Have I been to New York City? Yes. And how many days have I spent there? Two. Oh and, how many nights have I spent in the city? Zero. Tricky I know, just two very extended layovers - think 6am until 8pm. Both on our way to Spain, and both the first (and second) time either one of us had been to New York, so very exciting and fun, but also, exhausting (did I mention that both times we left Denver around midnight and arrived the next morning around 6am in New York, so we were going on about 4 hours of plane "sleep?").
I never shared about our day in the city last September, so for posterity's sake, maybe a quick recap? If I can even remember much - and maybe a photo or two, but by and large, our photos were unimpressive and to be honest we just looked ragged (see: overnight flight) - also we took our new camera out of the box the day before and our first picture with it was a selfie of Danny somewhere in JFK AIrport and nothing you'll ever find framed in our house or our parents'...although it is pretty nice. Okay, okay I've led you on this far:
We started our day with a sightseeing cruise of the city during which I fell asleep standing up. Oh wait, actually it began with Dunkin' Donuts at the airport. But besides that, I remember barely making the boat we'd purchased tickets for in the first place, fighting for seats on the side of the boat that went by the Statue of Liberty, and not being able to hear the commentary very well. Overall, though, it was neat to see New York from the water, and we had a really gorgeous late September day.
From then on it seemed it would be best to keep moving in order to stay awake. We walked to Times Square, the New York Public Library, ate pizza and cupcakes (Magnolia Bakery!) at Grand Central Station, checked out Central Park, and headed back to the airport, where we ate our last American meal at Shake Shack.
And then, before we knew it, we were looking at flights again this summer from Denver to Madrid, and it seemed it would be cheapest to go through New York (again). I hesitated at first when I saw we were looking at another long layover (even longer this time!), but quickly warmed up to the idea when I decided that we should approach the day slightly differently than the year before. I knew that my memory of the day would be foggy at best, not only because my memory isn't great to start with, but also because the combination of flying overnight and sleeping very little would make us drag for sure. So, I decided we should spend little money, because whatever we did my memory of it probably won't be great. I also wanted to take it easy a bit, as last year I was rather ambitious with my itinerary of the day. With all that in my mind, I set about planning our second extended layover in New York City, with pretty much all new attractions, with the exception of Central Park, and another stop at Shake Shack (accidental, but not particularly unwelcome).
On our second go, we got into New York around 5:30am, while it was still dark. By the time we had checked our bags for the day and got from the airport into the city, though, the city had awoken, and we were ready to go. We started at Central Park this time, for a gentle start to our day, and after wandering (for a while - on Google Maps it all made so much more sense...) we found the Le Pain Quotidien, grabbed some overpriced breakfast items and ate on a bench with a good view of the dogs and people walking by.
We ended our Central Park jaunt at The Met, where we took a guided tour of museum highlights. Now, we did this at the Louvre, and for massive museums full of treasures that feel overwhelming (and if you don't have loads of time), I think this is a grand idea. However. I was really tired. Just like the year before. And I feel asleep on the tour - standing up! - multiple times. I was so embarrassed, so so embarrassed, but we kept sticking it out for the whole hour. Someday we'll go back and do it right, when we've slept more than 3ish hours on a plane the night before.
We took the subway from The Met to the Brooklyn Bridge area, where we walked across the bridge, got lunch (Shake Shack), wandered around briefly, and then headed back. The bridge was quite crowded - it was the Sunday of Labor Day weekend which explains it I suppose, but still neat to experience for sure.
Back on the other side, we walked to the National September 11 Memorial. We didn't go in the museum because we wanted to be rested and at a better mental capacity, so we saved it for another time. The memorial was beautiful, and I'm glad we decided to visit.
From there, we took the subway back to the airport, and we continued our journey to Madrid (via Frankfurt...so we still had another day to go!). I really enjoyed our day in New York City, both times really. Staying outside and staying active and upright is the way to go, I think (when working with multiple overnight flights and day-long layovers). Looking forward to a time when we can take a proper trip to the city and go to museums and restaurants and the like, but until then, we've had a ball seeing some of New York this way! Until next year, NYC?!