Reflecting back on my previous trip to New York City, I was both surprised and intrigued to see just how drastically different the lifestyle and culture was in New York City compared to back at home in sunny Orange County. At every crowded intersection, pedestrians crossed the street at lightning speed with a purpose and destination in mind. Not only did the fast-paced lifestyle help me accomplish my list of to-do's in a shorter amount of time, but I also learned how to navigate through all of New York through various methods of public transportation. As a suburban Orange County resident, I'll admit that the first few days felt like a bit of a struggle, as I eventually learned how to pick up the pace and adapt to the city lifestyle. My daily schedule of transferring from bus to train to a second train became a breeze by the time I had to wave New York goodbye. However, a little birdie told me that somebody may be returning to New York City in September 2017 so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see ;)
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM:
To an NYC native, New York City’s public transportation system probably feels a piece of cake. However, I will say that it’s definitely easy to get lost and take the wrong train, especially if you’re a newbie to public transportation like myself. Luckily, my good friend and fashion blogger Fiona served as my personal tour guide and saved me from the stress of navigating through complicated train schedules and maze-like train stations. That is, until Day 3.
Long story short, Fiona was scheduled to come into work on Day 3 so Michelle was forced to no longer rely on the secure guidance of Fiona's directions. Unfortunately, directionally challenged Michelle took the wrong trains and got lost throughout the day, but she eventually managed to make it back safely to Fiona after her work shift ended.
All in all, public transportation is fun and laid-back once you get the hang of it, but getting lost in an unfamiliar city can easily make any situation more stressful. If I came back to New York City, I would definitely pick public transportation over Lyft/Uber or a taxi, as public transit is a more affordable way to get around the city and will save you tons of money in the long run. For this entire trip, I probably spent less than $100 on public transit costs in total (~$30 public transit, ~$60 for Lyft/Uber to and from the airport). Shoutout to my girl Fiona for gifting me an unlimited week long bus pass, hosting me at her house, and showing me around town! ;)
WHICH CITIES TO VISIT IN NEW YORK:
By staying with Fiona for seven days, I was able to explore Queens, Flushing, Roosevelt Island, Upper and Lower Manhattan (includes Chinatown), and Times Square. If you're looking for good NYC eats, I would highly recommend dropping by Flushing or Chinatown for delicious Asian food or anywhere in Manhattan for a variety of aesthetic entrees. Roosevelt Island is a beautiful city that tourists should definitely make a stop at, as you can catch a glimpse of the beautiful and colorful skyscrapers lined up adjacently next to each other. In fact, Roosevelt Island has got to be one of my favorite places to take a photoshoot at! As for Times Square, I find this iconic location highly overhyped and literally spent less than ten minutes here. If you have free time, I would recommend dropping by to take home a cool tourist photograph, but I wouldn't recommend staying here for long. As much as I love how the flashing neon lights give me that nightlife kind of vibe, the streets at Time Square are way too congested for me to really take in the view.
New York City welcomed me with open arms...by deciding to have one of the biggest snowstorms of the year on my very first morning of my trip. Day 1 was comprised of trudging through several inches of snow that residents did not bother to shovel off of their driveways. The rest of my trip was spent walking at a turtle’s pace. As I made grand attempts to avoid slipping on the half-melted brown/black slush that plagued the sidewalks of New York, Too Fast Too Furious Fiona always managed to be two blocks ahead of me at all times. Thank goodness for Cat Footwear’s sturdy and durable boots – these babies helped me survive this snowy situation. Be sure to dress warm and layer up by packing your warmest coats, scarves, socks, gloves, beanies, and sweaters. Double up on your sock game and keep your hands warm with mittens (P.S. my fingerless gloves did not help one bit). Also, pack waterproof or water-resistant footwear that is comfortable to walk in for hours. Let me reiterate that again - comfortable footwear is a MUST in New York!
I entered New York City without any knowledge towards how hyped up the food scene really is there. Seriously, the phenomenal quality of New York City food should not to be taken lightly. From the aesthetic presentation of their dishes to the flavorful ingredients, New York restaurants really know how to whip up some bomb ass cuisine. Honestly, all of the restaurants that I ate at did not disappoint at all. My only concern is that the price of food or drinks in New York City is relatively high. I mean, you can only get charged $12 for a regular sized Tiramisu Latte in New York City, am I right? Thus, you should definitely take high food costs into account when planning your trip! Stay tuned for a list of recommended NYC restaurants in a future blog post! ;)
Before heading to New York City, I’ll be honest and admit that I heard some pretty negative things about NYC residents and how their city is filled with a very aggressive community. However, when I actually interacted with random strangers by asking for directions or confirming my train stop, all of them were surprisingly very nice. Here and there, I encountered cold people who gave me attitude when asking for directions, but people didn’t act as rudely as I was informed. Overall, I feel that the NYC community lives in that occupied “hustle and bustle” state, but if you need help getting around NYC, don’t be afraid to ask!
