NYC in 3: How I Experienced the Best of NYC in 3 Days

NYC in 3: How I Experienced the Best of New York City in 3 Days!

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#NewYearNewYork was the absolute best three day vacation I’ve ever taken. I’d wanted to travel to New York City (NYC) for many years and had a burning desire to bring in the New Year in Times Square and I did just that! During my vacation, which will be remembered as my first ever solo trip, I explored many of the notable attractions of NYC, Brooklyn and a taste of New Jersey. Using a CityPASS (See CityPASS: The Key to the City blog), GroupOn deals, and strategic budgeting, I was able to plan and enjoy my entire “First Time in NYC Bucket List” all within 72 hours! Here’s how I did it:

Day 1: (December 30)

I rose early in the morning for a 6a.m. flight from ATL to LGA.

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I snapped a few selfies before heading to the airport!
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More selfies on the plane!

Once in NYC, arrived at the DristiKt Hotel around 10a.m. and the first thing I did was took a nap! I was exhausted from packing all night. Side Note: I originally booked an Airbnb in early September and unfortunately it was cancelled less than a week before my trip because the host was moving. How inconvenient, right? RIGHT! But I didn’t worry. At that point, I couldn’t find another listing that fit my needs, so I decided to shorten my trip a day and a half and book a hotel instead. Turns out, I felt safer and was closer to the main attractions. I loved the fact that I could come and go a little more freely and that I was closer to the area where I spent most of my time.

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Such a cute little hotel! The staff was amazing and they allowed me to check-in early without an additional charge. I needed the nap!!!
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I had the perfect room and there was a personalized letter waiting for me upon my arrival.

Once I was awake and fully energized I headed to Times Square. On the way I passed the New York Times and asked a couple to take my photo out front in exchange for me taking one of them together. Before parting ways the woman asked, “Are you here alone?” And as I replied, “Yes!”, she said, “WOW! Be careful!”

That was the first time it actually dawned on me that taking a trip to NYC by myself was probably one of the craziest, most adventurous things I could’ve done! You see, somewhere between my family members, who were absolutely terrified at the idea of me traveling alone period, and all of the advice I’d received from friends and associates who’d visited NYC before, I had kind of blocked out the negative noise around me. I was too busy planning what I hoped would be a perfect trip to stop and think… “YOU ARE GOING TO NYC ALONE, THIS IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL!” (LOL) Over analyzing it probably would’ve made me nervous!

I kind of have this thing I do where I don’t make a huge deal about stuff, I just do it. So it hadn’t occurred to me how crazy the idea of me going to NYC alone sounded to others, until that very moment! When I realized, “This is crazy!” I countered it with, “I AM HERE FOR CRAZY!!!” (LOL) As I walked away, I felt more excited than ever and I actually became more present in that very moment.

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The New York Times in the flesh! (Not really flesh, but ya’ll get it!)
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And then I realized… I was ALL by myself!!!

The energy in Times Square was different than any I’ve felt. There were hundreds of people walking in every direction and I got a thrill out of the vibe everyone had. It was like they all had something important to do or somewhere important to be and there I was just soaking it all in. The snow began to fall again just before I arrived in Times Square making for the most amazing photos ever!

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Can you tell how happy I was???
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I absolutely adore this photo!! So fierce!!!
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Would you believe me if I told you this headband was only $7.99 at Wal-Mart??? A total DEAL!!!

Hunger called so I answered by stopping at the Brooklyn Diner for a fine turkey sandwich for lunch. Then, I walked several blocks exploring attractions and stores in the area including the Rockefeller Plaza, Saks 5th Avenue, H&M, and Top Shop.

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This was the boujeest diner I’ve ever been to! Lol I’m used to diners being run down, but no way José, this place was upscale! This $18 turkey sandwich was not deli meat, I’ll tell you that! (LOL)
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Saks 5th Avenue, which is apparently known for its window decor, had the most amazing 80th Year Anniversary tribute to Snow White. Each window portrayed a different scene from the film while myself and hundreds of other tourists stopped at each one to watch!
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And then there was a Christmas store with 50% off EVERYTHING! To know me is to know Christmas is my favorite holiday, so trust me when I say I fought hard not to spend a ton of money in there. I simply left with a single ornament just like the one pictured above for my nephew Noah.     I hope he likes it!

I had a slice of Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Famous Original Ray’s Pizza, before ending the night with a front row seat to see one of my favorite movies on Broadway, “Chicago” at the Ambassador Theater.

