Family Dinner in the Bronx

One of my favorite things about going to New York City is that we have family to visit with! I really think that is the big reason I’ve always loved the city so much. The comfort of family can make the giant city feel like home.

My Uncle David moved from Manhattan to the Bronx awhile back. I had never been that far north until last year when Nan, Trae, and I came up to visit last May! There are some ridiculously amazing homes along the Hudson and the whole vibe is much slower paced, which Trae really loved.

David hosted us (my cousin Sarah, myself, my cousin Nan, my aunt Bärli, and my sister Katy) for dinner one night when Katy and I were visiting last month. Upon arrival we were greeted with delicious cocktails, crackers, and cheese!

For our meal we did a mashup of Bärli’s chicken enchilada’s and local Chinese takeout. Katy had never had cold noodles – a Chinese dish invented in New York City in the 70s. You may think Mexican and Chinese dishes don’t mix, but it totally worked as a two course meal. So fun!It feels so special to have family together since we don’t all live nearby. I am reminded of this when I’m chatting with others about their holiday plans and how they’ll pop over to this aunt’s house and then that aunt’s house and then end the day at their grandmother’s. For us it’s always a one day event at someone’s house because it will involve travel for most parties. At first it bums me out that we can’t see more family at the holidays, but then I think about how lucky we are to have family spread out across the country and that we get to experience unique and special things with them because of that.

Onto dessert…Nan made a scrumptious berry crumble to be paired with your drink of choice. I opted for another one of David’s cocktails. Sarah was extremely excited about this part of the meal!We all gathered on the couch and watched clips from our favorite musicals and ballets through Google Chrome set up on David’s TV. We could each pull up YouTube on our phones, search clips we wanted to share, and then send it to the TV to play. We watched a lot of West Side Story and Romeo & Juliet. Pretty much my idea of a perfect evening!Also, I love this apartment. David and Jane worked with a decorator to help with furniture choices and placement. The whole place flows so comfortably and I love the touch of the bright blue wall.

How do you spend your holidays? At home with family? Traveling? I’d love to hear in the comments!

See more of this New York City trip!

Rockefeller Christmas Tree Arrival

Chelsea Market + The High Line

Top of the Rock

You’ve Got Mail Filming Locations!

P.S. The next morning we went to Underwest Donuts located inside a car wash! It was crazy good. 47th & the West Side Highway. Add that to your NYC list!


Rockefeller Christmas Tree Arrival!

This 78-foot spruce may not look as magical as it will on December 2nd, but it was pretty neat to be at Rockefeller Center the day the chosen Christmas tree arrived! As if there wasn’t enough buzz happening at 30 Rock that day, we happened upon a crowd, a limo, and a camera crew outside the 49th Street entrance. We asked people on the street if they knew what was going on and no one had an answer. We decided to wait 10 minutes in case someone really cool was about to walk out. It’s funny how these situations can suck you in! But our short wait paid off and we got a celebrity sighting!Hoda Kotb! Dressed as a limo driver.

It was a very calm scenario and she stopped to wave at the people on the street. You can see what they were filming here (it’s really sweet).

I think what I’ve learned in my visits to Rockefeller Center is that this is a great place to run into a famous face. If you’re into that sort of adventure while visiting NYC, just wander around the building a few times and you’re bound to spot someone!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

Chelsea Market + The High Line

Three weeks ago was the first time I had ever been to the Chelsea Market in New York City! My sister and I had been running around the city all day, making our way down to fill our bellies with local food. By the time we got there my feet were k-i-l-l-i-n-g me, so we kind of quickly passed everything looking for a place to sit down. It was the kind of exhaustion where you’re hungry but you can’t even think about what you want until you have a minute to rest! We found a little table by a gelato place (convenient) and rested for a bit. Eventually I got up and got us some pot pies (chicken for me, veggie for Katy).

Because we were so exhausted I didn’t bother to take time for photos, other than the one of the twinkle lights. How cute is that?! We did go into some shops (Artists & Fleas was on our planning Pinterest board. OMG I wanted all the jewelry!) but once I looked at my watch I realized we were about 10 minutes from running out of daylight for walking The High Line (#photographerproblems). We headed up immediately and watched the city start to glow.  The High Line is an old railroad track that has been converted into a public park! We had to stop about every 50 feet to take pictures – whether it was a cool building, a dreamy apartment, or a cool view of the city.

