Snow in New York City
After desperately hoping for snow for Christmas and only receiving a very light dusting, we were quite literally dancing with glee when snow started falling in early January! As we were staying was just across from riverside park we took the opportunity to enjoy the moment! And what would snow be without some snowball fights?
New Year’s Eve
New Year’s at Times Square has been on my bucket list for many years now. It was one of the things I was most excited about when planning our US trip. Now while it was an unforgettable experience, let’s start by pointing out that it is definitely not a glamorous one.
Given that the ball drop has been happening for years and years, you’d expect it to be a very organized event. After speaking with several NYPD officers, we discovered that unfortunately this wasn’t really the case. If you haven’t been screened by security, don’t bother waiting in a packed crowd. Unless you’re in a pen, you’ll be ushered away by police pretty quick smart. We finally made it into the 48th pen, but not until about 4.30pm.
Be warned, there’s no bathrooms, food or drinks - with the exception of a man delivering Domino’s. After waiting in the cold for 8 hours, hot cheesy pizza was a godsend.
Truth be told, up until about 10pm, it can be pretty dull, however you do become quite chummy with the people around you. We met a funny lady from New Jersey, and a bunch of other Australians. The last hour makes it worth the while, with everyone sharing the anticipation and excitement. Singing ‘New York, New York’ after the ball dropped was pretty surreal.
Tips to Surviving Times Square:
- Pack plenty of snacks, as long as they’re not going to make you thirsty.
- Plan ways to pass the time, keeping in mind you have very limited space. I’d have traded my left arm for an iPad loaded with movies.
- Dress extra warm. Even with the millions of people around, you’ll still notice the below freezing temperature. Gloves, beanies, scarves and comfortable shoes are a must.
All in all it’s a once in a lifetime experience - may the odds be ever in your favour.
YOU KNOW YOU LOVE ME… XOXO GOSSIP GIRL
As two self confessed Gossip Girl fans - we made sure to stop by a few of the shows key locations. Our first morning in New York we happened to stroll by the Empire Hotel, unfortunately without sighting the one and only Chuck Bass. Grand Central was a must do tourist spot, chaotic and exciting. All that was missing from a school morning at the Met steps was a tub of yoghurt and a Waldorf headband. The gallery itself is worth a visit - we loved the Andy Warhol exhibition.
Strolling Madison Avenue, we got a glipse of how the real life Upper East Side teens live, overhearing a discussion between two girls about how much to charge to their Mom’s credit cards. Hopefully on our next visit we’ll be able to snap up some more shopping ourselves!
1. Empire Hotel
2. The Met Steps
3. Grand Central Station
4. Madison Avenue
LOVE & HAPPINESS from New York x
Christmas day in New York
Christmas day away from our families was a first for the both of us but of course managed to be as amazing as ever; how could it not when we’re in New York!
Christmas eve was celebrated with a cheese platter and champagne with the Armstrong family we were staying with, only to be made that much more magical by the light snow that started falling! Naturally, we raced down stairs in attempt to catch a better long of the snow only for it to turn into rain!
Christmas day began with a pancake breakfast cooked by Madie and followed by a lunch filled with roast turkey, veggies, gravy and finished with a christmas pudding.
Later in the night we trekked out to Top of Rock - thinking that it would be dead quiet on Christmas Day. Safe to say, we were wrong! Turns out lots of people had the same idea, and the viewing deck was packed. It was a pretty magical experience to stand looking out over New York, sharing the experience with people from all over the world.
If you’re looking for food porn, you’ve found it. Here’s a run down of the places we brunched in NYC.
UPPER WEST SIDE
The Loeb Boat House - Central Park, E 72nd New York, NY 10028
After a recommendation from the family we were staying with, we headed to the Boathouse for Sunday brunch. Mimosas and delicious food were topped off with a great view of the lake - which I imagine would look even more gorgeous in the middle of Spring. Definitely worth a visit while in New York!
Community - 2893 Broadway New York, NY 10025
Feta and mushroom omelette with avocado
Located across the street from Columbia, this cafe came up with the goods. There’s plenty of brekky options, including sourdough bread and avocado - two foods that have been surprisingly hard to find in the States. Everything also came with bread and potatoes - a trend we’ve noticed at quite a few places.
Cafe du Soleil - 2723 Broadway, New York, NY
French toast $13
Just a few blocks from our apartment, we had often strolled past Cafe du Soleil. The waiters were French and charming, and the sweet food was pretty tasty.
Brie cheese with sun dried tomatoes - $5
Hailed as the best bagels in Manhattan, Absolute Bagel did not disappoint. The line weaved out of the store, but my brie and sun dried tomato bagel was a great start to the day.
UPPER EAST SIDE
Sarabeth’s East - 1295 Madison Avenue, New York, NY
Popeyes breakfast $15
To get a taste of the Gossip Girl life, we brunched on the Upper East Side. According to good ol’ Google, Sarabeth’s East was the place to do so. Situated on Madison Avenue, it’s in a prime shopping location. To be honest, the food was a little lacking; however the strawberry, pomegranate, orange and banana juice was one of the best juices we’ve had in America.
