When you travel, you always learn something new. If you are from Chicago, New York City may sometimes surprise you with its contrasting social ethics. I recently observed these social differences again when spending a weekend in NYC.
Initially, I had planned my short vacation weeks in advance in order to make sure my weekend in NYC would be eventful enough. So, I searched online to find the best places I could visit while there. As I already had visited all the traditional historic sites of New York, I definitely was looking for something new and different. Meanwhile, approximately 700 miles away from Chicago, my friend Elena was also preparing for a trip and looking forward to meeting me at LaGuardia Airport. We had not seen one another for three years. So, I was expecting the trip to be even more exciting.
After much searching, my friend and I decided to visit the most popular rooftop lounge in Manhattan, according to the travel website TripAdvisor. Addtionally, I purchased two tickets for the ballet show, which seemed to be promising. The bright moments of my trip began before I even left Chicago when I learned that my seat on the airplane was right next to Pat Quinn, the ex-governor of Illinois. As I always try to find joy in the simple things in life, I was enjoying the flight from Chicago to New York City sitting next to the local celebrity for two hours. As the plane touched down at La Guardia, I thought to myself, “And here we go! Welcome to the city that never sleeps!”.
Staying at the hotel in the heart of Manhattan is always the best idea. The prices are usually affordable, especially for a room for two people. When you plan on visiting Manhattan, do not consider renting a car. The peninsula is always full of yellow cabs. As you walk around, you always realize that one weekend is never enough to see NYC, even if you have been there for many times. There is always so much to do and so much to see in Manhattan, that it is hard to decide where to start.
If you do not want to waste your precious time there, I suggest you develop a plan!
Google is always there for you full of reviews of different sites and attractions. However, now I will share with you my personal experience of spending time in the great New York City.
My Friday night got started at the number 1 rated rooftop lounge in Manhattan, Gallow Green. It was difficult to find the place, as the entrance was almost unnoticeable. However, when you walk in, their excellent customer service is waiting for you at the door. The tall and muscular host guided me and Elena up to the sixth floor of the building. Up there, a second host waited for us to guide us to the rooftop, making sure your entire walk into the lounge felt like top-notch service. The restaurant seemed liked a long and confusing labyrinth. No wonder they have staff all over the place—it is so easy to get lost. It was also pretty dark. While we were approaching our reserved table, we saw a couple of separate rooms in the restaurant, a live band and multiple sets of stairs. Finally, we got to our destination—a table for two surrounded by beautiful green plants, flowers, trees and “Christmas” lights. The place definitely produced a romantic atmosphere. So, unlike me, I suggest you take your date there instead of a friend.
I have to say that Gallow Green is a pretty unique garden rooftop bar. It is designed as an ancient and wild lounge where you can listen to old-styled music, be surrounded by “Jungles,” have servers in analogical outfits and besides all of it, enjoy the stunning view of the stunning Manhattan skyline wherever you turn. The place is usually extremely crowded, but the service was surprisingly quick. Being very hungry, we were told that the menu from its website does not belong to the lounge but to the restaurant downstairs. It was disappointing to learn that, but we decided to stay outside anyway and try some of the few available options on the menu. If you are a seafood lover, you will definitely enjoy dining there. If not, then I suggest you go down to the restaurant where the menu has many more options. Or, you can always just order a dessert, like we did, and it was delicious! You have to try their chocolate-banana cake with vanilla ice-cream, whip cream and strawberries on top. I have to say, it was worth flying 712 miles away from home to try that cake.
Like I mentioned before, Gallow Green is a huge place. After finishing our “heavy” dinner, we ordered some grapefruit martinis at the bar and took a tour around the rooftop. The incredible view touched every inch of the rooftop, and of course, all the New York ladies were taking photographs and selfies. Around the corner, we found a stunning booth table next to a real fire place. If you are planning something special for your date, make sure you reserve that booth by the fire! Believe me, you will appreciate this advice and the outcome of your date.
Like true modern girls, my friend and I took many selfies with the magnificent background.
On the other side of the rooftop, we found a smoking area behind the restrooms. It is a thing about New York, even in the twenty-first century, New Yorkers may easily find a smoking area in the restaurant, which is almost impossible to find in other cities of North America. A few visitors were openly having a smoke of something more “effective” than a cigarette. Another little bit of advice I will give about the rooftop is that you should wait until you go back to your hotel room to use the restroom.
If you decide to visit Gallow Green, do not expect to end up at another nearby bar, as is typical of a night out in many other cities. You can easily spend the entire night there, try a variety of cocktails, walk into different restaurant rooms and listen to the live band downstairs.
Do not go there if you are tired, like I was tired after the flight. Save it for a night when you are well-rested and ready to make it a late night. I am an early bird, so the next morning I was enjoying my Starbucks black coffee while Elena was still in bed. Being lucky to have such sunny weather on Saturday afternoon, we later took a walk along the Manhattan streets down to David H. Koch Theater. The neighborhood seemed very nice. Right by the theater, we found some street dance performances that gathered a big crowd. Feel free to walk down there even if you do not have the tickets for the ballet show. When we walked in to the stage hall, I was amazed. The hall has at least five floors with crowded balconies. Even though the tickets were not cheap, true art is worth that money. The New York City Ballet is definitely worth seeing. It’s a show you will always remember. There are no words to describe their performances.
Another great thing about New York City is that nobody will judge you if you will have a glass of cosmopolitan when it is still light outside. Across the street from the theater, you will find Clarke’s restaurant. Having a drink at its bar, you are likely to meet a handsome bartender.
All the single ladies should stop by. I still can see his sexy smile and stylish hair. Don’t miss your chance while you are in NYC.
Overall, my weekend in New York was pretty vivid, as I was hoping. However, much like the finances you set aside for your trip, three days are definitely not enough for this city like.
There are so many places left I want to visit someday: so many museums, shows, theaters, historic sites, shops, etc. You need to work hard all 12 months to be able to visit NYC once a year, because when you walk along the Manhattan streets, you want to try everything. Luxury life in New York is very expensive there. However, I was very happy to come back to Chicago and enjoy the quiet streets of Wicker Park, which you won’t find in Manhattan.