Wednesday, January 18, 2023

2022 New York City Trip - Days 3 & 4

Hey, y’all!  I’m back today to recap days 3 and 4 of our trip to New York City last month.  If you missed days 1 and 2, you can see them here and here.

Monday, December 12

Monday morning, we were up at 7:15 to get ready for our last full day in the city.  We had breakfast at the hotel again, and then we made the walk to One Vanderbilt… a new skyscraper in the city that just opened at the end of 2020.  They have an observation deck like no other, so B and I decided it would be fun to check it out.  We considered taking the kids to Top of the Rock or to the Empire State Building since those are classics, but we thought it would be even more fun to do something none of us has ever done before… B and I have already done the other two!

Anyway, Summit One Vanderbilt takes you 1,100 feet above Manhattan but it’s much more unique than the other observation decks in the city.  Summit is comprised of several different rooms spanning the 91st through 93rd floors, and MAN, IS IT AWESOME, y’all.

Upon entering the building, they give you booties to wear over your shoes because all of the floors are made of mirrors and glass, and the booties prevent you from scratching them.  Once we had our booties on, we were put into elevators for the surprisingly short ride up to the 91st floor.

When you get off of the elevator and round the corner, all I can say is




Y’all, the views from up there are incredible.  Soooo much better than the views from Top of the Rock and the Empire State building.  See the Empire State Building down there?  That’s right, One Vanderbilt is taller!

Also, the first room is made up all glass and mirrors and it’s just nuts, because you have no clue if you’re looking at a reflection or a window sometimes.  Haha.  We originally assumed the ceiling in that first room was all mirrors, but when we got to the 92nd floor, surprise!  You can look back down into that room from up above.  Haha.  Crazy.

We spent a long time in that room looking at the view, taking pictures, and just soaking it all in.  It was just amazing. 

Side note, we booked our tickets for mid-morning, and I’m soooo glad we did, because we were able to be in that room before the sun rose too high in the sky to obstruct the view.  Just as we were leaving that room, the sun was starting to get higher in the sky and it was shining in that room so brightly that you could barely open your eyes.  They do give everyone sunglasses before the elevator ride up, because all of those mirrors + the sun makes for some crazy lighting. 

Another thing I was grateful for?  That it was finally sunny and clear on Monday!!  We had yucky weather for the first two days of the trip, so it couldn’t have worked out better.  B and I waited to book the tickets until the night before we left, and we knew Monday would be our best bet weather-wise, so we chose that day to do it so we could hopefully have decent visibility, and it worked out perfectly. 

I mean, just look at those views!  Can you even?!

It was truly breathtaking.  I could have stayed in there all day.  And we did stay in there for quite a while!

Moving along to the next room, they had some artwork and a miniature version of the building.  Olivia asked to take a picture with it.  Haha.

After that, we snuck back into the first room again because I wanted to grab just a couple more pictures.  Seriously wanted to stay there forever.

Once our pictures were taken, we moved on to the third room, and this one was, by far, the kids’ favorite.  It’s yet another room made of glass and mirrors with sweeping views of the city, but this room contains…

Hundreds of silver floating/bouncing balls. 

If this isn’t the most Instagrammable room in all of New York City!  Haha.

The “balls” are actually just really sturdy balloons (and yes, several popped while we were in there), so you can bounce them all around.  The room was FULL OF THEM.  We ended up staying in there forever and I thought we were going to have to drag the kiddos out of there.  They thought it was the absolute coolest thing ever.  If you have kiddos, we cannot recommend One Vanderbilt enough, y’all!  Jacob said it was his favorite thing that we did on the whole trip!  And it was second for Olivia… she loved seeing The Rockettes the most.  ;o)

Moving along, we made it to the room with the glass pods that jut out off the side of the building.  EEK!  They have glass walls, glass ceilings, and glass floors, and it’s just crazy.

The line for the pods was fairly long and the sign said the wait was about 30 minutes.  Olivia didn’t want to wait, but I told her I wasn’t going to miss that, and I made us wait anyway.  Haha.

Thankfully, the line went fast, and I’d say we only waited about 10-15 minutes, maybe?  They limit each family to two minutes (if I remember correctly?), so the line moves fast. 

