Thursday, June 26, 2014
New York City Recap, Day 1
If you follow me on Instagram (click HERE to follow me on IG!) or Facebook (click HERE to follow me on FB!), you knew that I was in NYC for several nights. This was our first trip to New York City and we had a blast... we also walked our socks off! Since we saw SO much, I am breaking our trip up into 4 blog posts over the next couple of weeks. First, let's start with the plane trip from St. Louis to NYC. We flew into La Guardia airport and we saw this lovely 'Welcome to New York' sign while going down the runway.
While landing, we could see the NYC skyline off in the distance... so exciting! Especially when you haven't EVER seen the NYC skyline INR before!!
We booked our NYC trip 2 weeks prior to leaving... it was last minute. I booked our trip on Travelocity and it really was not a bad deal for a DIRECT flight and 5 star hotel. I had several hotels to pick from and I decided on Westhouse in Times Square. We arrived early and they upgraded us to a King room for free... that King bed was the comfiest bed I had ever slept in! We were on the 24th floor and our room included free breakfast, free wifi, an indulgence hour with free alcoholic drinks and snacks from 5-8:00 p.m., free bottled water or other drinks from morning till 11:00 p.m. and they always had sweets, tea and coffee out during the day. It was really nice to be able to grab cold bottled waters every morning before we headed out and to relax with a cup of tea after we arrived back to the hotel after a long day of walking.
The TV in our room greeted us with our names on it when we came in the room! NYC is so hitch!
View from our window
After we had settled into the hotel and rested a bit, we decided we wanted to venture out for lunch. We asked the hotel for a close recommendation for lunch and they suggested Serafina, which has freshly made pasta. I ordered Farfalle Al Limoncello which had baby shrimps, limoncello from capri, parmesan and a touch of cream. It was DELICIOUS, one of the best pastas I had ever, ever had... If you ever eat at Stellina's in St. Louis, it is up there with their homemade pasta dishes.
Of course... when I saw that they had a Nutella crepe on the dessert menu, I had to order it with a cappuccino. It is really hard to eat/drink when they come out of the kitchen looking so pretty!
You know you are in NYC when you see street signs with our lovely lady on them!
After lunch, we decided to visit the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). We were really lucky, because MoMA was only a few blocks away from our hotel and we could walk there... that was so not the case with most of our adventures. :) Here is a photo of me in front of MoMA.
The first item of business once we got into MoMA was to find Starry Night. It was not difficult to find and of course, Brian took my photo next to it (without flash). I am excited to say that my list of seeing actual pieces of artwork that I appreciate and admire IRL is growing... Although, there were MANY more pieces I saw while we were in Paris, MoMA did have quite a few famous pieces I drooled over once I spotted them.
I was just beyond thrilled to see the above three pieces IRL. I studied a lot of art history when I was in college and if you are ever looking for advice or book suggestions on how to learn more about art history and architecture, send me a message and I will hook you up. I don't get to devote as much time to my love of art history these days and I do have my favorite artists and periods... but, I love to get others excited about it, too!
Here are some more pieces that I loved seeing...
Brian and I were a little surprised by some of the art we saw at MoMA. MoMA exhibits 14 video games, from Pong to MineCraft. MoMA sees video games as art, but also as design.
I also snatched a photo of this piece... can anyone guess what nail polish brand this is?
After spending a couple of hours inside MoMA, we went outside to view the sculpture courtyard. Brian took a photo of me next to this rose. Brian's nickname for me when we were dating was Rose. :) After he snatched the photo, a guard told me not to have my hand on the rose... he was actually really nice and told me that he has had to tell some GROWN adults not to climb the rose (you could definitely use the thorns as a climbing advantage).
Here is a view of the sculpture garden, just beautiful. If I lived in NYC, I would love to come here to read a book.
After MoMA, we decided to head back to the hotel to rest our feet a little bit. Museum visits can be draining and we needed to recharge over... some wine, cheese, bread and prosciutto! Our hotel offers a complimentary indulgence hour and this was just the pick me up I needed!
After resting at the hotel, we decided to check out the subway... Brian and I are seasoned when it comes to subways, as we took the one in Paris (and we didn't know much French) and we also took the subway in Chicago. We both purchased a full week pass and hopped on!
I have a bucket list in my mind of places that I would love to see before I well... errr. die. The Guggenheim Museum was on my bucket list and I was able to check it off! Ever since I took American Architecture in college and studied about Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim, I knew I wanted to go to NYC and see it. It wasn't exactly as I had pictured it, but I loved seeing it IRL. I can't even describe the thoughts that raced through my mind and the feelings I felt once we had walked far enough down the street to see it in its full entirety.
Me and front of the Guggenheim. Pinch me!
Some more photos of the outside of the Guggenheim
Frank Lloyd Wright always tries to make his buildings and homes part of nature, hence the Fallingwater Home in Pennsylvania. When Wright was commissioned to build The Guggenheim Museum, he was not happy that they wanted to build it inside an overpopulated NYC. The location that Wright finally settled on was near Central Park. He designed the inside of the Guggenheim with an atrium in the middle, so that natural light could pour into the middle of the museum. Then, galleries in the museum can be viewed by taking an elevator to the top and walking down the slight slope of the rotunda.
I didn't want to spend a lot of money seeing The Guggenheim, since I really just wanted to get INSIDE it to see the architecture. The artwork inside it is really not what I am into... On Saturday evenings, The Guggenheim offers a pay what you want program from 5:30 p.m. until 7:15 p.m. This worked out really well for us, since normally it would close at 5:30 p.m. and we didn't have to pay the steep $25 each to get in when we had only planned to spend an hour to an hour and a half inside it. Brian LOATHES bananas, so of course I made him stand by this so I could get his photograph.
The art we saw in the Guggenheim was... interesting to say the least. Here is a drawing by a lady that wrote McDonalds a letter asking if she could build a Statue of Liberty out of hamburgers. It took them a year to write her back, but they said no. Now her drawing, her letter and McDonalds response is hanging up at The Guggenheim. We also saw a movie of a lighted ladder that got a tour of NYC. And... a lot of other interesting pieces. :)
I also saw this really cool book in the gift shop that I'd love for my coffee table.
After The Guggenheim, we were hungry and wanted to try some NYC pizza. However... Brian's Google Maps lead us to the WRONG Patsy's Pizza and we walked 30 minutes through Central Park... out of our way! Oops! This would have been ok, but we were so tired from waking up at 4:00 a.m. to catch an early flight and touring two museums that day already. Oh well, Central Park IS beautiful to walk through!
We also found the Belvedere Castle (built in 1869) in Central Park while walking through... how neat! I was kind of excited to see it, because when we took a carriage ride around the park the next day... we didn't go past it! The park is just SO darn big!
Finally, we found the wrong Patsy's (not the one by our hotel) and decided to eat there and THEN try to navigate back to our hotel. Luckily, this was the only time we sort of got lost in NYC during the entire trip. Darn Google Maps.
Our pizza... we had asked for pepperoni and mushrooms, but she forgot the mushrooms. I was so hungry that I didn't care and I would say this was my favorite NYC pizza during the entire trip. I love how NYC puts basil leaves on top of the pizza.
And, that sums up our First Day of Four in NYC!