Jillian’s New York Vacation Slide Show

Whew. It has taken me literally all week to put this post together. I’ve been a busy gal! Which is why my recent vacation was so needed.

Welcome, one and all, to Jillian’s New York Vacation Slide Show!

Last week, Bryan and I spent four days in New York City. This was my first time visiting the city, and it was even more amazing than I imagined it would be! Not one ounce of me wanted to return to Indy when it was all over.

At the beginning of the trip, I was unsure if we would even be able to make it into NY, what with the hurricane and the nor’easter and all. Thankfully, the weather was very cooperative, and other than a few melty piles of snow and one or two temporarily closed buildings, we saw no visible sign of the storms.

We arrived at La Guardia on Thursday morning, hopped a bus with what felt like 4,500 other passengers, drove through Queens, jumped on a train, and headed into Manhattan.

To say that I was overwhelmed at first would be an understatement. I don’t know if you know this, but there are a lot of people in New York City. Like, all over. And they like public transportation. And walking on sidewalks.

And, understandably, a Midwestern girl would be a little miffed trying to roll a bright pink suitcase through the airport, on a bus, through the streets of Queens, through the subway station, onto the train, off of the train, through Grand Central Station, and along a million sidewalks — each place swarming with people! And the stairs! Oh so many stairs.

I dumped that godforsaken suitcase in our hotel room as soon as I could, and once it was just Jillian and her pocketbook, spirits were much higher.

Speaking of our hotel room — it was incredible! Bryan spoiled me by planning everything and insisting on taking care of our hotel accommodations. We stayed in a hotel near Bryant Park on the top (34th) floor, in a corner room with three windows! (Remember how much I love staying in hotels? This room was a dream!) Check out the views from our room:

We covered a lot of ground during our trip. I didn’t want to do a lot of touristy things; I wanted to experience different parts of the city. Thankfully, Bryan has been to NYC numerous times and knew where to go and how to get around. We spent time in Manhattan, Central Park, Brooklyn, Battery Park, Soho, Queens, China Town, the Lower East side, all of the other sides. We even went to New Jersey, you guys!

On our first night, having returned to Manhattan after spending the evening with some friends in Brooklyn, Bryan took me on a surprise adventure. It started with Big Macs at the McDonalds in Times Square (as every good surprise adventure does). After eating, he led me down darkened streets and scary alleyways, filled with mice and stray dogs, crying children, prostitutes — OK, I’m being a little dramatic here. But it was my first night in NY, I didn’t know where I was, I’m uneasy about surprises, and it was dark. It was after 10PM, you guys. I didn’t think it was safe to be outside in the city after 10PM. Muggings and whatnot. I’ve seen movies.


We walked down a street that was much less crowded and slightly darker than Times Square. Bryan pulled some cash out of his pocket, and when an unmarked bus pulled up, he told me to get on. We sat all the way in the back row of the bus and waited while others filled the seats in front of us. A few minutes later, we were speeding down the street to our mystery location.

“Do you know where we’re going?” Bryan asked me.

“No. Will you tell me?” I whined, still uneasy.

“We’re on a Gypsy bus,” he smiled.

” A what? What does that mean?” I asked, slightly panicked.

“Run by Gypsies,” he laughed. “Don’t worry!”

A few more minutes passed by, and then Bryan directed me to get off at a stop in the middle of a residential area. We hopped off the bus, watching it speed away as we stood on the snowy sidewalk.

“We’re in New Jersey,” Bryan said, starting down the road. “Follow me!”

We walked for a few minutes, eventually stopping at a gate. A park! We climbed the fence (the park gate was locked) and once inside, I saw what he wanted to show me:

The most amazing view of the city!

Let’s be honest. This is a terrible picture. But trust me, all of you. It was beautiful. Breathtaking! Fact: New York City is huge. And bright. And enormous. I think this picture is only 1/3 of the skyline we saw. Spoiler alert: There’s a better picture a little later in this post.

That surprise adventure was my favorite part of the trip. New Jersey! Who would have thought?

Here are some other things we did:

We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge

We visited the World Trade Center Memorial

We hung out at the ABC Studios with Pauly and took pictures on the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire set

We ate lox in Soho

We ate lunch in Bryant Park

We saw The Dakota (John Lennon’s former residence) and Strawberry Fields

We walked through Central Park

Bryan spotted his favorite restaurant (not kidding) in Times Square

We walked all over the city

We spent a lot of time in the Subway

We saw Wicked on Broadway! We ate pizza! We watched ice skaters in Rockefeller Center! We saw a cockroach in a restaurant! We saw a rat in the subway!

It was a really great time. I can’t wait to go back!

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