Olivia was terrified to step out onto the glass floor, but I told her she had to so we could get our family picture (they have professional photogs at that spot to get the souvenir shot).  Haha.  She was brave and did it, but the second they snapped the picture, she jumped right back off of there.  Haha.

Then Jacob and I took turns getting our pictures taken on it.  Olivia really wanted her picture taken on it, but she wouldn’t step out on the glass floor again, so B snapped this picture to make it look like she was.  Haha.

Moving into the next room, they had a massive screen with an interactive movie of clouds to make it look like you were flying, and that was fun.  I got some cool videos of the kiddos doing that.

The next portion was a little café where you could buy snacks and drinks, and then we were able to step outside onto the roof.  MAN, WAS IT FREEZING UP THERE, Y’ALL.  There was nobody out there, and we only stayed out there long enough to get a few pictures. 

And apparently, it did snow in New York City at some point that previous day, because we saw the proof on the roof! 

The roof is the last portion of the tour (unless you pay more to ride the glass elevator on the side of the building, which we didn’t – no regrets), so we made our way back to the elevators to go down.  The line to get on looked long, but it was fast – 5 minutes, maybe? – and then we were on our way back down to the ground.  The elevators are all glass and mirrors, too, and they do strobe lights in there, so it is wild.  Haha.

Once we were back on the ground, we decided to head next door to Grand Central Station so the kiddos could see it.  We were also approaching lunchtime, so we made our way to the lunch hall in there and we had Shake Shack for lunch.  I’d never had it before, and honestly, I wasn’t that impressed.  It’s no Five Guys!  Or In N Out.  Haha.

After lunch, we walked to Winter Village in Bryant Park to check it out as none of us had ever been there, and we did some browsing, and we watched the ice skaters for a bit before calling an Uber to take us to our Statue of Liberty cruise.

Y’all, the place where we were to board our boat was not marked clearly at all, so our Uber driver ended up not having a clue exactly where to drop us.  I thought for sure we were going to miss the tour, but thankfully, Brian realized that we were in the right place… we just had to walk around to the other side of the big warehouse building that we were standing in front of.  It looked absolutely deserted, though, and there was zero signage.  Haha.

Sure enough, when we rounded the corner, we saw the boat and the line of people waiting to board.  Whew.

I love a little boat, y’all, but I DESPISE a cruise ship, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect for this medium-sized boat.  We’d been on a cruise in New York City harbor before (back in 2008 for a concert – yes, a concert on a boat!), but it had been so long I wasn’t sure how I’d do.  I was also worried about Olivia because she gets car sick sometimes. 

When we first boarded, I was freaking out internally because the boat was rocking crazily, but once we got up to the deck and the cold, fresh air was back on us, I was fine the rest of the time.  And Olivia never had any issues either, thank goodness.

It was freeeezing on that cruise, y’all, but it was a really neat experience.  The cruise took us under the Brooklyn Bridge and all the way over to the Statue of Liberty, and then back and we were able to get pictures and all that.  The boat itself was fully equipped with a bar and a bathroom and music, too, so there were refreshments (and alcohol – which I would have gotten had my anxiety spun out of control from being on a boat – LOL) and it was pretty festive. 

We ended up staying out on the deck the whole way over, and then after we left the Statue of Liberty, we went inside seeking heat for the rest of the ride back.  On the way back inside, Santa Claus came to visit, so the kiddos took pictures with him.

While we were on the ride back, my MIL sent me this picture of Maui with an update saying that she was doing well.  Before we left, it had been soooo warm at home, but it turned cold while we were gone, so my MIL went out and bought her a sweater.  Hahahaha.  #SPOILEDROTTEN

After the cruise was over, we were literally down by the docks in the middle of nowhere, so we called another Uber to come get us and take us to Central Park since the kids still hadn’t seen it at that point.

The Uber ride was long, and by the time we got there, it was dusk.  Central Park at dusk is just stunning, though, y’all.  I had only been there during the day prior to that, and I think Central Park at dusk is my favorite.

We showed the kids the famous bridge that’s in all of the movies, and then we took them to Wollman Rink so they could see the iconic shot from Serendipity, too.  We didn’t stay long, though, because it was freezing and dark and we had a long walk back to Times Square. 

