McG Takes Manhattan | McGowan Images Blog


McG Takes Manhattan

Last week’s trip to New York City was such a wonderful whirlwind adventure! Mack bought me tickets to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden for my Christmas present, and we built the whole trip around that concert. 🙂 I hadn’t been to NYC in nearly 10 years (since I did my internship with Seventeen Magazine), and Mack had NEVER been, so we definitely had a lot to see & do! We were lucky that our friends Kevin & Nicole could join us for a couple days of the trip, and although a crazy snowstorm kept us from doing EVERYTHING that was on our list, we packed a whole lot into a wonderful week!

We arrived in NYC on Sunday night, and walked straight to Times Square from our hotel. They still had the big Super Bowl extravaganza going on, so it was fun to see everyone out there celebrating.


Before dinner, we also walked over to Rockefeller Center. I was so glad to get to see it before all the snow fell! We didn’t get to go skating on this trip, so that’s still on my bucket list. 🙂


That night, Mack and I ate dinner at FoodNetwork star Geoffery Zakarian’s restaurant, The Lambs Club. It was BEYOND delish, and such a cool atmosphere! Two thumbs up from the foodies. 🙂

On Monday morning, we decided the snow wasn’t going to stop us from exploring… so The McG’s and The Bergs hiked the Brooklyn Bridge in a snow storm!! Thanks to the German tourist who snapped this great group portrait for us.


I really love the way this image turned out… dark & snowy & stormy!!


Just off the bridge, we walked through this park that was a winter wonderland, and were compelled to build a snowman! Of course, since we’re all obsessed with Disney’s “Frozen”, we sang the whole time, and named him Olaf. 🙂


I don’t have any “big camera” photos from Monday night, when we went to The Breslin for a super yummy dinner, and then saw Billy Joel. I could talk for hours about that concert… he played so many of my favorites, including songs he hasn’t done live in years. It was a completely amazing experience, and I’ll be forever grateful to Mack for investing in those tickets for us!!

On Tuesday morning, we went to Central Park. It was still frigid, but bright & sunny so the snow was shining brightly! 🙂


On Valentine’s Day I plan on sharing some of the more sweet romantic portraits we took in the park, but this blog post is a good home for photos of our boys looking goofy. 🙂


We bought art from THIS guy in the park, and after talking, found out that we have mutual friends in the Dallas photog scene. Small world!


When we’re traveling and need someone else to take a photo for us, we just wait ’til someone walks by with a high end DSLR. It doesn’t always work out, but most of the time, the randoms we find know how to work their gear! 🙂


Several times in the span of 90 seconds, we got hit in the head with big clumps of snow… then we realized it was this squirrel! He was totally attacking us! So Mack hit him with a (soft, fluffy, totally non-damaging) snowball to scare him away. 🙂


We made it to the Empire State Building before sunset and got to see the city light up right in front of our eyes!


The image below shows Mack giving me a heart attack as he dangles my camera outside the gate… eeeek!


Beautiful, huh? That night, we ended up at the bar downstairs sitting and talking for hours. It was not even that much of a “New York” experience, but still one of my favorite nights. We’re so blessed with amazing friends!

On Wednesday, we all slept in, and met at Serendipity 3 for an early lunch. Holy deliciousness, Batman! I mean, the sandwiches were tasty, but let’s talk about Frozen Hot Chocolate for a second, because YUM. It sincerely changed my life. I bought the mix and brought it home with me, so let’s hope I can recreate that delicacy in my own kitchen… and then weigh 300 pounds, but whatever. WORTH IT.

After lunch, we headed over to the Cort Theater to see “Waiting for Godot”. It starred Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen, with Billy Crudup, and oh my goodness… it was beyond phenomenal. I can’t even describe how amazing it was to be only a couple feet (we had great seats) from these film legends, and the play was so incredibly powerful. I’m sad we didn’t get to see “No Man’s Land” as well!


I have to say, though, our Stage Door experience was just as cool as the Play itself. We got to shake hands with and talk to all five of the actors in the show, and they were all SO kind. The first was Billy Crudup, who had a whole little conversation with Kevin about “Big Fish”… he was so down to Earth!


But when Ian McKellen came out, oh man… I had a SERIOUSLY hard time not fan-girl-screaming “GANDALF!!!!!!!” He asked where we were from, and expressed concern for us standing out in the freezing rain. Just the nicest man!!


Patrick Stewart was super cool as well… they were joking together, and it’s just so easy to tell they’re really BFFs. 🙂


As kind of a last minute addition to Broadway day, we went over to another theater to see “Cinderella”. It was SO super cute! Really funny, with great music and beautiful sets. It was only the second night of Carly Rae Jepsen playing Ella, and Fran Drescher as the Stepmother, and they each played their roles beautifully. We were very excited to get to see them both after the show. Fran didn’t sign autographs, but Carly did, and she even took a selfie with Nicole & I that we posted on Instagram! 🙂



On Thursday morning, we met at a local diner for breakfast, and then shopped around Rockefeller Center before Kevin & Nicole had to head back to Louisiana. We intended to just go back to our hotel and take a short nap after they left, but I guess we were more tired than we thought… when we woke up, we had to HURRY to get back to Rock Center before the sun set!

I have to say, we enjoyed “Top of the Rock” more than the Empire State Building. It seemed to be a smoother process, and the view was beautiful.


