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

And yes, this blog post is being written in April even though all this happened in February. It’s fine.

Day 2: Walking Around + Swan Lake

After a slow wake-up and some hotel breakfast for me, the first visit of the day was Castle Clinton National Monument. Though we would have loved to buy tickets for the Statue of Liberty, we figured there would be long lines and wait times since it was Valentine’s Day weekend; we were right!

Guess that means we need to plan a future trip!

Visiting Castle Clinton National Monument with Yasmin wearing a cream London Fog coat - Visiting New York National Parks | Sincerely Yasmin

It was very interesting to read about the history and transformation of Castle Clinton. From an entertainment space to an immigrant processing space to an aquarium, a lot has happened in this space.

I also caught this pigeon having a fun sunbathing time. I swear it started modeling/posing at one point.

Pigeon at Castle Clinton Monument - Visiting New York National Parks | Sincerely Yasmin

After Castle Clinton, we headed to what has to be my favorite National Park site we’ve visited so far, the African Burial Ground National Monument. It is such a well-done park. I can’t even express how overwhelming it was to learn about all the things they found during excavation, and the new scholarship and civic engagement that came about because this rediscovery.

The following pictures show my favorite part of the space. I truly wish I could transport you to the space because the pictures do not do this exhibit justice. The figures are beautifully depicted, with so much emotion and detail that I thought they were actors standing still at first glance. Though you can’t truly see it below, the exhibit “extends” beyond the main group of people through the use of pictures.

NPS African Burial Museum, Wax Figures of Slave Funeral - Visiting New York National Parks | Sincerely Yasmin

Want to see more pictures of the exhibits?
Visit the African Burial Ground National Monument website.

National Park Passport Book | Sincerely Yasmin
Getting the stamp for our Passport Book!

After getting our stamp for the African Burial Ground National Monument, we headed towards the Lincoln Center. We arrived *just* in time for the Swan Lake performance. I’m pretty sure it was my first ballet performance and it was amazing! My favorite part has to be the absolute dead silence on stage…except for the shoes! Obviously, there was music coming out of the orchestra pit throughout the performance but to only hear the shoes as the ballerinas move across the stage?! Stunning.

Swan Lake at Lincoln Center - Visiting New York National Parks | Sincerely Yasmin

I was also so happy that the timing our trip coincided with the art show about all of the behind-the-scenes people that bring the shows to life. I’d read an article by The Cut about the art show long before we thought about coming to NY so when Kyle told me the trip was actually happening, I looked for the article again to see if the art show would still be up…and it was!

Yasmin at Lincoln Center | Sincerely Yasmin
Art Show at Lincoln Center | Sincerely Yasmin

The show was well -presented and I could’ve stayed there for hours reading all of the different stories. I had never realized quite how many people are involved in the making of a show, from recruitment to training to lights to health and safety to construction and maintenance. There are so many people that are constantly working together to make sure the show flows as flawlessly as possible.

Swan Lake | Sincerely Yasmin

Swan Lake

A little blurry but we took a picture with one of the posters to commemorate our trip and my first ballet!

After the Swan Lake performance, Kyle took me around some of the nearby neighborhoods so I would have some reference of the places people talk about in all of the NY movies I like to watch. Soon, we were both getting hungry but it wasn’t yet time for our dinner reservation so we decided to kill some time at a Gregory’s Coffee shop.

Gregory's Coffee Shop | Sincerely Yasmin
Do you see that handwriting?! Jealous.

And then…all of a sudden…it was dinner time! Thank goodness because I was so hungry by that point. I definitely think the wait was worth it though, because the food was scrumptious.

We made reservations at GupShup for our fancy Valentine’s dinner. The location was beautiful, the food tasted heavenly, and we will most definitely be back, with or without a special occasion. All of the plates were equally yummy but crispy eggplants with hummus is my new favorite appetizer.

GupShup Restaurant - Visiting New York National Parks | Sincerely Yasmin
Please excuse my face 🤣!
Not my best picture, but it’s the only picture of me at the restaurant!

One of my favorite parts of the restaurant was the painting that was right behind Kyle. It was this traditional-looking painting that had been redone with over-the-top modern touches.

GupShup Restaurant - Visiting New York National Parks | Sincerely Yasmin

Our bellies were stuffed with yummy food and we were feeling the sleepiness coming over us…but we had to make a quick stop at a tourist spot I hadn’t yet visited…the Charging Bull.

I had made Kyle promise to stop by the Insomnia Cookies location that was literally *around the corner* from our hotel. So that’s where we headed after visiting the Charging Bull.

Insomnia Cookies | Sincerely Yasmin

Have you had crispy eggplants and hummus before?


Read more about our New York trip:

day 1: traveling + v-day dinner

day 3: last minute visits + traveling

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