We had hoped to eat at Carmines that evening, so we made our way there, but they informed us that they were only accepting reservations that evening, so that was a bummer.

We ended up walking to Tony’s Di Napoli after that, and they informed us that there was a 45-minute wait there, too. 

We left our name on the list there and walked to John’s Pizzeria (a place B and I had been before in 2012), and thankfully, they were able to get us right in, so we canceled our listing for Tony’s.

At that point, it was only around 6 PM, but it felt like it was 10, so Olivia curled up in the booth with her jacket over her face and she napped while we were waiting for our food.  Haha.

We had garlic knots and pizza and beers, and Jacob had spaghetti and meatballs, and the meal was just delicious. 

The whole time we were sitting there, this guy sitting behind us kept resting his elbow up on the booth and bumping Jacob in the head, and he had no clue he was doing it.  Lol.  So, we took this picture with the kids’ disapproving faces.  Hahahaha.  The older these kids get, the more fun they are!  I miss having tiny babies, but man, are kiddos fun when they start understanding sarcasm and being sarcastic themselves.  Haha.

It was only 7 PM when we were done, but we were all exhausted, so we made our way back to the hotel to get showered and packed and in bed early since we had an early flight.


Tuesday, December 13

Tuesday morning, we were up suuuuper early to eat a quick breakfast in the hotel before catching another Uber to the airport.  We had flown into JFK for our flight to NYC, but we flew out of LaGuardia back to ATL.  And let me just say… LaGuardia is waaaay nicer!  They have definitely upgraded since we were last there!

Everything went smoothly on the drive there and there was zero traffic since it was early in the morning.  We loved our Uber driver, too.  He had such a kind and gentle spirit.  And we were able to enjoy a gorgeous sunrise on the drive there, too.  It was such a peaceful ride. 

The kiddos were great in the airport and on the flight back home.  Olivia sat by the window this time, and both of them flew like old pros.  In that last picture she's showing her new stuffy the view from up in the air.  <3

We did have to wait on the runway foreverrrr before finally taking off, though, and I started thinking something might be wrong.  I swear, we must’ve been like 40th in line for departure.  Haha.  Not even joking.

Once we arrived in ATL, we made our way back to our car, stopped by Chick-Fil-A to grab lunch to eat on the way home, and then we made it home mid-afternoon with just enough time to get unpacked and ready for school the next day!

And that was our wonderful, wonderful Christmas-y trip to New York City!  Always so very grateful for getting to do these special things with my faves.

Happy Wednesday, y’all! 


  1. I'm definitely adding One Vanderbilt to my list of places to visit next time!

  2. These recap posts from your trip are great! I've never been, it's on the bucket list for sure!

  3. Christmas time is a wonderful time to visit the city. I enjoy reading all of your posts about your visit to NYC. I hope you kids liked it too.

  4. Oh, your photos are gorgeous Lindsay! I must say, I cringed just scrolling through the ones with all the glass everywhere, haha. I think it would be stunning in person, but I would be so scared. I know it's totally safe, it's just all in my head, haha!

    Make Life Marvelous

    1. Thank you! And yes, I can totally see how it would be cringe-y. It's a unique place for sure and I'm sure there are people who wouldn't want to set foot in there if they were afraid of glass and mirrors and heights!

  5. SO much fun - love that you had views of the Empire State Building and the Freedom Tower. And good to hear about LGA, the last time I was there it was extremely outdated and dirty but I've been hearing great things about it's much needed renovations.

  6. Oh WOW! Summit One Vanderbilt looks SO cool! We went to NYC about 8 years ago, so it wasn't even there for us to see back then. I love Central Park and we did a carriage ride through it. We also did that boat ride to see the State of Liberty, etc. and it was during the summer and nice and warm! What a memorable trip!!!


  7. What an incredible time. I never went to NYC in December, but I booked it for february. I will definitely be going to One Vanderbilt. It looked so cool!

  8. What a perfect trip! Summit One Vanderbilt looks so neat (but I am with Olivia in that I would not have wanted to walk out on that glass floor!). Stuff like that gives me major vertigo feelings.


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