The Black Barcode

Weekend Recap: New York City

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So I just got back from my quick trip to Connecticut and New York City. For this post I decided to just share what I did in New York City and more from the rest of my travels to come. This past week I was visiting my really good friend Kirsten, we have know each other since elementary school and have been friends every since. I flew out Wednesday to visit and on Friday morning we took the train into the city from her house. We took two different trains, one was a 45 minute train ride and the other about 2 hours. We finally made it into the city around 11:30am and we started off on our adventure, but only after a much needed Dunkin' Donuts stop! 

Kirsten actually goes to school in the city, but doesn't stay there in the summer. It was great traveling with someone that knows their way around. I have been to NYC one time before with Kirsten, her mom and two of our friends 2 years ago, but that was for less than 24 hours and I felt like I did not get to see everything I had been wanting to see. So below are a few snaps from my trip and a review on the place we stayed, the things we did and of course my favorite, the food we ate! 

Day One: Friday, June 17th 














Grand Central Station: So when we got off our train we entered Grand Central Station. Now, I am a huge Gossip Girl fan so there may be some references throughout this regarding the show. But being in Grand Central Station just reminding me of when Serena returned "Spotted". Once we arrived we headed to the subway to head to SoHo.
Soho: I loved Soho, we just walked around for awhile and stopped into some stores for a little shopping. We of course had to stop into the Kate Spade Broome street location, which was beautiful as always. We stopped in a few pop up shops, a two store Madewell and Topshop. I did not end up getting anything because for one I didn't really want to carry it around. All I had with me was a small backpack and Kirsten had a tote bag because we were only staying the night. We walked the streets of Soho for awhile trying to decide where to go next.
One World Trade Center & Twin Towers Memorial: We walked from Soho to the Financial District where Kirsten lives during the school year. The One World Trade center is crazy tall, but amazing to see. We looked at the Twin Towers Memorial, which also was huge. It is truly crazy what happened almost 15 years ago. After that we headed to a close by mall and relaxed for a minute before deciding here to go next.
The Plaza Hotel: I have heard of The Plaza Hotel from the Elouise books and movies but had never been there before. It was so fancy and beautiful on the inside, a must see. Down stairs is a food court with a lot of great fast places to eat and I am not talking about a McDonalds. There were many unique places, but we decided we needed to have a huge sit down meal instead of a quick bite. The other cool thing is The Plaza is next to Central Park. We head to Sarabeth's for lunch (more on the below) which was on the same block as The Plaza.
Central Park: After lunch we headed across the street to central park which reminded me of the movie Home Alone. I had been here once before but more towards Turtle Pond, which was on the other end. We were going to rent those Citi Bikes, but we were both wearing dresses and not sure if we had enough energy for a ride. But I think those Citi Bikes are a great idea and I would love to do that next time for sure. We ended up walking to the "Mall" which is seen in just about every movie filmed in NYC. Along the way there was a super cute carnival that I really wanted to go to, but I ended up being for little kids. We sat down on some benches and people watched for awhile to kill some time before heading to our Airbnb at 6pm. We ended up walking through the Zoo on the way out. Unfortunately the Zoo closed at 5pm and it was 5:30pm so we missed out on that. But that's another thing on my list I want to do next time I visit. We walked to our Airbnb (more on that below) from Central Park to 77th street.
Soho: So after that crazy experience (read below) we headed back to Soho for dinner at Black Tap which was cool to see it at night verses the day. After dinners and gaining 5 pounds we called an Uber and headed to Time Square.
Time Square:  I stopped here that last time I was here but it was during the day time and looked completely different. Driving in NYC is insane. Like no one stays in there lanes and everyone is super inpatient. I was a little scared for my life but we made it safe and sound. Time Square at night is amazingly bright and this is where NYC gets its nickname "the city that never sleeps" because even at 12:30am it's extreamly crowded an all the stores are still open. We walked around and than we were on a search for a bathroom. I know this is random, but if you never have been to New York City than heres a tip for you. Starbucks is the place to go for your bathroom breaks and water breaks. It is the one of the only places that has a bathroom of the public to use and there aren't lines. Plus you can order water without having to make a purchase. Kirsten and I took many breaks at Starbucks, the nice thing is they are everywhere. After our quick break be headed back to our Airbnb, we called an Uber and by the time we go there it was 1:30am. Pretty insane with traffic and construction, but we made it and headed straight to bed.

