Once in a lifetime

I just spent 5 months working like a dog living for free in New York City!  Wait…what?!  It has been 5 months since I last posted, and that is because I have literally been busier than EVER.  DSCN0854

Unfortunately, I put blogging aside while I was in NY, so I don’t really have a lot to share.  Basically, here is what I did.  Every Sunday night, I packed work clothes in a suitcase (I got REALLY good at this), said goodbye to Brendan, and called a cab to take me to the airport.  I flew to NY on JetBlue every time, even though I had to go to JFK, because I LOVE the terminal at JFK!  Try it.  I stayed in hotels every week.  I had a budget, but I could basically stay anywhere I wanted as long as I could get to work on time in the morning.  The picture of me above is on the Brooklyn Bridge.  I worked in Brooklyn right at the base of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. 

My food was free up to $50 a day.  My hotel was free.  My subway pass, free.  Up to $40/week to spend on health and fitness, free.  Ummmm… need anything else?  So that was me… a West Coast girl transplanted to the East Coast and then spending 5 months exploring NYC for FREE!!!


Then on the weekends I could either fly home to see Brendan or use the money I would have spent to go to the airport and fly home to go somewhere else… OR… stay in NYC for FREEEEEEE…

So of course… Brendan had to get in on this weekend fun!DSCN0857

I got to explore so much of NY because I stayed at different hotels in different neighborhoods all the time.  My first week there, I cried because it was so dirty and scary and lonely.  My last week there, I cried because I had fallen in love with my favorite places in the city and I had a million new friends that I was saying bye to. 


I mean… a city famous for pizza, hot dogs, cupcakes, cookies, and huge parks full of runner…. what’s not to love?



It wasn’t all perfect.  I did work 55 hour minimum weeks the entire time. Including some weeks where I literally didn’t know I was in NY… 8:30am to 11pm = who the F cares… but I definitely fell in love with a city in a way I never thought possible… here are the basics for your next free trip to NY…

Favorite hotel: the W in Union Square for the great central location and huge cheery rooms.

Second favorite: The Sheraton on Canal Street for their great Club Lounge for Platinum members.  It is an outdoor terrace on the 21st floor with free breakfast and drinks.

Favorite restaurant: Dos Caminos on Houston for their seared tuna tacos and blood orange margaritas… I know this is a chain, but I fell in love with it so shove it.

Second Favorite: Westville in Chelsea for their fresh market sides.  You can order a HUGE plate of maple brussel sprouts, parmesan artichoke hearts, roasted zucchini, mozzarella and cherry tomatoes, and butternut squash for $14!!! In NYC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Favorite Workout: Soulcycle for the biggest grin I have ever had on my face for 45 minutes straight every week.  It is a dance club on a spinning bike, and I have never enjoyed myself more.  Plus, the instructor was AMAZING… go to soulcycle union square with Marvin before you die.  You must.

Second Favorite: Yoga to the People for their amazing culture.  I raved about this already when I went to the classes in Berkeley, but in NY it is something else.  They fill 3 floors of 50 people each for each class!  The donation-based part helps, too.

Favorite Subway Line: the Q!  It only stops like 3 times… ever.  If you want to go somewhere that isn’t on the Q… don’t go.  If you stay in a hotel on the Q line… amazing!!!

Second Favorite: Just take the Q.  Otherwise, look at the map… I guess.  You really can go anywhere in NY on the subway.  It just might take a little longer than it would on the Q.

Favorite Cupcake: Apple Cobbler cupcake from Crumbs. It is HUGE and there are fresh apples in there!  It is like apple pie and spice cake on crack… with frosting on top.

Second Favorite: this is cheating, but I choose the Banana pudding at Magnolia.  Apparently, people in NY have been tricking us tourists into just ordering cupcakes at Magnolia.  They’re amazing, but you really must try the banana pudding.  Homemade banana pudding, tons of fresh sliced bananas, and cubes of banana cake all in one!!

Favorite view: Brooklyn Heights Promenade for the view of the sunset behind the financial district.  I think this is the only way to fully appreciate how big those buildings are on that little island!  Check it out when the Freedom Tower is lit up red, white, and blue and you will be a patriotic American forever.

Second Favorite: It is perhaps a little more spectacular from Brooklyn Bridge Park, where you are closer to the water, so everything really looks HUGE.  Plus, the view of the bridges all lit up is amazing.  I’ll call this one a tie.  Either way, you need to get your butt over to Brooklyn.

This is making me tooooo sad.  I feel like I did SO MUCH, but there was still so much left to do, as well.  Of course, I could probably go on and on forever about my least favorites of NY…


One Comment on “Once in a lifetime”

  1. Alex says:

    Yea! You’re back! And… wow… Thanks for the awesome travel tips collection. So practical and so witty… See you soon!

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