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Talking New York City Parking, Transportation, Food and Midtown Accommodations

By Nikia Knapp

New York City

Photo of Midtown Manhattan by Pixabay.com

 

"My husband and I are native New Yorker's, but we have been living in the ever-growing South for the past 13 years.
For this specific New York City (NYC) trip we made a specific commitment to:
1) see our daughter Teya walk in NYFW (New York Fashion Week) for the first time and
2) to create location content for our CLP (Colorful Life Productions) family.

Things don’t always go as planned – I guess that’s called life.

That being said, we still managed to have a great time and in this blog post, I hope to share some insight on NYC parking, transportation, a great place to eat, and also a place to stay in midtown Manhattan if you want to be in the center of the metropolis."

 

New York Fashion Week

"The day before we were about to leave Charlotte, North Carolina, we found out that our daughter Teya would not be able to get us tickets for her show (my world turned upside down), yet another reminder for me to lower me expectations so I won’t be so disappointed when I don’t get what I want. We originally planned to get NYFW 2019 content thinking it would be wonderful to show you all up close and personal footage of our baby walking the runway. We had to decide whether or not to still go... Finally we came to the conclusion that we could still be present to celebrate Teya when she finished her show and we could still put together fun content via YouTube vlogs/IG photos/blogs about NYC that hopefully our audience could appreciate. How we came to this conclusion was simply: Hey, we ARE trying to live our best life, right? So… let’s go make some memories with our daughter!”

 

New York Fashion Week Model Teya Knapp

New York Fashion Week Model Teya Knapp

New York City Winter

"When we arrived the aggressive-cold NYC, winds smacked the “southern” off us really quick! There is nothing like some frigid Northern air to wake one up and snap them right back into a New York state of mind!- Hello!

There we were, fumbling around with our equipment in the Bronx, looking for little pieces that attach to our tripod or camera all while trying to keep our belongings from flying away in the take me to OZ winds! Yes, I must admit my irritability levels were fluctuating but I kept reminding myself that we still had to sing the Alicia Keys chorus to “Empire State of Mind” and happily welcome our audience to NY in our NYC YouTube vlog- hahaha!

Apache and I fussed back and forth about what each of us thought the other should be doing, as the foam covering for our mic flew away into oblivion! Once we finally got our “mind” together, we moved with a quick, determined pace down to Broadway to get our Intro done- whew!

Okay, so now it was time to start singing out loud in broad daylight and show everyone just how happy we were to be back in NYC!
The same stairs that listened to us for hours on end in the middle of the night, while intoxicated over 20 years ago now would be the back drop for our NYC Colorful Life Productions vlog – a true dichotomy in the making. Adding to the 360 degrees of this situation is that back in the day these steps were grey and today they are colorfully painted lovely pastel green and blues appropriately prepared just for us! So there we were singing and doing retakes in the cold while a small group of Hispanic workers nearby would intermittently pay attention and when we were done clapped for us, so sweet of them- although they were probably clapping because we were finally finished torturing them with our impressive vocal skills."

broadway

On Broadway 231st

 

Driving into New York from Another State

"Personally, the last thing I want to be bothered with is my car when I am visiting NYC. Since we drove into NYC we parked where we would always park it… in the Bronx, on the street, FOR FREE on 231st for 2 days (and we could have left it for 3 before having to move it). We have never had any problems parking our car in this area. When you park anywhere in NYC pay attention to the signs that let you know when the car should not be there (it will say NO PARKING on such and such days and times) - unless you would like for it to be towed away that is. We knew people would be going to work on a weekday morning and most likely we could get a space without much trouble. Driving around downtown for hours in crazy traffic (I like to exaggerate a little- but not really) looking for a parking space or paying expensive Midtown parking lot prices is at the top of my DO NOT DO list so we settled on parking in the Bronx 2 blocks from our beloved 1 train on Broadway.

