NYC 2015 (DAY 1...ISH)

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Last Monday just felt like a whirlwind/a complete reality smack in the face — not only did I return back to work, part of my workplace was dealing with moving into a new separate unit. I wasn't here last (last) Friday, so I was completely disoriented when I went into the old marketing office seeing almost nothing there at all, and spent most of the morning trying to organize my laptop, monitor, external hard drive, the 432940382943208 cables that came with my work set-up, and settling down with my new space (and 100x better office chair, yes!). But let's not jump too ahead of ourselves, as the latter half of the week before 2 weeks ago made for one of the major highlights of my summer (along with that camping trip a month ago too)...

You'd think that going to the same city for the 3rd time would've been boring by now, but that wasn't the case at all. This time around, the trip was shorter, but still worth it — I was going to meet up with my cousin from Australia, as she wanted my other cousin and I to come and spend some time together. I haven't seen either of them (in the flesh) for 5 years. 5 YEARS. It was also my first time in my lifetime to meet my Australian cousin back then, and we clicked pretty well during that encounter, so I definitely wanted to see her again.

That family reunion doe

When my other cousin and I arrived on American soil, we had the pleasure of dealing with a difficult cab driver at the Newark Airport. The lady moderating the whole taxi line (and the cab driver himself) told us in the very beginning that it would be $56 driving to the hotel we were staying at, only later for the cab driver to go, "well I had to pay toll, so that would be $75 + toll + tip". My cousin had to scratch off what she had initially scribbled ($56) to correct the amount, and an uncomfortable/cringe-worthy argument ensued. It didn't help matters that she wasn't feeling well to begin with, annoyed with how the cab driver was kind of chatting up/flirting with one of the toll ladies, and the cab driver had a stuttering problem. I hate to say it, but I was both mortified and amused at the same time. After refusing to pay more than $80 for his mediocre service, my cousin and I quickly and awkwardly grabbed our stuff from the cab to the hotel. Note to self, try not to get ripped off by American cab drivers in the future, lol.

Unwittingly, I had forgotten to take pictures of our gorgeous hotel (except for one thing...). It was a boutique hotel called Ink 48. I know it's a shitty picture below, but if you look close enough, you'll realize why I was so amused by it, especially given what I do.

It wasn't until my cousin had told me the backstory that my mind was blown. More on that later.

Since it was already 10 pm by the time my cousin and I arrived at the hotel, everyone (except for myself) was too tired to really do anything. We kind of just stayed in the hotel room chatting and watching reality tv about midget people (only in America, LOL), before eventually drifting off to sleep.

I'll admit, at the beginning of the trip, I didn't know what to expect. It seemed like my Australian cousin had planned everything before I arrived, so I thought it was going to be another one of those jammed-packed vacation trips.

I was so wrong.

We actually didn't have too many activities solidly booked in the itinerary, which in the long run, I was grateful for. My cousin was super easygoing, perpetuating the essence of what a true vacation should feel like.

So for our first day, we decided to go to High Line park. I knew of its existence some time after my 2nd NYC trip, thanks to an infographic from the GOOD Magazine website. Ever since then, I've wanted to go if I ever set foot in New York again. I was pretty stoked that my cousin wanted to go there too, so I didn't even have to mention it!

What makes the High Line so unique is that it's a 1.45 mile-long walkway/park situated above the streets of New York. It's a nice change of scenery as you're surrounded by shrubs and flowers, as opposed to the usual concrete jungle.

Soon after, we came to realize that there are some artistic pieces that surround the park too. It was like a mini outdoor museum, which I greatly appreciated.

Seems like there was a photo/video shoot that was happening too lol.

Along the way, there was a tunnel that housed some local merchandise and drink/snack shops too. My cousins couldn't help but buy a lemonade and popsicle, respectively.

There was even a small section that allowed people to take off their shoes and frollick in the water! I didn't personally do that, but it was nice seeing all the kids have their fun in such a serene setting, and the wooden lawn chairs were smartly placed across that section for parents wanting to sit down while looking after their kids.

Eventually, we reached the end of the park. It was nearing noon, and while none of us were truly hungry at that moment, we knew it would happen sooner or later. After much indecisiveness, we agreed upon hitting up the closest Shake Shack for lunch (at Madison Square Park), since it was an iconic "New York/East Side" food that our Australian cousin had yet to try.