*Free Uber Ride: Use my code 'maddys1321ue' to get your first Uber ride, worth up to $20 for free. I highly recommend this method over using a taxi because it it much cheaper and I feel like the drivers are more personal. Also the cars they drive are nicer and comfortable*


Sarabeth's: I heard this is one of peoples favorite places for brunch and being 2:30pm we were in the mood for some. Sarabeth's actually has 5 locations throughout the city and a bake shop in the Chelsea Market, which we actually walked by the next day. The location we went to was the Central Park location and was very cute. Every place we ate at was so loud and this place was no different. we were squeezed next to two girls on my right and a mother and daughter on my left. The whole time we just listened to their conversations, which was highly entertaining and extreamly ridiculous. The girls on the right were freaking out because they just met a celebrity and got a photo with them. The whole time one of the girls was like "people are going to freak out when I post the photo" and the other girl was just agreeing with her. The whole time Kirsten and I were trying to figure out who they met, turns out it was Sarah Jessica Parker at Bloomingdales signing shoes,"she the top of the top" said the blonde girl freaking out. Turns out the two girls didn't even know each other and just met in line and decided to get lunch. Kind of sad that all they did at lunch was be on their phones. They never even talked to each other, hello awkward! Anyways, I ordered the Fat & Fluffy French Toast that came with strawberries. It was pretty good until I ran out of syrup and than it wasn't that great. Dry french toast? No thanks. The reason I didn't get any more was because our waiter literally disappeared and did not return. We also sat there and waited for the check for a good 30 minutes. Kirsten ordered the Goldie Lox omelette and liked it, but she felt like it was something she could make at home. Besides the bad service, I would highly recommend checking Sarabeth's out for brunch sometime, you will be full afterwards for sure!
Black Tap: I had original heard of Black Tap from Instagram. They are know of their crazy insane milkshakes. As a milkshake lover (die hard milkshake lover) I had to go and this was place Kirsten had been wanting to try as well. They have two locations, one in the Meatpacking district and the other in Soho. We went to the one in Soho around 10:30pm and waited in line for an HOUR, yes, you read that right, one hour. before getting seated. We actually got pretty lucky because the girls waiting in line in front of us that been there for 2 hours before getting seated. The Soho location is basically just a bar and only had around 20 seats in there places. I'm pretty sure the Meatpacking location actually has tables, but I could be wrong. I ended up ordering The Texan Burger and the cookie milkshake. Kirsten ordered The Californian burger and a sweet and salty milkshake. I personally hated my burger. I asked for no bbq sauce and when I got the burger guess what was on it? BBQ sauce. I know I could have sent it back but I wasn't in the mood to figure all that out. I had about half of mine and just ended up not eating the rest, but what I did eat, I didn't think the burger was any better than other burgers. It was pretty standard. On the other hand, Kirsten loved her burger, so if you like avocado, get that. The burgers come with fries which were some of the best french fries I have had in a long, long time. I highly recommend ordering a large basket of those! Now for the part I know you have been waiting for, the $15 insane milkshakes! Kirsten's actually had candy stuck on the outside of her's and mine has an ice cream sandwich. The milkshake it self is just a regular sized shake, it just looks huge because of all the whip cream and cookies on the outside, it was just a cookie flavor, Kirsten's was peanut butter flavored, she really liked hers a lot. Overall the shake was alright, but if I were to go back again I would order for pick up and get fries and a shake. But is was fun to try this place out, plus they played the best music.




Airbnb: Boy do I have a story for you. Buckle your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy ride. So when we first decided to stay in the city for the night it was about two weeks before the trip. We were trying to decide between a hotel and an Airbnb. If Kirsten's mom went we probably would have gotten a hotel, but because I am only 21 and Kirsten is 20 getting a hotel could be a little difficult because I know some places have restrictions and if you are under a certain age they would put a hold on the card you paid with till you checked out. Meaning, from the time I checked in I would no longer be able to use my card for anything till I check out the next day and then I would have to wait 3 to 5 business days to have the hold lifted from my card. Plus all the hotels we could afford (under $200 a night) had pretty bad reviews. My sister suggested Airbnb so Kirsten and I started to look into it. The first place we agreed on I put in a request and the girl declined right away. I was really confused and thought it was because I didn't have all my information on the site yet since it was my first time. So I put in another request and the girl declined and responded saying it was no longer available, which was weird because it was still on the site. The second place I requested the next day, right when I sent the request I was declined. So now I am kind of mad and super confused. The trip was a week a way and it was crunch time. I sent the girl a message asking why she declined and she basically said she would not have anyone to give us the keys to her places since she wasn't there this summer. I'm just like, why even put your apartment on this site if you aren't even there? Anyways, third times the charm right? Wrong. I request a place that looked really nice and the lady responded a couple hours later asking if I was interested and it was still available. I told her yes and she did not respond or accept the request. After 24hours if the request isn't accepted, it will expire. So the next day I sent a new message asking if she would accept it because we needed to know asap. She basically said that we could rent her place off her website but she didn't want to use Airbnb because they charged to much of a fee for her. I cancelled the request because that seemed super sketchy and on Airbnb they do background checks and can resolve problems if something were to happen. The next day we found a cute studio on the Upper East Side for $109 a night and a security deposit of $500. Although we really didn't want to get a place with a security deposit, we were desperate and sent a request and it was accepted!

