center before catching a late-night dinner. I wish they had been there when the Christmas Tree lights up the area, but we had not even celebrated Halloween yet.

Rockefeller Center, New York City

After driving all morning, grabbing pizza around 3:00 p.m., exploring the Empire State Building, Times Square, Paramour, and Rockefeller Center, we were ready to fill our bellies. After all, New York City is known for its culinary delights.

I had gotten a recommendation from one of my clients, Kevin, who has a knack for finding mouthwatering food. His suggestion? Parker & Quinn. Off we went to our final destination before hitting the sheets…

Barrata, Parker & Quinn, New York City   Burger, Parker & Quinn, New York City

Parker & Quinn had a trendy atmosphere and an intriguing menu. We ordered burrata, a burger, kale salad, and branzino. Each dish had its own flare and tasty surprises. We shared the four items, soaking in the potent, unique flavors.

The whole branzino, which is similar to sea bass, was our favorite. The olives added a nice touch to this delightful dish. We left full and happy. Great recommendation, Kevin. I would definitely hit this spot again in my future travels to the city.

Kale & Quinoa, Parker & Quinn, New York City   Whole Branzino, Parker & Quinn, New York City

Day 2: How much more could we squeeze in before this adventure had to come to an end? We still had to see the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and the Brooklyn Bridge – their other top choices.

Gina Pacelli, Joanna, and Dina, New York City   Gina Pacelli, Joanna, Dina, New York City

After our complimentary breakfast at the hotel, we made a quick stop at the front desk to drop off our luggage and figure out how to navigate the city. We grabbed the subway and ventured off to the Statue of Liberty.

New York City   Dina, Joanna, Statue of Liberty, New York City

Unfortunately, tickets to the island were sold out. They had been for months — long before my relatives had even purchased their flights to the States. Thus, we opted for the next best thing — a boat ride around the famous landmark.

Statue of Liberty, New York City   NYC

Although we had a great time and they were glad they saw Lady Liberty, the symbol of freedom was smaller than expected. The Statue of Liberty paled in comparison to what they have seen in Europe.

New York City   New York City

Travel tip: If you want to climb the steps inside the Statue of Liberty, you will need to reserve your tickets months in advance.

Brooklyn Bridge, NYC   New York City, Brooklyn Bridge Viewpoint

We then trekked through the city to the Brooklyn Bridge. As I have never walked the Brooklyn Bridge, I was excited to check it out for my first time.

Gina Pacelli, Dina, Joanna, Brooklyn Bridge, New York City   Brooklyn Bridge, New York City

The views of the city were spectacular from the bridge. We did not have time to walk the entire path, but we had fun checking out the city and taking pictures from this angle. Definitely a must-do in New York City. One day, I want to cross the bridge.

   Joanna, Brooklyn Bridge, New York City

Next up? The High Line, an elevated freight rail line transformed into a public park. My friend, Elaine, had informed me of this little gem.

Joanna, High Line, New York City   Squirrel, Central Park, New York City

By the time we reached the High Line, we were running out of gas and time. We took in the views of the city below us for a few blocks, then headed over to their last bucket list item, Central Park. They were not as enthralled by the High Line, but I would like to visit again and explore more on a future visit to the city.

Dina and Joanna, Central Park, New York City   Joanna, Central Park, NYC

Central Park was their third favorite place in the city. They love nature, so getting a little breathe of fresh air in the city was a treat. Oh, and Joanna loves squirrels, so seeing so many flitting around was an added bonus.

Central Park, New York City   Joanna, Central Park, New York City

The clock was ticking, and we still had a long ride home. We Ubered back to our hotel, picked up our luggage and my car, then headed back to Boston.

On our way, we met Erin in Mt. Kisco at Cafe of Love, one of Martha Stewart’s favorite restaurants. After all, we needed a bite to eat. The place was absolutely adorable, and I loved the name of the restaurant. The menu offered seasonal and healthy options, and the food was great. In fact, I have ventured back here on my way home from work meetings in New York.

Joanna, Dina, Gina Pacelli, Erin, Cafe of Love, New York  Mussels, Cafe of Love, New York

Erin offered to show us the Clintons’ house before we continued on our trek home. Joanna was up for the adventure, but Dina’s eyes were heavy. We decided to continue along our way, and we rolled in at 1:00 a.m. Our trip was fast, but amazing.

Have you been to New York City? What would you do if you had 24 hours in the city? Share your experiences in the comments section below. 

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