24 Hours in NYC
This fall has been hectic! I’ve only been back for a few weeks from Central America (you’ll just have to wait to read more!) which was incredible. I had also planned an overnight with my travel squad to NYC before taking off – we’re only about three hours away so it’s convenient for even one night and has never disappointed me. I’m super fortunate to have a great group of ladies to travel with and knowing how much fun we had in Montreal this summer I had a feeling that our little 24 hour trip would be on point. Spoiler: it was! Keep reading to see how we spent our time in the city.
Here we go!
Arriving via the MTA mid afternoon (the New Haven train is $17 or so into the city and you don’t have to deal with driving in the city!) we walked from Grand Central towards our hotel, Freehand. Half way there we stopped at Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings on Second Ave because, well, we were hungry. Also, dumplings! Make sure you get the greens, too, as it’s a perfect blend of salt, bitter and crispy shallots. Yum!
Post dumpling stop we continue on to Freehand New York and were able to check in early. Pro tip: make sure to estimate your arrival time early when doing pre check-in with Freehand! We didn’t even have to ask for early check-in, they just had it ready. Our room was a quad bunk room (smaller category) which served its purpose when it came to sleeping but might have been slightly better in theory than in practice. I immediately called it that I would hit my head at least twice (I was on the bottom bunk) and I did indeed. Anyways, the room was small but bright, with Bluetooth speakers, TV, mini fridge, bathroom with large shower and a single stool.
Once we had gotten settled we set off towards Central Park and the American Museum of Natural History – it was a toss up between the Met and here but this won out due to the T. rex exhibit. We got in after a guy saw us waiting in line and passed us four free tickets (hooray for being randomly nice to people!) and spent a couple hours wandering around and checking everything out.
When we had our fill of the museum we figured we would grab a pre dinner drink somewhere. Since we were already at Central Park we decided to hop in an Uber to Yorkville and hit up UES. While it’s a super cute ice cream shop it’s also a dimly lit speakeasy (if you can find the switch!) with cute eclectic decor, creative drinks and decent music. The service was so-so (read: one server was incredible/friendly and one was pretty f’n surly). The drinks have ingredients like smoked pineapple juice, marigold syrup, fresh bananas, quince conserve and more (they are also incredibly strong!). Just watch the menu prices – we weren’t paying attention and accidentally ordered some $25 cocktails (versus the $16-$17 drinks we had been ordering but y’all….).
After drinks we decided to grab some food but didn’t want to head too far. A quick Google search led us across the street to Noche de Margaritas because they had a decent rating, a vegetarian/vegan friendly menu, table side guac and they light their margaritas on fire. It checked all the boxes we needed it to, especially after a couple rounds of drinks.
When we were done with dinner we headed back to Freehand to chill for a few, get changed and figure out our next move. Luckily for us Freehand also has a rooftop bar, the Broken Shaker, on the 18th floor! We hopped up there, put our names in for table service and grabbed some drinks. If you go don’t pass up the snack menu! The Yemenite bread was delicious and the plantain chips were wonderfully salty (and went great with whiskey!). Despite it being frigid outside we popped out for the view and to check out the rest of the balcony.
Here’s where we split off: two of the group decided to call it a night while myself and the other MVP wanted to maximize our night in NYC. We went to Patent Pending but were told it was about a two hour wait (not only was it past midnight at this point but nawwwwww). A few doors down we went in to Oscar Wilde where we grabbed some Robbie Ross cocktails and questioned just how old everyone else was (when did everyone start to look like they’re in high school?). On the walk back we made the super smart decision to grab a falafel wrap from the Halal cart around the corner from the hotel – pretty sure next day Mo thanked late night Mo for looking out! We also called the night because at this point it was 315am or so and we had plans in the morning. MVPs for the win!
After what felt like a disco nap we woke up to coffee and bagels courtesy of the other half of the squad (that decided to get decent sleep) and got ready for our walk to Chelsea Market. It’s only about 30 minutes or so from the hotel and it was actually pretty nice out. Plus fresh air always helps a hangover…..not like any one of us had one though. On the way out we checked out of Freehand and had them hold our bags until we were ready to go to the station.
In the basement of Chelsea Market is Artechouse where they have a digital exhibition called Machine Hallucinations that was top of my list for this trip. Get tickets in advance and plan on at least an hour there – it’s incredible!
After we were done at Artechouse (and had gathered our balance from standing back up!) we exited into Chelsea Market and promptly canceled our brunch reservations so we could explore! When we were finished shopping an artist popup and walking around it was time to eat. Very Fresh Noodles caught my attention with Wu-Tang playing and kept my interest by the long line. I was not disappointed! The spicy vegan soup was exactly what I needed. I also needed some halva after passing Seed + Mill so I got a sample pack. How can you pass up halva???? Pro tip for Chelsea Market: grab your food & drinks and head downstairs – there’s corner seating that was much less packed than upstairs and we were actually able to grab a table to ourselves.
At this point we needed to admit that our time in the city was almost up. We walked off the noodles on the way to grab our bags and then we called an Uber to head to Grand Central to catch the train back to New Haven.
When all was said and done we packed a lot into 24 hours! Plenty of food, drinks, walking and sights. It never feels like enough time so we’ll have to head back soon! Again, I’m super thankful for my squad and love traveling with them – we always pack in a bunch of stuff and have a great time. And just in case anyone is wondering: yes, we did have the same safe word but no one used it this time!
If you’re looking for essentials for your next squad trip check out my post here.
Where’s the last place you went with your squad? I’d love to hear about it!