How I spent my 30th birthday in New York City

I always thought I am not a birthday person. But somehow I happened to spend it in all different locations across the globe. Before I turned 30 I was lucky to celebrate it in Prague, Moscow, Shanghai, Paris, Tokyo, Mauritius, Saigon, Amsterdam. The brightest memories of all I still have from my 29th surprise birthday party at Rijskmusem in Amsterdam – the most important Dutch national museum. Owen has arranged tickets for a Museum night in Amsterdam months in advance which was held during the night of 3rd November. The whole evening from 9 pm we were wandering across major museums and galleries, enjoying the eternal art pieces with music and booze. Just before midnight, Owen brought me to Rijksmuseum which was full of dancing people. After we got some champagne, the DJ said happy birthday to everyone born on the 4th of November. The moment I will never forget…


But my 30th birthday snuck up on me unexpectedly and November 2019 rolled around and I found myself staring down the barrel of a new decade. I always knew it is going to be New York as it’s simply has been my dream city forever. Somehow this year I have been avoiding this city to keep it for something very special and for someone very special. Owen always knew about my New York thing and had been planning a trip there for this occasion for a long. However, he would never miss a chance to tease me with cheap tickets to Cape Town for November.


On the last day of my twenties, we checked in to Lexington hotel. It is located in Midtown, walking distance to everything we have planned. We were given this beautiful spacious suite on the top floor which had incredible views of Manhattan skyscrapers as well as Times Square.

On the last night of my being 29, Owen and I headed to Times Square. Before my trip to the US, my mum said she would like to see me there when I turn 30. She proposed an idea that at midnight we go to the spot where EarthCam is and while she will be wishing me happy birthday on the phone she would be able to see me live on Times Square. That sounded just dope to me. is a global network of live streaming webcams, built as a way to transport people to interesting and unique locations around the world that may be difficult or impossible to experience in person.

In the meantime, Owen didn’t miss a chance to show the whole world that I turn 30 by bringing the sparkles all the way from Holland. At the moment I thought this year should turn out an amazing one since the start was so great. 

Afterwards, Owen said that we are heading home but once again he deceived me and brought me to “How I met your mother bar”!! Both of us are big fans and he introduced me to it earlier this year and I got hooked. The directors of the series were regulars at Mc Gee’s pub and were inspired to create Mc Clarens’s afterwards. If you are a big fan of series, you would recognise all the cocktails names that are related to certain episodes.

Another series from New York we both love is ‘Friends’. Owen somehow managed to find a “How you doing” cup for me ( We all love this pick-up line from Joe, don’t we :-))). This morning we went to have breakfast at a very special place and we stopped on the way by the “Friends” house.

The New York food scene would be nothing without pastrami and pastrami would not be complete without Katz’s Deli. It is the oldest deli in New York, running it’s business for more that 120 years and famous for its juicy meat, big portions and cranky service. When we looked at the prices ( $22 per sandwich) we thought it was way to high even for New York standards. But once we tried it out we had no doubts it was worth it. So far from all the foods we have tried during this trip pastrami was absolutely our favourite!

For me, there is no better way to enjoy my time than looking at art. Last year my whole birthday we have spent enjoying world-famous art from midnight till the evening of the next day. This year we couldn’t miss the same opportunity as in New York there is Moma and modern art is my favourite period in art history. Museum of Modern Art has reopened in October 2019 just a few days before my birthday with an additional 47,000 sq ft of space and famous works alongside lesser-known artists. The highlight of the visit was the Waterlilies of Monet. This work became one of my favourites after I saw this series for the first time in the Parisian L’Orangerie.

After having some food for the soul we have stopped by  The Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station for a proper birthday dinner and drinks. It first opened its doors in 1913, where it used to be an old and rundown train depot on the lower level of Grand Central Terminal. The atmosphere is great, the selection of oysters (changes daily for the best freshness) is great, and they have so much more than just oysters. In particular, we loved their oyster shooters and Manhattan clam chowder.

Coming back to our New York home after such an intensive day and having a rest in our beautiful suite was just great.

Turning 30 in New York was absolutely magical. I wonder where I’ll find myself celebrating my 31st birthday!


Images by Thitiphol Owen Charoensri.