The train ride from 231st street to 34th street is approximately 45 minutes. Hilariously, our daughter’s boyfriend (who is from Charlotte but now lives in NY) reminded us that we could have parked much closer (between 105th -110st.-which I do recommend) to enjoy this same luxury-duh! This would have granted us a shorter train ride since we were headed downtown and also saved us some money, since we took an Uber back to the car at the end of our visit! This is a perfect example of a conditioned mind- we just went right back to what we knew and are used to without further thought. We are slowly adapting to all the new technology and ways of surviving in this modern world.

Scrolling through the App store, I found one called FreePark NYC- Parking in NY which may be helpful to you in locating free parking. While we are on the topic of this area of the Bronx, around 231st street, it’s not “touristy” so you can see and feel what a typical middle class New York neighborhood is like. You can also find incredible Spanish food restaurants in this neighborhood- most likely any Spanish restaurant in this area will have the bomb food just because the culture is longstanding here. El Economico Restaurant has been recommended by an old friend who lives in this neighborhood."

 

New York City Transportation

"A long time ago, getting onto the train was very simple. You go to the booth and there is a human inside who will give you a coin for about $1.25 USD and you put the coin in the turn-style in order to get on the train- easy! While you are getting your train fare, you can also talk to a NYC transit expert who would tell you which train to take where, to get where you want to go- easy! Today, you have to fuss with metro card machines that sometimes work, sometimes don’t and cannot answer simple transit questions for you- stubbornness be-gone! I am beginning to understand there are apps for everything these days and actually look for them in the app store thanks to young modern bloggers and my daughter’s influence. The app Teya used when she first moved back to New York to navigate the train system, was New York Subway MTA Map but Moovit: Train & Bus Times also has good ratings. We enjoyed riding the NYC transit system once again- it’s been awhile.

The large masses of people moving in one direction or the other, the train performers, the faster paced steps of the underground city reconnects us to our old home and stomping grounds. I know my way in NY, and if I don’t I can find it so not worried."

Uber rides in New York City

"New York City blocks are long and during the winter they seem longer so we also took advantage of Uber! Apache had the Uber app downloaded already- aren’t you proud of us?! Uber is the best invention since sliced bread. Comparing Uber to the yellow taxi cabs – omg! First they can’t discriminate by the way you look whether or not you appear safe enough to pick up. Second, they can’t overcharge you by turning on a meter and then taking a longer route so the meter could jack up the price- yaaay! Instead, Uber gives you a flat rate that you pay before they even arrive and the price is way cheaper than we ever paid for a yellow cab.

There are so many Uber's that there is basically no wait time; I swear they would arrive in less than 5 minutes every time we used the app, long gone are the days of standing out in the cold trying to flag down a cab. The Uber drivers want good ratings, so all of our drivers were friendly, except for one who was just quiet which is cool with me as well. Uber is a luxury because obviously it’s more expensive than the train but we took advantage on a couple occasions to save time and my aching bunion. Recently it has been brought to my attention that some women have accidentally gotten into cars that they had mistaken for an Uber and become victims of heinous crimes, so in an effort to make sure you are riding Uber as safely as possible make sure to review Uber safety awareness tips here.
Always make sure the license plate, car model, and driver’s name match your App."

 

Black Tap vs. The Sugar Factory

"To celebrate our daughter conquering her 5th year in NYFW (New York Fashion Week), the plan was to have dinner at the Sugar Factory- which she had originally recommended."

 

Teya Knapp Model

Teya Knapp

 

"For the past year, we have waited patiently for that special moment in life where we would finally enter The Sugar Factory and be presented with the milkshake of our wildest dreams. After many nights of drooling over their fantastical dessert images via social media, finally our big moment had come. Entering this restaurant felt like we were squeezed into a tightly-packed box of cigarettes – too close for comfort. All I could hear was a swarm of people loudly talking over one another- very unappealing in my opinion. I was already disappointed with the atmosphere but peered toward the back dining area to see if it got any better visually and again unimpressed. It just looked overcrowded and gaudy to me as far as décor from where I was standing.

