I recently got home from a trip to New York City. I had never been to New York in the summertime, so I was really excited to see the city when it stays light out later in the day and when people are outside doing stuff!
My uncle and I had been talking about going to a Dead & Co concert for awhile, and I saw that they were going to be in NYC.
So I bought some tickets to the show and booked the trip! I originally booked the trip for July 14 to July 21, but a couple of my friends were going to be out of town from July 21 to July 24 and needed someone to watch their dog.
I happily extended my trip to get some more time to explore the city. I was giving NYC a bit of trial run, as I was considering moving there.
Luckily I was pretty consistent with journaling and documenting my trip, so I wanted to share that here.
Day 1 (7.14): Traveling, Drinks in Williamsburg, Giglio Festival, Birria Landia
JetBlue offers direct flights from Kansas City to JFK.
On one of my recent trips flying with Delta I was upgraded from Economy to Comfort+. And I must say the extra leg room was worth the upgrade. JetBlue had a similar offering so I jumped at the chance. I think it was about $25 extra to get the extra leg room.
The flight from Kansas City to New York is about 2 and a half hours, so I was glad to have the more comfortable seating situation.
My uncle and cousin were also on my flight, so when we landed we grabbed our bags and Ubered to my uncle’s new restaurant, Narcisse, in Midtown Manhattan. I didn’t realize how far JFK is from Manhattan – but it took about an hour to get to the restaurant.
We were greeted by my aunt’s cousin Carl at the restaurant. He lives in New York and runs Narcisse. I hadn’t eaten anything all day so I was pretty darn hungry when we got to the restaurant.
The chef was excited to basically give us a tasting of the new menu items. I was happy to accept every dish she brought out.
We had a bit of everything. Mac and cheese. Steak frites. Lamb chops. Roasted chicken.
After dinner I grabbed a ride over to Williamsburg to meet up with my friends that I was staying with.
We went to a bar in Williamsburg and drank a couple Narragansett beers. We sat on the back patio of this dive bar called Lady Jay’s and caught up about what we’ve been up to for the past year since we’d seen each other last.
It was about 7:30pm, and I knew we were going to be out late. I was pretty tired from traveling so I needed an evening coffee to perk me up. We walked over to Variety Coffee in Williamsburg, which is a great spot for coffee later in the day because it’s open until 9pm. (Most of the other coffee shops in the area close earlier in the day.)
I grabbed an iced coffee and slurped it down. It was much needed as I chose one of the hottest weeks in New York to visit. It was close to 100 degrees every day, so stepping outside meant you were sweaty in a few minutes.
Then we walked through Williamsburg and came across the OLMC Feast/Giglio festival. It was an Italian festival centered around a church in Williamsburg. There were tons of Italian food trucks, carnival rides, a “casino” in the basement of the church and just tons of people walking around, having fun in the streets.
It was cool to see the Italian culture in all its glory. It’s not something I see every day in Kansas City, that’s for sure.
Then we kept walking some more and made our way to EBBS Brewery. It looked like a hoppin’ spot so we went to check it out. Ironically, they were having a pre-party for the Dead and Co. show, which I was going to the next night. Everyone there was wearing Grateful Dead shirts and there were some vendors selling custom Dead & Co shirts.
We sat at the bar and chatted, and I drank a couple of EBBS seltzers. We stepped outside of the bar before leaving and saw a guy down the street with a tank of nitrous oxide.
He was filling up balloons and doing whippets right on the sidewalk. I guess this is a big Grateful Dead thing, which seems funny to me. We walked over and chatted with the guy for a second and he said he had been following this entire tour. He was probably in his mid-twenties, which seems crazy that people that young are still following the Dead.
Day 2 (7.15): Long Island City, Dead & Co. Concert
We woke up pretty early after our night out and walked to a bakery down the street from my friend’s apartment called Nick and Sons. We grabbed some coffee and pastries (which were delicious) and walked back to the apartment.
Long Island City
Then I went over to Long Island City to meet up with my uncle and cousin before the show. I stopped at Extra Butter, which is a cool streetwear spot in LIC. I stopped at a grocery store to grab a snack, before meeting up with my uncle.
