If you are planning a trip to New York, specifically the Manhattan area, anytime soon, get a good pair of walking shoes! Day 2 exploring the city was so fun, and we walked most of it. Yes, of course you can UBER or take a cab, that is definitely an option. The weather was so mild and we wanted to see it all, so we chose the subway and walking route for most of our day.
We started the day bright and early with a little breakfast at our hotel. It was a complimentary, continental type breakfast, which was a nice way to start the day with some nourishment. We knew we would be eating out and about, but we grabbed a quick bite before we left. We made a stop at the concierge before going out to get a little more information on using the Subway and she was so helpful! She really took away any nervousness we had about using the subway and gave us a great map to use. We started our trip with the map below, and I highly recommend it if you are taking a trip there anytime soon. I know, I know…everything can be done on your phone these days, but I worried about service and about battery life, so I liked the comfort of having a good, old fashioned hard copy map in my purse to use.
Our first stop was the Highline. Basically this is an old historic elevated freight rail line train that the community turned into a beautiful, garden like walking path. It is not only pretty on the path, but the views of the city are amazing and cannot be missed! It was a short, easy subway ride and a short walk over to the stairs to walk up to get there. We loved walking along and seeing different views of the eclectic neighborhoods. We stepped off the Highline at the Chelsea Market to do some shopping.
Chelsea Market is a huge, indoor urban shopping experience. Beautiful, local made goods, food and flowers for sale in small shops within the walls of the warehouse. We could have spent hours there, but knew we were on limited time so tried to make the most of it. We enjoyed a crepe filled with nutella and bananas from the amazing food court (not your usual food court!) and bought a few souvenirs for family back at home. We tried some chocolate from a chocolate shop and enjoyed perusing through the various shops which included a spice shoppe, and Italian foods market, a off the rack clothing store and a fun large scale shop filled with little local shops and crafters selling their gorgeous wares. It was a great experience, and I think if I actually lived near there I would be shopping there very often!
Afterwards, we made our way on the subway to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. As we walked up to the Memorial, we found that the line to get into the museum was incredibly long and that there was a separate line to buy tickets as well. One of the employees gave us the hint to buy the tickets on our phone so we saved ourselves one wait in a line. We did just that, but that might be another thing you may want to do before you arrive is pre-buy the tickets so you are not standing in the cold trying to do it as quickly as possible on your phone. You can buy them up to six months in advance and might make your visit a little less stressful when you arrive. The museum was a sobering experience and many of the exhibits brought tears to my eyes. Living through the horrors of 9/11 made this trip even more meaningful, and I was glad that I was able to share it with my daughter to show her what an impact this tragic event had on our country.
Getting out into the fresh air after the museum was the best thing that we could have done to refresh our spirit. We started making our way to the Battery Park. We walked from the 9/11 museum and it was a long walk, but definitely doable. We had researched all the wonderful ferry tours of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and although we longed to have that experience, we just didn’t have enough time in our day to take a three hour ferry ride. We settled for a long distance glimpse of the statue of liberty and although it wasn’t as close as I yearned to get, I was glad that we were able to see it from afar.
Our next stop was Chinatown, and we decided to grab and Uber for this trek since it was a little long to walk and by this time we were getting really hungry and tired from all of the walking. The Uber driver seemed to not know where he was going (which seemed to be an odd theme in NY…no one seemed to be able to help you find anything! We wondered how they made their own way around the city!), so he dropped us off at the edge of Chinatown near Little Italy. Although we went into a few shops, I think we had passed the touristy part of Chinatown so we felt like we really didn’t get the full experience of the neighborhood.
We did, however, enter a lot of kitschy souvenir shops and haggle with the salespeople. It was fun and I think they like it as much as we do. We bought a few t-shirts and fun gifts for people. Afterwards we decided that we had to stop and eat or we would fall over. We wandered onto Mulberry Street and found a huge strip of Italian Restaurants. We had officially wandered into Little Italy. We wondered where to go, we had done some research, but were so hungry we were willing to take anything. We walked down the street and were bombarded by young men outside of the restaurant trying to talk you into eating in their restaurant. It was so funny! My daughter thought it was hilarious. Finally, one of the men swayed us with his intense effort to get us into his place, and we succumbed to his charm! Caffe Napoli did not disappoint! We were so glad that we wandered in because the food was amazing. My daughter had Pasta Carbonara and I had Cavatelli Siciliana, a delicious eggplant and mozzarella pasta. They served warm bread on the table and their house wine was perfect. The service was great and the staff were so friendly and very charming. I would highly recommend stopping in here for a bite to eat!
We were full, but couldn’t be in Little Italy in New York City without sampling more delicious food. We stopped at the famous Ferrara Bakery and sampled a cannoli and some gelato. We had barely eaten all day, and we were making up for it now!
How could one possibly choose what to get here? I mean, could I just say, “I’ll have one of everything?”
All that walking had made us ravenous… and who could pass up gelato in Little Italy? The inside of Ferrara Bakery was cute and the choices were endless. Just make sure you are at the main location and not the small little offshoot located right at the edge of Chinatown. We made that mistake and bought a few things from that location and it wasn’t really as fresh or delicious as the stuff we purchased from the large scale restaurant and bakery.
After getting all we could (eat) out of Little Italy, we headed into SoHo to enjoy the upscale shopping and people watching. The shops were way out of our price range, but that didn’t stop us from going in and checking them out. My daughter had a ton of fun walking into stores we could never shop at, picking up a pair of shoes and marveling at the fact that they cost more than our trip to New York! After SoHo we continued walking into Greenwich Village to stop at something my daughter’s friend had found online: DO: Cookie Dough Shop. It is a small shop that sells cookie dough like ice cream! They have tons of flavors and it was packed for a Thursday evening. We bought the Brookie dough to share and it was so good. We kept saying that we wished we weren’t so full so we could really savor it all. After a few bites, we decided we would save it for a later night snack! (My daughter ate it that night–I still couldn’t eat another bite!)
After eating cookie dough, we were finally ready to head home and put our feet up. Literally! We were exhausted. We somehow made it to the subway station and headed back to midtown and our hotel. It was an amazing day, and kind of my favorite on the whole trip…but then again…day one was great too…and part three of this is coming…so just wait to see what we did then!