Concrete jungle where dreams are made of, indeed

I grew up watching countless movies and TV shows set in New York City, and that must be what have given me the conception that New York is the 'capital' of the world (hello, Western globalism). But then I got to travel around and saw how beautiful the world is, so I thought, "Naah, New York can't be the best city out there!"

But lo and behold, I proved myself wrong. Seeing New York for the first time, I've felt something different right away. Good different. Although a bit familiar from seeing it on screen, the feeling of finally experiencing it on hand was on another level. It wasn't as aesthetically gorgeous as London, nor was it anything romantic like Hawaii, but it was undeniably very special. What exactly was special about it? I'm still trying to figure it out, too, as I write this... 

Anyway, this is your travel guide to maximizing your stay in the Big Apple!
I'll be sharing how much I was able to squeeze in my short, 2-day stay. It's not gonna be as detailed as my first post particularly on the commuting specifics and the whole expenses but will try to walk you through it!


I have a close friend who lives in the city who showed me around, so that means I was just basically following her around. Lol! That's the only bad thing when you're with a local, you end up not really learning the directions.

But unlike the other states in America, NYC has a very good commute system with its subway lines! It's very easy to go around New York through it. You can even get to the islands through the subway! Mind blowing moment for me when I learned that some of their subway lines go underwater. And they had these constructions as early as the 1900s! Before there were even computers. What! Talk about first world infrastructure.

How subway stations look like-- they're all underground!
The subway is priced at $2.75 per ride. It's not that cheap, specially if you plan to get to each destination by train. That's why walking is the way to go! Only use the subway if your next stop is really far, like 5 blocks or more. If not, get ready for some serious walking! It's the best way to really experience the city, as everybody in New York likes to walk. So one important thing to take note is to wear really comfortable shoes when you're visiting. Your feet would thank you at the end of the day for it (or not).

New York City is expensive. Expect everything to be expensive here, but it would be best to choose a place/hotel conveniently situated near the city and not in the city itself to cut cost. It would be accessible by train and you won't get too tired from getting to/from your destinations. It would save you time, too!


Here's a map I found online which was really helpful to me when I was planning my itinerary. This was what I followed as well, but only picked out the places I really wanted to see. Try to click and zoom it in.

Photo from


We started uptown going down based on the map, since my friend's place was near Central Park.
  • Central Park
Entering Central Park West
Ahh, what a great way to start the day! We got to the park at around 9am, and we had our breakfast first thing at Le Pain Quotidien just to fuel up for a full day of walking. The weather was so perfect during my stay here and that might be one of the factors that made me bias and favor New York over London.

Mimosas for breakfast, why not?πŸ˜›
It was lovely to sit and enjoy the park while having breakfast. There wasn't too much people around this time too so it was just so nice out. Central Park is huge and would probably take you a day to see all of it, so I say research on it and decide which parts you want to see first. We went to Upper West Side to see Strawberry Fields and the lake for boating.

This area was named 'Strawberry Fields' after John Lennon since he was shot near here

"Oh look, flowers! Let me take a quick shot!"
I think that last scene in 'John Wick 2' was filmed here!
One of the many fountains in the park
Reminded me of that boating scene in 'Enchanted'!
  • MET Museum 
The 'Gossip Girl' stairs
There are a handful of museums in New York, which is not surprising because there are plenty of thriving artists here. So it would be a shame not to see one during your stay. At least for me! I really like enjoying these things when I'm traveling. Van Gogh is in this museum and it's pretty popular from the annual MET GALA, too, so it's what I picked out to see first from all the museums in New York.
Getting our tickets. Suggested Admission info at the upper left part
The MET opens at 10am, and we entered at around 11. Entrance fee is by donation, so it's up to you how much to give. Like, the suggested admission per adult is $25, but we gave $25 for two. Lol.
Lucky for us as there was no line yet! It really is better to visit earlier. Just like Central Park, this museum is very big so better to know which galleries you want to visit first. For me it was Van Gogh, obviously! His work really stands out and you can spot them easily in the room.