Long Island City is kind of undergoing a shift from older buildings to a ton of new high-rise apartment buildings. It’s just a quick train ride away from midtown, so it’s understandable why people would want to live there.
Then I got to the apartment where my uncle was staying. It was a brand new building, with a crazy rooftop with a lounge, pool table, and great outdoor grilling area. We hung out up there for a bit, played a game of pool, and then headed for the Dead & Co. show at Citi Field.
Dead & Co. Show
We got to the stadium pretty early because apparently “the village” outside of the stadium is part of the must-see experience at Dead & Co. shows. It was definitely something.
There were people with nitrous oxide tanks selling balloons of laughing gas. There were booths selling pre-rolled joints, edibles, and other crazy stuff. It was fun walking around looking at all of the people dressed up with their tie-dye and “hippie” outfits.
It was a good vibe. People were all really laid back (or just really high). But we got some burritos and sat and watched the people walk by.
Then we headed into the stadium. Our tickets were GA on the field, so that meant we got to enter the stadium through the “bullpen entrance” we walked through the tunnels under the stadium, which was pretty cool.
Then we came out of the tunnel onto the field. Citi Field is really nice. I’d love to go to a baseball game there some time. We took a lap around the stadium before the show started.
Then we made our way to the field, up close to the stage on the right side. Shortly after, the band of John Mayer, Bob Weir, and company made their way to the stage.
I’m not a HUGE Grateful Dead fan, but I am a big fan of John Mayer’s music. Seeing him in person was pretty sweet.
We listened to the band jam for a few hours. At the end of the night I was pretty exhausted from walking all day, but I grabbed a train and headed back to my friend’s house in Williamsburg.
Day 3 (7.16): Gertie’s, Grimm Ales
I slept in a bit the next day. We then went to go get brunch at Gertie’s. It’s a cool Jewish deli/diner in Williamsburg. The food was great. They had a steak and eggs special, so I opted for that.
If you’re in the Williamsburg area, you should definitely check it out. In addition to their tasty food, the restaurant has some cool merch.
Later that day we went to a friend’s boyfriend’s birthday party at Grimm Artisan Ales in East Williamsburg. My friend Ben and I both got some Grimm Lite Limes (their take on Bud Light Lime). They were tasty and refreshing in the hot weather.
We sat and chatted for a bit, and admired the brewery’s cat wandering around.
Day 4 (7.17): Rockaway Beach
Sunday, July 17 was BEACH DAY! We had planned to go to the beach a couple days prior, and I was really looking forward to going. I haven’t really been to a beach in a few years, so I was excited about playing in the waves, getting some sand between my toes, and catching some rays.
We woke up and packed out bags, grabbed a coffee at The Brooklyn Standard, and jumped on the train out to Rockaway.
I really didn’t know what to expect as far as what the beach would be like. But when we arrived, I felt like I was back at the beach that I went to outside of Rome back in 2016. The apartment buildings along the beach looked the same.
If you want to take a weekend beach trip from New York, there is a cool new hotel called the Rockaway Hotel right between the beach and the train station that would be a fun place to stay for a couple nights.
We grabbed some cold drinks and a couple bagels as we walked to the beach. Then we headed to find a place in the sand to set up our blankets. I scarfed down my bagel and headed to the water. The water was cold initially but felt good as the day got hotter. It was fun bouncing in the waves and watching the other people play on the beach.
There were a few guys playing with a soccer ball who were very proficient in juggling to say the least. I think they were playing soccer non-stop, the entire 6ish hours we were at the beach.
Over the course of the day a few of our friends showed up and our blanket spread got gradually bigger as we added to our group.
We got lunch at an arepas joint on the board walk called Caracas Arepa bar. It hit the spot, and their hibiscus iced tea was perfectly refreshing after sitting in the sun for a few hours.
I think I took a short nap on the beach and then we packed up and headed for the train station. We had a great day on the beach.
Also, I read a couple days later that there were some sharks spotted at this beach the day after we were there. Yikes!
We ordered a bunch of sushi when we got home, chowed down, and called it a night pretty early after a long day.
Day 5 (7.18): Navy Yard, WeWork, Williamsburg Hotel, Peter Luger’s Steakhouse
I got up early to allow Ben and McKenna to get to work, and to go find the Navy Yard WeWork that I had seen online a few years ago. I knew it was cool, and I have access to a WeWork membership now, so I decided to go check it out.
