TRAVEL GUIDE: HOW TO HAVE FUN IN NYC FOR A WEEK! Tuesday 08 September, 2015

Ready to visit the city of lights? The town that never sleeps? There is a plethora of things to do in NYC, but what if you only had one week. In this little mini tour guide I will show you how I had a fun week in NYC and exploring many of the boroughs by going to the attractions, dining, sight-seeing, shopping and more!

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I am here to share with you all another travel post that I experienced with The Travel Divas! As you all know I am one of the blogger ambassadors and they have been keeping me quite busy this summer…and more to go! My next travel trip experience with them was in NYC! It was a 4 day New York City tour across the city! Now I am not sure if you all know, but I am originally from New York, born but not raise. I have a lot of family up there and of course I visited several times since leaving the Big Apple as a little girl, but this NYC opened my eyes to different parts of New York I never got a chance to experience. So even thought I am an original New York, I am happy to have went with The Travel Divas and gone for a tourist point of view! Lost of fun!! So check out my day-by-play recap of my experience. Also this was supposed to be a blog broken down into days…but change of plans so just a heads up this is Photo Heavy!

*FYI this post is delayed due to my laptop being stolen a few weeks ago. My memory card with all of my NYC photos were on there – so many of these pictures came from my handy dandy iphone. Thank God for technology as my photography back up. This trip was from the end of July*

Day 1 | Road to NYC and Jersey Mingle

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The charter bus ride from ATL to NYC with some travel divas

So this trip was another travel bus trip similar to New Orleans, except it was an 18 hour drive! Yes I know it sounds lenghty but it wasn’t bad! We left really early in the morning (when it was still dark) and slept majority of the ride. The ride did have entertainment such as plenty of movies and we did play some ice breaker games. On every travel bus its very interactive where we travel to have fun, get the travel divas to have some fun and pass the time before we get to each designation! Nikka + I made sure to play some fun social game and NYC trivia so they can win exclusive travel diva prizes! Now half of the divas drove up with us to NYC…we had many out-of-town Travel Divas that flew into NYC. So just if you need reassurance that Travel Divas are all over…they are! You can travel with us from any state…and the rest of the ladies met us in New Jersey!

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Nikka (Oh Nikka!) + I travel diva blogger ambassadors touching down in NYC! We made it!

We got to New Jersey (where our hotel was) in the afternoon. On this trip all of our hotels were booked in New Jersey (45mins outside of the city), but it was cool because we had our charter bus to take us to all of our locations. This charter bus was not only our rides, but it was our NYC travel tour and stops for fun. We did hang out a little in NJ – and then got rested up for the next day. Our next day was gonna be a busy one!

 

Day 2 | Chinatown + 9/11 Memorial + Time Square

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So day two was a jam packed day of excitement!So we got up early to make our way through NYC and that in itself was a little mini tour. We had a great driver that was very knowledgable of New York and even some history, so before we made it to our first stop, during the ride he did give us mini commentaries on what we saw. We also gave each guest a travel diva goodie bag! This is a signature of The Travel Diva experience, that no trip is complete without a Travel Diva bag of goodies! Each trip and bag is always different!

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Nikka + I ready to get our blogger social media on in NYC!

GO TO CANAL STREET

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So first stop was on Canal St & Broadway to make our way into Chinatown! Again as I told you, I am originally from NYC but I never been to the famous Chinatown so I was super excited! Taking a picture next to a subway station is such a New York tourist-y thing to do!

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Welcome to Chinatown

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So in case you didn’t know Chinatown is very famous for there Asian inspired marketplace! Literally you felt like you were in China instead of New York, the culture infiltrated this area instantly and I loved it! There was so many place to buy any and everything from clothes, scarves, NYC souvenirs, and even designer things! There was even authentic food marketplaces on the street where you can purchase fresh fruit, vegetable and even items that’s hard to come by in your local grocery store that came from Asia to be sold. It reminded me of the era where people would go shopping outside verses a “store” so again a very authentic feel on how it might be to shop in China! While you walk down the street, trust me they can smell a tourist and you will have several sales(wo)men haggling you down the street trying to sell you a Michael Kors bags or Tiffany bracelet. I declined…sorry it was probably most likely fake but hey they did look very real with extremely good bargains. Someone told me they were able to get 2 MK bags for $80! Yeah that’s unheard of…but I did buy some Chinese chopsticks and other little things on the street. Remember everything is negotiable!