One of his famous self portraits
'Cypresses', my favorite among his works in the room
Then another lucky moment for us, as the rooftop of The Met is open this time of the year.  My friend said that they only open certain days on summer so we should go see it. 

NYC skyscrapers
Modern art installations at the rooftop
On our way to the rooftop we stumbled upon a gallery which was of Comme des Garcon's, and what a treat to see the designs of Rei Kawukabo. Here are some of them on display:
Everything gingham! Loving gingham for summer
The one with the flower crown would be me
Ideas on what to wear when you meet the Pope lol
See how trippy it looks, but how it works at the same time? High Fashion.
Probably the first time I got to appreciate the artistry in such clothes... And understood that high fashion is beyond me. Lol

  • Grand Central Station
Spotted in Grand Central: me lol 
From The Met, we took the subway again to get here. It was truly nothing short of grand-- this station. It was called central station because all train lines intersect here. There are restaurants inside and the interior was a feast to the eyes. Careful entering the hall, I almost tripped due to walking with my head up and doing 360 degree turns to gaze around the place.

Must have stared around the place for a good 5 minutes. My favorite was the ceiling interior for the constellations. But I just realized late that I didn't take any photo of that. Haha. Here's the best I took where you can see a part of it:
The busy Grand Central

  • Times Square/Broadway
Love these vintage signs along the subway
A couple stops from central station and you'll find yourself walking into Broadway Avenue, where Times Square and Broadway is! 

Panoramic view
The center spot for advertisements, shopping and tourists. There are a lot of mascots here who'll try to have your picture taken with them then ask for around $5-10 after, so don't be intimidated and just walk past them if you don't want that kind of stress in your life. Lol

The other end with the red stairs

I just walked around here until I reached Broadway. Too bad I didn't have enough time to watch a show for this stay. But on my next one it will be on the list!

Oh Broadway here I come!
  • Empire State Building
There are two popular options if you want to see the skyline of New York City: Top of The Rock or Empire State Building. Top of the Rock is shorter as it only has 70 floors, but you'll have the Empire State building in the view. Then there's the classic Empire State Building, situated in "the heart of the city" or so it says. It used to be the tallest building in NYC until the new One World Trade Center was built. Anyway, I went for Ted Mosby's favorite building, after all you can never go wrong with a classic architectural wonder. Standard ticket is at $34, but I bought the Premium ticket at $42 so I could skip the lines. Unfortunately for me, there wasn't much lines when I went there! What a waste. Haha. I chose the 2pm time slot to visit as I heard this time had lesser visitors, and it was definitely true. Sunrise and Sunset time usually garner the most visitors because I imagine the view would be more spectacular at that time. And I plan to do that on my next visit, too, when there isn't as much to do on my itinerary. I got my tickets at this website, both for the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty boat tour. But you can also buy your Empire State tickets straight from their own website here.
Empire State Building lobby
Me and The Empire State have the same birthday!
Entering Empire State, you get this very vintage-y/great gatsby-esque feel. I loved it right away! Despite being vintage, you'd also see how they're updated with the technologies like their iconic LED lights display outside the building. There are three main viewing decks at this building: 

the 82nd floor,
82nd floor viewing deck
the 86th, 
86th floor viewing deck
and the 102nd floor.
102nd floor somewhere up there

The first two viewing decks are included in the ticket price, whereas the 102nd floor would require you another $18 to get to. I thought about it hard if I would go for it, but I thought it was unfair to charge another $18 for the exact same view. And so I left. Haha. I was quite happy with the experience at the 86th floor. It only took me an hour for the whole tour here including taking pictures, admiring the view and reading the information exhibits inside the building.