When the light came on at the top of this building, it got hot really suddenly, and all the snow turned to steam! The phenomenon only lasted a few seconds… I’m so glad we got to see it!


That night, we had dinner at Alex Guarnaschelli’s restaurant Butter. I’m bummed to say it was actually kind of a disappointment. Cool atmosphere, but really slow staff even though we had LATE reservations, and the food was only “meh”. Definitely not one I’d need to return to.

Friday was our last full day, so we knew we wanted to pack a lot in. We started with Breakfast at Tiffany’s… total dream come true for me! Especially since I got to eat my street bagel while wearing the new fox fur muff and mink gloves my sweetheart bought me. 🙂


Next, we went to the 9-11 Memorial. It was a very powerful experience, and we were both pretty emotionally exhausted afterwards. It’s mindblowing to be encountered with the reality of a tragedy like that. I’m glad we went, but to say I “enjoyed” it wouldn’t be genuine. It was hard.


Staffers place roses in the names of victims on their birthdays every year.


After a break at a nearby bar to gather our emotions, we headed off to Little Italy & Chinatown. I really wish we’d had more time to spend exploring this area in the daytime… we’ll have to do better next trip! This was where we had our favorite meal of the week!


Benito One was PERFECT wonderful Italian food and a fantastic atmosphere. Since we went at kind of a weird time of day, we got to talk to the owner’s son for a while about the neighborhood and the history of the restaurant, and he kept us supplied with good wine & lots of laughs. Plus, Barry Manilow arrived as we were leaving… so fun!!


The trip on the Staten Island Ferry was a great way to get a little perspective on our view of NYC, and a perfect final touch to the trip…


Really, this trip was such a dream. We were pleased with every aspect of the itinerary we built, and felt like we got to do MOST of what we wanted to do. Now we just have to get busy planning a springtime trip to happen in the next couple years so we can enjoy the city without the risk of frostbite! 🙂

  1. Allison B says:

    This made me miss New York SOOOOO much!! I’m a Texas girl but we used to visit NY every year. I agree, I’m in love with Little Italy /Chinatown and next time you HAVE to take Mack to Astoria! Whenever my husband visits for work, he always stops by the bakery in the Greek grocery store to bring home kourabiedes for me. Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful photos 🙂

  2. Ambo says:

    I’m seriously in love with these pictures, makes me wanna go that much more. I also spot several shots I wanna hang in my house…beautiful as usual guys. I could fill my entire house with McG art and not for a second regret it. Love ya’ll!

  3. Kylie says:

    So excited for you guys and this trip! We’re headed back in March, so may need to pick your brain on one of your restaurant suggestions so we can ass something new to our line-up.
    I love all the snow you got to experience, although I’m sure it made it cold to explore! Gorgeous pictures! Love, love, love.

  4. Tarah says:

    Love this! Reminds me of my trip last March and how I can’t wait to go back with Matt — he’s never been. Excited to see the Valentines Day post.

  5. Tiffany says:

    Sooo… all your pictures are beautiful, and the ones off the empire state building were WORTH the heart attack, but i’m not gonna lie, I scrolled down to see the pictures of Ian and Patrick (we’re on a first name basis, obvs) FIRST. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I hate you so much right now.

  6. Karla says:

    Love love your New York photos !!!!

  7. Karla says:

    The color you get with your photos makes me want a BIG camera. You are truly inspiring.

  8. Erica says:

    Thank you for letting the rest of the world live vicariously through this blog!!! The pictures are amazing and OH MY GOSH SIR IAN MCKELLEN!!!!! I almost screamed in my office. Thank goodness for self control!

    You guys rock! I love that your work allows you the occasional flexibility to take adventures like this together!

  9. Courtney says:

    Holy snowballs guys!! (yes, I’m making this a thing now…) I LOOOOVVVVEEE THESE SO MUCH. I’ve never been to NYC but it’s on my bucket list and dadgum if I didn’t feel like I was there. I adore your pictures in the snow and the Brooklyn Bridge pictures are full-on-EPIC. Can’t wait to see the lovey dovey snow pics of you guys!!

  10. Misty says:

    Gah, I have GOT to go to NYC!!! Loved this post and all the great pics (of course), thanks for sharing the experience, McGs! The snowy Central Park shots are magical (that squirrel’s face = priceless LOL), the moody Brooklyn Bridge image is to die for, and OMG SIR IAN MCKELLEN! 🙂

  11. Kevin says:

    I WANNA GO BACK RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. MrsFrazier says:

    You’re trip looks like it was an absolute dream! You make me want to go back RIGHT NOW! 🙂

  13. Angie says:

    Oh my gosh, what a wonderful trip! I think next time I go on a vacation, I’m either going to hire you to plan my itinerary, or just go somewhere you’ve been and do what you did, because you always do all the coolest stuff!

  14. Toi says:

    I have always wanted to go to New York City! After seeing these gorgeous pictures and ‘hearing’ the excitement in what you wrote, I definitely need to make the trip. And personally, I think it’s SUPER COOL that you and Mack take us, your fans, with you by sharing the pictures on the blog. Thanks!! 🙂

  15. mandaroo says:

    Wow such amazing pictures! I still want to go to NY so bad and this didn’t help! 🙂

  16. Sebastian says:

    Beautiful pictures of New York City. Regards.

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