WeWork Navy Yard Dock 72
The building itself is amazing. It’s in Navy Yard, which is a working shipyard in Brooklyn. The old buildings are so cool, and then there is this massive modern building called Dock 72 that houses the WeWork.
It was kind of hard to find my way into the Navy Yard as there is a huge fence around the whole thing, so I did a bit of extra walking (which is kind of the theme of the trip).
But the building was so cool once I got inside. The entrance, the elevators, and everything was so modern and new feeling, even though the building is around 6 years old now.
I sat in the main lobby area of the WeWork for a bit. I enjoyed the free coffee and water (a luxury in NYC for sure), and did some writing. Around noon I decided to head into Manhattan and go to the gym.
Life Time Fitness NoHo
I have a Life Time Fitness membership, but it didn’t give me access to any of the clubs in NYC. The clubs in New York are at a higher membership tier. But I decided to try it out anyway and see if I could get a one week pass or something.
I opted to go to Life Time Fitness in NoHo, because it was close to the L train stop that was the quickest back to the Williamsburg/Brooklyn area I was staying in.
I walked in and scanned my membership card as usual and the manager stopped me. He asked me how long I would be in town and I told him. I was worried he was going to charge me the $30-$50 drop-in fee I saw online. He said that my membership didn’t give me access to that location, but that he would make a note that I could come while I was in town. What a guy?! Thanks dude.
So I was pumped that I’d have a full gym to go to while I was traveling. The Life Time that I go to by my house in KC is HUGE. It’s multiple levels with a massive indoor pool, big basketball courts, all that stuff. This Life Time was small (it’s NYC after all). But it was super nice. The locker rooms felt luxurious and clean, which I appreciated.
I got a workout in, even though I hadn’t eaten all day. I was feeling pretty sluggish, but as soon as I got into it, I was feeling surprisingly good.
It also felt amazing to take a shower, as I had been walking around in the humidity all morning and was feeling pretty gross. After working out I went to Starbucks (I know, I know), and got a couple breakfast sandwiches and a coffee. After that I headed back to Williamsburg to check into my hotel.
The Williamsburg Hotel
I’m not sure if this hotel is really well-known or not, but I had seen it before when looking at places in New York. The rooftop is definitely something to see, regardless of if you’re staying at the hotel.
I also got a pretty good deal on the hotel. It is a 4-star hotel, with nice, updated rooms and I think I paid less than $300 per night, and that included access to the pool and free breakfast every day.
The view from my patio was awesome. I could see the northern Manhattan skyline directly from my room.
The lobby bar is also awesome, with live music a few nights per week. So I checked in, dropped off my bags and went to walk around the neighborhood. I was pumped to have a hotel room with some awesome air conditioning, just because it was so hot outside.
Peter Luger Steakhouse
After checking out the neighborhood around my hotel, I met up with my friend Sean in the lobby of the hotel. We had a drink at the bar and then Ubered to Peter Luger for dinner. Just a heads up, if you plan on eating at Peter Luger, you’re going to need a reservation (and it seems to be booked up weeks in advance).
Okay, this has to be the highlight of my trip. If you know me, you know I eat a lot of steak. It’s my go-to almost every night for dinner. I’m a steak snob, so most restaurants let me down when I order a steak. Not Peter Luger.
I actually wrote that I was excited to go there, but that the steak would probably be underwhelming. Thankfully I was very wrong.
We got there a bit early for our reservation so we sat at the bar and got a couple drinks. Peter Luger’s is known for the over-poured drinks. They over-fill the glass and make you sip down the drink every time. I got an espresso martini, which was exactly what I needed.
Then our other friends arrived and we were seated in the dining room. The decor was very unique, unlike almost any other restaurant I’ve been to. It felt like we were in a Bavarian ski lodge or something.
We ordered “steak for three”, some fries and a wedge salad to start. The wedge was amazing with huge pieces of Peter Luger’s famous bacon.
The big porterhouse steak was cooked to perfection and was sitting on a hot plate of butter. What’s not to love?