Apache, Teya and I still wanted to eat and decided to see how long the wait was so we spoke with the hostess who informed us that The Sugar Factory was only taking reservations this day, that they were booked for the rest of the evening and that neither of their upstairs nor downstairs bars had seating either. Apache insists on taking a look upstairs because “This place is famous,” so we went up the stairs, got a gander at their wall of fame (pics of famous people who had eaten here)… once again, I could care less. People are squeezing by one another struggling to get out/in, take a quick pic, we got ours and then “oh my God, get me out of here!”

Teya knew of another spot that served the same kind of food and desserts minus the tremendous crowd named “The Black Tap Downtown” located on Ludlow street in Manhattan. We were warned that if we didn’t arrive at Black Tap by a certain time we would have a long wait because this restaurant is also popular. When we first walked into Black Tap we were already hooked with the music and ambiance! There was probably a 20-minute wait, but there was awesome graffiti to look at, it wasn’t as crowded as Sugar factory when we arrived around 5pm and the music made us feel right at home!!! – Comfy cozy.

We spent our wait time head nodding, singing along and swaying side to side to old favorite Hip Hop classics and other radio tunes ranging from the 80s-90s era. Teya had to ride the wave of her parent’s antics because we were like two big kids once again. The staff was really friendly and finally seated us in a booth- our own little private party space! If the food is exciting, my taste buds (which it did) I tend to start dancing in my seat with joy (just a little head bopping and booty jiggling) but this time it was perfect because I had the music to match! Black Tap’s dinner menu included all types of burgers (turkey, pork, black bean, falafel and good ole fashioned beef) with a wide variety of trimming options, fries, elaborate salads etc. I had the veggie burger that I was more than pleased with. The only “con” I could mention would be the lighting over our table had a strong orange tint to it and was not favorable for IG/video footage (as you will see in our YouTube video). If the main goal is to obtain visual content, you may want to call around to see if the other chains in NY have better lighting."

 

The Sugar Factory

Photo from DanielFoodDiary.com

 

"Teya’s boyfriend arrived and joined us for our pig out party at Black Tap! Apache and I felt so blessed to be in great company (our daughter and her boyfriend), listening to the music we grew up on and enjoying excellent American style food. Now on to the milkshakes… they are extravagant and unbelievable in appearance- literally looking like a large piece of art work cultivated with our favorite sugar treats! Just imagine a carnival of candies, cookies, pretzels or cake happening on top of your favorite milkshake- this could send some people into a diabetic coma, perfect! It was so disappointing when I was reminded that we actually had to go because I felt like we were leaving our own party."

Staying at Cachet Boutique New York City

"First, I know there are places we could have stayed in New York that may have been cheaper but we chose this one located on 42nd street. Cachet Boutique is within close distance to a lot of the places we planned on going and honestly it just looked cool for getting photos. Overall we had a nice stay at Cachet BoutiqueNYC. But let me give you some of the details…"

 

Cachet Boutique

Photo from TripAdvisor.com

 

"Hotel room prices fluctuate according to the census on a given day. We paid $180 USD in February for our standard two-bed accommodation, but found out on the following night we could have gotten an executive suite for $130 USD because the census was low. We learn something new every day! This is typical for hotels so remember to ask about discounted room rates and upgrades that might become available to you during your next hotel stay.

When you first enter Cachet Boutique, you will notice they have their own Restaurant/Bar “Treadwell Park” immediately to your left. They don’t do room service but we were able to make an order to go. Stepping into Treadwell Park that late Friday evening, we immediately noticed it was a dark, casual, loud hang-out spot for the young-ins. I think there was music playing along with the big flat screen televisions and loads of hot blooded 20somethings drinking and mingling! It was not our scene so we got our food and headed back to our room."