So on the site the person had 6pm as check in and 11am as check out but the week before she asked us when we wanted to check in, we said 2pm and she said "how about 4pm" so we went with that. On the day of she texted me around 11:30am letting me know she was cleaning the apartment and it wouldn't be ready till around 5/5:30pm, but we could drop our things off and get the keys at 5. Now fast forward to when we were sitting in Central Park waiting for the place to be ready, it was probably 5 and I got a text saying it wouldn't be ready till 6pm which was frustrating but it was kind of whatever. At 5:30 we started out 25min walk to the apartment and when we are only a could blocks away I get a text saying "take your time, it won't be ready till 6:45". At this point Kirsten and I are so tired, we were really looking forward to resting for awhile before we went to dinner. So we waited and than returned. She came down stairs and showed us how to use the key. There was an outside gate we had to unlock and lock behind us, the first door we has to unlock and lock behind us the the second door you did the same. This place was an old townhouse coveted to apartments. We were located on the fourth floor where the door you had to unlock and lock behind you and we entered a small hallway. It had two doors straight ahead and a bathroom on our left. We stayed in the studio to the right and the door was open still because she was cleaning. Now, all her things were in the room, her keys, phone, money and paper work. This door was different it was a keypad that you had to enter a four digit code to. She shuts the door to show us how to use the keypad and give the combo, and she goes "oh shoot, I forgot the combo". Kirsten and I are just standing in this hallway, looking at each other like what the f***.

So the lady keeps trying the code and trying to remember. After a couple miss tries the keypad locks you out for security reasons for a couple of minutes. So she probably tries this for a good 20min until she says figures she could contact the girl who used the room before us and get the code from here. But the girl was on an airplane back to Australia so she probably won't respond. But she wanted to just check. Since her phone was in the room she asked to use ours to message the girl via Facebook. She starts to log in and guess what? She forgot her password to Facebook. So she keeps trying the keypad and entering random codes. Then she decides it's a good idea to go up to the fifth floor hall window and try to use a ladder to climb down to our fire escape (by the way, the fire escapes don't connect, each room gets there own little one that has no latters down) so Kirsten and I are trying the combo and just looking at each other like what the f*** still. She comes back down and says it was to high. So she keeps trying the keypad. Then she grabs the bedsheets from the hall and says she's desperate and is going to climb from the third floor fire escape up. Me and Kirsten keep telling her it's not a good idea and that she shouldn't do that, but she insists.  So you hear her knock on the third floor apartment door and a lady answers and lets her in, then you hear that same lady say "no no this is not a good idea, you shouldn't do that" and Kirsten and I are still like, what the heck is going on. So she comes back and says she would have fallen and that it was too high. So now it's been about an hour and a half and we ask her if she has the combo written down, she said it was all at her mom's apartment in Harlem (we are on the Upper East Side currently) but she has no phone or money for a taxi and asks to borrow some cash. She told us we should go get food because she felt bad that she was wasting our time, but we had already been there for 1.5hrs, we were pretty committed already. So Kirsten and I suggest we all take an Uber to her mom's and get the code, she literally argued with use for 10min about this before we finally just said okay.

We then took an Uber to Harlem and waited in the lobby of this apartment well she got the code. Kirsten and I were just so confused on what was happening since this was our first Airbnb. So she comes back down and tells us the code....she was only one number off (huge eye roll). We call an Uber and are on the way back. When we get to the apartment she still needs to clean, so she said to come back in 30min and it would be ready. We went to a near by Starbucks for some water, a bathroom break and to charge our phones. After 30min we text her and she doesn't respond and after an hour we just walk back to the apartment. She is just finishing off cleaning the room. She took the amount the Uber ride was off the Airbnb price and gave us a $20 complementary fee (not enough) and told use we could have a complementary free night sometime, which doesn't even matter because I probably won't be back till next year. She also said to text her when we were ready to check out the next day. So after all that was handled, it is 9pm and we have to head out to the restaurant well the night was still young so we never got to sit down and relax like we wanted to.

The next morning around 9:30am we were ready to get our day started so I texted her letting her know where were ready to go, no response. I texted 30min after that, no response. Finally she responds saying it was self check out and to leave the keys on the bar. Literally it said that no where and she never told us that. Plus leaving the key meant we couldn't look any of the doors behind us. A little strange especially after getting a 10min tutorial the day before on how to look the doors. Overall if this experience never happened, it would have been perfect. It was a nice place and good location. Kirsten and I are probably going to give Airbnb another try this Summer, so we will let you know how that one goes.

