Justin Halbert, a San Diego native, is living up to the city’s nickname, the “City in Motion,” with his busy lifestyle. As a chef, photographer, teacher, and father Justin knows just how to capture a world in motion. He just returned from an Instagram takeover in New York as part of Alaska Airlines’ Weekend Wanderer series. For more Weekend Wanderer posts, make sure you’re following Alaska Airlines on Instagram.
How would you plan a trip to NYC if you were a San Diego native? For me, I based my outings around the best photo spots and dining in the city. Shoot a little before sunrise, have a great breakfast, walk, cab or subway to the next location, shoot, eat a good lunch and so on. I was cold but that made the experience more fun – we don’t get to wear layers in San Diego.
Traveling is about making memories. That’s why I try to bring a friend or someone in the family on all my trips. This trip was special because I brought my wife Stacy who had never been to New York. She loves going on photography trips with me because I set the agenda and she gets to enjoy and experience the places I photograph, the restaurants we dine at and she gets to meet friends I’ve made through social media that I try to meet up with. It’s important for me to share the amazing opportunities I get with my friends and family.
I’m a classically trained chef and creativity is what fuels me. Whether it’s food or art, I’m constantly looking to improve and hone my skills. Just before the trip, I had some chef friends from San Francisco stay with me in San Diego. One friend had just returned from working as a chef for five years in New York so he had some recommendations for restaurants. The first night we ate at Boqueria – a Spanish tapas restaurant, which we absolutely loved. One of the best dinners my wife has ever eaten was the vegetarian tasting menu at Contra – six courses for 67 dollars … that’s an absolute steal in the city. Every place where we ate was good – and I have to say, New York pizza does taste better in New York!
Other highlights include sunrise at Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center, visiting the 9/11 Memorial, sunrise on the Brooklyn Bridge, the view of downtown from the Manhattan Bridge. This trip was truly memorable.