Timeline: Our Week in New York City

Below you’ll find a complete timeline of our wonderful vacation in the Big Apple. Read our original post here

NYC Waterfront skyline with the Freedom Tower. The tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Photo by Judy Mena

June 22
We all arrived in NY collectively between 2:30 and 3:30pm – one party arriving at JFK (45 minutes from NYC) and the other at LaGuardia (30 minutes from NYC). We easily traveled to the hotel via Uber and Lyft. With so many available choices, dinner right next door to The Kimberly Hotel @ Empire Steak House was just what we needed and was excellent! After dinner and cocktails, this was the perfect time to travel a few blocks away to take in the nighttime views from the Empire State Building.

Empire State Building street view (left). View from observatory atop the Empire State Building (right). Photos by Judy Mena

June 23
Our group walked to the subway and hopped on the train to lower Manhattan for our tour of the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Having pre-booked 10am tickets kept us from having to get in line. An early arrival also allowed time to walk around the Twin reflecting Pools, each nearly an acre in size and featuring the largest man-made waterfalls in North America. We then crossed the street to Brookfield Place, a shopping center and office complex, where there are fantastic selections for a quick bite to eat with waterfront views, before touring the 9/11 Museum. After our tour, we all felt the heart-wrenching emotions of actually reliving this infamous day, and also proud of the beautiful and very well done tribute that has been erected. We continued to walk around the grounds and took pictures of the Freedom Tower, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Next, we walked up near Trinity Place and had a slice of pizza from Steve’s Pizza.  From there it was a short walk to Wall Street, where we saw the stock exchange, Tiffany’s and the beautiful Trinity Church. We awed over the immaculate grounds and oohed over the old tombstones and then peeked inside the over 300-year-old church. Also, we walked past the Federal Hall National Memorial, built in 1700 as New York’s City Hall, which later served as the first capitol building of the United States of America under the Constitution, as well as the site of George Washington’s inauguration as the first President of the United States. From there we took a short walk over to the “Charging Bull” of Wall Street, and the “Fearless Girl”.

One of the two Twin Towers reflecting Pools (left). FDNY Ladder Company 3 Truck from the 9/11 Memorial Museum (right). Photos by Judy Mena

Cemetery grounds at Trinity Church near Wall Street. Photo by Judy Mena

“Charging Bull” (left) and the “Fearless Girl” (right) near the stock exchange in NYC. Photos by Judy Mena

Next, Uber took us to Little Italy. Having our 83-year-old mother with us who is of Italian descent, this was definitely a place she needed to see. It’s very similar to North Beach in San Francisco and is a couple of blocks long with bustling restaurants, small shops and bars. After stopping to whet our whistle with a nice Italian beverage, we decided it was time to visit the “Bay Area bar in NYC”. That would be Finnerty’s. Stepping through the door, you feel right at home with everything related to Bay Area sports. Even the bartender was from Sonoma, living in NYC to pursue her dream of acting. After a full day, we decided to head back to Midtown and rest for the evening.


Entrance to “Little Italy”. Photo by Judy Mena

The one and only Bay Area sports bar in NYC, “Finnerty’s”. Photo by Judy Mena

Once we settled back to the hotel, us ladies set off around the corner to Ess-a-Bagel to grab some items for quick morning snacks. Now, when you visit NYC, you HAVE to have a decent bagel, and we found just that and more at Ess-a-Bagel.

June 24
This day was to be a bit more relaxing with a 1pm reservation on the NY Health & Racquet Club yacht for a cruise around the tip of Manhattan. But first, we had a bit of time on our hands, so we ventured about 1/2 mile down the street for some shopping and to get a quick glimpse of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Plaza, Times Square and the area it encompasses. You always feel in awe of places like this that you’ve seen pictures of but until now, have never visited. We knew we’d be coming back later to further investigate, so we headed back to the hotel to gather what we needed for our yacht trip.

Times Square featuring the New Year’s Eve “Ball”(left). Our group selfie; Judy Mena front and center, left to right: Kurt Ford, Kelli Wayne, Dave Wayne and my mom, Nelda Kent (right). Photos Judy Mena

Our day on the NYHRC yacht was a fantastic way to view the NYC skyline, enjoy the beautiful weather, have lunch, cocktails and see the Statue of Liberty, Governors and Ellis Islands. Although the boat does not dock, we were just happy to be relaxing and taking in these iconic sites. We were also able to purchase an extra ticket for a friend that moved to NY and acted as our tour guide.

Brooklyn skyline as viewed from the East River. Photo by Judy Mena

Left to right: Nelda Kent, Norman Munoz, Judy Mena and Kelli Wayne. Photo by Kurt Ford

Manhattan Bridge on the East River. Photo by Judy Mena

After the boat trip, we headed back to the hotel, cleaned up and a few of us headed around the block to Lexington Avenue where they were having a three-block-long street fair. Souvenirs were purchased, and we also discovered that we had walked far enough to reach Grand Central Station where we headed inside to take a look. You could easily get lost in there and the architecture is absolutely amazing! We were directed to the whispering corridor where you whisper in one corner and can be heard at the opposite end. And yes, it works. Amazing. We walked back to the hotel and then headed to Upstairs at the Kimberly where there is a lovely rooftop bar with small plates and unique cocktail concoctions. This place is most definitely the place to be for the after-5 crowd on any given night during the workweek. We enjoyed their offerings and then headed over to Dos Caminos (an upscale Mexican restaurant) near the Kimberly Hotel to finish off the evening.

