Toronto/New York Trip Day 3 + 4

Day 3 T-Shirt of Choice: Yeti Kong by Gama-Go

NYC Neighborhoods Visited: JFK Airport, Theater District, Midtown West, and Midtown East.

The third day of our vacation was more of a transition day than anything else. The day started early, very early. We woke up at around 6am and then left the hotel at around 7:30 am and caught the subway to the airport. The nearly 1.5 hour subway ride, really cut into our 9:35 am board time, especially since the trains had to be rerouted. In fact, after all the customs work, we just made it to our terminal with a few minutes to spare before the gate was closed. Whww, disaster averted!

The one hour flight was faster than it would take for us to catch the shuttle from JFK International Airport to our hotel in the Theater District. The shuttle ride was nearly 3 hours long, and at times, it felt like we were going in circles. When we reached Hotel Mela, I was pleasantly surprised to find that we were situated right in the heart of Times Square on 44th street. Times Square is literally a few steps away from our boutique hotel. Awesome!

Having missed breakfast, both me and Michelle were starved. On the recommendation of a few of my Twitter followers, we stopped at the Shake Shack on 44th street (how convenient!). The place was packed to the max. They say that this is the closest thing the East Coast has to In-N-Out. I had the ShakeShack Burger and Michelle had the ‘Shroom Burger. Both were out of this world good. They were both really, really, really good burgers. But at the end of the day, I still have to say that Hodad’s in San Diego is still my favorite burger destination on Earth. Still, a very good burger.

Shake Shack

Shake Shack

After that we ventured around Times Square for a little bit and did some shopping. Michelle found a Sanrio Luxe store and she was engaged for a good 30 minutes. Sanrio, she loves to buy that stuff for her friends.

Bryant Park was filled to the brim with New Yorkers and tourists alike. Every nook and cranny of the park was being utilized for something, from the ping pong table to the carrousel to the petangue area. If I lived in New York, I could absolutely see myself copping a chair, coffee in hand  and reading a book for hours at a time.

Bryant Park

Once we had our fill of Bryant Park, we walked to both the Chrysler Building and then the Empire State Building. There’s something about the art deco design of The Empire State Building that draws me to it. I love the architecture of that building – it’s stunning, much like NYC.

Empire State Building

Before we headed back to Hotel Mela, we stopped by the flagship Macy’s store on 34th Street in Herald’s Square. This is the world’s largest department store, and with 10 extensive floors, I believe it. In fact, the first floor was so large that it alone was overwhelming for the two of us. In fact, overwhelming might be an understatement.

Day 4 T-Shirt of Choice: Easier Said Than Done by Ugmonk

NYC Neighborhoods Visited: Upper West Side, Central Park, Midtown West, Midtown East, Upper East Side, Theater District

We kicked off our morning by stopping at the famed Barney Greengrass for breakfast. This spot came highly recommend by Anthony Bourdain so it was a must visit. Located on the Lower West Side, Barney Greengrass is famous for their sturgeon and salmon, so you know what I had to get for breakfast – sturgeon and salmon! The dish that I ordered featured nice portions of both sturgeon and Nova Scotia salmon as well as big serving of scrambled eggs and a perfectly toasted bagel on the side. Both the sturgeon and the salmon are served cold. I’ve never eaten salmon with eggs for breakfast before, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Coupled with the bagel covered in cream cheese, this unique New York breakfast made for a pleasant surprise. After eating my meal I proclaimed that I could eat this dish every day for breakfast for the rest of my life and be happy.

Barney Greengrass

After the amazing breakfast at Barney Greengrass, we ventured off to explore Central Park. Explore might be an overstatement because Central Park is so large that it is almost impossible to explore its entirety in one visit. So we staked out 5 areas of Central Park that we had to see, including Belvedere Castle, Shakespeare Garden, Graywacke Arch, Bethesda Fountain, and Strawberry Fields. We spent about 3 hours inside of Central Park, but, we were able to see everything we wanted to see, and then some. My favorite area of the park by far was Bethesda Fountain – the size of this Central Park attraction is incredible.

One Million Acts of Kindness

While walking along the Lower West Side we spotted this awesome bus of kindness.

Central Park

That’s me at the top of Belvedere Castle and overlooking Central Park and the Lower East Side.

While exploring Central Park, we went from West to East, and by the end of the park we had reached the busiest area of 5th Avenue. Apple’s flagship glass cube store had an outrageous line outside. For what you ask? The iPhone 4. Yep, nearly a month after its release, people are still standing in crazy lines to get their hands on one. Nuts.

The big piano in FAO Schwartz was another must visit destination, but alas, there were just too many kids clamoring to jump on those giant piano keys. It’s okay though, I had a chance to play chopsticks ala Tom Hanks from Big, the last time I was there.

Leaving 5ht avenue, we made a stop at Dylan’s Candy Box. I’ve never been here before so when I stepped inside this over-the-top candy store, I was blown away. They seriously have every candy you could ever want. And that was just the first floor. I was dumbfounded when I found out that they had two more floors of candy loving goodness. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, Dylan’s Candy Box is a must visit destination in New York City.

Dylan's Candy Box

Just a block from Dylan’s Candy Box was a restaurant that I had been wanting to visit for quite some time, Serendipity 3. Now, I’ve experienced the Serendipity magic once before in Las Vegas, but, there’s nothing like visiting the original. All I wanted was the Frozen Hot Chocolate but we ended up ordering some lunch as well. The Frozen Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate (I changed my mind and went with Peanut Butter instead of straight up chocolate) was amazing. The only thing about Serendipity 3 is the ridiculous wait time. If you do decide to make a stop at Serendipity 3 I recommend that you check in and then venture off to Dylan’s Candy Box to burn some time. But whatever you do, order the Frozen Hot Chocolate.

Serendipity 3

Before I had my Frozen Hot Chocolate, I had a Ftatateeta’s Toast. It was pretty awesome.

Serendipity 3

By the time we finished up at Serendipity 3, it was about 4 pm. We decided to catch a taxi to Rockefeller Center to purchase tickets to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, especially since it was raining and we had done a lot of walking already during the day. We chose the Top of the Rock over the Empire State Building because both me and Michelle checked out the Empire the last time we were each here. After we grabbed our tickets, we headed back to our hotel to rest for a bit and freshen up for the evening.

At this point of the day, my feet were killing me! I can’t tell you how good it feels to kick off my shoes after a long day of walking and trekking. Needless to say, the two hour rest was much needed. Much needed! But there was still a few hours left in the day so we decided to make the best of it. Unfortunately, it started to rain so out came the umbrellas. The first stop was the Top of the Rock. For $20 you get a nice, 360 degree view of New York City, from three different levels. The brightly lit city is definitely something to gawk at. Ironically, the most obvious structure noticeable at the Top of the Rock is the Empire State Building.

Carmine’s was our dinner destination. It’s a family style Italian restaurant with very large portions. Michelle and I ordered the chicken marsala. For dessert, we headed back to the Shake Shack on 44th for the chocolate custard and chocolate shake. Decadence is our middle name.

After dinner we again explored Times Square. At night, Times Square is such a busy beast. Navigating the waves of people and yellow taxis is all part of the experience. And what an experience it has been so far!

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