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Visiting Beautiful National Parks in New York City // Day 1

The main event for this weekend trip was seeing Swan Lake at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, but we planned to visit National Parks in New York to round out the rest of our schedule. Though it was not planned, the Swan Lake tickets that best fit our schedule happened to fall on Valentine’s Day weekend!

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It was the best surprise to be able to celebrate Valentine’s Day in New York! And yes, this post is being written in April even though all this happened in February. It’s fine!

I don’t ever want to tire of visiting New York City. It’s such a loud, fun place to visit and there are so many places to visit that you can’t really tire of walking around. This was my third visit to New York, and now that I’m thinking about it, I can’t actually believe I’ve gotten to visit that many times! Wow, my childhood self is sobbing over that fact. Alright, now that the crying is out of the way, let’s get into the weekend trip to New York City!

Amtrak Train Ride to New York

Since we now live in the DC area, a far more populated area than Augusta, ME, we had the option of taking an Amtrak train from DC to NY. It was a relief to not worry about taking a car to New York, though we did have to wake up super early (like 5:30 AM, ugh). The train was super full for the DC to NY trip so I think we might arrive a little earlier next time (if we do decide to do this again, which I imagine we will).

The Amtrak train experience was so much nicer than flying because the stress of making it to the right gate was not as big a deal as in a sprawling airport, and the legroom for the chairs in the train was downright luxurious.

Kyle & Yasmin standing in front of Federal Hall National Memorial | The Yasmin Diaries

As with most trips, I took some motion sickness medicine so I spent most of the train ride looking at the back of my eyelids. When I was awake, I spent my time eating my snacks, listening to music, and reading online articles…and also scrolling through social media, obviously.

After a few hours of travel, we finally made it to Penn Station and I had not realized how much of a MAZE it is. Imagine if I had been left to my own devices…it would be days before I got out…but I wasn’t alone so I made it out okay.

First things first, we dropped off our suitcases at the hotel and then immediately started walking around. The only terrible thing about the weekend was really the weather because it was absolutely freezing the whole time we were there. My ears occasionally went numb due to the chill and occasional wind.

Hand is stamping into a National Park Passport Book in front of a Passport Stamp Station

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Tiffany & Co. Visit

To be quite honest, I’m not sure how exactly we ended up in front of a Tiffany & Co. store during our walk around the city. Pretty sure Kyle planned it but I have no evidence! Of course, I immediately walked in to gaze at all the beautiful jewelry (as if I had a choice).

After lots of lusting after beautiful pieces, I finally got dragged out but not before getting a picture with the ICONIC colors.

Yasmin standing in front of the Tiffany & Co sign in New York - The Yasmin Diaries
Yasmin standing in front of Tiffany & Co. in New York City.

Federal Hall National Memorial

For our first National Parks in New York for this trip: Federal Hall National Memorial! There was some construction happening within the building at the time but it was still such a cool place to visit.

I think my favorite part to admire were the columns and the beautiful railings on the second floor. There were a lot of intricate architectural details and it was funny to see some of them being contrasted with modern touches, like an elevator.

Federal Hall National Park - Visiting National Parks in New York | The Yasmin Diaries
Federal Hall National Park - Visiting National Parks in New York | The Yasmin Diaries

At this point in the day, I’m getting hungry! We’ve visited several National Parks in New York and walked around several miles.

It’s Valentine’s Day but we definitely did not plan for a fancy dinner tonight. We figured places would be swamped and we were in the mood for something a bit more low-key.

Valentine’s Day Dinner in New York

As fans of the Bon Appetit YouTube channel, we’d taken notes on Alex Delaney’s New York pizza recommendations (video) and we decided on trying Scarr’s Pizza since it would be within the area we would be visiting.

It. Was. Amazing!

We ended up being able to watch our pizza get made and we got our slices *piping hot*. The worst part of the whole experience was the very tight and full quarters, which was very expected considering it was Valentine’s Day. It was also hard to eat outside because we were visiting during cold weather. However, I definitely want to go back because it was delicious but definitely when it is less busy and not during a holiday!

Otto’s Shrunken Head, Tiki Bar in New York

After lots of walking around, we headed to a tiki bar that Kyle had found last time we visited New York City. We had enjoyed it last time but not so much this time. The drinks tend to be good but the bartender definitely plays a big role in how enjoyable the place is.

Last time, the bartender had been fun to talk to, made great drinks, and generally made the place feel like a good spot. This time? Not so much. Kyle and I both decided that the tiki bar in DC was much better (and had better service and food)!

Jeepney Restaurant in New York City

As if we hadn’t had enough fun (read: drinks) at Otto’s Shrunken Head, we then walked over to Jeepney, just a few streets over. Kyle and I were feeling hungry after all the miles of walking we’d done and the drinks at Otto’s reminded us it had been a while since we ate (oops).

P.S. If you follow Best Dressed aka Ashley on YouTube, she actually looked at an apartment across the street from Jeepney around the time we visited. It was funny to see the restaurant for about three seconds in her apartment video.

Leading up to this trip, I’d pored over restaurant lists to try to find a good dinner place for Valentine’s Day. Jeepney was one of the places on the list. We’d both been excited to try the food since they served Filipino food but I don’t think we’ll be eating dinner there again. The food we ordered was good but it took a while to arrive and wasn’t really memorable to us.

The oyster appetizers and drinks, though?! We both agreed they were amazing! Perhaps next time, we’ll be back for just the appetizers.

Floral Tiki Drink from Jeepney Restaurant - Visiting New York | Sincerely Yasmin
Pretty flower on a yummy tiki drink.
Close-up of mussels at Jeepney Restaurant - Visiting National Parks in New York | Sincerely Yasmin
The mussels at Jeepney Restaurant were absolutely delicious!
Yasmin listening to a seashell from the restaurant decorations at Jeepney Restaurant in New York | Sincerely Yasmin
Yasmin listening to a seashell at Jeepney Restaurant

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Thrift Shopping at L Train Vintage in New York

After dinner, we walked across the street to the store I had been eyeing the whole time during our dinner at Jeepney, L Train Vintage. I refused to let us go back to the hotel for the night without stopping at the vintage store and I am so happy I made a fuss!

I ended picking up the most amazing leather jacket! It has a colorful pin-up girl design on the inside of the jacket with a wide belt across the outside of the waist. I think we spent at least an hour in the thrift store. They had several racks of leather jackets, jeans, flannels, and clothing of all kinds. I was eyeing several glitzy dresses and I wanted more hours in the day so I could try on every pair of jeans!

However, my suitcases were already tightly packed on the way up for this weekend trip to New York and I didn’t have much extra space left in my suitcase (or Kyle’s), so I stuck with my one leather jacket purchase and I was ecstatic!

With a new leather jacket and full stomachs, we headed back to the hotel. And that wraps up the first day of our weekend trip to New York and visiting National Parks in New York! Read about day two of our weekend trip to New York!

For Valentine’s Day weekend this year, we decided to take a fun weekend trip to New York City, full of visits to National Parks in New York! We were able to check off so many National Park experiences and even attend a ballet show, my first ever!

I was so excited to be able to visit New York again and be able to explore the various neighborhoods throughout the few days we visited. Additionally, instead of celebrating Valentine’s Day on February 14, we decided to have our fancy dinner the night after and it was totally worth it!

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Visiting National Parks in New York.

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