New York is the place I truly call home, but because of life, I can only visit for a few days at a time… maybe a week and a half if I’m lucky. Earlier this summer, I decided to stop in New York City for a couple of days before and after my family trip to Trinidad to spend time with my nieces and nephew and to spend time in the city I love most. I decided to put together a little weekend guide for anyone else who might have just seventy-two hours to spare in the greatest city in the world.
Day One: 230 Fifth Ave
On my first day in the city, I didn’t do much. I wanted to spend the first half of the day with my family, so I decided to go with my friend Rheesa to 230 Fifth Ave, one of the city’s most popular rooftop bars. The bar is bound to be crowded because of the amazing views, so if you’re visiting the city I highly recommend going at night to see the Empire State Building. If you’re a local, you know there are way better rooftop bars out there. The drinks aren’t anything amazing, but they are pretty reasonably priced, and summer nights in New York City are my absolute favorite, weather-wise.
Depending on where you’re staying in the city, you could easily fill the morning and afternoon of your first day with exploring your surroundings and finding out what the good local coffee and food spots are.
To our surprise, none of the food carts that were open on our way to 230 Fifth Ave were open an hour and a half later, so we decided to look up a nearby Asian restaurant on the Maps app that was still open. We ended up at Thai Villa and it didn’t disappoint! The decor, food, and drinks were so good!
Day Two: Dream Machine and SoHo
Interactive experiences have officially taken over, with Dream Machine being one of New York’s newest offerings. One of the most beautiful things about the city is that there’s always something going on if you know where to look. Dream Machine is actually in Brooklyn, which is a great place to spend the first half of the day. Although I was graciously provided entry to Dream Machine for media coverage, I think it’s fully worth the $38 price tag. The experience is open from Thursday to Sunday and has been extended until September 9th.
A lot of these new interactive experiences are glorified Instagram playgrounds, but I can honestly say I had fun at Dream Machine. The rooms were all dreamscapes, and the employees were awesome! I could definitely tell that everyone takes pride in working there and making sure that it’s a fun experience for all. The laundromat room has cotton candy which is definitely a bonus and makes for a fun photo prop even if you’re not a fan of the sweet treat.
After exploring the neighborhood, Rheesa and I set off to SoHo. SoHo is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Manhattan. It’s somehow still less crowded (in this day and age of Instagram) than midtown, and there’s an aesthetically pleasing surprise around every corner. We decided to check out Pietro Nolita, which is one of the pink places you’ve probably seen all over the ‘gram. Rheesa and I decided to eat lunch there, but unfortunately, it did not live up to the hype. The cafe is tiny and you feel like you’re being rushed to do everything to free up a table for the next set of customers due to the demand. I’m all about respecting the hustle, but the food was not that great to be whisked in and out the way we were. Consider it a ‘pictures only‘ spot.
After spending most of the day on our feet in the sweltering heat, and almost collapsing inside the Glossier Showroom, Rheesa and I decided to call it a day. I ended up spending the evening with my family 🙂
Day Three: Brunch at Jack’s Wife Freda and PopSugar Playground
On my last day in New York City, Rheesa and I decided to consult Yelp before choosing a place to eat. We stumbled across Jack’s Wife Freda on our SoHo adventure on the previous day, so I decided to look it up on Yelp to see if it was any good. UM, YES! I had the Mediterranean Breakfast and it was just the right amount of food to keep me full for most of the day without feeling sick. There was a growing line outside as we left, and I definitely think it’s worth waiting in line for.
My main plan for the day was to attend POPSUGAR PLAY/GROUND to see my hero Mindy Kaling, so I bought tickets in advance with my friends and one of my cousins. Like I mentioned earlier, there’s no shortage of events in the city- you just need to seek them out. Being the Instagrammers that we are, Rheesa and I briefly stopped by the Sézane storefront in SoHo to take the floral display pictures I’ve been dreaming of since seeing them pop up all over London storefronts. Since I’m not going to London anytime soon, I had to seize the opportunity, right?
A few pictures and it was off to Pier 94 for POPSUGAR Play/Ground. I wish I could have attended the entire weekend because there were so many amazing makeup brands like Huda Beauty and clothing brands such as Victoria’s Secret there. Tiffany Haddish was also there the second day and I would have loved to see her speak! I tuned into Mindy’s talk on her upbringing as the “smart girl” and being able to empower herself to become the South Asian American powerhouse she is at a time when women in her industry had a hard time being taken seriously, let alone a WOC. I also caught a glimpse of another woman I admire, Tomi Adeyemi, author of Children of Blood and Bones and tuned into Kate Hudson’s talk. Unfortunately, I had to cut my day short and head to the airport, but Mindy Kaling’s conversation with Elaine Welteroth, former editor of Teen Vogue (who is also a total powerhouse), is one I will remember for a long, long time.
So, the tl;dr version of what to do with 72 hours in New York City is… search any food place you’re considering going to on Yelp first, skip the go-to tourist attractions if you’re old enough to drink, and look into any events and interactive experiences that are happening while you’re there! The city is so enriching if you plan well.
Any questions? Feel free to leave a comment below! Thank you for reading!