Breakfast on the corner of Broadway and 49th Street in dire need of coffee. It’s a beautiful Spring morning in New York City with the sun shining on my face and a cool breeze; perfect for my birthday.

Then onward to Rockefeller Center, passing by the NBC Studios, Radio City Music Hall and pretzel carts, where I sit in the courtyard and bask in the sun, golden rays on my shimmery gold shoes.

An hour or so later, sun-kissed, I keep walking towards The Museum of Modern Art, taking in all of Fifth Avenue in the process; by far my favorite street!

I stop in awe to admire the Gothic-styled St Patrick’s Cathedral, the largest Catholic cathedral in the US, right in the heart of Fifth Avenue. Then continue to wander past Saks and Company.

Only to stumble upon another building of worship just around the corner, Anglican church St Thomas Church, a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.

At the tip of which I wander into Bloomingdales, up on 60th Street, where I am greeted by Angelo, who compliments me on my makeup and upon discovering that it’s my birthday, gushes that I look perfectly flawless! In all fairness, he asks what bronzer I have on; I tell him it’s called natural skin having been out with the sun’s rays reflecting its glow on my face. He laughs in delight. He loves it!

Breezing through Bloomingdales, I make my way down to Serendipity 3 for some lunch. Made famous by the movie starring Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack, I am greeted by the very friendly maitre’d who shows me to a table and am served by a tall, charming blond who keeps winking at me. Don’t laugh, but ever since I’d seen the movie, I’ve always wanted to come here; I possibly couldn’t on my birthday! So it’s not fancy, but it’s quirky, and the food and treats are plenty and comforting. The decor is an eclectic mix of diner meets quaint general store. Next birthday will be at the Spice Market restaurant down in the Meatpacking District!

Stuffed silly and unable to possibly eat another bite for days, I make my way to Lexington Avenue in search of a Victoria’s Secret store for a birthday present!

Then armed with the most ridiculous lingerie on the planet, I head to Central Park for a wander; and the sun shining on my already golden brown legs.

As I take in the sights and sounds around me, there is no doubt to my mind that I am in New York.

As if it’s not enough just to have to take in the sights, smells, and sounds of the city, the architecture is a whole other ball game to contend with.

New York architecture is insanely ridiculous; from the very modern to art deco to Gothic architecture reflected in some of the churches and hotels, to the outrageously and outlandishly opulent and decadent (think Trump Tower); all you need to do is soak it up and breathe it in. And appreciate the different and diversified styles. Never dull!

And it is all the cliché that you read about, see in the movies, think it is; everyone is wired to their phones via Bluetooth, even moms pushing prams down Fifth Avenue. And every other car is honking; every other person jaywalking; and every other Starbucks is full of caffeine-hungry souls.

But despite what they say, every other person is smiling at me. People are extremely friendly. And I find New Yorkers surprisingly and extremely patient, despite the crowds of confused and bewildered tourists and myriads of people distracted on their cell phones.

However, if you don’t like big cities and chaos, don’t make your way here; you have been warned.

As the day starts to blush towards mid- afternoon, I am surprised to realize that my stomach is rumbling. Must be all the walking.

Now, you can’t be in New York and not have a bagel, so armed with bagel in hand with lashings of cream cheese, and I do mean lashings, I head back to the hotel to doll up and then head out again for my night on Broadway to catch an award-winning musical. What a wonderful way to celebrate my birthday!

Stay inspired,

Text and images: Nina Mostafa

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