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Delicious New York style pizza in the heart of Times Square! It was sooo popular that the line was to the door and there was hardly anywhere to sit.
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I could not miss the chance to take a pic with these gigantic ornaments because I was definitely still in the Christmas spirit!
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Chicago is one of my top four FAVORITE films so it was only right that I saw it live on Broadway! Just know I sung almost every song! #NoShame (LOL) “Come on babe why don’t we paint the town… and ALL THAT JAZZ!”

 

 

Day 2: (December 31- NYE)

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I felt quite FABULOUS in my faux fur!
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A selfie a day keeps the frowns away! 🙂

I started the day by heading to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck at the famous Rockefeller Center (CityPASS attraction). This was one of the most breathtaking views of a city that I’d ever seen. There were so many large buildings and with access to the entire deck, I saw NYC from every angle. I literally cried right then, because in that very moment I was truly grateful to God for allowing me to view such beauty.

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Truly the best view of the city!
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Oh what a sight!
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“New York! Concrete jungle where dreams are made!” ~Alicia Keys
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The wind was sooooo high and it was cold! lol I still love this pic!

Next, I headed to Central Park, which was probably the only grass I saw during my entire visit! (LOL)

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Burrrrrrrrrr!!! (If only ya’ll felt how cold it was! – LOL)
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I loved Central Park! It was much larger than I’d ever imagined!
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Definitely one of my FAVORITE pics from the trip!!! YASSSSSS GIRL!!!
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“Another one!” -D.J. Khaled’s voice (LOL) Can we just take a moment to acknowledge the sunlight that shined upon my selfie!!! #SLAYYYYY

After Central Park, I grabbed brunch at a.Cafe where I had some delicious French Toast topped with strawberries and blueberries. If you are ever in the Central Park area be sure to stop there!

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My taste buds were singing!!!

Following brunch, I walked to the New York City Center to see the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform. As a dance lover, I’ll admit that the show was incredible! And as a lover of the arts as a whole, the only thing missing from this performance and Chicago on Broadway was…. ME!!! (LOL – No seriously!!!)

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Would you believe me if I told you my ticket was only $30 on GroupOn? AHHHH!!!
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I probably took a picture with everything! (LOL)
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Mr. Ailey himself! He whispered in my ear and told me to move to NYC and join his dance company… I told him I would think about it! (LOL)

After seeing the show, I had dinner at my hotel and rested for a couple of hours before heading out in the freezing cold to see the ball drop. I left for Times Square at about 9:30p.m. and stood in line for about an hour before going through three security searches and finally arriving in Times Square at 11p.m. exactly! The temperature was 10 degrees and dropping, making it the coldest NYE in NYC since 1952. (WOW!) I battled the chill by dancing and humming as I tried to keep the the blood flowing in my freezing body. And then… I counted down 2018 with thousands of thrill seekers who, like me, fought the NYC cold for hours to witness the ball drop! The adrenaline rush was insane and the whole experience was definitely once in a lifetime and well worth it.

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I added more layers of clothing (totaling to: two tank tops, two T-shirts, two long sleeved shirts, and two turtle necks… two pairs of tights, two pair of leggings/athletic pants, and a pair of pants) and I was still freezing! This face mask definitely came in handy!
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After the countdown my adrenaline was still sooooo high! I could not feel my legs, feet, arms or hands, but it was one of the happiest and most rewarding moments of my life! I felt sooooo accomplished for actually going to Times Square to countdown 2018 and it will be something I never forget! Trust that I spent a few hours defrosting once I got back to my hotel.

 

 

Day 3: (January 1 – New Year’s Day – HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018!!!)

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New Year, New Me! (Haha)

I started the day with a ride on the Subway from Downtown NYC to Fulton Street near the 9/11 memorial. It was cool to see real New Yorkers use the Subway like pros while I just tried hard not to look too much like a tourist!

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The real freaking Subway!!!
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A Subway Selfie! I am sure I looked like a tourist at this point! And don’t judge the tag hanger on my ear muffs, I purchased them off a street cart right before boarding the Subway. (LOL)

I exited the Subway and headed to a Horn Blower Cruise that I’d found for only $17 on GroupOn. Unfortunately, after over an hour, the cruise was cancelled and unloaded for technical difficulties. I still snapped a few pics!

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Before the cruise was cancelled!
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The Brooklyn Bridge!

No worries though, I hurried to the other side of town to catch the Miss Ellis Island Ferry for my Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island passes. (CityPASS attractions)

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I saw the Statue of Liberty! (Still in awe!!!)
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Ellis Island! One time for the descendants of immigrants and slaves! 🙂 We are still here, boo!!!
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Turtles are my favorite and I love to collect figurines when I travel! This little guy came all the way from Jersey! 🙂
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Just like that I knew that I’d be living my “BETTER THAN BEST LIFE” in 2018!!! What a way to spend New Year’s Day!