Then for desert I got key lime pie, which I promptly covered in the whipped cream that they brought out with it.
After dinner, we walked across the street to a bar to get a drink. It wasn’t that late but the bar was pretty empty, so the bartender did last call and we left to find another spot.
Horses and Divorces
The next bar we went to was called Horses and Divorces. It had a cool vibe, with a pool table, this lovely painting of Burt Reynolds, and apparently great martinis.
We enjoyed sitting in the back room, watching people play pool, and later chatting with some new people at the bar.
Day 6 (7.19): Blue Bottle Coffee, Rooftop Pool
Clearly I had a late night, so I woke up later this morning. I decided to walk to find some coffee.
I’ve always really like Blue Bottle Coffee when I’ve been in New York. They have locations all over the US and around the world, but I’ve only been to the NYC locations.
And since it was within walking distance from my hotel, I went there a few times on this trip. The coffee is really expensive, but I don’t come here all the time so I didn’t mind.
I enjoyed walking around the neighborhood near my hotel, it had some cool shops, restaurants, coffee shops and bars.
Then I went back to my hotel to enjoy some time at the pool.
The rooftop isn’t that big, so you have to get a reservation at the pool. I emailed the hotel to get a reservation, but somehow they didn’t have my reservation when I got there. No worries though, because they still let me in to hang at the pool.
The vibes were great. The music was awesome. The views were awesome. I had a blast.
Ben stopped by the hotel later to check out the rooftop. We then walked over to Greenpoint to get pizza at Paulie Gee’s Pizza.
The sunset was crazy, so I walked around some more and tried to find a better vantage point.
Day 7 (7.20): Tapas at Masquerade
When I woke up I knew what I wanted…Blue Bottle Coffee. Back to Blue Bottle I went. I sat there and worked for a bit. It was fun watching people bringing their dogs in and chatting with each other.
I had planned to meet up with my friends at this unique tapas spot in Brooklyn called Masquerade. I got there a bit early, so I walked around the corner to a park and watched some people playing basketball. They weren’t very good, but I thought about all the time I had spent playing basketball with my brother as a kid.
It was happy hour when we arrived, and they had a special on Mezcal margaritas so most of us drank those.
Masquerade is an Iranian restaurant that served small plates to share. I got a beef stew that was DELICIOUS, and some an eggplant dip. We noticed that they had backgammon boards sitting behind the bar, so we asked our server if we could get one at our table. My friends Ben and Cormac played each other in a HEATED game.
Then my friend Connor and I walked back towards my hotel. We grabbed some cookies at a place called Chip City. Those cookies were FIRE! It was kind of like Crumbl, but with a more homemade vibe. I got TWO cookies–one white chocolate macadamia nut and one double chocolate chip cookie.
Day 8 (7.21): Bloomingdale’s, Dinner at Narcisse
I got up and checked out of my hotel and walked to my friends’ apartment to chat with McKenna before she left for the airport. I was watching their dog for the weekend, so I had to get up to speed on everything. I took the dog for a walk and headed out for some exploring.
I Walked A Lot
I love walking. When I’m at home I walk like 7 miles per day. But when I’m in New York, there is so much more to see so walking is way more fun. There were a few days when I walked over 13 miles.
I hadn’t spent much time in Williamsburg before this trip, but I had read a lot about it in high school – because it was “hipster Mecca” at the time. Walking around it was cool to see a lot of the coffee shops and stores I’d heard of but never been to.
I walked all the way up North through Greenpoint and all the way south down to the Williamsburg bridge. I checked out the parks and walking trails along the water. I wanted to get a lay of the land. I definitely did.
I usually find it kind of hard to orient myself in New York. Every time I come out of the subway I would be so confused about which direction I was going. This trip I was able to get acquainted with Williamsburg and some parts of Manhattan.
Dinner at Narcisse
My Uncle is involved in a restaurant in New York. So we wanted to plan a dinner there one night. I was hoping to get some of my New York friends together to come eat, but they all left down on Thursday morning.
Anyway, I took the train over to Narcisse, which is at E 59th St. and 1st Ave in midtown. I came out of the train station through Bloomingdale’s. I love high end department stores. Even though I’m probably not going to drop thousands of dollars on new clothes, it’s still fun to look at the displays and check out some of the looks on the mannequins.
