24 Hours In NYC

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

WARNING: If you're looking for a post about the best things to do in NYC when you only have 24 hours, then this isn't it. All this is is what I did when I had 24 hours in the city. And if you know me personally, or have followed the blog for awhile, you'll know that this will be long and interspersed with several side stories. If you're still planning to read it, thanks so much! Sit back and enjoy!

I've had a pretty rough start to the New Year. I decided I needed a break. I had a paid holiday that I could use to take a day off from work and texted my sisters to see if anyone wanted to go up to New York City with me for a day. My one sister, who used to live in Manhattan, was free and we planned to go up to NYC on a Sunday and come back the next day.

I was excited. It had been almost nine years since my last visit to New York City. There was a lot I wanted to do, but I didn't have much time. I basically had 24 hours in the city. Our bus was arriving at Port Authority around 11 AM and our return bus left at noon the next day. I told my sister it would probably be more a trip about eating good food, rather than sightseeing or shopping. She thought that would be fun, too.

Our bus was leaving at 7 AM from Union Station in DC. I live about an hour from there and because I wanted to shower and do my hair before we left, I got up at 3:30 in the morning. That was so hard! I'm also a last minute packer. I was still trying to stuff my toiletries and taking things out of my overnight bag (I tend to overpack, too) right before we left the house.

My sister had gone out with friends the night before and the people at the restaurant kept bringing them free shots. She warned me that she would probably be asleep during the whole bus ride. Every time she took a breath, she smelled alcohol. She wasn't planning on drinking anything that weekend.

Rocking my dots at Union Station
This past weekend was also #RockTheDots weekend, to celebrate Minnie Mouse getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. So, I made sure to wear my polka dots! My sister and I had about half an hour to kill before it was time to board our bus, so we loaded up on snacks for the bus at Einstein Bagels and Starbucks.

The bus was pretty empty and we hit no traffic on the way up to NYC. We actually arrived at Port Authority about ten minutes before we were supposed to! Plus, there was no line outside for the cabs! We were able to catch one right away. We took the cab to our hotel in Midtown, but the room wasn't ready for early check in. So, we dropped off our luggage and I used the bathroom to change clothes. Sunday was my only chance to go to Times Square and I wanted a picture of me in my red and white polka dot dress at the Disney Store.

Times Square was about a 20-25 minute walk from our hotel, but my sister was cold so we decided to take the Subway. But after waiting on the platform for 15 minutes with no trains in sight, we ended up exiting the station and walking. Since my sister had lived in the city for several years, she was my navigator. But, she's horrible with directions! It was like the blind leading the blind. She would use the GPS on her phone and yet we still managed to get turned around several times during our stay.

If you know me or have been following the blog for awhile, then you know I love Disney. So, we spent a considerable amount of time in the Disney Store at Times Square. I got myself a little Emoji plush doll, but I wish I had gotten the bigger one. I still might buy it online. I just didn't want to have too much to carry on the bus ride back. It was so soft and squishy and cute!

Aren't they so cute??

Matching with Minnie
My sister's husband is living in Staten Island right now and so we were planning to meet up with him in Times Square. He ended up surprising us at the Disney Store. After paying for my stuff, my sister and I wanted to get lunch. My sister's husband had already eaten so he walked around while we ate. We ended up having brunch at Lilly's Craft and Kitchen.

The place was packed and we had gotten the last two seats, which were at the bar. Normally, I feel obligated to order a drink when I'm sitting at the bar. But, because it doesn't take much to get me dizzy and I wanted to be able to get good pictures of the museum we were visiting later that day, I refrained from ordering myself a Mimosa. The food was really good. My sister loved the size and taste of the home fries. The bartender reminded me of the lead singer of Eve 6.

The Kitchen Sink Frittata and Home Fries
After eating, we visited Gulliver's Gate in Times Square. It's a 50,000 square foot interactive museum of miniatures! It features miniature scale models of 25+ cities from 5 continents, including New York City! It was a lot of fun to explore and we ended up spending two hours there. I'll be posting a more detailed review with more pictures and videos soon. I'll link it here.

The museum also gives visitors the chance to make miniature versions of themselves. Gulliver's Gate features whole body scanners and 3D printers that allow you to either make a 1:87 scale model of yourself to be placed in one of 20 exhibits or you could buy a figurine of yourself. I probably spent 20 minutes debating on whether or not I'd spend the $44 to add myself to the exhibit. I ended up not doing it, but now wish I did. It would have been cool. Maybe the next time I visit the city again.

After we left, we went to see the lights at Times Square and take pictures. Then, we went to Sephora. Yes, there are Sephoras where I live, but none as cool as the one in Times Square!

