NYC in a Day

Last weekend I was paid a visit by one of my best friends from college. She made the trip up, from Virginia to New York, to spend some time with me while I took her to my favorite hometown spots. Aside from stopping in on my beloved coffee shops and quaint little towns, New York City was an absolute must. My friend and I have a love for photography, being creative and exploring beautiful places. (I’ve included some photos she took; she is SUPER talented!) I was tasked with mapping out our travels to encompass the Big Apple and all its wonder in a single day. I aimed to be as strategic as possible (of course not being able to hit ALL the iconic spots). However, I think I did a solid job of planning out a great day. 

 

Here is how my friend and I ventured out into the vibrant and exciting New York City, and took advantage of as much as we could, in a single day…

 

We started our day by taking the train into Grand Central Station. I watched out the window at each stop, as new crops of people came flooding in. You can’t help but wonder where their travels were taking them that day: to visit family, to meet up with friends for brunch, an important work meeting (because the grind never stops in NY, even on the weekends). For how many people was it their first time ever visiting the iconic and all-consuming New York City? 

 

After arriving in the hustle and bustle of Grand Central, we called our only Uber (yes, our ONLY one of the day – lots of walking that day baby). We started at the furthest destination from Grand Central Station and essentially worked our way back up. 

 

We took an Uber down to Nomo Soho, a famous hotel, mostly known for its iconic photo-op entrance. We waited our turn to take some photos. While waiting, I spotted an untouched luggage cart up against a colorful brick wall. Not every photo opportunity has to be the cliché spot where all the action is. Find beauty in the small things, especially in a place like New York City. Beauty can be anywhere, where you least expect it. That’s part of the wonder of the city. 

 

 

Our next stop was checking out the Glossier Showroom, also in Soho, about a 5-minute walk from the hotel. They call it “an experience,” and an experience it was. There was a long line to get in which we weren’t expecting. You’d think we were waiting on line to get into an exclusive club, with “bouncers” and “body guards” protecting the entrance. However, we were told by the people around us that it was worth the wait. So, wait we did, for about 30 minutes. But once we were finally inside, it felt as though we had entered an alternate universe. Everything was perfect, aesthetically pleasing, a well-thought out design. I definitely recommend if you are inspired by that sort of thing. It was an escape, definitely an experience. I really loved it. 

 

 

 

By now, we were pretty starving. We stopped at Bluestone Lane for some avo toast and iced lattes - we needed to refuel. We scored window seats and did some people watching because, when in NY…

 

 

Then we were off to Brandy Melville. I read online there was a new Brandy store opening in Soho on Broadway St that day, so we had to check it out. We hoped to get score grand opening deals (to no avail), but shop we did, nonetheless! 

 

From there we kept on our way to Washington Square Park. A classic NYC landmark that neither I nor Gracie had ever been. It was as lively as you could imagine; live music, friends meeting up for lunch, adults on their daily jog, it was quintessential New York. 

 

 

And then it was time for another snack, all this walking around in the city summer heat, we needed a refresh…

 

But then we stumbled across a somewhat empty side street, with brick walls, front stoops and buildings with greenery running up the side. We stopped to take some sick photos. And that’s the beauty of NYC. You never know when you’re going to run into a cool, unique place; you always have to keep your eyes peeled. 

 

 

Once we finished our little detour, we were on to our refresh, Pressed Juicery. We got some Pressed Juice Freeze, basically soft-serve made out of really natural, limited, juice-like ingredients (almonds, dates, cinnamon, etc.). They have different flavors and toppings and it tastes incredible! I highly recommend, and it was the perfect pick-me-up we both needed.

 

Our day took us next to the historic Flatiron Building. Another classic NYC landmark we had both never experienced. It was crazy to have a frontal view of a building with so much history behind it, standing there since 1902. The picture in front of me has changed so much over the past 117 years, and will continue to change, yet, there it was. 

 

 

Our last destination of the day was The High Line, an elevated linear park created on a former New York Central Railroad. Yet another place we had both never been, I had a feeling this would be my favorite of the day. I was correct. We got some insane pictures here; golden hour might’ve had something to do with that. The way the sunlight hit the side of buildings, creating a halo-like, glow effect outlining the side of the city skyscrapers, was breathtaking. We could’ve spent the entire day there alone. 

 

   

 

 

But as difficult as it was, we had to make peace with our farewell, and find our way back to the train station. Our walk back was about 30 minutes, our longest walk of the day, a bit further than expected. 

In true New York fashion, we made our train with 5 minutes to spare, parting ways with the city that never sleeps (however, we could not wait to). We watched as the city skyline disappeared in the distance, growing smaller and smaller until it was gone. 

 

We were both on a high, and I think I’ve been on one ever since. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I’m older, coming more into my own, but I’ve never felt this connection, and then sadness, leaving this city before. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it ever since.

 

I really recommend paying a visit if you haven’t before, and even if you have, try to be more present and in touch with yourself when you’re there. I noticed I felt almost more confident and intentional walking around that day, it may sound a little cliché, but it’s true. 

 

Check out some of these spots or even follow the whole itinerary! Either way, explore more and observe more. 

 

I didn’t intend for this article to get this deep, but I encourage everyone to find a place that makes you feel like a different, more intentional version of yourself; a version that makes you feel more yourself than perhaps you’ve ever been.