Birthday Festivities in NYC

Long time no chat, friends! I can feed you excuses about how busy I’ve been but instead let me just say I’ve been having trouble prioritizing my time. Between working long days, self-care, and necessary daily to-dos I’ve been having trouble keeping my creative energy alive and making time to sit down and do what I love most – blog.

And then my boyfriend and family came to town and I couldn’t bear to spend any more time working than I had to while they were here. Even though their stays were short, it was just what I needed to calm my homesickness.

Chris was the first to arrive, staying for just under two weeks. I hadn’t seen him since the day after his birthday in early March, so it was definitely a much-welcomed visit.


I had a lot of fun playing tour guide and especially loved showing Chris all of the good restaurants the city had to offer!

There were a few things on my NYC bucket list that I was holding off on until Chris got here so we could do them together! Two of the big things were the Brooklyn Bridge and Dumbo.

Dumbo is officially my second favorite place I’ve been since living in the city (favorite coming later on in the post ;))

If you don’t know about Dumbo it’s the area between the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge. DUMBO stands for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass” and it’s a quiet nook area that is far more serene than Manhattan.


Dumbo has a lot to offer, one of the big draws is the graffiti:

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It is also where you go to get this iconic shot (standing in Dan Humphrey’s neighborhood, no less):


And there is an amazing view of the city that makes for a killer backdrop during photo ops.



Seriously, though. Dumbo is so picturesque even Chris was Instagramming. Chris never Instagrams.


After Chris had been in town for a little over a week my parents came to join us.


I had last seen my dad in the middle of March, and my mom a few days after that. One thing I’ve noticed since living in New York is that New Yorkers are more career focused whereas Midwesterners are more family focused (of course there are exceptions to every rule!) so I don’t think anyone understood just how excited I was to have my family in town with me.

My mom had been twice before, once with a girlfriend and then just a few months ago when I moved, but it was my dad’s first time in the city. He went in expecting to hate it, and  I was determined to prove him wrong.

On their first day we went out to lunch, I showed them my apartment (which they promptly started cleaning, as parents do), and we chilled out a bit. They’d had a long day of travelling!

The next day we went to the financial district to see the 9/11 memorial and take the Staten Island Ferry. I left my camera behind so I didn’t get any good pictures, though!

Sunday I turned 21 (#OverTheHill, amirite?) and wanted to spend my birthday as far from the city as possible (I’m not a city dweller by nature. I like forests and bodies of water) so we hopped on the subway and headed to Rockaway.

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The subway ride was long (over an hour, y’all!) but in Brooklyn we ended up popping out above ground which made things go a lot quicker. It’s nice when you have something to look at!

Rockaway Beach is amazing. Way better than I’d have expected for a beach in New York! The water was way too cold to get in, but the sun was hot and the sand was beautiful.

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For dinner we went to The Park and I got a veggie burger before we found a yummy dessert spot where I had a personal sized coconut creme brulee.

That night was bittersweet because I had to work in the morning and Chris was leaving around lunch time. He had his super shuttle pick him up at my work so we could say goodbye.

My parents and I found a hidden gem for dinner just around the corner from my apartment and then headed to their hotel for the night. I helped them get their tickets and shuttle ride set up, then we went to the roof top for one last look at their view.


That night I slept between my parents (for the first time in probably 15 years) in their hotel room because they were leaving early in the morning. I woke up with them, gave them hugs, and said goodbye before going back sleep for a few hours until work.

And now I’m alone in the city again until July when my Grandma is coming to visit and then my brother and our friend.

What is your favorite thing to do in the city? I’m always looking for new adventures!