For our last full day in New York City, Koen and I wanted to visit a museum. We only had time this trip to fit one in, so after a lot of thought we decided on the American Museum of Natural History. Last year we visited AMNH and loved it. This time we also wanted to take in the special exhibitions – Dark Universe at the Hayden Planetarium, IMAX: The Great White Shark, and Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs. We started our day with breakfast at Gather in Park Slope before taking the train to the Upper Westside to AMNH. Luckily at the museum you’re allowed to exit and reenter. So we visited the Hayden Planetarium first for the Dark Universe show and then headed to Shake Shack for lunch. I did not want to leave NYC without visiting Shake Shack! After lunch we visited the last two exhibitions – the IMAX show and the Pterosaurs exhibit. We ended the day in Park Slope. First we had dinner at Beet II and finshed with wine at Brookvin. A great last day!
After the wedding, Koen and I had a couple of days to explore NYC. Last year we didn’t have time for Coney Island because it was too far from where we were staying, so we wanted to make sure to go this trip. I am so happy we planned it in. Coney Island is unbelievably beautiful and iconic. It was like walking onto a movie set. The sunny weather also helped! Because we were staying in Park Slope in Brooklyn, traveling to the bottom of the borough didn’t take too long. We started our day at the NYC Aquarium. Then we walked along the boardwalk until we found the original Nathan’s Famous that opened in 1916. If you don’t know, the hotdog was invented in Coney Island in 1870, so of course we wanted to have hotdogs for lunch! After lunch we went back to the boardwalk for a cocktail to-go, which we enjoyed on the pier. In the photos you will see the amusement park, but it is only open on the weekends after the summer holiday. Because it wasn’t so busy, we had a nice, relaxing day!
Koen and I were finally able to visit Ellis Island! We really wanted to go last year, but because of Hurricane Sandy, the museum was closed. Koen and I visited Ellis Island with Christina and her family, Ashley, and Meredith. This was a special visit because Christina’s father’s father and grandfather (so her grandfather and great-grandfather) entered the United States via Ellis Island and both of their names are commemorated on a plaque. Koen and I visited the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp recently, which is about leaving Europe for the United States, so we felt like we came full circle visiting Ellis Island and learning about entering the US.
For the second year in a row I was able to celebrate my birthday in New York City! Christina just happened to be getting married September 14th in NYC, so Koen and I made sure to plan my birthday (September 9th) into the agenda. Unfortunately I didn’t think it out very well, because we arrived on my birthday and we were exhausted. We still made it out to Cocoron, a Japanese soba noodle restaurant in Chinatown, for dinner and to Molly’s Cupcakes, the best cupcakes in NYC located in Greenwich Village, for dessert. After our cupcakes we headed back to Park Slope in Brooklyn, where we were staying for the week, to sleep off our jetlag. Unfortunately our hosts were sick and at their parents’ place most of the trip 😦
A few weeks ago, Koen and I visited Antwerp’s newest museum – the Red Star Line Museum. The Red Star Line was a company that transported European immigrants to America and Canada. The museum is located in the former warehouses and you are able to listen to and read the stories of immigrants who traveled via Antwerp. There are tales of excitement and disappointment and you’re surrounded by photos and artwork of the voyages. If you are interested in history and personal tales, you’ll love the museum (like Koen and I did)!
Day 13 was our last full day in NYC because we needed to head to the airport after lunch the next day. So we spent our last real day eating my favorite lunch again from the trip – Banh Mì from Saigon in Chinatown, and then heading back to Midtown to buy presents. I also wanted to visit the Ralph Lauren stores on Madison Avenue as well as his daughter’s candy store, Dylan’s Candy Bar. As a thank you to Christina for letting us stay with her so long, we spent our last evening seeing Mamma Mia on Broadway! The next morning we needed to pack and get our things together. For our last lunch we decided to go back to San Gennaro’s for steak and mozzarella sandwiches. Luckily we planned a lot of time between leaving Christina’s apartment and our flight. It turns out the exact time we wanted to head to the metro station was during the huge parade for San Gennaro! The crowds were gigantic and we were both with two suitcases trying to fight our way through. Then we had to talk to the police officers to try and convince them to let us cross through the parade because if we had would wait another hour it would be too late. So rather than taking 5 minutes to get to the metro station it took us 30 minutes – but we made it! At the airport we decided to have one last burger from the Shake Shack! Now we are both looking forward to going back to NYC in September!
I was lucky enough to celebrate my birthday during our trip to New York City! We decided to save the American Museum of Natural History for the occasion. I had no idea the museum is so big! Luckily you can leave the museum and come back, so we spent a couple of hours in the morning exploring before taking a break to have lunch in Central Park. After spending a few more hours at the museum, we went for a birthday cupcake in Soho followed by a delicious Italian dinner from Di Palo. To end the evening, Koen, Christina, and I went for cocktails at Apothéke, a speakeasy in Chinatown.
On Sunday, I had dim sum for the first time! To take advantage of Christina being off from work, we started the day with Dim Sum, followed by a visit to The Frick Collection, where on Sundays from 11 – 1PM you can pay what you wish to visit, and then a beautiful ferry ride from Battery Park to Staten Island (which passes Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, and also happens to be free). When we arrived back in Battery Park, we went to Nathan’s for hotdogs and corndogs. Christina had to go back to work, but Koen and I enjoyed the view of the Statue of Liberty and the nice weather. My birthday was the following day, so we stopped by Di Palo for delicious Italian treats and wine. And of course, a birthday dinner isn’t complete without dessert, and we went for a walk to the Little Cupcake Bakeshop in Nolita for cupcakes.
On Saturday, we planned our day around visiting the Guggenheim Museum. Because we were trying to save money, we visited the MOMA on Friday, because entrance is free between 4 – 8PM and the Guggenheim on Saturday between 5:45 – 7:45PM, because you are able to pay what you want. Christina was also off from work, so she took us to her favorite Banh Mi restaurant for lunch, then to a Nike exhibit she worked on in the Meatpacking District, followed by a tour of the Chelsea Market, and then to a Belgian restaurant for biertjes and frietjes.
Friday, Day 6, was a really fun day! Koen and I started with the Financial District, seeing Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange before having a delicious lunch at the Shake Shack. After our burgers, fries, and milkshakes, we walked off the calories along the Brooklyn Bridge enjoying the sun and clear skies. After walking to Brooklyn, we took the subway to Midtown because on Fridays from 4 to 8PM, the Moma is free! There is so much wonderful art at the Moma, and I could take photos, so there will be another post dedicated to the Museum of Modern Art. Afterwards, we headed back to Chinatown and induldged in cupcakes from Molly’s Cupcakes in Greenwich Village.