Hummingbird Cupcake & Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream
In 2009, my girlfriend and I braved the long lines and got our first taste of this famous bakery’s delightful desserts. Years later I had to bring my mother here. We were visiting Grand Central Terminal and visited Magnolia Bakery’s location there. Magnolia Bakery first opened in 1996 in New York’s West Village. Steve and Tyra Abrams took over in 2007 and expanded it to locations all over the world. You can pick up orders at their stores or order products nationwide. Each location is unique with its vintage decor and inviting atmosphere. Although they are known for their cupcakes, they bake all sorts of pastries and cakes and even have a coffee bar. Magnolia is world-renowned, they still consider themselves a neighborhood bakery. Everything is made on site and you can watch them make these wonderful delights through the window. You cannot come to New York City without visiting Magnolia Bakery.
Grand Central Terminal
Magnolia Bakery at Rockefeller Center
A couple of days later, my mother and I stopped in at the location next to Rockefeller Center. This is the popular spot that you see on Jimmy Fallon’s opening montage. This was also the first location I visited with my girlfriend. This one can get a little busy because there are may tourist attractions nearby. I personally enjoy visiting here because you can see the horse and carriage rides pass by the window while you are inside ordering. Or you can stand outside and watch the crew makes some beautiful cupcakes. Around the holidays, this is one of the things that makes Christmas in New York magical. There is always a crowd here, but these guys still manage to make you order and send you home satisfied.
I just took a red-eye into New York City and was looking for quick bite. Everyone raves about the Halal food carts in NYC and I had to give one a shot. To me, food carts are what make NYC because people are always on the go and need a quick bite. Halal carts have only been on the scene for a few decades. But today halal carts are pretty native to NYC and found everywhere. The Halal Guys carts are the most popular ones in NYC and are expanding to other states. Halal food is that which adheres to Islamic law, defined in the Koran. The key is to find a Halal cart that is authentic as there are some that are not. New York City halal usually consists of a combination of rice, greens, halal meat in a bowl or in a pita. They top it off with they famous spicy red or white sauce. The red sauce is an offshoot of Egyptian harissa sauce where the white one is an offshoot of zabadi sauce. I ordered the Chicken over Rice and drowned it with both their red and white sauces. Wow – it was super spicy and super delicious! What a great way to start off my trip to the Big Apple.
In 2003, the first ever Joe Coffee opened on this iconic corner where Waverly Place meets Gay Street. A true neighborhood spot, Joe’s customers are a great mix of artists, photographers, writers, students, and tourists.
After my food tour, I was dying for a coffee and stumbled upon Joe Coffee. Joe Coffee Company was founded in the West Village in 2003 by Jonathan Rubinstein. He was looking to make high quality coffee and combining it with a unique space for community. They are now close to twenty locations and have a wholesale program. Joe’s quality protocols require cupping (tasting) hundreds of samples of coffee per year and working with importers and exporters. Joe works directly with the local farmers and maintains a good relationship with them. This location I went to is the original location. I got a regular coffee and really enjoyed the quality of it. What a good find!
The Dream Hotels are lifestyle hotels filled with modern utilities. New York City has the Dream Downtown Hotel in Chelsea. Even though I’ve never stayed here before, it was a cool looking hotel to photograph. Located just a walk from Chelsea Market, The High Line and The West Village, this place looks awesome. I was drawn to the circle windows. I hear they have a killer lounge, restaurant, and an electric room. Someday maybe I’ll stay here.
Chelsea is a Manhattan neighborhood located in between Hell’s Kitchen, Greenwich Village and the Meatpacking District. I love walking through Chelsea. The buildings are beautiful and the culture is full of diversity. There are an abundance of ethnic restaurants, delis, and clothing boutiques. I could walk through the Chelsea art galleries (over 200 galleries) for hours. Some of my other favorite spots are Chelsea Market, the High Line, London Terrace and Hotel Chelsea.
I will never forget the first time I visited Manhattan. I had my first taste of New York when I stayed over briefly on my way to Boston in 2006. In the summer of 2009, I walked out of this exit at Penn Station for the first time and was completely overwhelmed by the fast pace and the tall buildings. Listening to the taxi cabs honking and the sounds of sirens bouncing off the buildings, I remember telling myself how beautiful this place is. I’m a native of Arizona and New York City is a completely different animal to us newbies. I ate my first slice of NYC pizza at Spinelli’s Pizzeria and caught my first glimpse of the Empire State Building. I returned later that year with my girlfriend and we had a wonderful time exploring the city. We visited Lady Liberty, Central Park, Times Square, MOMA, Canal St and saw Phantom of the Opera. NYC has a special place in my heart and this time I’m excited to spend a good of my week here for various art and photography projects and events.
My first trip to New York City – 2009
New York Taxis
Empire State Building
Madison Square Garden
Hotel New Yorker
I Love NYC
My return trip – 2009
Staten Island Ferry
Statue of Liberty
Joie de Vivre – Mark Di Suvero
Starry Night – Vincent van Gogh
Radio City Hall
One Times Square
Ed Sullivan Theater
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Flat Iron Building
Empire State Building
Phantom of the Opera
Cheesecake at Hot & Crusty
Imagine – Central Park
American Museum of Natural History
The Rink at Rockefeller Center
Prometheus Statue at Rockefeller Center
NYC Horse Carriage
Pizza at Cafe 71
Grand Central Terminal
After a great time in Philly, I headed on over on an Amtrak to New York City. I’m a huge fan the Amtrak. It’s comfortable and convenient. I was able to get some photo projects done on my few hour trip to Penn Station. I spent my first hour just walking along Fashion Ave and taking in sites of the Empire State Building, Macy’s, Madison Square Garden and other iconic buildings. I was surprised on how easily I knew my way around. My my first destination of the day was the Chelsea neighborhood for some foodie adventures.