I saw so much I wanted to buy at Sephora, but I restrained myself and didn't buy anything. I had already spent over $100 at Ulta the week before and felt I shouldn't buy more makeup. But, now I wish I had. I even went on the Sephora website the other day but couldn't find the things I wanted to buy at the store.

After Sephora, we went to a Zara that was somewhat on the way to our hotel. It was my first time shopping at a Zara, but my sister always seems to pick up nice things from there. This one, though, was kind of junky and the line was super long. Even if I did find something I wanted, I didn't really want to wait in that line. So, we left and made our way back to the hotel to check in.

My sister's husband had to head back to Staten Island, since he had to work the next day. So we said our goodbyes in the hotel lobby and then my sister and I went up to our room. I chose a City View room. It was only $99 that night, which I thought was a pretty good deal. We had two Queen beds, a fridge and microwave and even a Keurig in the room.

Our room at the Hilton Garden Inn - Midtown East

The view from our hotel room

After unpacking our stuff and snacking on a pack of Surf Sweets Gummy Worms, my sister and I headed out to eat dinner. She had found a wine bar on Yelp that sounded promising. I ordered myself a big glass of Riesling and we ordered the platter of small plates and an eggplant parmigiana to share. It was all really good!

A glass of Riesling at Sofia Wine Bar
Small order of Sofia Platter
Baked Eggplant Parmiggiana
We also each ordered Tiramisu for dessert! And I ate it all!

Tiramisu is so good
After we were done eating, we were both exhausted. As we made our way back to the hotel, there was this group of guys that was crossing the street in the opposite direction. I tried to get out of the way of one of the guys and he went and wrapped his arms around me. UGH. I was so traumatized, we missed our turn and when we realized it, I was just like, let's just take the long way. I need to get away from all of that!

At Sephora, my sister had bought sheet masks for us to use before we went to bed. So, we did them, even though, my sister fell asleep before it was time to take them off! They were by Dr. Jart+ and my sister loved how soft and smooth it made her skin the next morning. I didn't really notice a difference in my skin, though...

The next morning, we had appointments at the Drybar! I thought it would be a good idea, since that way I wouldn't have to pack shampoo or conditioner or hair styling tools. Plus, there was a Midtown location that wasn't too far of a walk from our hotel. Our appointments were at 7 AM and it was still dark out when we left the hotel. Surprisingly, there were already people waiting for the Drybar to open, too. When it opened, there were probably four or five other people checking in along with us.

Waiting for the Drybar to open
This was my first time visiting a Drybar, so I wasn't sure what to expect. But, I seriously loved the results! I asked for a Cosmo-Tai style. I loved all the big curls and my hair smelled so good! I even went out yesterday and bought the Sake shampoo and conditioner, Hot Toddy heat protectant and the Drybar 3-Day Bender Curling Iron. The shampoo and conditioner makes my hair feel so soft and I sit here and sniff my hair all the time!

Cosmo-Tai at the Drybar
My sister got the same style. After we left the Drybar, we tried to figure out where to eat breakfast. But, it was cold, so we ducked into a Duane Reade to figure it out. We took pictures of our hair in the travel-sized toiletries section, but of course, those turned out crappy. There was also a homeless guy screaming random things in the waiting area of the pharmacy, so we quickly left.

We decided to have breakfast at The Smith in Midtown. The food was good here, too. I couldn't even finish my food! My sister ordered the Avocado Toast and ended up taking hers back with us.

Looking fancy for breakfast

After breakfast, we stopped at the Buttercup Bake Shop to buy snacks for the bus ride back home. Then, we went back to the hotel to finish packing and wait until it was time to head to Port Authority. We ended up listening to my sister's Spotify mix and doing push ups and squats while we killed time. We didn't think we'd have time to do any other shopping. But, I did get to take some daytime pictures of the view outside of our room.

Looking out the window one last time
We checked out before 11 and called an Uber to come take us to Port Authority.  We barely made it! We arrived about 15 minutes before the bus was to start boarding. Though, the bus didn't leave until 15 minutes after the scheduled time. We didn't hit any traffic, though, on the way back and got back to DC right on time. My sister didn't have to pick up her dog until 8, so we did some shopping at Union Station before taking an Uber back to her apartment in DC.  I didn't realize she was in a studio apartment till I was actually in it. We ordered a pizza for dinner and my husband picked me up around 8, soon after my sister picked up her dog.

This trip was fun, but too short to really do a lot of the things I wanted to. I didn't get to go to Chinatown or even to Central Park. I've never been to the Statue of Liberty, though it was closed when we went because of the Federal Shutdown. I'd also love to see a show on Broadway. I'm hoping I can plan another weekend trip soon.

If you had 24 hours in New York City, what would be on your list of things to see and do?

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