Today I’m going to do a flash back Monday vibe and write about one of my standout experiences in New York. I’ve been meaning to share this post with you for a while now, so here goes.
The day after Heleen and I landed in New York, we went on a typical touristy tour – the Gossip Girl location tour. I loved Gossip Girl back in the day and we thought doing the tour on our first full day in New York is a great way of seeing the city, while also seeing where they filmed the different parts of the series.
I’m going to skip the details of the actual tour, but I do have to tell you about some of the girls on the bus – they were hardcore Gossip Girl fans. I’m talking about dressing as Serena or Blair – the whole shebang. They could also recite lines from different episodes..scary stuff. Anyway, one of the stops on the tour was at the Empire Hotel in the Upper West Side (sounds fancy, né). For those of you that don’t know, this is where Chuck Bass stayed in the series. As part of the tour, we only quickly stopped at the hotel for photos, and Heleen and I decided to go back there for a drink at the rooftop bar.
Fast forward to our last day in New York and we’re on our way to the Empire Hotel. Much to our disappointment they tell us that the rooftop area is closed (I can’t remember if they were doing renovations or if it wasn’t open for the season yet) and we decide that we’re going to drink a glass of wine in the bar downstairs. We were there already so we might as well make use of the opportunity.
Now I have to tell you that wine in New York is very, very expensive. I’m talking about $10 and upwards PER GLASS. Here in South Africa you can buy a good bottle of wine for about $6 and both Heleen and I love a glass or two of red wine. But there was no way to justify the $10 and up price tag per glass, so we drank beer most of the time. Since it was our last day in New York, we decided to splurge on a bottel of wine. There was only one South African wine on the menu, Excelsior’s Cabernet Sauvignon at a hefty $60 per bottle. We decided to not look at the price tag and ordered a bottle.
While sitting at the bar we starting chatting to Frank, who was serving us. We told him that we’re from South Africa and it’s our last afternoon before flying back to South Africa that evening and we really, really wanted to go up to the rooftop area.
Long story short, Frank organised with Gabriel (the hotel manager) to take us up to the closed rooftop to take some photos. Gabriel told us about all of the music videos and magazine photoshoots they do on the rooftop and he also played photographer while we posed infront of the massive Empire Hotel sign.
Photos can’t do the view from the rooftop justice. It’s really something else! Here is a panoramic photo I took but as I said, it’s much, MUCH prettier in real life.
We’d like to say a big, BIG thank you to Frank and Gabriel for organising this experience. It really made our trip! It’s such a nice story to tell and it really was a once in a lifetime experience. So, on our way back home (quite tipsy at this stage from the wine) we decide to do one last stop at Aldo before heading to the apartment to fetch our luggage. We ended up walking out with a new pair of heels each, so all in all our last day in New York was one for the books.
I’d really love to go back to New York and stay there for a couple of months. It’s such a great city – expensive, but great. If you’re planning a trip to New York, stay at the Empire Hotel or at least visit them for a drink and say hi to Frank and Gabriel from us 🙂