Our Escape to Wanderlust in New York City

Life |

About six months ago, I felt this very compelling need to go to New York City. Never having been there before, I couldn’t help but let my curiosity take over. I began researching and talking to coworkers who had visited the city before. Meanwhile, signs were popping up all over! Obvious signs too, like the Target canvas print of the New York City skyline that has been hanging in my home for years. Even the faded I ❤ NY t-shirt my best friend gave me years ago from her visit. Suddenly every commercial, tv show, or movie I watched seemed to feature New York City. Something was definitely calling me there!

I shared my thoughts with my husband and before I knew it, we were both in full blown vacation planning mode. All the pieces effortlessly fell in to place and within days we had two tickets to the concrete jungle, New York City! We kept count of the days and our excitement nearly burst as our trip grew closer. New York felt like a risk, a challenge and an adventure. We couldn’t wait to start our journey!

Wanderlust |

We arrived in New York on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and had an amazing lunch at a Bolivian restaurant, just steps away from our Airbnb. Our Airbnb was a quaint little apartment in Queens, NY. A perfect getaway from a busy day in the city. The apartment is owned by an artist who also runs the media sign shop below. We fell in love with the exposed brick in the kitchen and bedroom, and also the zen garden for coffee in the morning. All throughout the apartment was art and decor created by the owner. We felt right at home!

We unpacked our things and started our adventure into the city! First stop, Times Square! Before we could get there, we had to purchase metro cards to use the subway. Ahhhhh, the lovely subway system. When you’re trying to fit in and not look like tourists, the subway system can sure throw ya for a couple loops. We got on the wrong train a couple times, once was late at night and we came to the realization when the conductor stated “last stop.” I guess we should have realized this earlier when we were the only ones left on the train. However, we always kept our cool and figured out how to get where we were going.

Times Square |

We got off the subway at Rockefeller Center. The busyness of the city greets you as you make your way up from the subway station. When you first arrive it truly is extraordinary. You see it so much on TV and in the movies that when you’re actually there it’s so exciting! One thing is for sure, no matter the time of day, Times Square is always crowded! The people are genuinely nice and most of them were tourists just like us. We joined in with the flowing sea of people, taking in all of the magic of Times Square. While we were in the Garment District, we stopped at 2 Bros. Pizza for $1 slices as that is a must when your in the city! We also saw the New York Times, Broadway, and Radio City Hall! Radio City Hall hosted The Tony Awards the night we were there, so the red carpet was rolled out and everything!

Queens |

We woke up after our first night to a very rainy New York City. We decided to purchase umbrellas from the corner store and explore Queens for the day. Our Airbnb was located in a culturally rich neighborhood. Every person we passed on the street spoke a different language. We wandered to a busier part of town and decided to have lunch at The Arepa Lady. Arepas are Colombian cuisine typically made from soaked and ground maize kernels. I ordered a pork belly Arepa de Rellena (stuffed) and my husband ordered a chorizo Arepa de Queso (flat). Our dishes also came with three different sauces that were heavenly!

Soho | Brooklyn

The following day was our favorite day spent in New York City. We got up early and took the subway to the Soho area. The subway train continued to pack on more commuters the closer we got to our destination. Getting off this train was a challenge because people were simultaneously boarding and exiting. Coming up from this subway station was drastically different than others prior, it gave us the true New York City feel. We were greeted by the tallest buildings, markets on the streets selling fresh seafood on ice, women and men in business attire walking with such force! We strolled through Little Italy and stopped at Milk and Cream Bar for a sweet treat. This ice cream shop blends your favorite cereals with ice cream and all the toppings you could ever imagine! Next door was a CBD shop called Hemp and Chill. CBD is federally legal in the United States and provides some chill but functional vibes! We purchased some indulgences and continued on our way exploring the city.

We were in a constant state of absolute awe of the architecture that surrounded us. We were drawn to all the culture and creativeness that was happening too! We saw local artists filming a music video, people vlogging about New York, photographers and tourists. We ended up in Foley Square which was such a treat because just around the corner was the an iconic landmark I had my sights on before even stepping foot in New York; The Brooklyn Bridge. This was truly one of the best moments in NYC. The mile long bridge is filled with pedestrians, bikers, musicians, tourists, photographers, food vendors, you name it, it’s there! We saw the Statue of Liberty across the Upper Bay and took in the city from a whole new angle. Upon arriving in Brooklyn we headed straight to Dumbo! We spent the evening photographing and settled in Brooklyn Bridge Park to watch the sunset. It wasn’t long before we felt a sense of belonging, a piece of home, in Brooklyn. We had a late night dinner at an Italian joint about a mile away from the park called Love and Dough. We enjoyed some pasta made from scratch and iced green tea!