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Wo Hop restaurant located in Chinatown (NYC)

It was lunchtime and Nikka already had the placed picked out beforehand. She did a good job because this place was amazing! We almost didn’t find it because it’s actually a hidden gem and you have to go downstairs to a lower level to gain entrance! When I tell you this place was amazing…its AMAZING! Nikka and I actually made some friends with some travel divas who came together and welcomed them to join us since we were all experiencing this for the first time! We all ordered different shrimp dishes, and all of our portions were so much that we all just started sharing family style! This was very authentic chinese food and we good our money’s worth and then some. I hate to say but eating Chinese food in Atlanta will never compare to this ever…I was definitely deprived when I got home! Very affordable and filling! We were so happy with the service of course we tipped and even chatted with some of the owners & chefs before leaving. I guess we were so friendly and tourist-y that before we left they gave all four of us a Wo Hop gift! It was a pink tin water bottle! Um…best restaurant ever! They have my customer service loyalty I will be coming back to Chinatown just for that gesture and amazing food. Can’t keep praising this place enough!

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Parting gifts from Wo Hop!

VISIT THE 9/11 MEMORIAL

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Our next stop after Chinatown…we definitely all had to go to Ground Zero aka 911 Memorial. I was going to high school in Atlanta when the twin towers hit 14 years ago, but I did have close family that lived near and worked near the area that was affected. I think many of us Americans were and still are affected by the nation’s largest tragedy.  I’ve never been and I was ready to finally see what it looked like after the fact.

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Saying a silent prayer and showing my respects at the 9/11 memorial fountain

They did end up turning the area into a big tribute fountain, with all of the names of the people who passed tragically from this event. The fountain was beautiful…but I had to remember what really happened 14 years ago in this spot. There was so many people taking pictures and selfie sticks everywhere to capture the moment, but I had to sit and reflect on what happened to the thousands of people who lost their lives and how the rest of the country was affected afterwards. America was never the same…and although we are slowly still trying to recover from this terroristic attack on our nation – we will always remember. I will never forget where I was and how I saw the second plane hit live on national television as teenager…and I am sure the people who survived and the family members of those heavily affected will never forget.  i said a small prayer while I was here to show my respects of those who lost their lives.

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At the 9/11 memorial you can give a small donation to receive a bracelet as a token of your visit

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There is an actual museum you can visit to learn more about the tragic events of 9/11, the history and even some stories from survivors and families affect by this. I didn’t have time…but the next time I visit I would love to!

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Eating the famous NYC Mr.Softee Cone!

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What you are looking at is one of the best ice creams from one of the best ice cream trucks in the world! I made it a mission that I would not leave NYC without a Mr.Softee. I remember eating these as kid when I would visit New York often and there are definitely not any in Atlanta. It’s something about Mr.Softee that makes them special…soft served fresh ice cream with many different variations of toppings and flavors! I got a two-faced which is half rainbow sprinkles and half chocolate sprinkles! Eating this makes me sad that I grew up into an adult…just kidding I am a big kid forever so this just reminded me how youthful I am! I will always make myself available for a Mr.Softee when I go to New York!

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Being a tourist taking a picture in front of the biggest Macy’s store in the world. I am sure this is the area the Thanksgiving Macy’s Day parade takes place!

VISIT THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING

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One of the many views of New York City from the Empire State Building. ::Cue Alicia Keys + Jay-Z ‘Empire State of Mind’:: Serious that song is permanently the tourist theme song of NYC (actually New Yorkers are sick of it). I was literally in an Empire State of Mind once I got to the top.

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I was punking out so bad before we got to the top! When I finally got up here I was good! Actually loved the 360 view!

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Nikka, Tut,Kisha and I made it to the top! We were screaming (well not literally) our heads off first because of the long elevator ride to the top. It took two elevators to get to the Empire State Building! Once up at the top…we were in awe of the beautiful view of the city. I will say this once more…I was born in NYC, visited several times – but never ever been to the Empire State Building. My parents have lived in NYC for majority of their lives and they told me they have never been either. It was a must-do if I was going to go ahead and do the whole New York tourist thing. So worth it to see the 360 view of the city. So many skyscrapers…this is literally the best view of the city!

VISIT TIMES SQUARE

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Back to the heart of Time Square! I have been here several times…so this wasn’t new to me but I did speak into existence that one day one my bucketlist I would love to be on a big jumbo screen! Well… travel-divas-nyc-tour-kiwi-the-beauty-blog-24

We walked around Time Square some more…and we ended up working up an appetite. We went to BBQs – a very popular restaurant in Time Square on 42nd Street. I’ve been here several times so I suggested this option to the ladies. Time Square is full of other commercialized restaurant options you probably have in your own city, so BBQs was definitely a good choice outside the norm! Im drinking a bulldog -CHEERS!

