Who knew there were TWO Broadways?!?!
WARNING: THERE ARE GOSSIP GIRL SPOILERS IN THIS POST.
Today I am going to tell you how we somehow ended up in the total opposite place of where we wanted to be. But first, you have to listen to the part of our day before our little adventure occured.
So our day started out as a stroll in the park (literally), Central Park that is. Central Park is so pretty and enormous! We started out on the West Side of the park and made our way to the middle of the park, slowly but surely. Okay, so what’s the deal with park maps? So there will be some little map stands selling maps for $2, but those are not the official park maps. The official park maps are free and can be found near the strawberry field, John Lennon Memorial. The $2 maps are a little bit confusing, but if you are unable to find the free maps they are better than having no map. In Central Park, we mostly walked around and just enjoyed the scenery. We did make our way to the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, the location of Chuck and Blair’s wedding in Gossip Girl. If you’re a huge Gossip Girl fan like me, you are probabaly interested in seeing many of the places the show was filmed. Sadly, I found out too late that there is an actual Gossip Girl tour here in New York! But it’s not too late for y’all. If you’re ever in New York you can take the 3 hour Gossip Girl Tour and see all your favorite locations from Chuck’s Hotel (Empire Hotel) to the Met Steps (look out for Blair and her minions) and much more.
After we saw the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, we walked over to the Cherry Hill Fountain. On the $2 map, it is labeled as the FRIENDS fountain (from the theme song) and a lot of people will tell you that is the real fountain. We even thought it was the real fountain and took lots of pictures by it. Sadly, we found out that the real fountain is in Los Angeles in the Warner Brothers’ Ranch where the show was filmed. But hey, it looks very close to the real thing so we choose to believe it basically is. Regardless, it is still a pretty fountain! Following this, we walked over to the strawberry field, John Lennon Memorial which was a great tribute to him. On the ground, there is a large circle with the word “Imagine”. It is a quaint, peaceful little garden and another great part of the park to visit.
On a side note, be prepared for people to bombard you trying to sell you tickets or bikes as you’re walking on the streets. They are everywhere!! I would bet I have been asked if I wanted to buy a Big Bus ticket about 200 times or more on this trip. If that is something you are interested in, it is a great way to get around the city and see a lot of sights. I’ve done a Big Bus tour in London before, but if you aren’t interested those people trying to sell you the tickets can get quite annoying. My advice is to just keep your eyes ahead and keep walking.
After Central Park, we went over to the Empire State Building. Empire is probably one of the most famous buildings in New York, if not the most famous. If you’re wondering which highrise you should go to in order to get the best view of New York for your money’s worth, wonder no longer. Both Empire and Top of the Rock have an amazing view of the city and are almost exactly the same price. Top of the Rock is $34/person whereas Empire is $35/person. Top of the Rock is 70 floors and the observation deck is on floors 67, 69, and 70. Empire is 102 floors and for your $35 ticket you can go to the 86th floor and for a $55 ticket to the 102nd floor. In my opinion, both offered a spectacular view. The one advantage of Top of the Rock is the option to pay $5 extra and have a professional photo taken of you at the top that you will get a digital file of after. At empire, to get a copy of your photo is $30 and it is not a digital file nor is it taken at the observation deck (just in a studio with a fake backdrop). But I am thankful I got to experience both, Top of the Rock at night and Empire in daylight. At Empire I also felt like I was in Elf going to see Buddy’s dad!
After Empire, we ate at Europa Cafe which was so yummy!!! Seriously, we did not eat at one place that was not absolutely amazing. There, I did the “make your own pasta” and the chef made the pasta right there in front of me. We also ate desserts there which were great! After our lunch, we headed over to see the Lion King on Broadway! Incedible is all I can say. The acting. The costumes. The singing. Everything was incredible! Broadway did not disappoint. The actor who played young Simba was only 10 years old! He and all the other actors are so talented. Hakuna Matata💕
After Lion King, we took the Subway over to Dylan’s Candy Bar near Central Park! It is a really famous candy store in New York. It is 3 stories and they have all the candy anyone could ever want. So check this place out if you have a sweet tooth. For dinner, we started wandering around the area looking for somewhere that looked good and we stumbled upon Patsy’s Pizzeria. Yet another amazing place!! I ordered a cheese pizza (but not just a normal cheese pizza… it had a mix of lots of different cheeses… a special cheese pizza😉). My mom ordered a calzone. Yum, yum, yum.
Now I know you’re probabaly wondering, what part of this story involves the “Lost in New York” part and now folks, we are finally to the part of our day that took a turn in a direction we did not expect. Leaving Patsy’s, our plan was to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (just to see the outside and take pictures). Personally, I also wanted to go there because as all Gossip Girl fans know, the steps of the Met is where Blair and her minions often ate lunch. So we used our subway app to get directions to the Met. We were told to take the 4 or the 6 train so we went down underground to wait for that train to come.
After about 20 minutes of waiting and still no 4 or 6 train, we started thinking maybe we weren’t at the right place. We weren’t in the mood to walk around more trying to find the right station (pretty ironic actually as you’ll see later) and decided to just hop on the next train that came and get off as close to our hotel as possible. The next train came and we got on. We looked at which stops the train was making and saw “Broadway” 4 stops down the line. We said “Perfect. We will get off there” because Broadway is where Times Square is and our hotel was right in Times Square. We were feeling good about the situation and when the conductor announced “Next Stop-Broadway”, we hopped off the train. We expected to be greeted by the familiar sight of tall buildings and bright lights, but what we saw as we ascended the stairs was the complete opposite.
We were in another burrow. As we took in our surroundings, we saw normal buildings, not so busy streets, and a sign for Broadway (but not the Broadway we were hoping for). A lady walking by saw us looking quite confused and asked if we were looking for something. We told her we were trying to get back to our hotel in Times Square. As we stated that sentence, she put her hand to her mouth in shock at how far off we had gotten. She proceeded to tell us we were very far from Manhattan. We were in Queens.
Luckily the nice lady, Jeannie, helped us out and gave us directions to get back on the right Subway to Manhattan. In order to get to that subway, we had to walk 20 blocks (hence the irony of earlier). So we walked with Jeannie for 20 blocks to the station and had a nice conversation with her. She was the most neat lady with so many stories from going to John Travoltas sister’s wedding to working at Broadway on shows like Hamilton, Lion King, Cats, and more. Although we didn’t end up where we originally had intended to, we went on an adventure of our own meeting Jeannie and finding our way back to Manhattan. Now we have a story to tell! The best memories always happen when you haven’t planned for them too.
As we approached Manhattan, we never thought we would be so happy to see Times Square again. Our final day in New York was one to remember and I wouldn’t have had it any other way! Thank you to my parents for paying for me to go on this trip and to my mom for going with me. See ya soon New York.
P.S. We also passed the New York Times office on our walk home so I included that picture below. Working there as a journalist/photojournalist is my dream job🙂