*$25 off any Airbnb: Use my code 'MADELINES194' or click here to get $25 off your first Airbnb. Although the experience didn't go so well I highly recommend this method over getting a hotel because it is cheaper and you can get a bigger space. My sister has used Airbnb for many of her travels oversea as well as in the US and has never had any problems*
DAY two: Saturday, JUNE 18TH 



















Highline: Probably one of my favorite things we did. We walked the whole thing all the way to the Chelsea Market. It was super nice, just really over crowded and a little hard to get there. They had food carts along the way and an event where you could get a sketch book and sketch out the city. The views throughout the whole walk were spectacular. There was also a wax figure (pictured above) called the Sleep Walker. It looks so real in person and people were crowded around trying to figure out if it was real or not. I think the Highline is a little under 2miles? It was very fun and a must see/do!
Chelsea Market: We ended up in Chelsea after the walk and decided to go to the Chelsea Market. Whenever I would hear people talk about the Chelsea Market I always thought it was like a farmers market. I never realized it was a "mall". We tried to find place to eat in there (so many cool options) but I wanted waffles, so that eliminated just about everything. The Chelsea Market is really pretty on the inside but was a tad crowded as well. I mean it was a Saturday morning so it is understandable. After walking through we ended up just walking around Chelsea trying to find some place to eat. But couldn't find one that interested us. Kirsten mentioned earlier on the trip that she wanted to go to her favorite brunch spot in East Village, so that's what we did.
East Village: It is just so crazy how you go about fifteen minutes from one place to another and you get completely different vibes. East Village seemed very quite compared to places we had been before, we stopped at the brunch stop Mud Spot to eat which was in a nice neighborhood next to beautiful brownstones. Apparently Jimi Hendrix lived in the basement of the place Mud Spot owns now.
Dumbo, Brooklyn: Recently I have been seeing do many photos from Dumbo Brooklyn and I had to go. I wanted to see the Washington bridge aka whenever you watch Gossip Girl and it is Dan's scene you see the apartment and the Washington bridge in the background. The view was seriously so breathtaking, the bridge looked like a painting or something. Dumbo has so much to offer and the water was so beautiful. We walked over to the Brooklyn bridge next stopping at the carousel. We were on the hunt for some ice cream and my phone took us to a Gelato place, even though I am sure it was good Gelato, we wanted ice cream. We headed back towards the Brooklyn bridge to this ice cream factory except the line was way out the door and we could not wait in line for another second especially after the dinner the night before. We ended up just deciding to try head to Grand Central and find ice cream around there since we had a train to catch at about 5pm. Something I forgot to check out but still want to do is see the rainbow wall, perfect for photos ;).
Grand Central Station: We got to Grand Central Station after a waiting for a Subway for forever. We had about 30min to spare and decided to look for that ice cream we both were craving. Nothing could be found and the iPhone search thing wasn't helping. Long story short, we never got our ice cream, but we did get Dunkin' Donuts.

Mud Spot: This place was such a trendy brunch spot. Located right next door to beautiful brownstones, it was hopping on a Saturday. After a 15min wait we were seated in the back section of the restaurant. It was similar to Black Tap where it just had a long bar, but in the back they had a few table. They have a special brunch menu which is $18 for a main dish, mud coffee (their signature coffee, but also other options like lattes and hot coco), a choice between a beer, mimosa or OJ. I had the OJ and a hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was probably the best I have ever had. Kirsten ordered an OJ as well and a caramel latte which she really likes. Now for the main course ;), I had the Sourdough French Toast which was so amazing. I won't call it french toast, more like a pancake, but flatter. But it was so delicious with with the almonds in crested into it. The fruit on top was the perfect touch. Kirsten had the Buttermilk Banana Pancake which she gets every time so it must be good. I highly recommend trying this place. The service again wasn't that great, but the food was. Side not: the only downside is this place is cash only. So come with the big bucks! Seriously craving that french toast right now.

*What I Wore: I would highly recommend wearing dresses in the city, if you visit in the summer it was extreamly hot and it was the only way to keep cool. This dress was the perfect length and kept me cool and comfortable all day. Since I had no space to pack anything I just wore my new Converse that I picked up the day before the trip. Tennis shoes are needed for lots of walking in the city. We ended up walking 10miles a day which is about 20,000 steps. I had no blisters and my feet didn't hurt so I was pretty happy about that.*

Overall it was an amazing trip, just a little short. I still have a ton of things left on my to see and do list. What are some of your favorite places to eat and do in NYC?