A few months ago my best friend, Marilyn, and I somehow discovered the fact that Brendan Urie was making his Broadway debut in Kinky Boots. So naturally, we planned an entire trip to NYC around it!
Thanks to some conveniently timed birthdays, airline miles, and nice parents, we were able to get cheap flights. And thanks to an amazing childhood friend of Marilyn’s, we were able to stay for free at an amazing apartment next to Union Square.
We arrived in New York at approximately 4pm on Friday and departed for the airport around 4pm on Sunday. In total we had about 48 hours in the city. We knew we’d have to be going going going in order to make the most out of our trip.
Here’s how we spent 48(ish) hours in NYC!
We landed and got settled in to the apartment where we were staying. After getting changed and grabbing a snack, we set out to explore the city. We hopped on the subway and headed towards the Brooklyn Bridge. I got to cross another item off my Travel To Do List by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.
There were a lot of people walking across the bridge, and in my research prior to the trip I read how important it is to keep out of the bike lane. There were quite a few tourists who weren’t paying attention/genuinely didn’t realize there was a lane just for cyclists, and we saw a few near crashes. There were also a few cyclists who were getting very angry with the pedestrians on the bridge. So consider yourself warned if you ever plan to walk across it in your travels to the Big Apple.
After exploring Brooklyn a bit we attempted to go to Roberta’s Pizza, but the wait was over an hour long so we decided to try somewhere else. We decided to try and find food closer to our next stop and ended up eating at a place we stumbled upon called Cataldo’s. We were presently surprised by the quality of the pizza, and easily split one between the two of us.
After that we headed on a few bars. We started at Weather Up, a bar that we’d been to in Austin that also had a location in Brooklyn. It was a funny coincidence that one of the bartenders there was actually from Austin! After that we went back into Manhattan to go to Bowery Electric for the Electric Feel Dance Party. We got in, and only stayed for a grand total of 3 minutes because it was so crowded and was 97% frat party, which was not the vibe we wanted. After that we walked around Alphabet City (I was singing a bunch of Rent songs in my head the whole time) a bit on our way to a bar called Sanatorium. This hospital themed bar is “by appointment only” but since our friend knows the owner, we were able to walk in.
Our wonderful host, Nicole made us tea and banana buckwheat pancakes for breakfast. After eating, we set out to visit some vintage shops. Our first stop was Beacon’s Vintage.
They had lots of amazing pieces, everything from designer shoes to amazing psychedelic shifts. I found an amazing stripey crop top for $10 and it was basically the best part of the entire trip. We also stopped at Hamlet Vintage, Brooklyn Flea, and Broadway Market Co.
I’m sure it’s no surprise to most of y’all, but New York has the best vintage stores.
For a late lunch we went to Black Tap for burgers and their Instagram famed milkshakes. I swear those things are a conspiracy to get free publicity and advertising. Every person in that restaurant was Snapchatting and/or Instagramming their shakes. Us included, of course. I mean how could you not, those shakes are so photogenic!
After some more time walking around Chinatown, we went to the Guggenheim to check out their iconic collection. We were able to use Nicole’s membership to get in for free, but we noticed a loooong line of people outside in a “pay what you wish” queue. Apparently, every Saturday from 5:45–7:45 pm, visitors can pay what they wish for admission. A line forms at 5:15 pm and the last ticket is issued at 7:15 pm. Normally, adult admission costs $25, but if you’d like to save money and don’t mind waiting, that’s the way to go!
When we were done with the Guggenheim, we were ready for a snack and decided to go to Ladurée for some macarons. I bought a box of six, and we ate them all before we even left the premises. Well to be fair, Marilyn ate one and I ate five. But hey don’t judge, vacation carbs don’t count.
After the snacks, the time came for the attraction which led us to book the trip in the first place. We made our way to the Al Hirschfield Theatre and lined up for Kinky Boots!
The line was so long it trailed all the way down the block, around the corner, and halfway down that block as well. Luckily it moved very fast and we were in our seats in no time. It was very obvious to us that the majority of the people in the theatre were there for Brendan Urie, and WOW. He did not disappoint. I always loved his voice in Panic! at the Disco, and from the first time I heard him sing in Razia’s Shadow I knew he would make an amazing Broadway star. I was completely blown away by the show. And the whole experience brought on such a distinct sense of nostalgia for my high school trips to London with my thespian club.
Once the show was over we were starving, so we walked to Ippudo Westside. Thanks to this restaurant I officially have a ramen obsession.
The rest of the night was spent trying to find somewhere to charge our phones out of the low battery danger zone/trying to find a good rooftop bar. We were planning on meeting up with our friend at the Boom Boom Room, but apparently they closed at midnight and not 2am like we thought. So we ended up going to one called the Spyglass Rooftop Bar that had a great view of the Empire State Building.
We woke up on our last day and everything, literally everything hurt. But we powered through it and went for brunch at a place called Mile End Delicatessen in NoHo. Marilyn got this amazing cinnamon bun B.E.C. that I’m still dreaming about.
From there we went to the Morgan Library & Museum. My aunt actually shared a video on my Facebook about this place, and I knew I had to go when I saw it.
This place has everythiiiiing, Mozart manuscripts, a first edition of Frankenstein, and not one, not two, but THREE Gutenberg Bibles.
It was all the private library collection of Pierpont Morgan, and y’all… it is all my personal life goal. Hello library vault, one day I will have my own.
Before we wrapped up the trip and prepared to leave, we stopped for dessert at Maison Kayser, where I ate the best raspberry tart of my life. We didn’t even make it down the block before we discovered Lady M Cake Boutique, which Nicole had told us about earlier that day. We decided to stop in because hey, vacation… desserts… “yolo” or something like that. Their cakes are layered crepes with pastry creme, and unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. SO GOOD.
NYC’s dessert game is on point, as I believe the youths say nowadays.
After this, we went back to the apartment to change clothes and pick up our luggage before we hopped on a train out of the city. We barely made our flight (that’s a whole other saga), and on the plane both our phones were below 10% battery so we were forced to talk to each other in our exhausted delirium so we had some good laughs. But all in all, it was the best part of our best friend trip. My abs hurt so much from laughter, but it was the best feeling.
So, that was our weekend.
My travel partner, Marilyn, wanted to stay away from the “touristy” attractions, and instead spend our time experiencing the city more like locals. It’s definitely a different way of traveling than I’m used to, and I had a lot of fun with her. But after this trip I honestly wasn’t super in love with or blown away by the city. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I didn’t really get to experience the cultural history or the iconic attractions of the city, which is what I love about traveling to new places. For my next trip I definitely want to do more of the iconic NYC activities, like Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, the Met, the Empire State Building, etc. Oh, and definitely more Broadway shows! [ONE DAY, HAMILTON. ONE DAY.] But as of now, New York doesn’t stand apart from the other major cities I’ve visited. I hope another, longer trip back will change that.
Happy Wanderlusting, y’all!