  • New York Public Library and Bryant Park
New York Public Library (NYPL)
It was only around 3 blocks away from the Empire State so I decided to walk my way to it. Again, it's really my favorite way to see the city. You get to see the streets and the people living their everyday lives. It can be tiring, but for me it's worth it! I can always rest when I get back home. I love to walk when traveling as much as possible.
It's free to enter NYPL. One of the many things I envy about first world countries are their public facilities. Public parks, public museums, public library, etc. All historical and artsy places, even too precious to be public, but are free for all people to enjoy! Ugh. I imagine myself spending time in these places when I'm off, if I live there. I'd spend the whole day people watching at the park, walking around the city, reading a book at a library, or going through the museums. What a great way to spend time, am I right? Unlike the usual routine here at home of either staying at home or going to the mall or restaurants. Nothing really cultural unless you'll go out of town and spend time in nature.
Going back... sorry I tend to drift from topic to topic. Lol. Here are some photos of the library.
That scene in 'Sex and The City' where Carrie picked this place to be their wedding venue!
Too dreamy
A little hard to concentrate on a book if your surrounding is this pretty, right?
Behind NYPL is Bryant Park, a smaller park but it was quite full at that time since there was this MAC event. I didn't stay long after seeing it.

  • The Highline
This was a suggestion of my friend since she works in the area, and I have to meet her back here. It's an old railway turned into a park with some modern art installations. This is a lesser touristy spot, since it's only up and coming. Most people I saw here are in business/smart casual attires, which indicates that they work in the area as well. There are coffee shops and restaurants around here where you can spend time in, but you can relax at The Highline itself since there are a lot of benches and shades to rest on. 
View looks like this for 23 blocks!πŸ˜“
At this point my feet are dying already, I had no idea that the whole stretch was 1.45 mile long, covering 23 blocks!! I thought it was only a small park until I started wondering when I kept seeing no end while walking and my feet really wanted to disengage from the rest of my body. Lol. Then I saw the map and found out how long it was. A little too late. But looking at the bright side, at least, I got to see the whole of it! You can check the rest of it here on their site.

Stop and smell the flowers🌹
Some weird modern art along the way
I really don't get most modern art πŸ˜‚
  •  The Oculus

We rode the subway again to get here from The Highline. Oculus is this unique architectural design of a building that's actually a mall inside. I heard that its supposed to stand as a train station for The Path when it finishes. The Path is another underwater train that would connect New Jersey to the city. It's also beside the World Trade Memorial Museum and Ground Zero so might as well check it out. It's pretty nice inside.
The light shining through made it more pretty!
Good spot for a picture!
  • Ground Zero Memorial
I wanted to see Ground Zero mainly because I wanted to say a prayer for the souls that died here. It was a silent moment when we reached the memorial.
A flower in the name indicates it's that person's birthdayπŸ™
I loved how the structure is black and deep to the point where you can't see the bottom, kind of symbolizes the hollowness that the tragedy left the city. Then there's this water that continuously flows all over it, from top to bottom and back up, which for me kind of means that life must go on but the lives and everything that transpired will not be forgotten, but instead will flow on continuously with us, in our memories. I felt that this memorial structure came deep from the hearts of everyone who built it.


  • Brooklyn Bridge
Start of Brooklyn Bridge

Your New York visit won't be complete without walking at the Brooklyn Bridge. At first I thought, based on the pictures I see online, what's so special about this bridge? It looks old and nothing like London's Tower Bridge. Yes, my first two assumptions were true, but it has it's very own charm. The oldness gives it a certain character and you get to think how much it was a part of history. And the contrast to everything modern around it makes you feel like you're traveling back in time. 


It's also another thing to actually cross it to the other side, because you'll get the best panoramic views of the city while you're on it! We went there just before sunset, so it was quite a view seeing the colors change and how it reflects to the towering buildings around it.

Making it to the other end

Panoramic view
DUMBO actually stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, which literally describes the area. We went here after crossing Brooklyn Bridge, but at this point my legs are having cramp issues from all the walking already. There are actual sharp pains now. Haha. Plus when we got to the place, my battery, both my phone's and camera's have died! The horror! We decided to come back the next day since it's near the port where we will be riding the Liberty Island tour.

