There is something in the New York air that makes sleep uselessSimone de Beauvoir
I live in Lancaster, PA which almost no one has heard of. I hadn’t even heard of it until Will had a job interview here. Luckily, it’s an amazing, small city that’s 1.5 hours from Philly, 2 hours from Baltimore & Washington D.C, and 3 hours from NYC.
When I lived in England, I had two INCREDIBLE flatmates who I’m lucky to say I’m still friends with 9 years later. One of them, Olivia, told me she was coming to NYC and I knew I had to take the train over to meet her, so that’s exactly what I did.
We spent the day with absolutely no plan except to enjoy spending time together for the first time in almost a decade. How does that even happen!? Anyway, we had the best day and I wanted to share it here.
Also, don’t let anyone tell you that you have to spend a fortune to have an incredible trip to New York. I spent $20 over the course of the entire day and that was just on food. I did a post a while back about it as well and you can find that here. Was this the most touristy of trips? Nope, but I discovered places I’d never been with one of my favorite people and hopefully I can inspire someone else to explore more of this city without spending a fortune!
I knew I didn’t want to drive to the city, so I could relax and not worry about traffic so I booked a train from Lancaster to Penn Station. My local Amtrak website didn’t have tickets available, so I booked through Wanderu. I’d never heard of it before so I was nervous using it, but it was so easy to use, got me where I needed to be, when I wanted to be there. Highly recommend! The train was uneventful (woohoo!) and I alternated between falling asleep, reading, and watching the world go by out the window.
Times Square and the Search for Breakfast
Olivia and I got so caught up in talking and catching each other up on life that we realized we had walked over a mile and were hungry. Now, you can’t go to New York and not get bagels. You just don’t do that. Not when there’s no other bagel one the planet that can live up to them. I promise this isn’t a myth.
We didn’t want a bagel in one of the tourist spots and by the time we realized we were hungry we’d walked all the way to Times Square. After some research we found a local spot that seemed like it had the best bagels ever according to reviews. What was it called? Best Bagel and Coffee. Back towards the train station we walked.
Ho-ly shit were they the best bagels ever. I kid you not, it was the best bagel I’ve had in my life. Asiago bagel with sun dried tomato cream cheese. I need more in my life. Yes, I will go back to NYC just to get bagels from them.
Neither of us had ever been to Bryant Park and we’d heard there was a Christmas market going on as well as ice skating. We spent a little while exploring the stalls and seeing all of the fun holiday items people had made.
Bryant Park also offers free ice skating in their rink… what they don’t tell you is they charge $15-45 for skates. Guess how much the adult sized skates cost? Yeah. Needless to say, we skipped the ice skating and wished they didn’t advertise it as free. It was cute to watch though!
The Drama Book Shop
After wandering for a few miles, we stocked up on snacks and stumbled on this bookstore. It sells books focused on theatre, film, and TV and had the COOLEST book display I’ve ever seen. There were lots of cute reading nooks and it even had a small coffee shop inside. It was book/film heaven.
All of the Walking and Exploring
We wandered back towards Times Square to meet Olivia’s brother and then set off walking again. This time, it was towards part of the city I didn’t even know existed. The High Line is a linear park that’s elevated and used to be part of a railway system in the city. Now it’s a park and trail that gives visitors a fantastic view of the city and waterfront near Hudson Yards. It’s lined with lots of plants, making it one of the prettier spots in the city.
Along the way we explored Chelsea Market and we saw The Vessel for the first time!
Another New York Staple
The other food you can’t miss in New York? Pizza. Stella’s Pizza was freaking amazing. You can get two giant slices and a soda for $5. It’s worth every single glorious bite and then some.
What’s your favorite part of visiting New York City? Let me know in the comments below!