New York, New York — So nice they named it twice

I got to spend a lovely fall weekend in late October with my boyfriend in New York City thanks to the most amazing birthday gift from my mom – tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway! I read the screenplay and have been dying to go since. I’m a huge Ravenclaw/Potter geek. We got the extra bonus in that I have lovely friends that live there we were able to meet up with!

Thursday night we arrived after a bit of a harrowing experience on American Airlines (whom I’m thinking of dumping) – first we had a missed approach into JFK because of ground traffic on the runway, then we had a second due to them not being able to complete a checklist! The last time I was in New York for my Around the World trip, we took Uber to get to midtown, but this time after seeing a $70 quote on Uber and $7 for a shorter trip on the subway, we braved public transportation with luggage. I am notoriously not good at doing the Public Transportation thing (evidenced by I paid to go through the turnstiles for a downtown trip when we needed to be going uptown), but it was fine. It is so much easier now that you can use Google Maps to get explicit public transportation descriptions.

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So many approaches!

We stayed at the AC Hotel by Time Square, and it was nice, but also just fine. It was nice that I was able to use my Marriott points and stay for free, but also we didn’t get a lounge or free breakfast, or even free coffee because of my status. I know that sounds incredibly snobby reading that, but that (and the free personal travel I earn off business trips) is why I stay at Marriotts and not Airbnbs.  I will say that it was a perfect location – super close to Times Square – and very cute and boutiquey.

For dinner, we tried to go to the District Tap House two blocks away, but it was too long of a wait. And good that we didn’t because we forgot that’s where we had reservations on Saturday night! We ended up a block over at District Social House (same owner) which was great and had good food and drinks, though it was a bit loud for a date.

We met up with my bestie Janie and her husband Ozzie at the rooftop bar at our hotel. Definitely the best part of the whole hotel – clean modern decor, expensive NYC-priced drinks, but an out-of-this-world view of the Empire State Building. We walked a few blocks to her apartment after!

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View from the AC Hotel roof bar

The next morning I was excited for a really iconic New York experience of walking over the Brooklyn Bridge. I was thinking of the Sex and the City episode where Miranda and Steve decided that they’d meet on the bridge if they wanted to make their relationship work – so if that was in the show OF COURSE real New Yorkers did it. So maybe there were some real New Yorkers there, but there were SO MANY tourists trying to get a Brooklyn Bridge selfie that it was almost too much for me. (It was definitely too much for Craig – he didn’t enjoy it at all). I had thought about doing the thing where you rent a bike and go over, but there are so many dumb-ass tourists not paying attention and straying into the bike lanes, that I don’t think it would be safe or enjoyable to do it. Go during weird hours, go with patience, or don’t go.

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Am I an official travel blogger now?

Before we walked over the bridge, we took the Subway into Brooklyn and walked back to Manhattan. We had brunch at the SUPER authentic hipstery Randolph Beer. (You get a card and get to pour your own suds!). They have skee ball and other fun games, and a cute heart mural out front. We went to that one photo spot in DUMBO where everyone has the picture. There were SO MANY PEOPLE there that it wasn’t worth it, and I didn’t get a good shot. But while walking between Randolph and the bridge there are a lot of cute areas with cute murals! Once we had finished walking over the bridge, we made a bee-line for big cheap beers, and we went to Jeremy’s Ale House, which was a total dive and kinda cute. GIANT beers in styrofoam cups.

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Everyone has this photo – DUMBO

We hopped on a NY City bus and headed towards Greenwich Village for some of the personality. Really glad we did, we ended up at Arts & Crafts Beer Parlor, which was adorable and had amazing beer. Janie met up with us and we were on our way again to make our way towards dinner.

We got another NYC tourist opportunity and stopped at the Flatiron Building for a photo before we headed to what was the restaurant/bar highlight of any trip I’ve had in New York – Oscar Wilde. It was pretty packed, but seemed to be more of a local place than a tourist place. The decor is so neat, you almost don’t know where to look anymore. And an extra bonus for us was that it was Halloween weekend, and they went all out. This is going to be my #1 recommendation for anyone that comes to New York.

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Flatiron Building with my Bestie!

For dinner we added on another and were joined by one of my college girlfriends Marcy at Maysville, which was fantastic and known for their Bourbon. Finally Ozzie met up with us and we hopped around a few nearby bars to watch the World Series. I don’t know if anyone else was following along – but the Dodgers got their one win of the series in the eighteenth inning. We didn’t stay that late, but Craig and I headed back to the hotel, but since we were out so late and we were right next to Times Square – we decided to go see it when the majority of the tourists were asleep. After being so discouraged by so many people around on the bridge earlier, this was something we needed! We ended the night getting $1 slices of pizza at a shop next to our hotel.

A recommendation on being around Midtown and finding somewhere to eat – I don’t think it’s as hard as I had made it out to be! There are SO MANY different kind of places. If you’re hungry, you just walk and stop somewhere that sounds half way decent and you’re fine! We got all of our boxes checked – pizza and bagels!

On Saturday we didn’t do too much because it was the big day of the trip – the whole reason we were there – we went to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. When talking about the experience and trying to come up with my Insta caption about it, I feel like I really fall short – there are so many superlatives used these days that when you find an experience that truly merits one, you’re at a loss. Craig has only seen each Harry Potter movie once, and I’m at the Potterhead level that I’m considering a tattoo. We both enjoyed it immensely, so I don’t think it matters what level of nerd you are. The interior theater waiting areas were decorated to the finest detail. They had a frosé that was amazing. (All NYC prices of course). They have a campaign called #keepthesecrets so we’re not supposed to talk too much about the play itself, but here’s what I’ll say. It starts with the last scene of the last book where (spoiler alert) Harry, Ron, & Hermione are dropping off their kids to catch the Hogwarts Express and start their own wizarding adventures. There are some holes in the plot and characters, but the show was overall a comedy and quite hilarious. But the part that keeps sticking with me is that it makes you believe in magic. The technical developments they’ve made in theater are incredible. I can’t believe they can do some of the effects they did right in front of my own eyes and not with movie magic. I was brought to tears repeatedly. This show is a double header – there are two parts, each one as long as a full play. Part One ends on a cliffhanger, so you can’t really do one or the other. You can do one part on two separate nights, or you can do them both at once, as we did. It wasn’t too much for us to do it all at once – other than really needing to pee at intermission of Part 1, it went really fast since it was so enjoyable. The only thing that really sucked about it was the lines and security to get in were tedious and it was raining. But hey, I guess that’s the world we live in now.

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Janie & Ozzie had gone to the show with us (but sat separately) and we met up with them for dinner at District Tap house between the two parts (which was great! Tapas style and a really really good craft beer selection!) again after for more baseball watching and beverages.

On our last day in the city we had brunch with Janie & Marcy at the Wayfarer (near Central Park) and it was a really cute brunch place with bottomless mimosas/bloodies. We walked briefly past Central Park to say that we’d been by there (I had done a more extensive stroll my last trip) before walking to the Love Statue, and then through Times Square (again) to hit up a souvenir shop for postcards and to get a classic black & white cookie before getting our bags and hopping back on public transportation back to JFK.

Not covered on this trip that I wanted to was Victor’s Cafe – which I am still thinking about many years after my last trip to NYC – which you should totally go to for Cuban food.

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