With New York City being so close to New Haven, it’s a frequent weekend spot for many students. It’s so easy to get there too! You can take the Metro North from New Haven Union Station directly to Grand Central Terminal. Depending on whether or not you get on an Express train, it can take anywhere from 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. The tickets are also very affordable at $32.50 round trip for off peak times.
Welcome to New Haven Union Station
Knowing that I was only going to be spending a day in NYC, I planned it out so I could meet up with some old friends as well as grub on some delicious food and spend time outdoors. Here is how I spent 12 hours in New York City, New York and my tips on how to make the most of your trip!
Grand Central Terminal is a destination in itself. It often makes the “Top 10 Things to do in New York City” lists and once you enter into it, it’s easy to see why. Its beautiful stone architecture with its large windows illuminate the terminal and its high ceilings give this illusion that you’re in some romantic place, rather than just a train terminal. With all the people streaming about, tourists and locals alike, it’s easy to lose yourself for a moment in the bustle and feel like you’re a part of one giant, constantly fluctuating ecosystem.
After getting off at Grand Central Terminal, I headed to the subway to meet my friends for brunch at the popular restaurant, Jane. I highly recommend getting reservations at Jane because there is always a wait. The service was friendly, quick, and even though there was a huge line by the time we left, we never felt rushed throughout our meal.
Vanilla Bean French Toast – brioche bread, crème brûlée batter, Vermont maple syrup with strawberries & bananas
As for the food, everything looked delicious and some of my friends had a hard time deciding what they wanted to order because they wanted to order everything. Having been to Jane before, I knew exactly what I was going to get – their vanilla bean french toast. It’s the type of food that leaves you dreaming for it days later and wishing that you got some to go. The french toast is almost custard-like on the inside and the edges are lightly caramelized and crunchy, which provides a nice contrast. Paired with the bananas and the strawberries, it was the ultimate meal. Before sounding like an ambassador for Jane, I’ll move on.
After food coma-ing from brunch, I was glad I was meeting up with another friend to walk the High Line where I could walk off this food baby. Since it was such a nice day out, I decided to walk through Greenwich Village to meet my friend at Chelsea Market, which is close to one of the entrances of High Line. Other people had taken notice of the nice weather and there was a street fair on Bleecker Street where vendors sold a mix of food, clothes, and jewelry. After living in New Haven, it was nice to be surprised by each turn of the streets and to be surrounded by the constant activity and energy of being in the city.
The High Line itself is beautiful. It opened in 2009 and is a gorgeous combination of industrial and green space. What used to be used as train tracks for transportation of industrial goods in the 1930’s has now turned into a walkable space for those looking to “get away” from the concrete jungle and enjoy some green area. As it is somewhat of a tourist attraction, it is crowded, but it is definitely worth the trip. In the summer, you can cool down with one of the many popsicle or ice cream food carts dispersed throughout the walkway.
After strolling through the High Line, my friend and I decided to explore NYC the best way I know how, by walking. We chose a random neighborhood and walked around, catching up while also admiring the murals and the architecture. Each of the different neighborhoods, from Flatiron to Soho, has its own unique character and it’s fun to see how they’re all so different but all come together to form the crazy, chaotic city that is New York City.
My beautiful friend Candace “candidly” posing.
After walking around Flatiron, my friend and I decided to stop by Eataly. I knew that it was a popular destination but underestimated just how popular and expansive the store would be. The store pretty much takes up an entire city block – you could see it, turn the corner, and you would find another entrance to the store. It sells everything from specially imported olive oil to pear juice to these cute ramen-looking noodles below.
In addition to buying fresh produce and meat, you can also dine at one of their many stores in the cafeteria. You can sit down and enjoy a nice meal of pasta or take some gelato to go. After eating with our eyes, we decided to continue walking and headed towards Finnerty’s, a Bay Area sports bar.
Since I’m from the Bay Area, it was great to see people dressed in SF Giants gear and rooting for them. By this point, I was also dead from walking around the entire day, (I forgot how much people walked in New York City!) and it just felt good to sit down.
Afterwards, it was time for dinner. I met up with another college friend and we decided to grub on Korean fried chicken in Ktown. Based on a friend’s recommendation, we chose Kyochon and got the hot and sweet chicken wings and the soy garlic chicken wings. I pride myself on being able to handle spicy but after eating a couple of the hot and sweet chicken wings, my eyes started tearing. You have been warned! After discussing our careers, life, growth, and of course guys over chicken and beer, I felt happy and also ready to go home.
I headed back towards Grand Central Station via the subway and took Metro North back to good old New Haven. Surprisingly, the train was packed at 9:30 pm and with all these strangers and our new memories, we headed back out of the city. It’s funny because when I first moved to New Haven, I felt like I wanted to escape all the time but now I feel more settled and content with going back to my nice comfy bed.
Have you been to New York? What are some of your favorite things to do there?