Foley Square |

The Brooklyn Bridge | Dumbo, Brooklyn

Love & Dough |

New York City |

The third day in New York started with a two hour delay due to our confusion with the lovely NY subway system. Thankfully, people in New York are so friendly, we asked for help and were pointed in the RIGHT direction to our destination: The Vessel. The Vessel is one of NYC’s newest landmarks, a centerpiece of the Hudson Yards, the city’s most expensive real state area on Manhattan’s west side. The structure is 16 stories (150 ft) high and offers spectacular views of the city from all angles. We enjoyed ground views from all around the structure because the line to enter the structure was extremely long. It truly is a remarkable sight to see! After our visit to The Vessel, we headed to New York’s largest outdoor rooftop bar, Magic Hour. This rooftop is frequented by celebrities and is considered by locals to theme an urban amusement park. It features fun artsy structures, mini golf, and Empire State Building skyline. We enjoyed sipping on fancy drinks on an antique carousel seating lounge. We connected with locals and fell in love with New York City night life!

The Vessel |

Magic Hour |

Manhattan | Central Park

Our last day in New York started with a trip to a secret burger joint inside of one of Manhattan’s swankiest hotels, the Parker New York. When you enter the Parker, it’s hard to imagine a little burger joint would be tucked anywhere inside. We wandered through the hotel in search of the secret burger joint and all of a sudden, it hits you. The smell of deliciousness that let’s you know burgers are definitely nearby! Tucked around the hotel lobby behind a curtain, we found a line of people waiting to grab a seat and enjoy some delicious burgers from the famous Burger Joint! There’s writing that covers the walls from top to bottom of guests who came to eat at there. Iconic posters of popular New York based movie’s and sitcom’s such as Seinfeld, Sex and the City, and The Sopranos also hung on the wall. You can see the chefs cooking up burgers as you place your order. It’s busy, it’s loud, and definitely quite the contrast of the hotel it’s placed inside. You can hear dozens of conversations happening around you, but that’s New York, a million things happening all at once, all the time! As you may have already guessed, the burgers were out of this world! They were everything we needed after hanging out at a rooftop bar all night long. Not to mention, $9.42 for a cheeseburger in Manhattan is a done deal!

After we inhaled our delicious burgers, we headed straight to Central Park to walk them off! It was refreshing to see grass, trees, and to be surrounded by nature. The park is definitely quite the escape from the city and it is huge! We explored the park for over two hours and maybe made it a third of the way through. If we hadn’t already eaten, it would have been a perfect day for a picnic in the park! I can only imagine how beautiful Central Park looks in the fall, I might just have to come back and see for myself!

Parker New York | The Burger Joint

Central Park |

Until Next Time NYC…

Traveling to New York City was just the adventure we were needing. I loved being submerged into the hustle and bustle of the busy city. It was definitely a fast paced lifestyle we got to live for almost a week, but we truly took the time to soak in every moment we spent in New York City! We can’t wait to come back!


Travel Tips & Recommendations

  • If you’re planning a trip to the city, try staying in one of the outer Burroughs rather than Manhattan, you can save a lot of money.
  • Google maps will be a life savor when using the subway.
  • I recommend staying 5-7 days in New York City.
  • Bring comfortable shoes!

Amazon Essentials

  • I purchased this Caden camera backpack for the trip and it was a life savor! It held my camera, two lenses, an external flash, my laptop, and other various items. We even used it as one of our carry ons. So worth the buy!
  • This electric organizer bag comes in handy if your traveling with a lot of electronic devices with cords and adaptors.
  • Invest in a high quality portable phone charger to take with you as you explore the city. Keep that battery charged, you’re going to need it!
  • This suitcase is everything you could want in a carry on. It’s durable, spacious, waterproof, it has lots of pockets and on it’s wheels!

Thanks for reading! I would love to hear about your adventures in New York City!

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Hey! I'm Stephanie Amaya, lifestyle blogger and photographer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin! I blog about the life I love living and inspire other's to live their best life too! What Stephanie Loves is a creative space where I can blog about and share my latest inspirations.

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