My NYC Travel Diary | What I Did and How I Survived

New York City was number one on my bucket list. New York City was my dream. To go there and see the tall the buildings, the lights, the yellow taxis, Empire State Building, Broadway and the crowds. I never truly expected that to come true before I moved out, and if it did I expected it to be for a special event. But, enough of what I thought.

It came true, it just ended, and now I need to find a new dream. *cues inner Rapunzel*

And here I am to share with you, my NYC. What I did, what I recommend and what I didn’t like.

I spent five days in New York City, two travelling and three complete days in the city. When I went I thought that would never be enough time, that I wouldn’t see anything with a time schedule like that. However, something that I was surprised with was that I saw quite a few things. And even some places I didn’t expect to see.

My first complete day was Tuesday

The number one thing I wanted to do before I came was simple, I just wanted to see the city. I wanted to experience walking the streets and the busy people and the cars on the road that won’t shut their horns up. All of these were something that just seemed super NYC to me. So, the first day, it was pouring rain and our first time in the city and that’s exactly what we did.

I originally wanted to walk the city but once we got into NYC (via the Lincoln Tunnel which goes from Edgewater, NJ to NYC) and saw how much rain the sky was throwing at us we decided to drive. Going to NYC my family didn’t expect to drive at all in the city, stories of traffic and the time of walking being shorter than driving kind of scared us but once we were there it seemed ok. We found the Brooklyn Bridge and drove across it, which was a very exciting experience and sort of made me feel like I was “finally there”.

Once we got back into Manhattan from Brooklyn we decided that before our Broadway show (which I’ll get to in a minute) we needed to have dinner, now, looking at Broadway it is simple to feel overwhelmed and honestly a bit like you can’t do it anymore. But, we had an idea of where we wanted to go and parking was simple since NYC has underground parking just about anywhere (though it costs bunches. I tell you, money hungry NYC). The restaurant we chose for supper dinner was Ellens Stardust Diner which is a diner like place that the servers are all aspiring Broadway performers. Not only do they sing and dance and not only do they serve your tables, but they do both at the exact same time. Some highlights from that were when they sang Phantom of the Opera and did they ever hit the high notes. 

Going to dinner early was the correct idea, as having time and not being rushed in NYC is always a good thing. We had a lot of extra time however and so we went to an NYC gift shop which was conveniently placed right across the street from the restaurant. We also wandered down Broadway and came to Times Square. Times Square can feel a bit like a completely different world, actually, forget the world and think more universe.

Bright lights that flash and move, huge signs, 4-floor Forever 21’s, Disney stores, thousands of people, bright yellow taxis, yep this is Times Square. Now, keep your head. It isn’t as hard as it looks. Choose a couple of places that look interesting, take a few pictures, keep up with the crowd and just walk.

Now that I’ve completely overwhelmed you with everything and bored you to death probably here is the exciting part.

I went and saw a Broadway show! And not just any Broadway show (not that there are any that are “just Broadway, like Broadway, is Broadway and it’s amazing) I saw Wicked. Let me just say that this was and still is the main highlight of this entire trip. I have the music, the pictures, the acting, the characters and the whole story stuck in my head permanently.

Brooklyn Bridge in the rain, idk why the sky is blue.
Times Square also in the rain, this time the sky isn’t blue


Wednesday was the day on the water…

After a complete day on Tuesday, we were all exhausted. And no we did not sleep in the next day, in fact, I was so excited that I woke up as soon as my body would let me.

Wednesday we did the Statue of Liberty and the Immigration Museum which is on Ellis Island and is a major stop on the ferry we took. The ferries were a beautiful ride and the view from the boats of the city was amazing. I was so happy to finally see the Statue as well and we were able to walk a complete circle around her as well as climb the 195 steps to get to the top pedestal which is only halfway to the crown.

On the way back to New Jersey, which was where our car was parked we stopped at the Immigration Museum which was the building that the immigrants would have come into when they got to New York. We took a thirty-minute tour which was enlightening as well as light and not super heavy which was good.

After we got back we decided to go back to the city for dinner and some shopping. We ended up back in Times Square going to the Olive Garden, which in Times Square is two-stories tall and has bright lights outside. We also went shopping after to the Forever 21 and Disney again.

The Statue of Liberty
The view from the water


Thursday was our last day and our relaxing day

My parents were looking forward to going to Central Park, we were going to see the statues there and gardens, have a relaxing day for our last day in the city. I thought that the park might be boring or that it wouldn’t actually feel like a park because of the huge city around us, but it surprised me. 

The first attraction we saw in Central Park was the Alice in Wonderland statue, a huge monument of Alice with the animals of Wonderland around the statue. The next one we saw was the statue of Balto, the husky who kids read about all the time. 

We ate in Central Park at the Loeb Boathouse, though there are plenty of places scattered throughout the park. 

We wanted to have an earlier night at the hotel, so once we were finished in Central Park we went to 5th Avenue with the Louis Vuitton, Prada and Gucci stores as well as the Trump Tower. We ended up getting a Starbucks in the most beautiful Starbucks I’ve ever seen in Trump Tower. After that, we went to “The Worlds Biggest Candy Emporium” Dylan’s Candy Bar

And that was the end of my first time in NYC. 

Pretty Central Park
Turtle Pond and the view of the Skyline
Pretty dog

How did I survive? Well… 

Truth be told, I hardly did. People aren’t my strong point and seeing millions of them gets overwhelming for me, especially when I’m not alone and am not doing things the way I feel I need to. Working with my family on making our way through the city was difficult and it wasn’t a super relaxing “vacation”. 

However, there were a few things that absolutely helped me. 

1. I took a lot of pictures

Taking pictures helps me remember things. Even if I just take a picture of a mailbox, I can look back later and know exactly where it was, what I was doing, and what was happening around me. It also helps me to calm down when I’m doing something I love and making something pretty in a place that is so beautiful but so overwhelming. 

2. I had the fear of expectation vs. reality but I got amazed by things that some people would call “ordinary” 

“Wait there are really hundreds of yellow taxi cabs?” “Look at those mailboxes!” “That building looks insane!” 

These are not things people expect me to be awed by and I did go expecting myself to be a bit disappointed with the Empire State Building. But I wasn’t, and top of that I was so amazed by the culture of it all. 

3. I tried to spot the normal people

You know, the people who you would find in your own city. The people who when they meet your eye, they smile or who if they cut you off say sorry or excuse me. Those are the people that aren’t generally thought of to be in NYC but there are lots of them and when you see how many there are it can make you feel more relaxed and a bit more at home. 

Did I like it? 

Yes! I loved it. It didn’t disappoint me and I absolutely want to come back! 

Thank you so much for reading this far, I know there were a lot of words and tons of information in this post. 







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