In November we took a trip to one of the greatest cities in the world, New York. We honestly didn’t know what to expect but we knew that we wanted to see it all. Before we travelled, we made a list of all the places we wanted to visit, things we wanted to do and restaurants we wanted to eat in. We knew that going for five days we were never going to be able to see absolutely everything, but as long as we did the typical touristy bits we would be happy.
I thought this post could be about what we got up to-day by day and our most favourite parts of the visit.
We landed at Newark airport at about 12pm (USA time), and after we had the long wait of getting through customs and sitting in what felt like the longest cab journey ever, we finally checked in to our hotel, The Shoreham Hotel. Once we had dumped our bags, we headed straight out to start our NYC adventure, first stop, Central Park. It was the perfect way to ease ourselves in to the busy hustle and bustle of New York, plus it is free! There are lots of paths to walk on and it is easy to spend hours wandering around just enjoying the fresh air. Being November, the leaves were beautiful and golden and on this particular day it was so sunny that everything just look amazing. We sat and enjoyed some of the street performers, watched people walking their dogs and people enjoying the rowing boats in the lake. We also looked for the famous spots that we had seen in movies like Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
By the time we had walked around Central Park, had a coffee and a bite to eat, it had gotten dark and the spectacular Christmas lights had been turned on, brighter than anything I had ever seen before. We continued our walk to Time Square, which was packed with people! There are some areas where you can sit and chill out, but these were pretty limited because of the amount of people there. If you aren’t shopping, eating or seeing a show, there isn’t much to do here but it is still a great place to people watch for a few minutes. We decided to stop off and have dinner in the Olive Garden before we headed back to our hotel to get a good nights sleep ready for the next adventurous day.
Feeling fresh after our first night in New York, we set off bright and early to grab some breakfast at the Park Cafe on 7th Ave. I highly recommend either their pancakes with bacon or their French toast and bacon! Slightly overpriced at $50 for breakfast but it tasted amazing. Once our bellies were full, we set off on the Subway to the World Trade Centre and 9/11 Memorial and Museum. You can now go inside the Freedom Tower but we didn’t do this. The memorial and Museum truly blew me away, and although the attack never affected me personally, visiting here did change my emotion towards it. It is quite a strange feeling, touring a museum that is dedicated to an event in recent history and not from hundreds or thousands of years ago. I was only 10 years old when the attack took place but I remember that day and the aftermath so clearly. The museum is a visit back to a horrible event of the past, but one that continues and is now a part of our modern world, very eerie and frightening. The memorial is beautiful, two big pools with waterfalls in the footprints of the Twin Towers. But it was the museum itself that left me speechless and emotional. The museum honours the nearly 3,000 people who were killed during the 9/11 attacks, it is massive, powerful and overwhelming. Inside the museum, in the footprint of the south tower, there is a detailed memorial with photos and information on each victim. In the north tower, there are displays on the attacks and the rebuilding of the centre. Inside both of the towers there are displays with movies, photos, audio and graphic artefacts. Some of things on display bring out all sorts of emotions, sadness and anger being the main two.
After visiting the museum, we set off to catch the Staten Island Ferry so we could see the Statue of Liberty. The ferry is absolutely free and you are only on it for about 30 minutes, getting a great view of Lady Liberty herself! I have to say, I expected her to look much bigger, but regardless she was still great to see! Plus, you get a fantastic view of the city!
Once we had been to Staten Island and back again, we took a walk to the Brooklyn Bridge just to get some photos, we were debating walking it but decided we wanted to venture on. We headed into Chinatown which can I just say, is not the nicest of places. It felt extremely crowded and a little unsafe, that and the local shopkeepers and restaurant owners seemed to continuously spit on the ground so you had to watch your step. After deciding this was not the place for us, we headed into Little Italy. Again, crowded but it felt remotely safer and this was where he sat down for some lunch. Adam wanted to do proper authentic New York/Italian so we went into a little pizzeria called Sal’s Little Italy. We ordered 2 slices of pizza each and boy, they were the biggest pizza slices I have EVER seen! But sooooo good!
After being stuffed by pizza, we took a walk to the Empire State Building. It started getting dark so we were looking forward to being up high and seeing the city lit up. It took about 30-40 minutes to get through the que and we opted for climbing 6 flights of stairs from the 80th floor to get to 86th floor – biggest mistake of my life – but WOW! The view was breath-taking in itself, but the view PLUS being blow about by the wind made the experience all the more interesting. Being up that high and seeing the city lit up was just magnificent. And then I was amazed again, not by the view, not by the wind but by the photo we had just had asked someone to take and what Adam was holding in the picture – an engagement ring! I was speechless! Well actually I think my words were “WHAT IS THAT!?”. So yes, my boyfriend of 8 years had at that moment become my fiancée, and what an absolutely perfect place to do it. We were so excited by that moment that we completely forgot about the rest of the view and wanted to head out to celebrate.
Day 4 in New York and it was Thanks Giving! We knew it would be difficult to do much touristy stuff today because the Thanks Giving Day parade was on and the crowds were mental. We skipped the parade, purely because the streets were so busy we didn’t want to be squashed! So we went for a little (a long) walk, passed The Plaza hotel, which is stunning might I add, and to Central Park Zoo. The zoo is pretty small, so don’t expect to see any lions or tigers. You are pretty much limited to sea lions, penguins and birds. We were probably only in there for about 30 minutes.
We left the zoo and walked to 5th Avenue where we saw fantastic window displays from Tiffany & Co, Chanel and many other high-end designers. We also stopped off and had a mooch around Trump Towers. The building pretty much defines the man himself, golden and tacky, but it is worth a look!
We then headed back to Time Square and stopped off at Madam Tussaud’s. If you have been to the London attraction, it is pretty much the same but quite fun to walk around.
Being Thanks Giving, we really wanted to find somewhere that did a traditional Thanks Giving Day dinner, but it was so busy that everywhere was fully booked. So we opted for a TGI Fridays and then went out for cheesecake later that night at Lindy’s.
By day 4, we were shattered. I felt like my feet were going to drop off but we had to troop on as we still had so much more to see. Starting with the American Museum of Natural History. The main reason I wanted to go here was because this is where the Night at the Museum was filmed and I wanted to see the big “Dum Dum” head. However, I did not realise how BIG the museum was and how much time it requires. Our favourite exhibit was probably the Mummy’s, that was really interesting and detailed.
We then made our way to Grand Central Station, the city’s historic train station. It is so big and beautiful, especially looking up at the “stars” in the ceiling. It amazed me how many people are racing to and fro, where are they all going?
After, we took a walk to Wall Street. Adams favourite film is The Wolf of Wall Street so he enjoyed this. I really wanted to get a picture with the famous bull but sadly I couldn’t get anywhere near it 😦
Home time 😦 But our flight was not until late that night so we still had a day of exploring to do. We went to Park Cafe again for a final breakfast, took a walk around Central Park and visited the famous Strawberry Fields memorial for John Lennon. We then realised we had not been inside Macy’s yet so we set off there, and were greeting by crowds of Black Friday weekend shoppers. We didn’t actually buy anything for ourselves but the experience of being inside a Macy’s store was quite amazing.
New York is a BIG place with lots to do, and this list barely touches the surface. Four or five days is probably just enough time to squeeze the main tourist attractions in, but there is so much more to do which I am hoping to if I ever get the chance to come back to this amazing concrete jungle.
Thanks for reading.