I woke up fairly early again, and unfortunately hadn’t managed to shake the cold off yet. I was determined to power through though, so gave myself a sugar boost of Froot Loops in bed (another American guilty pleasure) and we debated what to do first. From previous experience we knew not a lot would be open this early so settled on exploring the Chelsea area. We got ready whilst watching the sun rise, and while it was far from picture perfect looking over East Broadway and the huge billboard just opposite it was still cool to see, and watch Chinatown slowly come to life.
We set off to the F line and caught the subway toward Chelsea Market, managing not to get distracted by any shops on our way, except at a deli for Amy to get her breakfast. The market was only semi open when we arrived, and having just had breakfast we didn’t sample any foods. There were some shops around due to open shortly so we decided to set off for the high line and pop back later.
I’m not sure if it was the time of year but I didn’t think much of the High Line – I expected there to be a bit more to look at, it was just a pathway with a few bushes. Maybe I am missing something, or it blooms in the summer? If I’m in NYC in summer again I will have to check it out a second time. We swung back to the market to browse the shops there, full of quirky and interesting things, and I bought a proper NYC map as our guidebook one was a bit out of date, and enormous!
Next on our agenda was a trip to Economy Candy. I had heard about this one only a few weeks before we left and knew we had to make a trip there. I usually swing by a Walmart or somewhere on a USA trip just to load up on funky candy and treats we can’t get at home. We both went a little crazy here and bought a bag full of all sorts, justifying it to ourselves that half of them we could give as Christmas gifts. It was only a short walk back to the hotel from here, and we found ourselves stopping off at some other candy stores on the way.
The weather was holding up quite well so we decided to explore Little Italy. It’s a shame my friend can’t touch dairy as I would have liked to stop for lunch there (even if its not that raved about) because it smelled so good! We found a Christmas shop and both bought an ornament for home, and stopped in a few more souvenir stores. Somewhere along the way we found Ichiban who were selling Vanilla Ice Cream flavour kit kats. I had to buy these to add to the big stash of fun flavoured ones I had bought on my trip to Japan a few months before.
We popped back to the hotel to drop off our things (and the huge box of froot loops I had picked up somewhere along the way) and took a walk down to Nolita to find some lunch. Due to Amy’s dairy allergy I thought Lombardi’s would be a no go, but we decided to ask anyway and they were great – very accommodating and helpful. I had a “small” pizza with meatballs and Amy had a cheese free calzone packed full of meat and sauce. Both were absolutely huge! Needless to say we couldn’t finish our meals. Overall the pizza was nice, but I am not sure I would call it one of the best – their sauce was quite different tasting, and I couldn’t put my finger on what it was.
Eventually we admitted defeat and waddled towards the subway to check out Central Park. I can imagine that this would also be much prettier in Summer or with a coating of snow, but it was still fairly pretty with coloured trees slowly turning into wintery ones. We checked out the strawberry fields and Alice in Wonderland statue and headed through to the Upper East Side.
This started with a window shop along Madison Avenue, wishing I had the budget for a big spree! I am a bit of a Kate Spade fan so explored all four floors of their flagship store there, but nothing really called my name so I left empty handed. Not long after we found Michael Kors, which I had a gift card for so I treated myself to a nice grey bag there instead.
We had a browse around Barney’s but nothing took our fancy, so we cut through to Lexington Avenue. The Barney’s Christmas windows were quite spectacular so we stopped to watch them for a while. Shortly after, we found Sprinkles. This is another place I am fond of, after having a banana cupcake at their Beverly Hills branch a few years back that I’ve not been able to forget about! I have been patiently waiting for them to come to London.
It was perfect timing to snuggle in the warm with a cupcake, Amy found a vegan red velvet and I had to recreate my experience with another banana. The salted caramel and cinnamon sugar ones also looked amazing – I have serious cupcake envy when I come here! We perched on the little seats and munched them with cute sprinkles forks, people watching the shoppers outside. After our little recharge it was time to walk off some of those calories and continue on our way.
Once outside we spotted Bloomingdales ahead and decided to explore their Christmas shop. I found a funky Christmas decoration I had to buy for our new house, despite it being rather pricey. Afterward we decided to stroll down to the Colombus Circle area where the “Winters Eve” event was taking place. They had been banging on about it on the TV in the mornings so we expected good things.
Unfortunately, it was then that the heavens opened and rain poured out of the sky. My little brown bag very swiftly became a little brown ball! Thankfully my decoration was in a pretty box and I could bury it in Amy’s handbag to avoid cradling it in my hands for the evening! The Micheal Kors bag was slowly deteriorating too, but thankfully at the Winter’s Eve event, some university was giving away free tote bags, so I safely stored Michael in one of those.
We explored the food stalls and everywhere was packed full of people. This was a bit of a safety hazard as most people had enormous umbrellas with some mean eyeball pokers on the end! Due to this we had to slow our walking speed so we could dodge them when necessary. This also meant we couldn’t see a lot, we are both short and there was somewhat of an “umbrellafied” ceiling above us.
It was quite funny though, and we had a stroll about trying to work out what was going on at the various stools. The foods did look good but we were still full from cupcakes. We stumbled upon a tree lighting ceremony which was very festive and rammed with bodies. It did feel awesome sitting there and watching it get switched on with the tall buildings around us.
Afterward the rain was getting a bit much, we were dripping and not looking so hot, so it was time to return to the hotel. We got cosy on our beds and didn’t want to move again but we were now ready for our dinner! We both said we couldn’t do another night of Chinese food! I had so many restaurants I wanted to try but somehow we ended up finding ourselves back at the hotel for a rest and a warm up each night when we felt hungry. We thought we had a genius idea of a delivery from Katz Deli, but weren’t quite hungry enough to meet their minimum order of $75.
At this point hunger took over and we pulled our winter layers back on and took a schlep down to Katz Deli. It was a bit of a painful walk in the rain, but we felt completely safe and found a few other eateries along the way. Katz is one place we both really wanted to try, and we didn’t expect it to be so huge inside – it was like a school canteen in there! The staff were very friendly and fans of the English accent. It’s a nice touch that they let you sample all the meats too.
Amy went for the turkey and I already knew I was going for pastrami with mustard. I still think about it now! They were giant sandwiches and very filling, packed full of meat, which made us glad we skipped the fries. The walls were covered floor to ceiling with photos of all the celebrities who have eaten there. It was fun to sit and work out who we recognized. The pastrami was juicy and so good, it doesn’t even resemble the plastic tasting stuff we get at home.
Halfway through we were beat and decided to take the other half back to the room with us. It was just after ten by the time we arrived back to the hotel, the latest we’d been up until yet! Slowly we were adjusting! We forced ourselves to watch some more random TV until a healthy bed time. Tonight I tried sleeping without the ear plugs and slept right through, as a very light sleeper I was really surprised, so we must have had a good room.