 

Day 3 | Hudson River Cruise + Coney Island + Junior’s

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The next day was the Hudson River Tour. This was arranged exclusively by the Travel Divas and came with all the ladies travel package who booked with the agency! This was another awesome experience because this 3 hour cruise ride took us through all of the boroughs of NYC with a detailed tour guide for an informative view and history of the Big Apple!

GO ON THE HUDSON RIVER BOAT TOUR OF NYC

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Fun NYC Fact: Did you know there are 20 different bridges in New York? Learned during the Hudson river tour and this bridge was 1 of all 20 bridges we went under!

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I found Lady Liberty isn’t she pretty. I think I’ve been there as a little girl but I would love to visit her…but next NYC trip!

VISIT CONEY ISLAND

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So many photo ops at Coney Island! OMG this is the ultimate fair park experience! Once again…of all the times I visited New York I don’t remeber going to Coney Island. Coney Island is in Brooklyn and it’s a legit park and also a beach. I loved it immediately upon arrival! So much to do…as you can see I found so much art and locations to do a photo shoot! I promised if I lived here I would do so many professional photos shoots. There are walls of painted artwork from real artists in the city and backdrops! Besides the artwork, of course there were rides. Did I ride any of them? Negative! Nope…nope…wasn’t in the mood and neither was Nikka so we agreed to just do other fun things and skip the rides. We were scary I know lol.

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Coney Island was filled with fair food and these dollar slushies were one of them! Yum!

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I’ve heard of Nathan’s hot dogs but never knew there was a full chain restaurant & had other food option. This was a delicious Lobster sandwich!

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This is another one of my Coney Island photo ops. As you can see the park is behind me and I am in the sand. I am near the beach area. I was shocked on how nice the actual beach was!

GET A CHEESECAKE AT JUNIORS

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So our final trip of the day was at Juniors Restaurant! This is also located in Brooklyn and it’s very well known for their cheesecakes! Ask me have I ever been? Have I? No!!!! But I do remember this place best from Diddy’s MTV Making The Band’s most infamous episode for having Da Band (yes that’s the name Diddy came up with back then) walk a 3-hour foot walk to this place to pick P.Diddy up some cheesecake. That was reality tv at it’s finest 10 years ago…the good old days before everything became scripted…but yes if you remember this was the place! We took a huge group picture, some of us actually ate inside (as it’s an actual restaurant too) and of course I got cheesecake! I got the red velvet it was delish!

Day 4 | Harlem + Apollo Theater + Cotton Club

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Our last and final day in New York we toured Harlem! Harlem if you don’t know is actually an evolving city, and what I learned from the Hudson River Tour the city will be contributing 6 BILLION (yes you heard that right) on construction to rebuild Harlem and make it more modern and well…more hipster-like and city friendly. Let me tell you some real about NYC, yes it’s a tourist-y place, city of dream but the city is real! There are projects and very urban lifestyle living various parts of New York throughout the different boroughs, but Harlem is getting the King treatment. Slowly but steadily the urban place will be modernized an a place for hipster-like people to live and shop – and soon the urban feel will be diminished. Well visiting the Malcom Shabazz (aka Malcolm X) Harlem Market will be here to stay I hope as it give you a taste of Africa and culture shopping. My dad would fall in love with this place with all the African electic pieces of dashkis, paintings, clothing, shea butter, accessories, African statues, instruments and more! I got my dad some congo drums and myself some earrings!

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Scored some cute earrings as seen here!

I got myself some earrings (actually two pair) from the Market. Similar to the Chinatown Market everything can be negotiated! I sure did negotiate for these earrings! Just word of advice in New York period…try not to pay full price for anything to shop for! Make deals and get some steals! Take advantage of the city of hustle and bussle!

VISIT THE FAMOUS APOLLO THEATER

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Next stop now too far was the famous Apollo Theater! Yes many of your favorite singers past and present got their claim to fame here! All of the travel divas were excited to take pictures here…we didn’t get to see an actual show here but fun nonetheless! This is the place that used to make or break your singing career! You either got a standing ovation or serious BOO from the entire audience. The audience was the ultimate judge…and New Yorkers are as real as they come!

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We all rubbed the Apollo tree stump! You have to rub the stump for good luck! So many people have rubbed this very stump, right before they performed on stage for good luck. I rubbed extra hard…I want all the luck I can get lol!

