I was so grateful for the opportunity to travel to New York City for one of my good friend’s wedding in Manhattan at Bryant Park Grill. I had never been to New York City and really didn’t know what to expect. I had visited Mexico City for my husband & I’s honeymoon and though it was a fascinating city- I still fantasize about the street tacos- I found it very overwhelming. Perhaps that is due to the language barrier, or perhaps it was due to the sheer number of people there and how compact everything is. Somehow, I found NYC to be a little less overwhelming and it felt a little less claustrophobic despite the buildings being far taller. I think this could be due to the fact I was there over Labor Day weekend which typically is when New Yorkers go out of town, and the streets are a bit wider than in Mexico City, or maybe because I had more time to get used to the city. Regardless, I spent almost a week in New York City and feel like I got to see a good deal of the city. I walked over 30 miles I think so I definitely got my exercise in!¬† I took the opportunity of being in New York to explore it with my mom for a fun little trip to see the city after the wedding day.

One thing I had high expectations for was the food, and I was disappointed in most aspects except for a few noted exceptions and a chain burger place we went to twice (BareBurger). Maybe it’s because I wasn’t going to the expensive popular places or just didn’t know what I was doing, but I had heard NYC was a foodie heaven and was solely disappointed with a lot of meals.

What we did:
Day 1: Sarah, my fabulous 2nd shooter & I walked the Highline, visited Chelsea Market & the Brooklyn Bridge. I had the best gluten free bagel at Chelsea Market at a little vendor. I really want another one some day. I’m completely food obsessed, and being gluten & dairy free really puts a crimp on that. But it’s probably for the best because otherwise I’d eat ALL THE THINGS and probably be overweight. Chelsea had a bunch of cute food places but since we were there in the morning, I restrained myself and just had a bagel. We walked the entire Highline which is an old converted railline running above the street level that used to transport manufacturing & foodstuffs before trucking took off as a primary form of transportation of raw goods. Now it’s full of trees & green in the city, like nature reclaiming the concrete. A lot of people run along the Highline, as well as just relax and get some sun above the hustle and bustle of the city. From there, we walked back to the hotel and got ready to head out to the Brooklyn Bridge. I loved all of the lines of suspension of the bridge. It was crowded since we went at sunset, but well worth the trek. We didn’t get a chance to get over to explore Brooklyn before needing to head back to dinner so we just walked back once we reached the end.

Our view from our hotel room.

New York Public Library which was right behind Bryant Park Grill. So incredibly gorgeous.

The view  of the skyline from Bryant Park.

On the way to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Thanks Sarah for the photo of me! I was perched on a rail with cars passing by below. She also did my hair!

Day 2: Day 2 was the wedding day, so not too much went on that day. The forecast was threatening rain all day and I was crossing my fingers and praying that the rain would hold off until after sunset. It didn’t, but it didn’t impact the day too much except that it rained right before the end of the ceremony. The wedding was on the roof of the Bryant Park Grill and though umbrellas covered most of the rooftop, the center aisle wasn’t. Luckily my cameras are partially weather resistant so nothing got damaged and I personally LOVE the rain and the mood it added to the ceremony. As an Arizona wedding photographer, I don’t get to shoot in rain much, so it’s a novelty for me.

Day 3: Because I was pretty tired from shooting the wedding, we didn’t want to do too much. It was pretty rainy which I loved. We visited Central Park, with the weather clearing off around noon.


Times Square on a rainy cloudy day.

Central Park was a welcome space of green in a busy city. Because I was sore & tired from the wedding, we didn’t explore all of Central Park. I’m sure we could have spent a whole day there but because we walked there, we didn’t get to the northern section.

This is the Milton Tiles at Bethesda Arcade. It was incredibly beautiful!

This opera singer was incredibly talented and the acoustics really enhanced her voice.

Heading back, we walked along Fifth Avenue. This is St. Patrick’s Cathedral which we didn’t go in, but it looked stunning from the outside.

Day 4: We visited the 9/11 Memorial which was chilling. The air there was still and heavy. I was only 10 at the time of 9/11 so I didn’t fully understand what was going on until it was explained to me, but I remember that was the point that everything started to change in the US.

They put roses on the names of the people who died on their birthdays.


From there, we went to see the Statue of Liberty from shore which was enough for me & my mom.


From Battery Park, we walked back towards the Brooklyn Bridge but didn’t walk across it because of time.

From there we visited a small but delicious gluten free/dairy free bakery called Tu-Lu’s Gluten Free Bakery in East Village and I had the best dairy free/gluten free mac n cheese ever at S’MAC which was a serendipitous discovery on my mom’s part.I got bacon & green onions & gluten free breadcrumbs on mine.

Day 5- We spent some time around Bryant Park and explored inside the New York Public Library which was stunningly beautiful.


Since it was close, we also popped over to Grand Central Station, which didn’t look totally like I expected. I don’t know what I was expecting, but from a few photos I had seen, I had a different vision of it in my head.

After that we got some food and headed to a Broadway play- Phantom of the Opera. I’ll probably be yelled at for this, but I’m not a huge musical fan, despite my orchestra background (viola). It was a nice play and I loved the visuals of it and the music was great, but musicals just don’t do much for me. Nevertheless I’m really glad we saw it! We headed home the next day, and I was happy to get home despite the temperature difference. It’s nice to get back to my dogs, house, husband and bed, as well as cook for myself again.

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Alyssa Campbell Arizona wedding photographer

Welcome! I’m an Arizona-based wedding & portrait photographer specializing in natural and documentary photos. My blog is where you can see my latest work as well as check out tips & the latest news. Following me on social media is another way to check out my recent work!