 

Cachet Boutique Sky Deck

Having some fun out on the Cachet Boutique Sky Deck

 

"If you like playing pool, which we do, there is a trendy gold billiards room decorated with Marilyn Monroe icon all over the walls and an awesome cylindrical entrance making for a perfectly framed photo with backdrop. We got to play a little pool and enjoyed that. The complimentary farm-to-table breakfast was appreciated with a display of options ranging from hard boiled eggs, plain yogurt topped with granola and berries in tiny glass jars (very cute) to bagels and pastries. The coffee was good, so that’s a plus because I believe I’m turning into a bit of a coffee snob. At breakfast, Apache was checking out this other dudes’ cool footwear and the other guy was checking out Apache’s style as well- quick glances up and down –hilarious. After breakfast, as outgoing as Apache is, he just starts talking to the guy and his son to discuss their mutual admiration for one another's style and come to find out they were visiting from France! It was really exciting to meet international visitors. They were so friendly that we even got pictures together in front of Marilyn Monroe to mark our meeting."

 

Cachet Boutique NYC

Meeting cool people from France in Cachet Boutique NYC

 

"Cachet Boutique NYC demonstrated a young, modern approach with a night-club vibe to it including dark lighting (which actually made photographing and video a little more challenging for us newbie’s), framed photos of fashion models - some of which appeared to be out in NYC nightlife, and some modern artwork."

 

Nikia Knapp

Nikia Knapp and Apache

 

Nikia Knapp and Apache

Taking some photos in the Retreat - private event space

 

"This hotel is pet friendly, a 10-minute walk from Times Square and 1.2 miles from the Empire State Building- I’m sure tourists would be interested in those details. I did like my designer toiletries and yes I brought the lotion home with me of course. We checked out their outdoor Sky Decks very briefly for photos because the February cold winds were merciless, the things we do for the IG photo- smile! I could see this being a very chill spot in the Spring & Summer for sunbathing and conversing with friends."

 

Cachet Boutique Sky Deck NYC

Cachet Boutique Sky Deck pic from Booking.com

 

Sky Deck at Cachet Boutique

Out on the Sky Deck at Cachet Boutique imagining how nice it will be in the Spring!

 

"The bedroom wasn’t very spacious but it was clean and comfortable. At first, I thought the shower was cool because of the full length mirror inside of it- let the sexy times begin! Alas-the mirror fogged up immediately so it was a no go there (duh- forgot about that part)! I believe the real purpose of the mirror is to make the bathroom look and feel larger, which it did. The shower had a half fixed glass panel which I thought must be ultra-modern, we are working on opening our old school minds to the ways of the future! I liked the sliding bathroom door- sensible for a small space. Our bedroom had no window… I wonder if that is something we need to specifically request when we make hotel reservations?

 

The room is loaded with amenities you can purchase, like candy, liquor and even headphones. We found out after we left that we could drink the in-room bottled FIGI water at no extra cost! So we ran back to the housekeeper after we had already checked out and asked her to reopen our room so we could get our fancy FIGI water which she kindly obliged! Well… it came with the room so we already paid for it and we were thirsty, don’t judge.

The staff at Cachet Boutique NYC was super friendly and seemed eager to be helpful which always goes a long way for both of us."

 

Billiards room at Cachet Boutique

Billiards room at Cachet Boutique

 

"You could live in NYC your whole life and still never get to see and do everything- after all there are 5 boroughs!

It’s an amazing place with so much to do. On this trip, I enjoyed some firsts including being able to celebrate Teya’s NYFW show with her, my first UBER ride around NY, eating at Black Tap and staying in a midtown Manhattan hotel. This city girl is still looking forward to more future firsts in The Big Apple!"

 

"New York City is bold, direct and without cushion but it is also colorful, and a cultural kaleidoscope"
– Nikia Knapp

THE BIG APPLE ROAD TRIP

Go here for Part 2

 

If you enjoyed this article, you may also like 5 Reasons to vacation in Asheville, NC, 6 Reasons to vacation in Delaware, How To Have A Cheap Carolina Beach Trip.

 

Nikia Knapp

Written by Nikia Knapp from Colorful Life Productions.

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