Then I walked over to the restaurant for dinner. We ate with one of my aunt’s other cousins, who is a software developer for Apple, and a kid about my age who my uncle knew from K-State, who works in finance.
We had a great meal and chatted about all sorts of things. The best part of the meal was the cheesecake and the flan that the chef made that day.
After dinner we went back to where my uncle was staying in Long Island City and played some more pool on the roof of the apartment building. Then I got an Uber back to Williamsburg. I loved riding in the Uber at night. All of the windows were down so I could feel the wind of the city and take in the sounds and smells of the city at night.
I started feeling nostalgic about seeing the city. Thinking about all of the time I had spent there and the people I had been with there. It was a good feeling. I was feeling refreshed by the energy of New York City.
Day 9 (7.22): Gym, Whitney Museum of American Art, Dinner in Brooklyn, Elsewhere
On Friday I woke up, made breakfast and headed for Manhattan to go to the gym. I got a good workout in and then decided that I was going to get some Chipotle for lunch.
So I walked to a Chipotle down the street from the gym. After eating I decided to just keep walking towards the West side of Manhattan. I stopped at Cafe Kitsuné to get an espresso.
I had been over to Chelsea Market and the Meatpacking District before and really like it, and I also wanted to get a better look at the water.
I absolute love the West Village and Chelsea areas of New York. They remind me a lot of some parts of Paris.
I saw some cool cars while I was walking.
Then I made it to the waterfront. It was great walking along the water, seeing all the people on bikes causing by and people running along the trail. I walked up to the Little Island, which is a cool little spot for kids to play and they have a great amphitheater where they have concerts.
As I was walking I passed the Whitney Art Museum, which I decided to visit. I must say, the MoMA is by far my favorite museum I’ve visited in New York, and the Whitney just didn’t come close. I don’t think I’m a big fan of American art from about 1800 to 1950ish. I know that’s pretty general, but nothing really caught my eye.
I made my way through the museum and then headed out to walk around The Meat Packing District. I saw a lot of cool stores and restaurants. If you’re into bougie influencer spots, this is where you need to go. This is where Catch NYC and Nusr-Et Steakhouse (Salt Bae’s restaurant) are located.
Dinner in Williamsburg and Clubbing in Bushwick
I had dinner plans at 8:00 in Williamsburg, so after walking for a bit I snagged a train back to Williamsburg to go shower and get ready to go out.
I met up with a friend from college who I hadn’t seen in probably 5 years. It was so good to catch up, and hear what he’s been up to. He works for a non-profit in New York that works with a lot of really cool people. It’s funny seeing someone that I knew in Kansas kind of adjusting their lives in New York.
It’s just a totally different lifestyle, and it’s cool to see how New York kind of sucks people in and hooks them. Everything is fast moving, which I love. I can definitely feel the increased pace of living when I’m visiting the city. But my friend definitely embraces it. He gets up at 5am to go to the gym, then works a full day, and then goes to class after work to try to up skill himself.
Anyway, we went to a restaurant called The Rusty Face in Brooklyn. The food was pretty good. After dinner we walked a bit to find a bar to grab a drink. We stopped at Rocka Rolla and hung there for a bit. We met some girls from Oklahoma who had just moved to the city.
We wanted to find a more upbeat spot so we went to Bushwick to hang at the rooftop at Honeys. The vibe was great. There was a DJ playing some house music. We chatted with a few people, one was a guy who lived in NYC but worked for Morehouse University as a software engineer. His friend was from Colorado Springs – so I enjoyed talking to her, as I spent a lot of time as a kid in Colorado Springs.
From the rooftop at Honeys we could see a few other rooftops a couple of blocks away. One looked especially exciting so we decided to walk over there. It was a place called Elsewhere. I had heard of it while looking for places online, but didn’t look that much into it.
There was a LONG line at Elsewhere. But my friend and I both worked at a club so we figured we could finagle our way to the front. We got in pretty quickly and boom! The place was BUMPIN. The first room we came into was a big space, probably holding 600 people. The music was loud, the lights were awesome.
I hadn’t been to a club in a long time and it was so exciting. I was glad to dance and have a blast in that environment.
