Welcome to New York, Welcome to New York

New York | craftycarmen

One of my travel goals, for the longest time, was to go to New York and I'm happy to say that I can FINALLY check it off my list! Yep. This California girl has never been to the East Cast. Ever. So you can only imagine my excitement for this trip. All I know is that -- so little time, SO much to do! 

This blog post marks the first installment of a four-part series, which includes more places I visited, and of course, all the food I ate!

Subway, New York | craftycarmen

Because this is my first time in New York, all I really know of it is what I see in movies, TV shows, pictures, music, etc. It was kind of crazy seeing it all come to life, even things like the subway. And I know -- that itself sounds a little crazy, especially to locals.

It was a little nerve-wracking at first -- big city, lots of people, so many lines, but we ended up riding it so much that we started getting a hang of it. It was kind of neat in a way because it's one of the ways you really see more of the people of New York. 

Statue of Liberty

I think it's inevitable that you do all the touristy things when you go to a big city for the first time. So, of course, one of our stops had to be the Statue of Liberty.

New York | craftycarmen

The weather, unfortunately, wasn't as great as we hoped it would be. At one point, it even started sprinkling, but we lucked out that it didn't rain as much as it did when we landed at JFK.

Statue of Liberty | craftycarmen

Here she is! It was surreal seeing this in person. We were able to grab tickets to go up to the pedestal, but not the crown. Little did I know, people reserve to go up to the crown three months in advanced! When we were looking for tickets late April/early May, the first availability wasn't until August.

Since the weather wasn't as nice, and we didn't have enough time to check out Ellis Island, this may be back on the list next time.

Chinatown & Little Italy

Another part of New York we visited was Chinatown and Little Italy.

Chinatown, New York | craftycarmen

Chinatown was busy and bustling, even on a cloudy Tuesday morning. There were several parts of it that reminded me of the Chinatown in San Francisco. We ended up eating a small meal here, which I'll share in one of the food posts.

Little Italy, New York | craftycarmen

Right next to Chinatown is Little Italy. It was a lot more calm here, but I suspect that it gets busier later through the day.

Little Italy, New York | craftycarmen

One of the amazing art we saw in Little Italy, which was located right by a cannoli stand. The cannoli looked so good, but we didn't get a chance to try -- something to also add onto the list for next time.


Perhaps, one of my most favorite places in New York is Central Park. This park is huge, with so much greenery (something we unfortunately don't have too much of anymore in California), and even a magical feeling. Yes, magical. I saw castles(!), wildlife, horses, dogs, statues, beach volleyball, runners, locals, tourists, friendship (young or old), family, and lots of love. And so much more. To see all of that one big park in this breathtaking scenery, is just, well, breathtaking. If I lived in New York, you can bet that you'll find me here -- whether going out for a run, taking the dogs out to play, or just simply relaxing.

Before going to Central Park, I didn't really know too much about it, other than what I saw in movies and TV shows. One scene I always remember is from a Friends episode where Rachel was embarrassed when she saw Phoebe running like a crazy person in Central Park. So when I stumbled upon a CASTLE, I was surprised -- it's not something you see everyday! (Unless you go to Central Park all the time. Or live in a land of castles. Or checking out in Golfland.)

Belvedere Castle, New York | craftycarmen

This is the beautiful Belvedere Castle. According to the Central Park Conservancy website:

Belvedere Castle is one of Central Park's five visitor centers. Calvert Vaux, co-designer of the Park, created the miniature castle in 1869 as a whimsical structure looking out on the reservoir to the north (now the Great Lawn) and the Ramble to the south. Belvedere provides the highest and best views of the Park and the adjacent cityscape. The castle's name is fitting, because it translates to "beautiful view" in Italian.

Central Park, New York | craftycarmen

Here's the view from the top of the castle. We were fortunate that it was a really nice day!

Central Park, New York | craftycarmen

I thought this was such a lovely scene -- gorgeous weather, with a man rowing a kayak with his love. This was one of the first times I realized how magical this place can be.

Central Park, New York | craftycarmen

If that wasn't magical enough for you, LOOK AT THIS! There was a beautiful bride and groom strolling down Central Park with friends, family, photographers, and even a musician, receiving congratulations from total strangers. Just. Perfect.

And that wraps up the first post for this New York trip. Tune in next time for food (including CRONUTS!), and more fun.