We were gifted a room at the Crowne Plaza in Times Square through our honeymoon registry. The location was perfect! We were within walking distance of so many theatres, restaurants, and shops; we could look out the window to see Times Square on one side, and the East River on the other.
Our friends and family loved contributing to our adventure through Traveler's Joy, helping to pay for our barbecue dinner in Texas, massages in Santa Fe, gas, museums, and road snacks along the way.
Boarding the plane, I sat and thought about all we had done. Now that I am back to work and typing this, reminiscing, I can see myself lying on the beach in Grand Turk or walking down the cobblestone road in Puerto Rico or even running to catch the subway!
New York City beckons millions of visitors from all over the world each year with its seemingly countless landmarks, neighborhoods, shopping, dining and late-night entertainment. The "city that never sleeps" offers so many diverse experiences, it's no surprise that couples often choose New York City for a post-wedding "mini-moon" or a longer stay combined with a few relaxing nights in the countryside of Upstate New York or on the beaches of Long Island's Hamptons or North Fork.
More than just an island in between the Hudson and East rivers, New York city consists of five different boroughs: Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Manhattan. Together, they make New York an epicenter of finance, entertainment, and culture, with a diverse melting pot of more than eight million residents.
Whether you choose to post up in Manhattan or Brooklyn (the two most popular locales for honeymooners), it's easy to bop around the city -- from shopping in Midtown to dining in SoHo, live music in Brooklyn to performing arts on the Upper West Side -- on convenient subway routes or Uber rides.
And though the pace of New York can be frenetic at times, it can feel like there's no more romantic metropolis in the U.S. when you're dining at a trendy candlelit restaurant or strolling hand-in-hand through Central Park.
New York is located in the northeastern United States, where summers are generally hot and humid, while winters are cold and dreary. The best time to visit is spring or fall, which see much more mild humidity and moderate temperatures.
Nearly every major airline flies in New York's two international airports, John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Newark Liberty (EWR), while domestic travelers can also choose LaGuardia Airport (LGA). From the airport, it's easy to catch a taxi, ride-share, or public transportation into the city, which are all likewise ideal methods of transport for navigating the city.
Central Park - This 845-acre outdoor mecca is so vast and amenity-packed that it's possible to spend an entire day in Central Park and never venture out into a city block. Leisurely meander through its winding paths, hand in Sheep's Meadow with a picnic lunch, tour the boutique Central Park Zoo, or stick around for an evening performance of "Shakespeare in the Park" at Delacorte Theater.
9/11 Memorial & Museum - This world-class tribute to 9/11 combines multimedia galleries, video compilations, oral histories, ephemera, and objects to recount the events of that momentous day in American history. It's impossible not to be moved by the chilling takes of the falling Twin Towers, the brave sacrifices made by first responders from across the country, and the personal histories of all those whose lives were lost in New York, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York City has more than 100 musuems peppered throughout its five boroughs, but if you had to choose just one, it would be the masterpiece-filled Metropolitan Museum of Art (Fifth Avenue location). There, you can take in everything from ancient tombs and artifacts in the Egyptian Art Wing to Native American paintings in the American Wing and 50,000 sculptures from the early 15th through early 20th century in the European wing. If you're a contemporary art enthusiast, you should also make time for the Modern Museum of Art (MoMA), while those with a keen inner child will find a cabinet de curiosities at the Natural History Museum.
Lincoln Center - If you're looking for a fancy night out, head to Columbus Circle for an evening dedicated to the classical arts. This cultural epicenter is home to the New York City Opera, the New York City Ballet, the New York Philharmonic, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and more, giving couples a plethora of options from which to choose.
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island - Learning about America's immigration history may not sound like the makings of a supersexy afternoon. But even if you're not a history buff, a visit to these twin attractions is worth it for the leisurely ferry ride and sweeping views of New York from atop Lady Lib (be sure to book tickets to The Crown well in advance).
Shopping - Whether you are in the market for high-end clothing and accessories, trendy up-and-coming designs, or rare vintage finds, New York City has some of the world's best shops. Downtown is where you'll find chic boutiques selling labels old and new, while flagships along Madison and Fifth avenues are home to every brand-name designer, plus department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys, and Bergdorf Goodman. Even if you're only browsing, it's worth a visit just to check out the artfully curated window displays, which often see collaborations with well-known artists and designers.
The St. Regis New York - Couples who prefer an Old World stay can post up at this classic Beaux-Arts-style hotel near Central Park. Founded by John Jacob Astor IV, the St. Regis exudes opulence -- crystal chandeliers, gilded accents, marble everything. Be sure to make time for nightly cocktails at the on-site King Cole Bar, a legendary watering hole where everyone from Salvador Dali to Marilyn Monroe, Meryl Streep to the Jonas Brothers, have been spotted knocking back a few.
The Bowery Hotel - This sleek hotel in the heart of Downtown, which opened in 2007, hits all the right notes: hip crowd, cozy interiors, delicious food, and impressive skyline views. While the lobby has a Gothic feel (Oriental rugs, oil paintings, heavy drapery), the rooms are a breath of fresh air (floor-to-ceiling windows, wood plank floors, and white-painted brick walls, Egyptian cotton linens).
The Standard, High Line - No matter which of the two locations you choose -- one is in the Meatpacking District, the other, in the East Village -- the Standard is where the cool kids go. Expect futuristic accommodations, mid-century-inspired furniture, and a mix of both in-the-know guests and trendy locals. We love the Meatpacking location for its sweeping Hudson River views -- seen just as well from the 17th-floor gym as the penthouse discotheque and bar, Le Bain.
Wythe Hotel - This trendy mainstay helped make Williamsburg what it is today. The decor is quintessential Brooklyn -- concrete floors, exposed-brick walls, factory windows, and reclaimed wood accents -- all set within an industrial-style building. The hipster vibes continue throughout, whether you're grabbing a drink at The Ides, the rooftop bar with some of the best Manhattan views, or dining at Reynard, which serves one of the best burgers in the nabe.
Raoul's - This boutique eatery has become something of a SoHo institution. Between the tight-knit bistro tables, the crisp, white tablecloths, the throw-back playlist, and the $48 steak au poivre belie, Raoul's guarantees good vibes and delicious plates.
Ivan Ramen - There are plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants in New York City, but only one serves strictly ramen. Ivan Orkin is the first chef to win the culinary world's most coveted award -- an accolade he clearly deserves as soon as you slurp down that first spoonful of Triple Pork Garlic Mazemen, made with pork belly two ways, a ton of garlic, and either rye or whole-wheat noodles.
Roberta's - A stay in the Big Apple isn't complete without a New York slice. There's no place better for a mouthwateringly delicious thin crust pizza than at this Bushwick hipster hangout, whose Bee Sting (tomato, mozzarella, basil, sopressata, chili, and honey) has become the stuff of legends. The place has an intentionally ramshackle vibe -- think plastic chairs and communal picnic tables -- which allows the pizza, wood-fired to perfection, standout all the more.
Polo Bar - All your Ralph Lauren fantasies will come true at this equestrian-themed restaurant in Midtown Manhattan. On the walls, paintings of famous horses; at the tables, cozy saddle-leather banquettes, plaid pillows, and pine accents. The room is cozy (the most flatteringly dim lighting), the food is crowd-pleasing (do yourself a favor and order the burger), and the people are glitzy (the kind you'd find sitting front-row at a Ralph Lauren fashion show).