This was Katy’s third time to walk The High Line, so she was busy looking at the surrounding buildings while I was focused on the design of the walkway. It was nice because we both noticed different things and were constantly saying to each other “Oh! Look at this!”. Oh hey there, Empire State building! :)

I think next time we’ll start at The High Line entrance at 30th Street and work our way down, stopping at the market for a snack, and then end at Gansevoort Street, where we can get off and go to the Whitney Museum! Also, we should not do some much walking prior :)

More from this trip to NYC:

Top of the Rock

You’ve Got Mail Filming Locations

Top of the Rock

Every time someone asks me what they should see or do in New York City, I always recommend Top of the Rock!

Top of the Rock is named so because it is on the rooftop of 30 Rockefeller Plaza (NBC headquarters). While this has become a huge tourist attraction, I don’t think it should be avoided! If you love vantage points, this is such a great one. Unlike seeing the city from the top of the Empire State building, the view from Top of the Rock puts the Empire State as the center focal point!

On the south side of the rooftop is the view of the Empire State building and downtown. You can even see the Statue of Liberty in the distance. On the north side of the rooftop is a stunning view of Central Park that I’m kind of obsessed with. I love seeing the scale of the perfect rectangle smack in the middle of all the concrete and stone buildings. (next time: helicopter tour??!!)I had always wanted to come up here to see the park from above during the fall season! Unfortunately the day we did this the weather & lighting wasn’t the best to allow the fall leaves to really pop, but it was still much more lush than the time I went in January (below)! It can be hard to time attraction visits when you’re sightseeing, but if you can get to the rooftop right when it opens at 8am or be there as the sun sets, you will have an extra special experience! During the trip in January we luckily timed ourselves there at sunset so we got to watch the whole city light up!

What is your favorite tourist attraction in NYC? Or favorite attraction in general?

See more New York City travels:

You’ve Got Mail filming locations

Visiting Central Park in the Fall

Ghostbusters filming locations

Levain Bakery, Central Park, DUMBO

Trae’s First Trip to NYC

You’ve Got Mail Filming Locations!

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would buy you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” – NY152

Ahhh, You’ve Got Mail. One of my all-time favorite movies. It has romance. It has humor. It has New York in all seasons. It has Tom Hanks!

In all the times I’ve visited New York City I’ve never done a You’ve Got Mail filming locations tour! What?! But I’m glad I waited until our visit last week because a) it was fall (the best season) and b) I got to do it with my sister, who is not a repeat movie watcher with the exception of this film. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy this tour!

I T  I S  K A T H L E E N  K E L L Y

Cafe Lalo is where ShopGirl and NY152 plan to meet for the first time, until Joe Fox discovers that ShopGirl is Kathleen Kelly, the woman he’s putting out of business! screen cap via

But he goes in anyway and pretends he’s just bumped into her.

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The cafe is just as charming as it appears in the film! I actually went to dinner here with a ballet friend the evening these photos were taken, but I knew my sister would kill me if she didn’t get to go, so we started our day with breakfast here the following morning!

Cafe Lalo is located at 201 West 83rd Street.

H E L L O ,  N E W  J E R S E Y !

Early in the movie we learn that Joe has a boat that he keeps docked on the Hudson River. His brother and aunt (who are mere children) come to visit one morning and frown upon a boat ride. They attend a street fair instead and eventually wander into Kathleen’s bookstore.gif via

Joe Fox’s boat dock is located at the 79th Street Boat Basin.

S H O P  G I R L

The Shop Around the Corner location is a great example of movie magic. Apart from the curve of the window, the space currently has zero charm. When we arrived here my sister asked why we had stopped because she didn’t recognize the location at all!

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I feel like I’ve read that the shop interiors were filmed on a soundstage, but I also remember reading that this was a cheese shop at the time, so it was cleared out and staged for the movie. I guess it could be a combination of both, seeing as how even in the shot above they would have had to dress the inside.

