{Holidays Markets/ New York City}

I often talk about things that I was excited to experience when I found out that I was moving to the northeast, and today I am talking about Christmas markets. I had always heard about the famous New York City Christmas Markets; their warm drinks and tasty treats, the red and white tents, the Christmas decorations, gifts for purchase and the scores of people celebrating the holiday season.
This year I spent quite a bit of time exploring the markets at Union Square, Bryant Park and Columbus Circle. We tried amazing hot chocolate (so rich and sweet that we felt sick afterwards, but that’s the fun of it, right?) and did a ton of people watching while sipping some coffee in front of the ice skating rink at Bryant Park. It was so much fun to celebrate the holiday season just like the movies!
… and for those of you celebrating, Merry Christmas!


{Christmas Decorations/ New York City}

It’s no secret that Christmas is right around the corner and here in the NYC area, the celebration has already started. From the Christmas windows, to festive decorations and of course, the tree in Rockefeller Center, New York City has not lost its love for the holidays. Every street is full of wreaths, lights, Christmas trees and extravagance!
Checking out the holiday windows has become one of my favorite activities lately. Of course, the Saks Fifth Avenue windows are gorgeous, decorated to depict various fairy-tales as if they occurred in the city. Imagine Snow White as if it occurred on Broadway during an interaction with a street vendor, or Cinderella’s lost slipper actually being designer… New York City whimsy at its finest! Macy’s in Herald Square created their windows to show what Christmas on each of the planets in our solar system looks like. They are so cute, amazing and sure to put a smile on anyone’s face.
But the holiday decorations don’t stop with NYC’s iconic window displays. Many stores have decorated the outside or the inside of their buildings- my favorite being Ferragamo with their incredible light display. Some streets are dotted with Christmas trees big and small, and many parks are also donning their own trees complete with lights!
And of course, how can anyone forget… Rockefeller Center definitely does not disappoint. The giant, magnificent tree towers over the square full of children skating in the center’s ice rink, tall nutcracker statues and beautiful white angels that line the pavement.
New York City during the holidays is certainly a magnificent place to be. If you haven’t been before, I definitely suggest it! It completely captures the magic of the holidays. For those of you who have been to NYC during the holidays, what has been your favorite memory or holiday site?

{Central Park// New York City}

This Saturday, the skies turned bright blue, the clouds disappeared and it heated up just enough to be able to spend some time outdoors- a welcome change to the pretty miserable weather that we have been having lately full of dark skies, dropping temperatures and cold rain. Adam and I decided to go to Central Park to take advantage of the weather (because we knew it wouldn’t last!). The park was buzzing with tourists marveling at the changing leaves, college kids playing flag football, children playing tag and couples taking romantic strolls. I had never seen Central Park in the fall (I had gone last month when it was all still green), and all I can say is wow! It is beautiful!

{Date Night: The High Line and Chelsea Market}

Most nights Adam and I eat dinner at home, but last night we decided to treat ourselves to a date night in the city. We started off with a walk on The High Line, a park/walkway built on an old New York railroad. The area is quiet, peaceful, architecturally interesting and a really fun place to walk or sit and relax.
When we got hungry, we headed to Chelsea Market, an indoor food hall. Adam spotted a Korean Ramen restaurant and suggested we eat there. I had never had Ramen before, but Adam really likes it so I decided to give it a try. I got a vegan ramen and Adam got the classic. Our dishes came in giant bowls filled to the top with soup, noodles, vegetables and our proteins (mine had tofu, his had meat). I would definitely not suggest getting Ramen on a first date- slurping, noodles hanging out of your mouth, fiddling with chopsticks in one hand and a spoon in the other- it is so much fun but in no way attractive!
We ended the night with a cup of gelato (not as good as Italian gelato, of course!) and headed back home. Even though every meal with Adam can be considered a date, it is still special when we make plans to do something out of the ordinary together.