Upstairs Rooftop at the Kimberly Hotel enjoying small plates (left). Watermelon Electrolyte cocktail with our lovely server (right). Photos by Judy Mena

June 25
This day we had set aside to visit Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. We took a short subway ride to Penn Station where we had prepaid tickets to catch Amtrak to Philly. The trains are nice, have food and wi-fi and are a great way to take a short day trip from NYC. We saw the Liberty Bell, took a tour of Independence Hall (you can pre-buy tickets online before you visit) and had a wonderful lunch (yes we had a Philly Cheesesteak!) at the Red Owl, adjacent to Independence Hall. We then decided to get on the “Hop on Hop off Bus” (the HoHo) which had about 27 stops in all. You could get off at all or just some of the stops along the way, all while riding in a comfortable double-decker bus with a tour guide narrator. We hopped off at the Betsy Ross house for a short tour, and also at the Reading Terminal, which is a very busy marketplace with unique eateries and shops. Back on the bus, the tour included iconic Philly landmarks, the “Rocky steps”, South Philly and more. Our day ended with a 10-minute Uber drive to the Amtrak terminal for our train back to NYC. It was a long, eventful day that lasted from about 8:30am until 8:30pm.

The Liberty Bell at Washington Square (left). Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier (right). Photos by Judy Mena

June 26
Today, three of us had tickets to the Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest show near the Upper West Side. We got in with our reserved-in-advance tickets and enjoyed the show. We then went back to the hotel, gathered up the rest of our group (five in all) and took Uber to the Boathouse in Central Park for a memorable lunch. The grounds of Central Park were nothing like what I had imagined – they were MORE beautiful! – with the tips of the Midtown skyline in the distance. After lunch, we headed over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (THE MET) for about three hours of oohing and awing over the relics and treasures.

The Lake, as viewed from the Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park. Photo by Judy Mena

View of the Boathouse dining area and Lake. Photo Judy Mena

Entrance to THE MET. Photo by Judy Mena

June 27
Today, the ladies decided to get up early and go check out the taping of the Today Show at Rockefeller Plaza. We arrived about 7:15am and were easily able to maneuver the crowd to get a great “spot” for watching the hosts come out to the plaza for their segments. We thoroughly enjoyed this part of the trip and friends at home got to watch us on TV! From there, we headed over to the NYHRC for a little swim, hot tub and sauna since their affiliation with the Kimberly Hotel allowed us to do so. It was definitely a perk after all those previous days of walking! Afterwards, we went back to the hotel and got ready to have lunch at Chelsea Market and walk The High Line (an elevated, beautifully landscaped “path”) through the Chelsea District. Lunch at Friedman’s was fantastic, as was the shopping in the Chelsea Market and its neighborhood with an artsy, contemporary vibe.

Today Show hosts left to right: Dylan Dreyer, Matt Lauer, Hoda Kotb and Sheinelle Jones. Photo by Judy Mena

The evening was set aside for a traditional “family style” Italian dinner at Tony Di Napoli in the theater district (which, I might add was JUST what we had hoped for) and a play for which we reserved and purchased tickets in advance. The play we chose was Come From Away, a true story of the days after 9/11 when airspace around the U.S. was closed and about 38 planes with thousands of passengers were forced to land in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland. The play had you laughing, crying and wanting to know more about the people and events that took place there. Afterwards, we walked less than a block to Times Square to catch a glimpse at night. WOW!!! Lights and big screens light up the night sky and are definitely not to be missed in the evening hours!

Theater District outside Schoenfeld Theater, home of Come From Away. Photo by Judy Mena

June 28
Having seen everything we had on our list, we set out for Brooklyn, just across the East River. We took Uber over to DUMBO, which is the acronym for (Down Under the Manhattan and Brooklyn Overpass). There is a beautiful park there and the views of the NYC skyline are stunning. If nothing else, go there and walk back over the Brooklyn Bridge to catch the views! We decided to take the subway from Brooklyn east to Coney Island (about an hour ride). It’s fairly easy to navigate, Coney Island being the last stop at the end of the subway line. We enjoyed a hot dog at the legendary Nathan’s, where the hot dog eating contest takes place each July 4th. Afterwards, we walked the Boardwalk and took in all of the sights of the oceanfront. Heading home, we were lucky enough to meet two of NYPD’s finest on the subway who told us exactly how to get to our next destination, Katz Deli. This is a must if you want to try an authentic Jewish Deli in NYC. Their pastrami sandwiches are to die for, and if you are planning on taking one back to your hotel, have them wrap up everything separately so nothing gets “mushy”. Note, one sandwich has enough pastrami on it to make four normal size sandwiches!

“DUMBO”, park view of the Brooklyn Bridge and NYC waterfront skyline. Photo by Judy Mena

The world famous, original, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs (left) and Coney Island Amusement Park (right). Photos by Judy Mena

June 29
Headed home. Took Uber back to the airport at 6:30am with no traffic problems exiting NYC. This was a once in a lifetime vacation that will always be remembered. We hope you have enjoyed reading about our trip to NYC as much as we have enjoyed sharing it.