Earlier this year, my parents offered Sam and I the chance to take a trip to New York City and Washington DC with them. They let us pick the time of the year and I chose early July (4th of July in DC? Incredible. See that trip here.) 
My dad and I took a whirlwind trip to New York when I was a senior in high school visiting NYU. But I knew that there was still so much that we hadn't seen during that trip and I was determined to see it all this time.

We stayed at the Empire Hotel, steps away from Lincoln Center. The rooms were tiny, but in NYC all rooms are tiny. The best part of where we stayed was the location. It was uptown, meaning it was far enough away from the craziness of midtown (see Times Square and Broadway) that I didn't feel overwhelmed. And the Lincoln Center subway stop was a few feet away from the hotel's entrance. And we took the trains everywhere, which made us feel a lot more local. 

Of course we were tourists, so we went to the Empire State Building, saw the Statue of Liberty from afar, visited Times Square, and watched the Lion King on Broadway. But I really wanted to see the things real New Yorkers did as well. I did a ton of research on Joanna and Naomi's blogs and I'm so happy I did. The restaurants and activities that were recommended became my favorite parts of New York.
Here's a short list of the places we would not have visited without having done some blog research. ALL of these are wonderful. If you are ever in the city you need to visit them!

Tramonti (Best pasta I've eaten outside of Italy)
Shake Shack (a favorite of everyone in the city)


NYC is overwhelming. Within our first five minutes on the street, Jordan was asking me, "Are you OK?" I wasn't quite sure how to answer. There is just so much. There's no one thing that stands out, there's just a lot of everything. By the end of our time there, however, I had calmed down and started to enjoy the busy, exciting downtown that goes on forever. 
We spent a full day at the Natural History Museum. Really we could have spent a week there. There was so much to see (although we never caught a glimpse of Ross Geller...) Rhinos are my favorite, so Jordan took my picture with them. 

Our days in New York were really long as we were trying to pack so many things into only four days. But it was definitely worth it to be able to see so many wonderful parts of our world.

The only thing I knew I couldn't miss was the Museum of Modern Art. I love modern art; I find it compelling and sort of intangible. I like that it's not just a picture of something recognizable--you have to think about it. There were so many famous works at the MoMA. Van Gogh's Starry Night, Monet's Water Lilies, just so many pieces you stand there and think, "I can't believe I'm here, standing in front of this painting."

My favorite museum that we visited was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was six floors of pure beauty. We only had a couple hours there on our last day and I made Sam wander around the Greek and Roman art for longer than he wanted to. But it was so wonderful being able to see such amazing and creative pieces in one of the most prestigious museums on earth. I could spend weeks there. 
This city is overwhelming but it sure did have an incredible set of views. 

We headed out on the train for DC, exhausted from our time in the big city, but so thankful for the opportunity to have visited it. I'm a firm believer in never lamenting what you haven't seen, but rather savoring what you've experienced. In the end, Jordan and I both agreed that the most impactful experience we had in NYC was worshiping God and listening to Rev. Tim Keller speak at Redeemer PCA. I'll probably never forget gathering with believers I did not know, at a church we will probably never revisit, in a city we did not understand, to worship a God who loves all of us and had drawn us together that day. Just a breathtaking experience.

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