The Shop Around the Corner exterior is located at 106 West 69th Street (69th & Columbus).

H A P P Y  T H A N K S G I V I N G  B A C K

We can all feel Kathleen’s mortification when she’s so preoccupied with avoiding Joe in the grocery store that she doesn’t realize she’s gone through a “cash only” lane at checkout. To Kathleen’s embarrassment and disapproval, Joe comes to the rescue by charming the cashier into running Kathleen’s credit card.

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Zabar’s is located at 2245 Broadway (at 80th Street).

I  H O P E  Y O U R  M A N G O ‘ S  R I P E

I love the montage early in the movie where we learn Kathleen and Joe live in the same neighborhood and frequent the same establishments, often moments apart from each other. I particularly love the shot here at Verdi Square.

This is also the same spot later in the movie where they sit on a bench together and Kathleen says “Wow, I keep on bumping into you”. To which Joe replies, “Hey, you want to bump into me on, say, Saturday around lunchtime? Over there?”

Verdi Square is located at 72nd Street where Broadway and Amsterdam intersect.

H E  C O U L D  B E  T H A T  G U Y  R I G H T  T H E R E

The day Kathleen finally goes to meet her mister perfect NY152, she first has lunch with Joe at Gray’s Papaya. screen cap viaMy cousin, Nan, took me here a few years ago since it’s a classic UWS establishment. We got ourselves Recession Specials and stood at the same spot Joe and Kathleen stood in the movie – though I did not realize this at the time! Also, these hot dogs are delicious and you should definitely try them when in NY!

Gray’s Papaya is located at 72nd Street & Broadway.

K A T H L E E N ‘ S  A P A R T M E N T

I feel like Kathleen’s brownstone is another character in the movie! It says so much about her style. It’s so charming I could burst!

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It appears that the cute gold intercom was just a movie prop and the front doors are slightly different, but damn, it’s so, so charming, right? I’m ready to move in!

Kathleen Kelly’s brownstone is located at 328 West 89th Street, between West End and Riverside.

I  W A N T E D  I T  T O  B E  Y O U

“There’s a place in Riverside Park where the path curves and there’s garden. Brinkley and I will be waiting.”

If you haven’t had enough charm yet, keep heading west on Kathleen’s street and you’ll end up at Riverside Park. Walk north to 91st Street where, indeed, the path curves and there’s a garden! I highly recommend taking a walk over here even if you don’t care about this movie. It’s so beautiful!

The final meeting spot is the 91st Street Garden in Riverside Park.


Buying your ticket to New York yet? :) There are more locations in the area (everything is walkable distance on the Upper West Side!) but these were the ones we wanted to see the most. Other locations to see are Barney Greengrass, Starbucks, the Fox Books building, the faked entrance to Joe’s apartment, the outdoor restaurant, and H&H Bagel (RIP). This BuzzFeed article has a great overview map of the locations.

I want to know – what’s your favorite scene or line from You’ve Got Mail?! Leave a comment :)

See more of our Movie Location tours here.

Visiting Central Park in the Fall!

web_IMG_4821The entire island of Manhattan is a favorite of mine in the fall, but for the 3rd post in our Fall Travel Favorites series I am putting the focus on dreamy Central Park!

I have been to New York City in every season except summer (I don’t even want to go in the summer – too hot!) and hands down my favorite time to go is in the fall.

If you visit early on in the fall – October – you’ll find that the leaves on the trees aren’t quite as vivid as they’ll be in November, but the weather for walking around is per-fec-tion.

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web_IMG_2565 web_IMG_2473 web_IMG_2376 web_IMG_2516 web_IMG_2363 web_IMG_2441 web_IMG_2443 web_IMG_2480 web_IMG_2472 web_IMG_2555So as you can see, there’s still quite a bit of green on the trees in October (these were taken during a mid-October visit), but the fact that you can walk around comfortably in jeans, a light sweater, and booties without sweating or freezing makes it so nice for wandering all day (which you will do when you’re in New York!).

