New York City | Winter 2020

At the start of January, my mom and I hopped on a train to New York City and spent one night at The Dominick Hotel in SoHo. Traveling right after Christmas is one of the best times to visit the city, as it is much cheaper with the holiday season over but also still holds some of the magic of Christmas time and the start of the new year. From exploring SoHo and the myriad of funky and artsy stores to strolling the streets of Little Italy, we explored as much of the city as we could in the little time we had. 

The most enjoyable part of our stay at The Dominick was by far the beautiful view we had of the city. At night, the lights of taxis and towering skyscrapers sparkled red, green, blue, and white under the dark sky, and in the morning the sprawling buildings were enveloped in a thick white fog.  

For dinner, we ate at Il Fiorista, a Mediterranean restaurant in NoMad with dishes featuring various flowers and herbs. As a vegetarian and lover of Mediterranean cuisine, I found all of the food to be very delicious. We picked the restaurant because of its fun floral dishes but also because it was one of the few actually open for reservations that night. Thus, I was quite surprised when upon returning home, I spotted the restaurant while scrolling through the latest edition of The New Yorker, as I would have thought that a restaurant popular enough to be featured in such a print would definitely be fully booked.

Winter in Washington, DC

As with my last several blog posts, this one is very much overdue. I have been slowly working my way through my travels beginning in fall to the present, as I was so busy with homework and school related extracurricular activities during the academic year that I did not take the time to share these photographs at the appropriate time. Now that I have completed my series dedicated to my visit to Paris back in November, I am transitioning to the month of December. 

To celebrate my mom's birthday which is on Christmas Eve, we spent two nonconsecutive nights at two different hotels in Washington, DC. Our first stay was at The Hay Adams, a quaint and cozy hotel located in Lafayette Square and just across from the White House. On day before Christmas Eve, we checked into The Conrad, a much larger and more contemporary hotel situated in City Center.

A Night at the TWA Hotel in New York City

After our return flight from Paris, my mom and I stayed at the TWA Hotel for one night. The main reason for our stay was because our flight landed very late and we did not want to make the four hour drive back home in the dark after getting very minimal sleep, so being able to stay at a hotel at JFK Airport made perfect sense. But my mom had also researched the TWA and yearned to stay in the terminal-turned-hotel. After a whirlwind of a four or so day stay in Paris packed with action, it was so enjoyable to get a good night sleep without having to worry about rushing back home while also topping off our already very memorable trip by staying at such a quirky and unique hotel. 

The TWA flight center opened in 1962 and was designed by Eero Saarinen, an architect who also designed the Washington Dulles International Airport. After closing in 2001, the terminal, around two decades later, was transformed into the TWA hotel.

The rooms are fairly small, but the bed was extremely comfortable (though it may have merely been the jetlag that made it feel so wonderful). The bathroom was sizable and featured black and white tiles and Hollywood style lights lining the mirror. My favorite part about the room, however, was the view out of the massive glass window. It was so pleasant to wake up to the light and the bustling atmosphere of JKF airport out the window, and the closeness of the bed to the window made it feel almost as if I was floating above the parking lot. I believe there are some rooms from which you can see airplanes taking off, though of course they are pricier than the standard rooms.

Of course, the best part about the hotel is not the rooms, but the funky displays and retro decor all throughout the massive hotel. My mom and I, after our breakfast of two very delicious (though exorbitant) almond croissants, spent several hours getting lost in the massive terminal as we explored various rooms, taking digital photo booth pictures, and venturing outside to visit an old TWA airplane that now functions as a bar. As evidenced by the photographs below, no room went unchecked, and we made the most of each silly setup to take a bunch of comical photographs.

Paris By Night

To conclude my series dedicated to my travels in Paris back in November, as opposed to focusing on one specific monument or historic site as I have done with my previous posts, I wanted to create a post in which I could include the higher quality images I snapped with my camera as well as several of my iPhone shots that I felt captured the more raw and real moments. Paris by Night features my favorite photographs of the city from dusk to midnight; the pinks and oranges of the sunset above the Seine, the golden glow of the Eiffel Tower, enchanting aura of the Louvre, and shimmering Ferris Wheel lighting up the onyx sky. 

Visiting the bustling Christmas market along the Seine was a really special experience. The massive Ferris Wheel offered a stunning view of the Eiffel Tower, the sweet, festive flavor of the roasted chestnuts tasted far better than the ones sold New York City that U used to salivate over just thinking about, and booths selling mounds of chocolate, spiced drinks, and an array of cheesy concoctions filled the fair with all sorts of delicious smells. I was so awed by the festive spirit and beautiful decorations that I now have a deep desire to return to Europe during the holiday season to explore other Christmas markets.