Meditations on New York (and why you should go)

My bucket list had a Big Apple in it and I picked it over Memorial weekend with my guy Chris for some big adventure. Maybe like me, you’ve heard all of your life how amazing New York is and you MUST GO yet you were a little apprehensive because you think of the sheer size and traffic and busy people. You may have even heard New Yorkers are rude (in fact, NY was cleaner, greener and friendlier than I expected). Now that I’ve experienced it in person, I have to echo, ‘YOU MUST GO TO NEW YORK’.

Instead of a list of the best places to see like a jillion tourist sites out there, I’d like to share some meditations on New York because it’s true that travel shows you who you are and where you want to be in life; that adventure makes you grow and bonds you with those you travel with; that as you look back on the years you’ll remember things you DID, not things you BOUGHT. Adventure enriches our lives and that’s why I made “every day, adventure” my motto this year.

1. New York can make you feel a little worldlier and grounded at the same time. Worldlier in all the big learning experiences: from seeing dinosaur bones to medieval spears to European sculptures to a Sphinx to Van Gogh. New York has something for you to think about and feel. We visited the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art – both highly recommended, but don’t try to see them both in one day. Grounded in that you see what a speck you are in the grand scheme of things. NY knocks you down and lifts you up at the same time. It’s trippy. It says, “you are one of many” but it also says, “look at what’s out there for you. Anything is possible.”  It fills you up and yet leaves you wanting more.

Skyline view at sunset from Ink 48. Gorgeous.
Skyline view at sunset from Ink 48. Gorgeous.
Yes, ask the waiter to take your picture. With my love at Bull & Bear Prime Steakhouse before Broadway.
Yes, ask the waiter to take your picture. With my love at Bull & Bear Prime Steakhouse before Broadway.

2. Explore with all five senses. Make that six. The city itself is one large canvas painted with a million hands. You and I could have completely different tastes and both find things to love about this creative city that houses priceless art and artifacts going back thousands of years, towers teeming above us and the bustle of the subway below. Get the most of the experience (any experience) by staying fully in the moment and taking it in with as many senses as you can. Hear the birds in Central Park. Touch the tomb inscriptions. Smell the wine and food to enjoy it even more. See the little things – the signs and architectural details. Lastly, feel the energy of the spaces. What does the energy of  Broadway and Times Square feel like in contrast to walking through the hotel or museum or park? You are walking in historical spaces and making your own history at the same time.

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@ The Met: Sphinx of Hatshepsut Period: New Kingdom Dynasty: Dynasty 18 Reign: Joint reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III Date: ca. 1479–1458 B.C. Geography: From Egypt, Upper Egypt; Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Senenmut Quarry, MMA excavations, 1926–28
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@ The Met: Who wants to joust?
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@ The Met: Vanderbilt’s fireplace. Proof women do the heavy lifting.
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@ The Met: Sarcophagus of Usermontu Date: ca. 1279–1213 B.C.
I call tails.
I call tails. @ American Museum of Natural History
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Exterior of the Met
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I couldn’t get enough of the ceilings at the Walforf Astoria NYC. “The second Waldorf-Astoria hotel opened in its current location on Park Avenue on October 1, 1931, as the tallest and largest hotel in the world.”
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Flat Iron building, as seen from the Empire State building observatory. Nice use of space, huh? “The Flatiron Building, originally the Fuller Building, is located at 175 Fifth Avenue in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, and is considered to be a groundbreaking skyscraper. Wikipedia Address: 175 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010 Floors: 22 Opened: 1902 Style: Renaissance”
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Art deco lights in a bar in Waldorf Astoria. Love.
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Grand Central Terminal is absolutely a must to see in person. You get an idea of scale here, but it definitely lives up to its name. A timeless classic in Beaux-Arts style.
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“The Cathedral of St. Patrick is a decorated Neo-Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral church in the United States and a prominent landmark of New York City. Wikipedia Address: 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022 Opened: May 29, 1879”
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Architectural style: Beaux Arts Built: 1897–1911 Architect: Carrère and Hastings Location: Fifth Avenue & 42nd Street
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Love the mix of old and new and the blue skies help.
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Most elegant lobby ever. “The Waldorf Astoria Clock was executed by the Goldsmith Company of London for exhibition at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. It was purchased by the Waldorf Astoria and was the focal point outside the Rose Room of the original hotel at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. This clock weighs approximately two tons and stands nine feet tall. Around the eight sides of the base are likenesses of Cleveland, Harrison, Washington, Grant, Lincoln, Franklin, Jackson, and Queen Victoria. Under these are bronze plaques depicting various sports and scenes. Westminster chimes ring on the quarter hour.”
Desserts from Waldorf Astoria's famed brunch. I tried them all.
Desserts from Waldorf Astoria’s famed brunch. I tried them all.

3. Let yourself go and live in wonder. All too often we vacation based on a to-do list and stick to a regimented calendar. We, too, had a big list of places to visit as you see from the pictures, but mentally give yourself permission (and encourage yourself) to try new things and “go with the flow” sometimes. Go off the beaten path. Order shellfish if you ordinarily wouldn’t. Be like a kid and let yourself be amazed at what’s in front of you. For me, living without wonder isn’t really living and NYC is full of wonder.

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Inside the Park is a courtyard restaurant across from Waldforf. Loved this flower peeking its head through the railing.
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Sunshine and smiles in Bryant Park. The Moroccan lamb kabobs at Bryant Park grill were amazing. “Bryant Park is a 9.603-acre privately managed public park located in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is located between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and between 40th and 42nd Streets in Midtown Manhattan”
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Cityscape view from Central Park.
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Another beauty from Central Park.

4. Connect the past to the present and connect with each other. Travel gives us the opportunity to connect with something old and new and helps us make sense of the present. We learn more about ourselves. A shift happens. From the plane ride to the wait times in line to the actual big ticket events, it’s an opportunity to learn more about each other and truly listen. Be giving with each other and you’ll all be rewarded. Adventure is a natural bonding experience, but it still requires staying in tune and getting out of our heads to enjoy the moment and each other. New York has all the right ingredients for big adventure and bonding. You just have to do it.

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One of the “highs” of our relationship so far. Empire State Building observation deck.
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Also ended our trip on a high note with this amazing view from Ink 48.

What’s on your summer adventure list? Who would you like to go with? How can you make it happen?

Happy Summer, readers!

For a video (with no sound) of my trip:

Book news:

New cover reveal for Dating da Vinci since I got my rights back from the publisher. I love it and can’t wait to share it with readers in June. Launch date coming soon. I’m also working on a non-fiction book I hope to share with you later this summer.

xo,

Malena

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