Despite the fact that I grew up in the States (with several years of it on the East Coast – did you know I lived in Pittsburgh as a kid?), I’ve never been to NYC. I know… I can’t believe it! It’s such an iconic city and everyone raves about how amazing it is, so it’s been high on my list of dream destinations. So when Ray and Carmela invited me to visit, how can I pass that up?!
Technically, I stayed in New Jersey (at Ray’s mom’s place). But “3 weeks in New Jersey” doesn’t have the same kind of ring as “3 weeks in New York” does, right? So forgive me for stretching the truth a bit. But hey, some parts of Jersey is practically New York, no?
These weeks were so much fun! In fact, it was originally supposed to be only a 2 week visit. But we were having such a good time that I extended it by another week. From Thanksgiving with their family to trips into the city to late movie nights, this trip has so many moments precious to me.
Before I start writing detailed posts on my 3 weeks, here’s what it looked like in numbers! These are all the big and small moments I want to remember when I look back on this trip.
– 12 nights originally planned; had so much fun that I extended it by another 7 days.
– 3 delicious Thanksgivings (Ray’s family, Carmela’s family, and a Friends-giving); tons of really good food, both Filipino and American.
– 1 night before Thanksgiving at Ray’s aunt’s house next door learning to cook some Filipino dishes, followed by Magic Mike karaoke.
– 5 days spent with Ray’s sister and her 3 rowdy boys when they came to stay. Every night, we’d be up with them until the wee hours of the morning, playing silly games or watching Netflix.
– 6 trips into New York City: 4 days exploring Manhattan, and –
– 2 days eating our way through Brooklyn
– More than 50 miles covered on foot in NYC.
– 11 different pizzerias visited (yes, I was kinda obsessed with the pizza in New York), all in the name of finding New York’s best pizza. Stay tuned for the ultimate showdown post!
– Including 1 single evening where we hit up 3 different pizzerias, which may actually not be the most gluttonous night of the trip.
– 3.5 mile hike in pretty Cheesequake State Park the next day to walk it off.
– A car of 5 incredibly gassy people after a day of pizza and ice cream gorging; thinking of creative ways to discretely pass gas as we walk (quite possibly the most priceless memory of the trip!)
– 2 hours on Harlem Radio 90.3 (okay, not really me. Ray & Carmela were the guest stars and I was there for moral support. Though I did get to introduce myself and gave a shout-out to this blog!)
– 70 stories high (850 feet above ground) up on Top of the Rock, gazing down on hundreds of skyscrapers and over 800 acres of Central Park.
– Admired the 75 foot tall Rockfeller tree, decorated with 50,000 lights 5 miles long.
– Ate at 6 NYC food markets – Chelsea Market, Urban Space, City Kitchen, Grand Central, Turnstyle, and Dekalb
– 1 friend reunion with a local friend made back in Taipei, who’s now studying at Columbia University. We shared a delicious Taiwanese meal again, except this time, in New York! I love it when you can meet up with someone again in a different part of the world!
– 12 hours in Philadephia; 4 cheesesteak places AND 1 fancy dinner. That was another epic food night. (Post already in the works!)
– Visited 1 hipster ping pong club in Philly, and was unwittingly entered into an embarrassing dance contest.
– Many days hanging out with Ray & Carmela and their friends, and a ton of laughs.
– 1 day of snow!! I woke up my last day to a winter wonderland. It was the perfect send off!
– $833 spent in three weeks (not including flights). About 70% of this was spent on food.
– SO MUCH good food! I’ve seriously had some of the best food of my life here.
– SEVEN POUNDS gained. No joke. I’m now officially the heaviest I’ve ever been my entire life. But it was all sooooo worth it. Salad diet starting now!
This trip was absolutely amazing. Now, I understand why everyone gushes about how cool New York is. I love the diversity, the cool little neighborhoods, how you can just walk around or take the subway, the historic buildings, the skyscrapers, the brownstones, and the FOOD!! I miss it already.
But most of all, it was the people who made the trip incredible. Ray and Carmela are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met. They took the time to show me around and happily accompanied me when I wanted to go to alllllll these pizzerias (it helps that they’re both total
fatties foodies too). Their family and friends are all so kind and made me feel included. It was so fun to all stay in the same house and do a ton of things together everyday. And you know you all get along when you still want to hang out with each other even when all of you haven’t showered for days (what? It’s cold and you don’t sweat).
Keep out for a lot of posts coming up (warning: they’ll be mostly about food)! I’ve been drafting up posts during this trip and can’t wait to start sharing!
Have you been to New York? What did you do that I missed?!