Monday, 12 September 2016

New York in Summer Day 2: Macy's & Downtown.

Our second day in New York was spent all across the city. Jasiminne and I each had a morning to do whatever we wanted, and then we met back up at around 2pm to get a taxi from Row NYC to The Conrad in the Financial District, where we finally saw the 9/11 Memorial and One World Trade Centre. As it was Jasiminne's last day in her twenties, we finished the day with an epic dinner at STK Rooftop, and dancing at Le Bain at The Standard. So what did I do on my morning to myself? Obvs I went and got a blow dry and went shopping...

I woke up bright and early again around 9ish, and headed towards Macy's on Herald Square via Times Square. We'd seen Times Square the previous day but it was all cloudy and horrid, it's just not the same when the sky is grey and gloomy.

I grabbed an iced tea and a yoghurt and granola pot from Starbucks on my way there, and felt like I was on my way to work (when I was working in London I would always have a yoghurt and granola pot as my Friday breakfast treat), but in NYC rather than London haha. There were commuters still walking to work even though it was 10am, and boy was it a beautiful morning in the city!

Macys Herald Square New York City Flagship Store

I was at the flagship Macy's store to meet a couple of the lovely ladies from the Macy's tourism team. I met their colleague at an event in London back in May, and we exchanged cards and I was told to get in touch when I was next in the US, so I did and we made arrangements for me to experience the store while I was in NYC.

Macy's is the World's Largest Department Store, and I had the best morning! Nancy and Cat were so nice and so generous; after showing me the store (including the famous wooden escalators), and giving me a bit of history (I'll include some of my favourite facts below), I had my hair blow-dried and did some shopping!

- The Herald Square store is actually the second Macy's store that opened, despite it being the flagship.
- The red star logo was added in 1861 as part of an advertising campaign, and is a replica of a tattoo the founder, Roland Hussey Macy, had on his forearm when he was a Nantucket sailor as a teenager.
- Macy's Herald Square store is 11 levels high, with 2 million square feet of retail space, and it covers one full city block. Basically it's huge.
- There's a Titanic memorial dedicated to two of the co-founders of Macy's. Remember in the move when that elderly couple die together in bed as the ship sinks? That was them! Isidor and Ida Straus were so well loved by everyone at Macy's, that the employers all pooled together to pay for the memorial. You need to enter the store on 34th Street between Broadway and 7th Ave to find it.
- Macy's was actually the first store to install modern escalators. They were all made out of wood, and you can still ride 43 of the original wooden escalators as they're listed and still working. Macy's aren't allowed to remove them or get rid of them, so quite often you'll see a couple being repaired by specialist teams.
- It was the filming location for some of the scenes from Miracle on 34th Street (the original 1947 version)!
Also an extra fun fact - Macy's don't actually own that Sunglass Hut building that's attached to Macy's! It was part of a famous holdout in 1900, so they did what any smart company would do and just built the store around it then arranged a lease agreement to put a huge advertising billboard above it. Even today the little five storey building is owned by a separate entity to Macy's, called The Rockaway Company. I think this is my favourite Macy's fact!

Macys Herald Square New York City Original Wooden Escalators

Also they have an actual standing Etsy store with handpicked items from Etsy sellers, which is basically the greatest thing ever.

I love getting a blow dry, and this was one of the best I've ever had. It was honestly amazing. The salon is super sleek, but doesn't have mirrors in front of you, so you can't watch them doing it, which felt super weird (especially if like me you hate surprises haha).

Photo by Jasiminne

After my blow-dry I went to have a look around the store and choose what to spend my gift card on. It was a tough choice as there was so much to choose from! Eventually I decided on two very quintessentially New York brands; a new leather handbag from Ralph Lauren, and a gorgeous sky blue purse from Kate Spade.

I had such a lovely morning at Macy's, and they even ship internationally so us UK-ers can take advantage of their famous sales! Also if you go to NYC and visit Macy's, make sure you go to their tourist info bit and ask for their free discount booklet - you'll get a heap of discounts for both Macy's and other things in the city.

With my purchases on my arm I headed out into the sunshine and round the corner to Tick Tock Diner for some lunch. The breakfast menu called my name out though and I had waffles with berries...and a side of fried eggs.

