Empire State of Mind

We decided to celebrate our first anniversary in the Big Apple, because if you’re going to celebrate a winter wedding then there’s no better place to freeze your butt off than New York City.

Y’all know by now that we love Hyatt properties. On this trip we used our points to get a room at the Grand Hyatt New York, which is conveniently located in midtown Manhattan at Grand Central Station.

Grand Hyatt New York
Grand Central Station and the Grand Hyatt New York

We bought a City Pass, which covers admission into several museums and attractions. First, we stopped by the American Museum of Natural History

Rawr
Rawr
Selfie with a triceratops
Selfie with a triceratops

Then made our way to the bustling tourist trap that is Times Square.

Times Square
Times Square

By this point, we had stopped for New York-style pizza and bagels but a trip to NYC wouldn’t be complete without a giant deli sandwich. This is the Woody Allen sandwich at Carnegie Deli on 7th Avenue at 55th Street. At $25 it’s not a cheap snack but totally worth it. I mean, look at all that corned beef and pastrami!

Carnegie Deli
Carnegie Deli’s Woody Allen sandwich

The next day, we used our City Pass to board a 3-hour Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise. In my opinion, this is the most efficient way to view the Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty. I would definitely recommend it to first time visitors. Once on board, there are plenty of seats available in the climate-controlled cabin, or you can walk around and take pictures. Refreshments can be purchased at the snack bar and there are bathrooms on the lower deck.

View from the Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise
View from inside the Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise cabin
One World Trade Center aka Freedom Tower under construction
One World Trade Center aka Freedom Tower under construction
Selfie with Lady Liberty
Selfie with Lady Liberty

Next up was Rockefeller Plaza. Separate from our City Pass, we reserved tickets for the NBC Studio tour. We got to go behind the scenes in several studios including Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live. No pictures allowed, unfortunately, so you’ll have to take my word for it.

Selfie at 30 Rock
Selfie at 30 Rock
Rockefeller Plaza with ice rink
Rockefeller Plaza with ice rink

And since we were already in the area, we used our City Pass for a ride to Top of the Rock.

Top of the Rock
Top of the Rock observation deck

Later that evening we met up with our buddy, Kevin Levy. It was also the same night as the Oscars so we watched part of the star-studded event from a quaint Irish pub.

Hanging out with Kevin Levy
Hanging out with Kevin

Then, after a few adult beverages, we decided to use our City Pass at the Empire State Building. Did you know it’s open until 2 a.m.?! Needless to say, in the wee hours of a February morning we didn’t have to wait in any lines. Actually, we were the only ones on the elevator, which made for some hilarious selfies.

Empire State of Mind
Empire State of Mind
Late night view from the top of the Empire State Building
Late night view from the top of the Empire State Building

The next day was our actual anniversary and we had plenty on our to-do list. First, we popped in the Museum of Modern Art courtesy of our City Pass. It is the craziest, most eccentric art museum ever – and we loved it. If we had realized how interesting MoMA was we would definitely have planned more time there, but we were on a tight schedule because Drew got us seats at a taping of the Late Show with David Letterman!

The Scream - Edvard Munch
The Scream – Edvard Munch
The Starry Night - Vincent van Gogh
The Starry Night – Vincent van Gogh
Outside the Late Show studio
Outside the Late Show studio
We lucked out and totally made it on TV during a bit. Thanks to Julia & Lindsay for recording it for us.
We lucked out and made it on TV during a bit. Thanks to Julia & Lindsay for recording it.

We had dinner reservations that night at Gramercy Tavern located in the Flatiron District at 42 East 20th Street. It was phenomenal.

Gramercy Tavern
Gramercy Tavern

We got in some more sightseeing before our return flight the following afternoon. We stopped by the 9/11 Memorial, Wall Street/financial district, Battery Park and grabbed lunch in Chinatown.

Wall Street
Wall Street
Drew with crazy squirrels in Battery Park
Drew with crazy squirrels in Battery Park
Jini with crazy squirrels in Battery Park
Jini with crazy squirrels in Battery Park
Chinatown
Chinatown

There’s so much to do, see and eat in NYC. We look forward to our next visit when we can spend more time exploring the neighborhoods and boroughs. Hope to see you soon, New York.