Jack’s Wife Freda - 224 Lafayette St (between Kenmare St & Cleveland Pl) NY 10012
Avocado on toast with haloumi
If you’re looking for an area to find a great brekky, head to SoHo, which is where we discovered Jack’s Wife Freda. The cantaloupe juice was delicious, as was the food. We were reunited with a few of our favorite things - haloumi, avocado, sourdough and tomato chutney.
Cafe Select - 212 Lafayette St New York 10012
Uovo Ticinese two poached eggs on soft polenta and crispy pancetta
Cafe Select was another good find in SoHo. While my poached egg concoction surprisingly came without bread, the coffee was good and the lemon french toast was divine.
Ruby’s - 219 Mulberry St (between Spring St & Prince St) New York, NY 10012
While we didn’t eat breakfast, or any meal here, Ruby’s deserves a mention purely for its coffee. Run by Australians, it was the only place we found a proper flat white. If you love your Melbourne coffee, definitely pop by.
Station - 166 N 7th St (between Bedford Ave & Driggs Ave) Brooklyn, NY 11211
Mariner’s breakfast (replaced salmon with bacon) $15
My favorite breakfast in New York happened to be found in Brooklyn. The Mariner’s Breakfast came the closest to tasting like home, with fluffy scrambled eggs and plenty of sides. They also give out free freshly baked cookies - how could you not love it!
Ice Skating in Central Park
Ice skating in Central Park must be at the top of your list if you’re ever in New York during winter, especially during the christmas period! Our second day in New York was a cold wintery day and after spending the morning at the MET (Meteropoliton museum of Art) we headed straight down to the Woolman’s iceskating rink in the bottom east side of the park!
There’s something particularly festive about ice skating during the christmas period, perhaps its the copious amount of christmas movies with ice skating in them, whatever it is our expectations were not let down!
Despite the large amount of people at the rink and the fact that no photography was allowed on the rink (isn’t that why you go iceskating? hello gopro and iphone!) it is without a doubt one of the most picturesque activities you can enjoy!
2 Things we loved about Nashville.
When talking about our trip, Nashville was the one place that surprised people. Nashville? Why are you going there?
This first reason is pretty obvious. With its reputation for country music, we looked forward to checking out some great live shows - and Nashville did not disappoint. Known to be the place to be discovered, a visit to Bluebird Cafe is a must. We waited in line for an hour to check out the Monday open mic night, witnessing some very talented, plus a few strange artists. (One older couple sang for 5 minutes about their kitten ‘Tiny Unconditional Love’…) Walking down Broadway, almost every second place had someone playing. Our favourite show was Lucie Silvas, who played a Christmas fundraiser with a few other acts at 3rd and Lindsley.
1. The Honky Tonk bar
2. The Bluebird Cafe
3. Lucie Silvas
2. The People
When visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame, a chirpy staff member proudly explained that Nashville was voted the friendliest place in the states. We’d have to agree, the people in Nashville are awesome. Every sales assistant, waiter, and hotel staff member we came across was helpful and downright lovely. We spent an hour in Nordstrom chatting to two sales assistants, who imitated Fran Drescher while we tested out our Southern Tennessee accents.
Our highlight whilst in Las Vegas was definitely going to the Grand Canyon. Our travel agent booked our tour so we went without knowing exactly what we were doing and were pleasantly surprised.
We were picked up from our hotel and taken to the airport where we met the two couples that would be joining us on the helicopter flight through the canyon - both of whom had just gotten hitched in Vegas! (which we found quite entertaining)
Our helicopter ride took us over both Nevada and Arizona, over Celine Dion’s property and then through the canyon - which was incredible!
We then landed at a small ranch “Grand Canyon Ranch” where we were greeted by a cowboy and a horse and carriage! From here they took us to the main area of the ranch where a guitar playing cowboy entertained us along side a horse show!
We slightly underestimated the cold weather, with my hands turning blue before we even touched down.
Next was lunch, Kate and I just love meat. Not. Lunch was barbecued ribs which was surprisingly not too bad and was eaten while the cowboy serenaded us with a song about girls from Australia!
After a quick look around the ranch we returned to the helicopter and flew back to Las Vegas with an incredible view of the strip at dusk!
The Grand Canyon is absolutely a must do when in Vegas, a helicopter flight is the most time efficient, scenic way to enjoy it’s wonders!
Viva Las Vegas! The Hangover 3
If you know Jordana & I well, you’ll know we’re total party animals (ha), so Vegas was of course a perfect choice. Our expectations were pretty accurate. There were always hoards of people on the main strip, and plenty of places to shop. Accommodation is cheap, but we discovered that food is expensive.
It took a little while to adjust to being able to drink alcohol in the streets, while people left right and centre hand out their business cards and drink offers. Over the three nights we were there, we received more free entries to clubs than we have in our whole legal lifetime.
One highlight was seeing a show by Cirque du Soleil at the MGM grand. The sets were incredible, as was the talent. Unless you really love going out, we think 3 days is enough time to experience the thrills.