Philadelphia is lovely because of what it is. Part of its charm, however, is how near it is to so many other cities. We feel much freedom being able to choose from so many amazing places when going somewhere for the day. New York city is just a couple of hours from Philadelphia, and it’s my second favorite city. Although the crowds and high prices tempt me to bump it down a few places in my city rankings, it’s New York, and its downfalls do little to drive away its charm.

From Philadelphia, one may choose to drive to NYC. We made that mistake one Valentine’s weekend, and paid $80 a night to park. Big mistake. The buses in Philadelphia are reasonably priced, and are our preferred method of transportation to New York. (This time we were visiting family on Long Island, and we paid a lot more for the LIRR than the bus would’ve been to get there…)

The first stop on our list after arriving to NYC is always bagels. The food in New York is pretty much all good, but we rarely, if ever, forgo a New York bagel.

IMG_2050So. Good.

We brought our bagels to Bryant Park, which somehow improved our bagel experience even further. Bryant Park is located between 40th and 42nd Streets and between 5th and 6th Avenues. This park is absolutely beautiful. There are tables and chairs throughout, as well as a huge lawn on which to sit. There are areas to order food, and these have their own seating. The day that we went, the weather was absolutely perfect. It was close to lunchtime, so many of NYC’s hard workers were in the park. (We therefore used a vacant chair as our table.) We sat and people watched, and it was wonderful. Between the energy and diversity of the people in this place, New York is simply a delightful place to be, and this park perfectly exudes this delight.

IMG_2069The landscaping of the park is immaculate, and they also add some perks throughout. There was a piano player the day that we were there, as well as a Reading Room. The Reading Room included areas to sit and read, as well as portable shelves full of books for park visitors to enjoy. Such a great idea. There were also small tables and chairs for children, which gave it such a cute feel. This was our first time in the park, and we got there a bit late, but I certainly wished we had arrived earlier in the day so that we could enjoy for another hour or two.

IMG_2072IMG_2073IMG_2078IMG_2079On this day, our plan was to walk the city between stops to The Strand and Chinatown for dinner. We walked at least 13 miles, and it was lovely. From Bryant Park to The Strand, here are some of the sights that we saw:

Look up Pete’s Tavern: it’s history is pretty great. We didn’t get to stop there, but it’ll be a stop in the future.

We finally got to The Strand (828 Broadway), which is 100% worth visiting if you like books even a little bit. After about an hour of browsing, we made our choices (the British edition of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows {for only $12.50!} and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, in case you were wondering).

IMG_2105Next we walked to Washington Square Park, which is also worth a visit. However, we’d been there before so after a few minutes of resting our feet, we left. But it’s definitely worth a long visit if you’ve got the time!

IMG_2106Here is the beautiful Washington Square Arch, which was built to honor the 100th anniversary of Washington’s inauguration.

We hadn’t been to Battery Park so from here we took one of the longer strolls of the day and walked from Washington Square Park to Battery Park. Along the way, we stopped briefly to see…IMG_2108

…this! (Fans of Friends won’t need an explanation.) This was in Greenwich Village, which is a quaint little area of New York that I would assume the richest of us will only ever get to live in. But, as my husband reminds me, we do get to enjoy walks through it so it’s okay. (…?) I would recommend walking through this area, and eating here if the day allows for it as well. We found a sushi restaurant on Yelp later in the night but as we walked back, we realized we probably would have found something much better here. In our humble opinions, Yelp is unnecessary if you’re looking for restaurants in NYC.

Battery Park was a great place to visit as well. We got there shortly after sunset, and the colors were still leftover. Such a beautiful view.

I didn’t take photos, but we also walked past the National September 11 Memorial. We did not go inside of the museum but the fountains were so beautifully done. It is an emotional experience, but one that is important to have if you are in New York. It gave the trip extra meaning and reminded me to appreciate the freedom that I had to enjoy such a beautiful day.

From here, we had our NYC food experience. As I mentioned earlier, we made the mistake of eating sushi at a restaurant that we found on Yelp. We knew we wanted to eat sushi, and went on reviews. The place we arrived at was good but in NY, great is the standard at which food should be held. We’ll browse restaurants by foot instead of by phone next time.

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From our sushi restaurant, we went to Little Italy for dessert! No words needed…

 

From Little Italy, we took a slow stroll back to Penn Station where we would take the train back. This nighttime walk was perfect. New York City is crowded most of the day, but at night the crowds significantly subside. It ended up being one of our favorite parts of our day. There’s something about this city at night. Between the brightened lights and colors and the beautiful summer night breeze, the aches in our legs and feet felt insignificant. A perfect stroll ended our perfect day in New York, and we are already looking forward to our next trip.

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