If you want a fall experience coupled with the charm of the holidays: visit during Thanksgiving. It will be chillier, but the color in Central Park will blow your mind, and there’s a buzz in the air with all the preparations for the Macy’s Parade. (uh ehm: there may or may not be a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade post coming up in this fall favorites series…)

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Quite a color difference from October to November!  These were taken the day before Thanksgiving in 2007. We had comfortable coat weather, meaning it was cold but if you layered up you were fine. Then on Thanksgiving it got really cold, like wind biting your face cold, but luckily we were inside most of that day! But now having been to the city in January, I can say with proper winter layers the biting cold is tolerable for walking around. But anyhow, here I am rambling on about weather!

It really is hard to decide which month is better for strolling around the concrete jungle’s calm haven, but hopefully with my comparisons you can decide which month would satisfy your fall adventure. Either way, Central Park will charm your socks off :)

More from our Fall Travel Favorites series:

The Great Smoky Mountains

Blue Ridge Parkway


See new posts when they’re published – Follow The Carsons Travel on Bloglovin’!

NYC – Levain Bakery, Central Park, DUMBO

For our first full day in New York we started at Columbia University to take some match-up photos from Ghostbusters (which you can check out here). I spotted some great light on campus and took the opportunity to take our portraits in it!

web_IMG_0744 web_IMG_0742 web_IMG_0747This is my cousin, Nan! Native New Yorker, one of my best friends, and the best NYC tour guide!

After Columbia, we took the subway to 72nd St. so we could take a walk through some of iconic Central Park. But before we headed to the park, Nan suggested we get some cookies from her favorite bakery on 74th St. It’s called Levain Bakery. Do not forget this. When arriving in New York, immediately go to Levain Bakery! So freakin’ delicious!

web_IMG_1136Tiny quarters for big cookies! Levain Bakery.

We decided we should probably eat some lunch before we ate the cookies, so we popped into Gray’s Papaya for a quick bite. I didn’t take a photo, but I was just there in October and shared this photo on Instagram. Deliciousness. And so cheap.

So we made our way over to Central Park where we found a grassy spot to sit in the sun (it was just chilly enough that sitting in the sun was relaxing!) with a view of Bow Bridge to enjoy our cookies. Maybe I’m getting older, but this seriously was one of my highlights from the entire trip! It was perfect weather, the views and people watching were plentiful, and the company of my cousin and my husband was so comfortable. I could have spent the whole day here!

web_IMG_0764 Hm. Didn’t remember to take a photo before we stuffed our faces. Check out the video to see that moment!web_IMG_0761

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After a couple hours of leisure time in Central Park, Trae was in need of a beer :) With some quick research on his iPhone, he found a second Pony Bar location on the Upper East Side (we were at the Hell’s Kitchen location the night before), so we ventured there.

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We were all a little tipsy after the Pony Bar, and when Nan suggested pizza for dinner, we were definitely on board! We ended up at Pizza Park, which, if I remember correctly, is my cousin Spencer’s favorite pizza place.


We discovered while having breakfast at the apartment that morning that Manhattanhenge would be happening that evening and the next evening! I was so thrilled to be in NYC for this!! If you haven’t heard of Manhattanhenge, it’s when the sun sets with the grid of Manhattan’s east/west streets. It only happens twice a year.

The day had been partly cloudy and then fully overcast by the time the sun set, so after all that excitement, the sun never cleared the clouds :( It was still fun to wait it out with the group of hopeful people on the street. In fact, a girl in my Instagram photo found herself and commented.

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After an anti-climactic sunset, we were craving some kind of pretty view. My Aunt Bärli had driven over to meet us for Manhattanhenge, so we all jumped in the car and drove to DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) in Brooklyn. Lindsey and I enjoyed this view at night when we visited in January of 2012. It’s so relaxing seeing the city lights reflected in the river.

web_IMG_0928 web_IMG_0921web_IMG_0930 web_IMG_0951The Manhattan Bridge perfectly framing the Empire State Building :)

 If you fancy seeing video from this day, have a click below!

 See More from NYC:

Trae’s first trip to New York City

Ghostbusters Movie Locations

See new posts when they’re published – Follow The Carsons Travel on Bloglovin’!