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In between my stop in Harlem for a very short amount of period of time my family came and saw me! OMG this was amazing! Yes of course I was on this New York Tour on the behalf of the Travel Divas…but hey I do have family here. As much as I wanted to see all of my family (and I do have a lot) I was grateful to see them! They met me right off the bus for lunch..and it felt so good to be greeted by family! This is my Grandma Ma Howell, My Aunt Linda and Aunt Pat with my Uncle Mike! They all lived nearby in Harlem so it was perfect to spend a bit of time with them. It’s nothing like family…I wish I could of spent more time but I couldn’t…I was on a limited schedule on this press trip.

EAT AT RED ROOSTER

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Nikka and I went to lunch at this cute little hipster restaurant called Red Rooster. From what my Aunt Pat told me this is Obama’s favorite place to eat when he visits Harlem, and was also told he will be moving to this area once he is out of the White House. Obama was also in Time Square on the same day we were in Time Square, too bad we didn’t get a real glimpse of him. Anyway this restaurant was super modern and definitely gave some character to the urban area. I had chicken and waffles (my food pictures were on my memory card ::Sad Face::). This was a great eatery!

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After lunch, all of the travel divas went back to our hotels to rest and freshen up for our last outing! We all got dressed up to go to the well known Cotton Club! Now if you look at everyone’s attire, they all got dressed in 20s themed upscale attire. All of the divas (and the divo) looked fabulous! Looking classy for our last night on the town!

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I had to showcase this jazzy lady! She was dressed proper from head to toe! All the details and embellishment she wore really embodied a true essence of a 20s flapper woman! We did have a contest later on in the night and of course this young lady won!

GET JAZZY AT THE COTTON CLUB

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This is me at the Cotton Club look very non-traditional flapper girl. Ummm let me tell you all I did not get the former memo that this place was themed to the 20s era until after the fact. Shame on me, I know…but just think of me as a modern flapper girl! I just brought some color to the place that’s all lol!

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The Cotton Club is a very historical nightlife club that was uber popular in the 20s and 30s. This is where popular stars and singers would come and perform for the upscale and very affluent customers who came here. So this isn’t  a modern nightclub experience we actual felt like we went back in time.

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The Cotton Club was mostly a private event shut down just for us Travel Divas. The creator of the Travel Divas wanted our last night to be an exclusive experiences of old school Harlem Renaissance nightlife, rhythm & blues, jazz and great energy. We had two performers who both gave us a great live vocal performance equip with a jazz band. We had a Billie Holiday sound-a-like with her sultry voice, and we had this smooth and slick singing guy who clearly still singing to all the ladies. What a charmer!

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Besides the live performances, the absolute best thing about our exclusive outing was our catered meal! This was literally the best meal I had in New York City. Who grandmother was in the kitchen and made us this delicious meal? I don’t have all the photos but it was a wide range of everything you can think of, it was like Thanksgiving came early! The Travel Divas were definitely stuffed and then some. The food was simply amazing and made with pure love!

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We all left the Cotton Club with a feel of what New York must of been like back in that era. This was a true experience, and if anyone wants to have a themed catered place in the city with live music and delicious food this is the place!

Day 5 | The Road Back to Atlanta

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After a great few day my face to get ready for the 18 hour ride back to Atlanta.

Overall I had a really good time in my birthplace of NYC! So many places I never got a chance to visit so it was extra fun for me. New York is such a huge city and every time I go I always get a chance to explore something new. Thanks Travel Divas for having me again as your blogger ambassador. I had fun with the travel divas for the New York Trip. So many more trips to go before the end of the year. I get this question a lot…how can I be a travel diva? We are not a secret society or sorority so if you book a trip with Travel Divas you automatically become a DIVA!! Did you enjoy my NYC trip? Check out the Travel Divas schedule for the rest of our travels for the year and 2016 and book at trip to be a diva with me here.

Look out for the next trip post (which is Las Vegas)!

This trip to New York City + Tour including agency activities was sponsored by The Travel Divas, as I am the official blogger brand ambassador for the agency. All opinions and statements are my own.

Have you ever been to the Big Apple? Were you Inspired to visit any place in NYC?

 

About the Blogger - Kiwi the Beauty


I am a not so typical, unstereotypical 20something year old lady who is trying to make my mark on this planet. This blog has many aspect through my visual perspective through photos, words & wittiness. I am highly creative, I love to socialize, and also a social media butterfly. I don’t follow trends, I create them.


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