{Greenwich Village// New York City}

I found myself in a gorgeous neighborhood called Greenwich Village yesterday… or “The Village” as the locals call it. The area is rich in history and it seems that nearly every street has a special historical significance ranging from important moments in the LGBT movement’s history, to bars/clubs where famous pop culture icons got their start, and even to the location of Monica’s apartment building from Friends!
But what I liked most about this area…I felt like I could have been walking down a street in Europe. The Village boasts brownstones and row houses (many of which had flowers on their stoops), tree-lined streets that are curved and narrow (a stark contrast to the typical New York City grid), and a quaint feel. At times, I thought to myself, “if there was only a canal in the middle, I could almost be in Amsterdam!” But the European feel doesn’t end with the residential streets. Washington Square Park, the main park in this area, has a beautiful arch that was modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. As someone who absolutely loves Europe (especially Amsterdam and Paris), I loved that The Village had a slight European feel to it!
…And if you are thinking that you have found where you are moving to tomorrow, hold on to that dream a bit longer because unfortunately the area is very expensive! Trust me, I checked.
Also, The Village is notorious for its incredible food. These are a few that are on my list to try:
Bleecker Street Pizza. They are known for their… well duh… pizza, but they aren’t just any pizza place- Food Network has named this restaurant the best pizza in the City for a number of years.
Faicco’s on Bleeker Street. Apparently they have really good rice balls.
Bantam Bagels on Bleeker Street. They make donut hole size bagels!

{A Walk in Central Park}

Every once in a while, it is nice to break from the hecticness of life and have a day to yourself. That is exactly what I did yesterday; and I did it in Central Park!
I love to walk (I think I get it from my Grandpa), so you can imagine how much fun I had strolling around the park enjoying the happenings of the day.
Central Park is unlike any park I have ever been to. Not only did I get to see beautiful greenery, picturesque lakes, and squirrels foraging for food, but I also got to see a saxophone player, a man making giant bubbles, and a break dancing performance all in the span of about a mile!
They say that the leaves will begin to change color very soon and within 2 weeks, the whole park will be deep shades of red and orange. You can definitely believe that I will be returning to the park in the end of October, and I can’t wait!

{Getting to Know Lower Manhattan//New York City}

As a new transplant to the tri-state area, New York City is quite frightening to me. There are so many buildings, people, restaurants, and stores all crammed into busy streets. In an effort to learn these streets and explore a city that countless people love, I have decided to take the time to learn and explore each area.
On Monday, I took a free walking tour of Lower Manhattan (because if you’ve read my Europe posts, you know that I love a good free walking tour!). I was eager to learn about the area that is right across the river from where I live, where so much history has occurred and where so much of the nation’s finances are managed.
Lower Manhattan is busy. Business people and tourists alike flock through its streets. Arguably the most popular site in this area (and one of the most photographed pieces in all of NYC) is the Charging Bull near Bowling Green Park. Tourists crowd around waiting to take a picture next to the bull’s testicles (there is a myth that it will bring good luck financially… yea I don’t get it either). I enjoyed watching the happenings around the bull; it was hilarious to watch otherwise respectable people giggling as they bent down to take a photo with the testicles! We also visited Battery Park and walked towards the water where we saw the Statue of Liberty. I learned that there is a free Staten Island Ferry every day that takes you passed the Statue of Liberty.
We entered Wall Street, passing the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall. Federal Hall is a symbol of history in an area bustling with modernism and its architectural design juxtaposes against the tall high rises that crowd around it. It served as the first capitol building of the United States and was where George Washington was inaugurated. Inside, there are exhibits that are open and free to the public.
The most memorable visit of the day was to the World Trade Center. We spoke about the terrible atrocities that happened there in 2001, and about how the city is working to build it up again in a powerful effort to show resilience. We visited the memorial gardens, which is a beautiful and moving tribute to those who lost their lives on that tragic day. The memorial gardens are free to anyone who wants to visit. There is a museum on site that costs a $24 to enter, unless you come on Tuesdays between 5-7pm, then it is free.
Overall, Lower Manhattan is an exciting, bustling area of the city and you can definitely sense that there are important things going on in the high rises that you walk past on the streets below.