It’s funny how the day you originally planned to request off of work happened to be the busiest day of your trip. On Valentine’s Day, I suggested to the girls that Sharon, Jillian, and I should take the day off from work to celebrate “Galentine’s Day”. But instead of calling the day off, we scheduled one media tasting, two showroom appointments, and one NYFW show back-to-back - so much for catching a break, hah. When you’re surrounded by hard-working creatives, you feel impelled to work even harder than the workaholics around you, LOL. Not complaining one bit, as Valentine’s Day served as one of the most eventful and packed days I’ve had in quite a while. There’s no better feeling than feeling like you accomplished so much in so little time, am I right? ;)
Now, back to the showrooms. On February 14th, I had the honor of visiting two showrooms and checking out their 2018 collections. First, we visited the Marsell showroom, which featured numerous styles of quality Italian footwear and purses. Marsell’s pieces are known for their “muted colors and meticulous designs” and I couldn’t stop gawking over a pair of half matte, half metallic black sneakers. While Marsell carried classic styles like a pair of these adorable grey booties I was eyeing, a majority of their footwear was uniquely crafted with a mixture of textures that you won't be able to come across at your local mall.
Since the second showroom was only one block away from Marsell, we traveled by foot and arrived at our appointment 30 minutes earlier than expected. The Ter Et Bantine, Hache, and AVN showroom was a brightly lit and minimalistic room filled with racks of trendy pieces from their Fall 2017/2018 collections. Each of these brands was separated into their own sections and I found myself pacing back and forth throughout the spacious room, deciding which piece I wanted to showcase to my Instagram followers. With a sharp eye for upcoming trends and a comfort-comes-first sense of style, Jillian helped me pick out this incredibly soft and trendy outerwear piece by Hache that I instantly fell in love with as soon as I tried it on. Jillian explained to me that the piece she picked out cannot be found at other stores and that it’s a one-of-a-kind piece worth having in my closet – score! I can’t wait to show you guys in a couple months what this mystery piece looks like! But for now, I’ll have to keep it a secret ;) Lastly, stay tuned for a future vlog featuring these showrooms on my YouTube channel (missmisschelle)!
Here are a few useful travel tips I’d recommend if you are exploring New York City:
1) Purchase an unlimited week-long MetroCard, as it covers unlimited bus and train fares. Plus, it saves you way more money than spending ~$50 per ride on Uber/Lyft.
2) Do utilize Uber/Lyft for a more convenient situation, like when you have to drag your luggage to/from the airport. Ain’t nobody want to carry their baggage up and down a flight of stairs at a crowded train station.
- Lyft: Use discount code MICHELLE90127 for $20 off your first ride.
- Uber: Use discount code michelles30341ue for $20 off your first ride.
3) Use HotelTonight if you are trying to save on hotel costs. Try to locate a hotel room that is near a train station for your most optimal convenience.
- HotelTonight: Use discount code MICHSUN for $25 off your first hotel booking.
4) Bring a portable external phone charger with you at all times. Trust me, you’ll probably need it if you’re waking up at 7AM to take public transit and getting home around 10PM.
5) Dress WARM and layer, layer, layer! If you need to get some winter shopping done, be sure to check out my previous blog post regarding My Winter Must-Haves.
6) Comfortable walking shoes/boots are a must. Waterproof or water-resistant is a bonus, especially when it snows.
Writing a recap on my first New York City experience already makes me miss Fiona and the city so much! I cannot believe that these seven days passed by quicker than I could have ever imagined - I mean, when you spend time with good company, time will always fly by (much like the time when Fiona visited me for five days in California just a year ago). When the weather allows me to bring out my fun summer dresses and rompers, I'll be sure to come back to New York! Stay tuned for additional NYC posts regarding my first NYFW experience and a list of delicious NYC restaurants. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, missmisschelle, to watch future vlogs and relive my first New York City experience with me all over again! :)