I’ve just got back from a whirlwind holiday in NYC. It was the first time I had been to the city and I had the most incredible time. There is far too much to talk about just in one post, but I thought I would share some of my highlights of the trip with you.
When we arrived at JFK, we were greeted by a lady in a long red coat. She led us outside where a minibus collected us and we drove towards the city. The traffic was insane. We crept slowly towards manhattan. Until suddenly, we reached a tollbooth…
And then I was surrounded by skyscrapers.
The sun was shining, and the atmosphere of the city was instant and all-consuming. The buildings seemed to reach the clouds. People rushed around. Cars beeped their horns.
I looked out to see hippies hanging out of windows and glam girls drinking juicers and men in suits walking back from lunch. But still, none of it felt real. I was so tired after the flight. We reached our hotel, The Westin New York. We walked into our room, and then I saw the view out the window. Now it was real.
I was in New York baby!
surrounded by buildings. And sunshine. And a river. I was on the most important, bustling, exciting, happening, island in the world. It was magical.
When we got there, we just didn’t know what to do with ourselves at mid-afternoon. We decided to take a stroll to Grand Central Station.
Simply walking through the New York streets and soaking up the atmosphere provided an incredible experience. And Grand Central station was truly astounding. It is so much more than a train station. The architecture is beautiful, and when you look up to the ceiling you are greeted by a painting of the constellations. This is a fascinating station with so much going on. We indulged in bellinis in the pretty swanky restaurant Cipriani Dolci. Before heading off to get food at a more reasonable price.
We spent our first evening in Carmines. It was pre-booked and we were so very tired, and as it was simple food which was right by our hotel, it fulfilled our needs. Carmines is a family restaurant and the portions are HUGE. We couldn’t even eat it all. As the waiters took out still half-full plates away, I couldn’t help but think, so much food must get wasted in this restaurant every single day.
Our hotel was situated right by Times Square. The heart of the hustle and bustle. Times Square was great to see but it was hugely touristy. The best part of it was the new flagship H&M! But the people dressed up as film characters who will grab you for photos then demand a tip? The cheesy stores? The substandard food which is all about quantity over quality? The constant stream of people? The massive screens with constant advertisements? Not my jam. It’s a real tourist trap and I can imagine that many tourists get stuck in Midtown because it’s easy. But I urge people to get out and visit the real New York. Go and check out the Lower East Side or Chelsea. Times Square is a good central location but it’s not a real reflection of the beauty of NYC. Having said that, I did have the best breakfast of my life in a diner just off of Times Square. It was called Brooklyn Diner and they served huge pancakes with maple syrup and whipped cream, mouth watering french toast, and luxurious eggs Benedict. It is highly recommended.
We honestly spent a lot of our time around the Lower East Side. It was great for food, drinks, and shopping, which I will do a separate post on. However, we still indulged in many of the more ‘must see’ areas. We shopped until we dropped on 5th Avenue and Madison. We went to Tiffany’s and Bloomingdales. Bloomingdales is great but is a lot like Selfridges. Tiffany’s however is well worth going in, even if, like me, you can’t afford to buy anything. It’s a great experience to see all the jewellery laid out and the staff are so kind and welcoming. We went on a friday morning when it was still quiet and that was a great time to go. We also went to the Mac store on 5th, and if you need a makeup fix I highly recommend this store. The staff were very helpful and the prices are so cheap compared to the UK. Lipsticks were $16, whereas in the UK they are about £14-£15 I believe.
On top of this, we went to the Top of the Rock on Saturday evening, which was a fantastic experience. The view of the city was incredible. You could see all of Central Park sprawling out, all the buildings and the rivers, and if you looked through the telescopes you could see the Statue of Liberty.
We went to pay the actual Statue of Liberty a visit on the Sunday morning. We did the circle line hour boat trip, which I highly recommend. We had no desire to get off the boat at the statue or at Ellis Island, and I’m honestly glad we didn’t. Of course it’s each to their own and some people will really enjoy getting off the boat and doing a longer trip, but it just wasn’t for us. The islands were packed with people, and we wanted to get more shopping time in (it really was a typical girly city break in this respect!!).
After a spot of lunch this was followed by a visit to Central Park. It was gorgeous and we were so lucky with the weather, however as their winter had only just come to an end, the trees were still pretty bare and I feel the park would be much more gorgeous in the summer time. We didn’t get to see much of the park, as it’s so big and we simply didn’t have the time. If I were to go back I would have to get a horse and carriage around the park. Even though I heard someone say the Mayor plans to stop the horses. I have no idea why!
We did loads more, such as go on the Brooklyn Bridge and go to Ground Zero, all of which I want to put in a separate post. But the truth is, there is simply too much to do in this wonderful city and so many things on my list to do next time. I want to eat at ABC Kitchen, get my nails done at Valley NYC, drink in The Campbell Apartment and Death & Company, head into Brooklyn, check out Harlem, see the 911 Memorial, get a water taxi, and meander around the Met. Oh, and take a hell of a lot more money to indulge in my shopping fix!!