For dinner, I returned to Downtown NYC and met up with Ms. Jill (my Line Sister Ramia’s mom) for dinner at Junior’s and then an exploration of the World’s Largest Macy’s. Ironically, both of us had planned solo trips to NYC and though we only shared a few hours together, we had the best of times.

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Junior’s menu!
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I haven’t eaten beef or pork in nearly four years, but TURKEY burgers are my go to!!! Yummy!!!
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And suddenly I became a lover of Cheesecake!!! OMG!!! It was soooo succulent!!! Miss Jill and I split a slice!!! 🙂
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Inside Macy’s!
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Happy New Year from Times Square!

 

Day 4: (January 2)

I rose early in the morning for an 8a.m. tour of the Empire State Building Observation Deck. Similar to the Top of the Rock, the Empire State Building offered breathtaking views of the city. My time in NYC was finished by 9:15a.m. as I hopped in an Uber heading for the airport… so before you are deceived, I DID technically see NYC in 3 days since I started after noon on the first day!!! (LOL)

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Empire State of Mind!
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It was such a pretty view!
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What a wonderful place!!!

After heading back to my hotel to retrieve my luggage and going to LGA for my flight, I said to myself, I DID IT!!! ALL BY MYSELF!!! I felt soooooo accomplished!!!

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Check out time!

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Through the freezing temperatures that even six layers of clothing and a thick coat couldn’t match, New York City was the most rewarding trip of my life. And not because I literally visited every place my heart desired and experienced everything on my “First Time in NYC Bucket List”, but simply because I did it by myself.

Many people asked me “Why are you going or why did you go to New York by yourself?” and my response is:

I started my “Journey of Independence” over a year ago, where I began teaching myself the art of being alone, single, and independent. I’ve been to the movies alone, concerts alone, plays alone, and had innumerable dates alone, but I’d never traveled alone. This trip was the final step to true independence for me, so I chose to plan it, pay for it, and go at it all by myself.

The result?

INDEPENDENCE and JOY like I’ve never felt before. I now know that I can truly do anything!!!

I am committed to taking this independence with me all the days of my life and not in the sense where I don’t need anyone, but from the perspective of:

  1. Knowing I can and will accomplish ALL things that I put my mind to!
  2. Being content with my single life and being committed to enjoying every minute!
  3. Challenging myself to believe in ME, combat my fears and live my wildest dreams.
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NYC in 3!

Thank you NYC for being all that and more to me!!!

Whether you do something as extreme as taking a solo trip or as simple as taking yourself on a date,  I hope that this post inspires its readers to be independent in all ways!!!

By: Verinique D. Bailey, “The V. in Virtue”

 

The continuing…

As I headed to the airport super early for my 1:40p.m. flight, I got word from my mother that my grandfather was transitioning. Thanks to Christie at Southwest Airlines at LGA who was extremely kind and helpful, I got my flight rebooked FREE OF CHARGE as I hurried to New Orleans and then to Baton Rouge to see him. I literally cried because I NEVER get to the airport that far in advance for a flight, but I was super early and turned out to be right on time to board my plane to Houston then to New Orleans. Once my Mom knew what time I’d arrive, she whispered to my Paw Paw that I was coming from New York and would be there around 8p.m.! I made it ya’ll and got to kiss my Paw Paw and tell him I loved him once more on his 73rd Birthday! He passed away the next morning around 5a.m. and there was a peace that came over me. I thank God for literally aligning everything so that I could get home and see him. I am truly grateful and though I’ll miss my Paw Paw, I have no doubt that he loved me and I have the quotes in my notes, text messages, and voicemails to prove it! Thank you Paw Paw for being such a great person to me! I love you always and forever and I will NEVER forget the lessons you taught me!!!

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“The better you are to yourself, the better you are to someone else! If you LOVE yourself, you can LOVE someone else!” ~Emmitt Hayes Jr., My Paw Paw

Thank you for reading!

8 thoughts on “NYC in 3: How I Experienced the Best of NYC in 3 Days

  1. Great read and beautiful photos and such a beautiful way to close it by remembering pawpaw. I love you sis. Continue to grow and love yourself more and more and as you Love yourself and others Love will find you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are so inspiring Verinique! I just love it! This has definitely pushed me to book my solo trip! And so so sweet about your grandfather. Thanks for sharing this blog! It’s amazing and so well put together. Lastly, your pictures are PERFECT!

    Liked by 1 person

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