We stopped by the Lego store on the way, marking the start of our cousin's big shopping spree to buy things for her two daughters back home in Australia.

When we arrived, we saw a ridiculously long line up that circled within the park. My cousin from Toronto wasn't feeling well (still), so she volunteered to hold a table for us while we waited in line.

We ended up waiting for ~ about an hour and a half.

I had their basic ShackBurger with a Fifty, Fifty, a half lemonade, half iced-tea mixture that I thought would be interesting to try. Meanwhile, my cousin ordered a Shroom' Burger with cheese fries. Last time, I only had their hot dog so I wanted to try their burgers, especially after watching this, lol. I wanted to see if the hype was worth it or not, and I gotta say, I agree with the WongFu guys (though, I have to admit, I haven't tried In-N-Out, so I may be biased here)! The fact that they designed the burger buns to connect as a sort of "latch" to hold the burger contents was genius in my opinion. It was definitely one of the cleanest burger meals I've ever had, haha.

As for the drink, I had an initial sip while fetching napkins and it was rather bland, which explains why I decided to add a packet of Splenda to it to give it more taste.

After lunch, my Australian cousin wanted to do more shopping, while my Torontonian cousin did not (she actually did a little while on her way back to the hotel). We split ways, seeing as the latter wasn't feeling well anyway. Thus a new objective was born — find a Disney Store to visit since the daughters of my cousin loved Frozen. We walked along 5th Ave because I remembered encountering a store there back in grade 11. My memory failed me greatly, as I couldn't find one along the way. That was okay, because eventually we walked to Times Square for the Disney store there. We passed by the Chrysler building (props to the History of Graphic Design class for teaching me about this building and the Art Deco period) and Grand Central Station, so we couldn't pass on the opportunity to take more photos like true tourists.

We also couldn't help but step inside the Toys R Us store at Times Square just because of the ferris wheel inside!

We had to hurry back to the hotel since we made a reservation at the Jekyll and Hyde Club for dinner at 7:30 pm. Sadly, our third cousin couldn't join us, so it was just the two of us :/ I didn't bring my usual micro 4/3 camera since I was dressed up and I had a relatively small purse (it wouldn't fit), so I didn't get a chance to take many nice pictures of the surroundings while I was there (my phone is kind of malfunctioning and the camera quality on it is not as nice... plus, the place was dim). 

Originally I was wary of this event, as I absolutely do not fare well in anything horror related. Good thing this Jekyll and Hyde restaurant was not like that. It was more comical in a way, with head pieces and statues on the wall that interact/make fun of/entertain guests, and waiters dressed in costume.

Popcorn Shrimp with spicy garlic mayo

I ordered the Grilled BBQ Chicken sandwich, which looked essentially the same as my cousin's burger. There was a shitload of fries, which I was unable to finish, but the sandwich burger was decent. I may have been more sensually satiated had I decided to go with the Penne Alla Vodka though.  #foodieregrets

However, the highlight of the night definitely goes to the Chocolate and Peanut Butter Sundae! This thing was massive! The top was a mountain of whipped cream with chocolate and peanut butter ice cream below. There were a couple of times where I tasted more peanut butter than chocolate, but for the most part, it was a good balance of sweet and saltiness that left me wanting more. It's funny that the mad scientist waiter thought we wouldn't be able to finish it, cause we totally proved him wrong :P
cool decorative patio pool with lights

And just when I thought our night would come to a close, my cousin had suggested for us to check out the rooftop patio bar in our hotel. I wanted so badly to take a photo of the drinks menu because they also named some drinks after fonts as well, but my phone had completely lost battery then and there was nothing I could really do about that.

It was then that my cousin told me that this hotel was built upon the site of an old printing press, which explains the hotel name, the boardroom names and the alcoholic drink names. I literally went, "OHHHHH NO WONDER WHY!" and I just liked the hotel that much more, lol.
Day 2 of NYC coming soon!


  1. I want to go to New Yorkkkkkk ;__; But welcome back!

    1. LOL Joyce, next family vacay for you guys?! I think you would enjoy High Line park VELLLY MUCH ;P