We met some girls who were in school at Syracuse. One of them was from Miami and was working for a restaurant group in New York doing social media. I enjoyed chatting with her about her job, as I’ve spent quite a bit of time doing similar things for hospitality businesses in Kansas.
Day 10 (7.23): Moonrise, Rooftop Bar, Walk Home
The last full day in New York. We planned earlier in the week to go to a show in Bushwich called Moonrise. My aunt’s cousin’s girlfriend owns or runs the venue and is in the show.
We met for dinner at a Thai place called Tongs in Bushwick. Normally I don’t really like Thai food, but it was right around the corner from the theater, and had good reviews on Google.
I had a Massaman Curry with brisket and it was DELICIOUS. I was happy with my choice of restaurant. When we were done eating, we were still a bit early to the show so we walked through a flea market and looked at a bunch of old junk for sale.
Then we walked across the street to go to the show.
We had absolutely no idea what to expect. When we got there we waited in line outside and chatted with the other people going to see the show.
When it was our turn to go in the bouncer outside opened the door and pulled back a curtain and we stepped inside. We were met by a lady behind a table covered in postcards. She asked us each out birthday and assigned us each our respective “goddess”. I was Elves which I guess means I’m mischievous – which they aren’t wrong about.
Then we moved to the next room where a woman asked us for our goddess. Depending on which we were, we got a different necklace with a few drops of essential oils on a little pendant. They smelled nice.
Then we walked to another room where we were met by a woman holding a snake. I was distracted by the snake, so I don’t remember what she said to us.
Then we were escorted into the theatre and taken to our seats. The room was large with high ceilings. There were all sorts of crazy things on the walls and hanging from the ceiling.
The show began with a funny jester emceeing and a belly dancer. Then came the acrobats. These two girls did a bunch of crazy spine manipulations. Twisting themselves in all sorts of knots. Finally they attached themselves to these big wings hanging from the ceiling and hung from them high in the air.
Then a “Moon Goddess” came out and started dancing aggressively. She dumped hot candle wax on herself…which is burned into my mind.
After the show the space turns into a lounge so we hung and had some drinks in the space. Then we took off to find another bar to go to.
We went back to Honeys, the rooftop that I had been at the night before.
Day 11 (7.24): Travel Day, Getting to JFK
The last day of my trip I woke up, walked the dog, and packed my bag to head to the airport. I made one last stop at Brooklyn Standard to get an iced coffee and hopped on the train to JFK.
My phone’s navigation said the trip to JFK was about 1 hour via train. My friends had told me that getting through security at JFK can take awhile so I left a bit early to give myself extra time.
I had to take the L train to catch the Long Island Railroad to then catch the AirTrain to the airport. It was more complicated than I thought because it wasn’t just a MTA ride, I had to buy individual tickets for each of the trains.
That was kind of annoying, but I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. The line was pretty long, but I made it through and got on the plane feeling ready to get home and sleep in my own bed.
I got back to Kansas City, stepped outside the door of the airport and my dad was there waiting to pick me up! Perfect timing. Great way to end an awesome adventure in New York.
Coffee Shops I Went To:
- Blue Bottle Coffee (5/5)
- Variety Coffee (5/5)
- Partner’s Coffee (5/5)
- Cafe Kitsuné (5/5)
- Brooklyn Standard (3/5)
Can you tell I’m addicted to caffeine? That helps me give the top four places 5 stars.
Restaurants I Ate At (and recommend):
- Peter Luger’s Steakhouse (6/5 – it was that good!)
- Narcisse (5/5)
- Tong (4.5/5)
- The Rusty Face (4/5)
- Paulie Gee’s Pizza (5/5)
- Masquerade (2.5/5)
- Birria-Landia (4/5)
I’m a sucker for steak, so if it’s on the menu that’s probably what I ordered. But there are the restaurants that were some of the highlights of the trip.
- Nick + Sons Bakery (5/5)
- Chip City (5/5)
- Levain Bakery (4.5/5)
I also have a cookie problem. Which I clearly reminded myself of on this trip. Chip City was great, I ate two cookies from there. And I also visited Levain Bakery a couple times. Where I ate THREE massive cookies before I could even make it back to the apartment.