Rise + Shine! It’s day 2 in NYC! Well, my jet lag was definitely not better by day 2, since I woke up at 4am, but that’s ok. I was also reaaaaally excited to get out and have an entire day to explore. Here we go!

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Yorkafé

First things first: COFFEE. I looked up on the map and saw a place that said it was a tiny, neighborhood coffee spot, and since it was only about 4 blocks away in the direction we wanted to go in, Lina + I headed off. Holy amazingness! The iced vanilla latte + nutella croissant we ordered were perfect. Best iced latte I’ve EVER had. Truly.

And the entire teeny tiny space was soooo perfect. The little café is called Yorkafe. The owner’s intention is to be a neighborhood, community space. And it most definitely was. There were no tourists there. Only locals coming in and going out. Everyone was kind and friendly, the place was funky, and everything about it was local and real. Basically, we loved it to pieces.

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Charles Shurtz Park

After breakfast, we took the rest of our iced lattes and headed to a nearby park. Time to hang by the river a bit. Something we always try to do.

You know, one of the most amazing things about NYC is how much green space there is. Even in the midst of the concrete jungle, there are tons of parks and natural spaces. It’s truly so wonderful that it’s easy to access and enjoy nature… giving a soft, calm vibe to the hustle and bustle of the big city.

In the Upper East Side there is a lovely park called Carl Shurtz Park. With it’s beginnings in the 1600s, the park has become a place for people of all ages. There is a riverwalk, basketball court, numerous dog runs. benches, and tons of trees + grassy areas. I mean, it’s pretty much perfect. We wandered slowly on the paths + through the trees, just taking it all in. Soooo nice.

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Mexican eats

After our long stroll in the park, we headed up towards Madison Avenue and Park Avenue. Time to do a little (window) shopping! We went into a few places and saw some cool things, but I was mostly enthralled by the beauty of the side streets and neighborhoods.

It wasn’t too long, though, and we were ready for lunch. And we already knew what we wanted. MEXICAN! Finally, some real mexican food. Lina and I didn’t look anything up, but just wandered the streets till we found one. All we wanted was nachos and guacamole and salsa. And that’s exactly what we got. Plus a kick ass people watching space. So, we sat and ate and chatted and relaxed.

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Central Park + Midtown Manhattan

All fueled up, it was time to keep the day rolling. We headed west towards Central Park so we could see Museum Mile, wind through the park, soak up the Upper East Side even more, and walk south towards Midtown.

After a while, we just kept walking. We made it to Midtown and then found ourselves smack dab in the middle of tourist heaven. We’d already explored all of these areas before, so we set a destination (B&H Camera) and just kept walking. Well, we did make a little stop in Bryant Park to rest my footsies and just hang a bit. All in all, we walked 10 miles during the day and had killed 54 blocks – all the way from the upper part of the Upper East Side to Chelsea on the west side.

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A Manhattan morning commute

Needless to say, we took a Lyft back to my cousin’s apartment and I promptly lay down to rest. I was freaking exhausted. And hoooooot.

When my cousin got home from work, we all headed out for dinner together + then came home and crashed. My legs and feet were aching, and it felt so great to lay down in the bed, look out at the NYC night, and just breathe a deep breath of pure contentment. Filled to the brim with inspiration.

Morning came again and it was time to get packed, dressed, and head off to the airport. We had a morning flight to Asheville, North Carolina! Time to head home!

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But, first… one last Lyft ride that took us around the entire island of Manhattan, giving us a great tour in the early morning light.

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Once again, NYC has given us all of the inspiration we could have asked for, and now we’ve checked off the Upper East Side from our places to explore list. Wonder which neighborhood we will visit next?!

For now, it’s time to bid farewell to the big city and slow down the pace in the North Carolina mountains. Yep. Time for green trees, big mountain views, craft beer, art, and friends + family. Liz + Lina’s epic American summer continues…

xoxo. liz.


Upper East Side links + recommendations

Yorkafe

Carl Shurtz Park

Selena Rose

→Read about our Day 1 in the Upper East Side here