Last year for Erika’s 20th birthday, we began the beautiful tradition of celebrating her birthday in some extraordinary way. Last year Erika and I rented out a super eclectic AirBnB and celebrated in the cute little city of Norfolk as she walked around with a paper “Happy Birthday” crown. We had such a great time and felt as though the world was at our fingertips haha. We were adults.
But this year it was her 21st birthday, so obviously we had to go big or go home… literally. It was probably October when we were catching up on the phone and I reminded Erika that we had to do something even better than what we did last year. “What if we went to New York City?” I asked with a chuckle. Erika went to NYC for the first time the summer before and has loved it ever since. We made a vow to start saving and had visions of riding the train, exploring the city… it was going to be a dream.
The semester went on and other expenses came up (as college students, you already know we were ballin’ on a budget). The closer March came the more we thought it wasn’t happening. We even begin to make other plans for her birthday since it was just too expensive/hard to plan. But one day we just said “screw it” and bought two train tickets to New York City. We were going to make this happen.
On March 22, 2019 Erika drove up from Blacksburg to meet me in Newport News. We ate some dinner and then made our way to the home of a gracious family who let us sleep in their beautiful home so that our drive to Washington D.C. wouldn’t be as unbearable with a 7:20am departure time. The next 24 hours would be a whirlwind…
Our Casual Day-Trip to NYC
We woke up at 5am to beautify ourselves for our big day and to be at the train station at 6:30am. Let me preface by saying that Erika and I are not city gals and completely winged this whole adventure from beginning to end HAHA.
To go even bigger this year since it was Erika’s 21st birthday, I upgraded her paper brown into a bejeweled silver HARDCORE tiara. My only request is that she had to wear it the whole day; you can bet your bottom dollar she didn’t take that thing off.
We hopped off the train at NYC and clung to each other for dear life. Penn Station is no joke y’all. We had planned out our entire day and made our priority the M&M store since that was what the birthday girl was looking forward to most. With our time on the train, we mapped out what was in close proximity and tried to figure out how much time we could spend at each. Our train left Penn Station at 6:05pm so our time was limited to say the least. We actually went as far as to map out the distance from one place to the other and found that from the farthest point to the train station was only 23 minutes… or so we thought. It was once we were in Times Square and wanted to go to our next stop that we plugged it into Maps and found that it was over an hour walk away. All of a sudden we realized that when we had mapped it on the train, it was set to driving distance not walking…We still got some cute pictures though:
Needless to say, we did not hit all our stops but we did make the best of it. I put on my “make it happen” sunglasses and looped Erika’s arm in the crook of mine and dragged her all the way out of the chaos of Time Square.
My favorite stop was by far the New York Public Library and the Bryant Park area. Here are some snapshots:
This was the moment Erika waited for… her beloved M&M world!
We made a few more pitstops to see some sights, get coffee and dinner but before we knew it we had to make our hour trek back to Penn Station to hop back on the train. Some people laughed when I said that I went to New York City for a day but I think that it was 100% worth it. Not only did I get to spend some time with the birthday girl for her 21st birthday, but I got to see enough of NYC to experience it, but not too much to get tired of it. I look forward to the day when Erika and I can afford to rent out a cute little apartment in Brooklyn and shop in the fanciest stores. But for now, our spontaneous, extraordinary birthday adventures full of walking 8 miles and timing our stops so that we can make our train will do. I loved every moment.
P.S. We did this whole trip around $250 for each of us! Let me know if you have any questions or want to plan your own spontaneous Big Apple trip haha. I’m for sure not a professional but I made it back in one piece so that counts right?