After lunch I walked back up to the hotel to get my luggage and meet Jasiminne to get a taxi to our next hotel. The Conrad was such a welcome change from Row NYC, and after checking in we walked round the corner to check out the 9/11 Memorial.

This was something I didn't have time to do last time I was in New York, and although we didn't see the museum, just spending some time at the memorial was incredibly haunting, but so peaceful and calming.

I still remember that day so well, I think it's one of those days where everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. I was in primary school. I'd just started Year 6 and was at after school club...all of the teachers that were still at school came running into the after school club hall and took over the TV - we couldn't understand why they'd switched the channel to the news and kept complaining to them to put the movie back on. Then they explained what was happening, and everyone just sat there in silence watching the planes fly into the Twin Towers, people leaping from the buildings and the chaos on the streets of New York.

After our stroll around the finance district we walked back to the hotel and headed up to the rooftop bar, Loopy Doopy. It's a gorgeous bar that was very popular with the local workers on a Friday evening, and was absolutely packed! I wasn't able to drink due to being on antibiotics, so I sipped on a refreshing co-cola while Jasiminne tried the Loopy Doopy signature cocktail, which consisted of bubbly with a lolly pop in the the lolly melts into the bubbly it creates the cocktail!

Photo by Jasiminne

We then went to get changed and ready for dinner. Before we went to NYC I did so much planning and researching, and planned out our meals super carefully. As it was Jasiminne's 30th the next day I wanted her to have a really special weekend, so we started off with dinner at STK Rooftop and then headed to Le Bain at The Standard for drinks and dancing. We got all dressed up, put on our red lipstick and heels, and jumped in a cab up to STK.

STK Rooftop was everything I hoped it would be - glamorous, trendy, and just oozing that New York Meatpacking District 'vibe'. We headed up to the roof and were seated and handed menus. I'd booked the table at 7:30pm, as sunset in NYC was 7:45pm in August.

Watching the sun set over The Standard opposite and all of New York's coolest people mingling and dancing to the music at STK was pretty awesome. And the food was on point! We started with the crispy rock shrimp and the classic STK bread, and then Jasiminne and I both had steaks (I mean come on, you have to really!), and then we shared sides of Mac & Cheese and Parmesan Truffle Fries.

I found my steak quite salty, but apart from that everything else was incredible! I didn't eat too much due to my pesky antibiotics again, but what I did eat I absolutely loved and would go back there in an instant (especially now that I have my appetite back)!

We paid the bill and then walked across the road to The Standard Hotel. Le Bain is known for being the ultimate NYC nightlife experience. The doormen are notoriously strict, and just wearing the wrong shoes or carrying the wrong handbag can get you turned away. Thankfully Jasiminne and I have the ultimate boobs British Accents, and ya know, we're pretty charming when we want to be, which basically got us into everywhere with no issues whatsoever.

So in we strut and get into the lift that takes you to the top (after Jasiminne had to check in her DSLR to the cloakroom, lolz, no paps upstairs plz). Le Bain is pretty darn cool, I mean, there's a hot tub in the actual club. With a disco ball above it. We decided against the hot tub, and instead made our way upstairs to the rooftop, which was buzzing! It was a Friday night and everyone was out in force for TGIF drinks and dancing. The air was warm and heavy, and we had an incredible view over the One World Trade Centre on one side, and then a pretty gorge view of the Empire State Building from the toilets.

We had a couple of drinks and chilled out, taking in the music and people watching. Jasiminne played some Pokemon, we had a bit of a dance downstairs, took some photos on the stairs, and then headed back to our hotel. Jasiminne is getting old these days, so we were home by 1am ;) :P

Yet another epic NYC day. Stay tuned to see what happened on Day 3 (clue; it includes Jasiminne playing Pokemon in the VIP area of a nightclub while I was dancing on the podium).

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  1. Now this is how to spend that last night of your twenties in style!

  2. I love the Standard Hotel! What a fab day, shopping blow dry and dinner, that's how I like to spend my birthday.

  3. I LOOOOOVE Le Bain, such an awesome club isn't it?! Did you go up the top? Such a fun place to drink in summer :) Didn't know STK has a rooftop so will bear that in mind for my next visit! Lucky you with your day at Macy's, that Kate Spade purse is BEAUT! Glad Jasiminne had an awesome birthday! AP xo

    Andrea's Passions


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