DUMBO for the second time
Went back the next day just to take pictures lol
It was nice to experience Brooklyn twice. It has a different vibe here compared to the rest of downtown New York. Somehow, Brooklyn felt a little more authentic. Or so they say, you haven't been to New York if you haven't been to Brooklyn. And that felt true!

  • Liberty Island and Ellis Island 
Nice to meet you, Lady Liberty!
We intended to get the first boat at 8am since this tour usually takes half the day, but with Filipino time we got to it an hour later. Haha. But it's all good since we're really lucky with the lines and waiting times here, as there was close to none again this time! The ticket for the bout tour is $22 and we got to Staten Island at around 930am. It only took us 30 minutes to circle the whole island (it was really small and there was only one thing to see-- Lady Liberty). We were fast because we didn't go inside Lady Liberty (that sounded a little wrong lol). There's a separate ticket if you want to go up to the pavilion or up to her crown. By the time the next boat docked, we were ready to leave. 
Touring with friends make it all better!

Groupie with the girls-- including Liberty!
The next stop is Ellis Island. There's a museum here that showcases all about the history of the first immigrants in New York.
Docking at Ellis Island

Ellis Island museum

  • Little Italy
Just in time for lunch! We had our early lunch here at around 11am with some wine (of course!). After the meal we walked around the area. Since it's the weekend, there's this some kind of a weekend market on a lot of streets we walked past by. 

Ciao Little Italy!
Glossier's first and only showroom was near here as well so we had to stop by. We may or may not have hoarded there.πŸ™Š
My beautiful friends tho 😘
Happy with my loot!
  • SoHo
Walking around SoHo
Soho was also a few blocks from Little Italy so we continued burning the food we ate by walking. Lots of shops around here! Both upscale and indie/specialty ones. Window shopped while we're at it. And enjoyed the view while walking around. There are many street arts scattered along the way, too.

Graffiti Wall 
Random pretty walls

More brownstone buildings
  • West Village

Our last stop as it was literally on the way back to my friend's apartment. Just a bonus since some of Friends and Sex and The City landmarks are here! In Washington Square Park, Friends' famous fountain in the opening scene are said to have been filmed here. 

Behind this arch is the famous Friends fountain, but we didn't go there coz there were too many people lol!
I don't mind being photo bombed by a NY Yellow cab πŸš•
Also, this is the same neighborhood of Carrie Bradshaw!
Channeling my inner Carrie Bradshaw lol
Her apartment looks exactly like one of these. The porches look familiar, don't it?
Carrie's apartment
Strolling the neighborhood

We finished all this at past 4pm this day, and had to leave the city then since I'm flying out the same night. There are still so much to do! No worries though, since I'll be back very soon!✈
So what makes New York so special?
Perhaps it's the contrast of the old and new, as New York is every bit modern as it is vintage.
Or could it be the complexity of the city? My friend said that what she loves about New York is that one place is never the same with another. At one point you can probably experience the whole world here.
It could be the people, too. The adversity in this city is astounding! But what makes New Yorkers one and distinct, for me, is that they are liberated in every sense. They speak their minds (probably what gets them tagged as rude, but I think they're really just being straightforward), they dress their hearts out (New Yorkers are the most fashionable people I've seen, bordering outrageous, even), and they have this sort of unapologetic aura in them. They are who they are, they don't really give a damn what you think. Here you'll see a mix of what's so real and surreal; a contrast of the unbelievable 1% down to the homeless, it's almost poetic.

Or maybe, it's all of this combined? New York is really something else. You probably have to experience it yourself to know. If you have been there, share your thoughts on what makes this city the greatest out there! I'd love to know your insights and personal experiences.

Anyway, there goes my 2-day itinerary for New York City! There's so much you can do depending on your interests. Will update and share what else there is to do on my next visit! Til next time!πŸ’•

Gossip Girl KATπŸ’‹

1 comment:

  1. "High fashion is beyond me" super lol. But why noy try?!?!


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