First off I am not an expert on travelling or of New York City (as this was our first time going). But a few people have asked me what I would recommend and where to go so I thought I would just blog about the places we visited and what we thought about it. As it was our first trip we did visit all the tourist areas but the next time we visit we will go to Brooklyn, as I have heard such lovely thing about it.
We stayed at The Edison Hotel which is right on Times Square – 7th Avenue. One of the most busiest avenues in New York. New York is a grid. So it is so easy to get around – you are constantly walking either straight or left and right. There are no round abouts or bends so you can never get lost. However, the biggest and most popular avenue is also the most expensive. Shops are pricey and restaurants over charge on everything so if you go for lunch, breakfast – try to avoid 7th and head more East so 9th or 10th avenue
Our hotel was gorgeous. Just what we needed as it was right in the middle of the Manhattan and we could easily get to any destination we wanted. A tour bus, taxi, Central Park, to the Empire State Building and more. It was a easy location to be in. It had a 1920s theme throughout – However, the hotel seemed a little dated and our room was small. But we didn’t mind as we were not in it much. I did feel a little suffocated as I could never see natural daylight due to the buildings being so tall.
Anyway, back to New York. We were staying for 4 nights and 5 days. We arrived at 11am on Thursday and it was sunny and chilly – even though the forecast said it would rain and snow all week – the weather was lovely.
Once we checked in we went for a walk through Times Square. Its an amazing place and you feel like you are in the movies and it is very similar to Picadilly Circus, only bigger. Times Square is just advertisements – no apartments or hotels it is just there to advertise Broadway shows, films, games, fashion brands and food.
. There are lots of people on Times Square that do what they can to get your money. Homeless people will approach you – and even though we did give them a lot of spare change when one clocked on they all approached us and it was stressful. Then young youths will come up to you wanting to give you a ‘CD’ but then charge you for it. Along with that there are lots of people dressed up as different movie characters – Spiderman, Batman, Elsa, Minnie Mouse etc and they mess around and take photos but then they want a fee. After the second day we had to avoid walking directly through 7th Avenue and then started pretending we spoke French!
But seriously it can be intimidating. We just had to say ‘Sorry I don’t have any change’ or ‘Sorry, I just don’t want the CD.’
These are the characters – you can asked them for a picture but they charge around $10.
For dinner / lunch / snack (as we had jetlag) we had dinner at 4pm at Smith’s Hell’s Kitchen on 8th Avenue and the food was amazing. The portion sizes in New York are MASSIVE. We learnt from that meal to never order starters and mains. Just a few starters to share or just the mains. The food was declious – with lots on offer. The sizes were just massive. Yes, everything in NYC is expensive. I do not think it is where we were – as we moved around a lot. But on average, we calculated, breakfast for 2 people. One meal and a coffee was $50 – £35. Anyway…
On Friday we went for breakfast local to the Hotel – TSQ Brassarie on 7th Avenue as we were starving and did not want to walk far. I had pancakes and they were so good I had them on our last day too. So delicious. I highly recommend if you go to NYC to have pancakes. I tried the healthiest option they had and always with fruit.
After a big breakfast we walked to Central Park.
It was around a 20 minute walk from Time Square and when we arrived it was stunning. In New York there are no restrictions on the height of building being erected, as NYC is an island – they tried to fit in as much as they could so they build up a lot. When you get to Central Park, and it is very big – everything just seems so peaceful and beautiful. You can still see the tall skyscrapers but with the trees and the bright blue skies, it really was something I will never forget! I said to Mark Central Park is the perfect place to propose to someone. It is calm, romantic, serene and with the New York city background its just pure perfection!
In Central Park is Wollman Ice Rink and yes we went ice skating! It was such an amazing experience – I would not normally do something like this on a city break but it was included in the deal when we brought it. It was probably one of the best things we did. The sun was shining and everyone was just having fun. We didn’t have to queue up at all, not even when we got our skates. We just showed our tickets and that was it. I do suggest you book in advance, as it is cheaper and less stressful on the day – as you have to pay to get in and then for the skates as well as a locker. You cannot take bags onto the ice. You can book online here for Wollman Ice Rink.
It was so much fun – we stayed for about 45 minutes as the ice needed cleaning. We went for a walk in Central Park and then decided to see how much the infamous carriage rides were.
We paid $90 for an hour which takes you to the main spots around the park highlighting key places from famous well known films like the angel statue that got clipped in Elf, the snowball fight in Home Alone, the two buildings from Ghostbusters, the Friends’ fountain and the stairs where Mel Gibdon’s child got taken in Ransom. It was great! We haggled our driver down in price as he wanted $140. Which is ridiculous! Would I do it again? Hell yes!
Our driver was lovely and understanding. Everyone is trying to make a living and they are lovely but also they do not take ‘no’ for an answer. Our driver was so kind and Irish (close to home) and he spoke to us the whole way asking about where Mark’s family was from, and where we go when we go back etc. This really did make the day. The weather helped too. Of course, the drivers also point out to where all the famous celebrities live!
This took us up to 3pm…
We did also have pre-booked tickets to go up the Empire State Building – with both of these activities there was no time restrictions and no actual time we had to go. Which was lovely as we could go at our pace. There was no rushing and we did just take a stroll here and there which was lovely. We decided to do some more walking and walked to The Empire State which was 30 minute or so back to Manhattan.
Just a heads up. The Empire State Building has nothing really in it. Its a tall building that is like a museum dedicated to all the films that have featured it. It is a very modern inside and I loved going in it. It is very theatrical and just fun. The lift made our ears pop, which also have lovely ladies and gents that guide you where to go as it is a very tall and big building. There is so much to see and do with activities, films, old photos so you can discover the history of the building and just do so many great things to learn about it. Mark didn’t see the point of it – as there is nothing really in it. But I loved it, and the boys would of loved it there also!
We went all the way up to the top and this was half way. They showed you what these locations would of looked like many years ago from this exact locations. I found this so interesting.
Then reached the top, and what a view. We made it at a beautiful time too. It was an amazing sight!
There are just too many pictures to show and they do not do the view justice. This moment was something I will never forget and I am so blessed that I shared it with my husband as it was bliss. If you love movies, a good sunset, a bloody beautiful view and just looking for some entertaining history of New York I definitely would say book to go up The Empire State Building – and of course always pre-book as you just walk past the queues.
Also, love a gift shop!
We finished off the day with someone really spontaneous. When we booked our tickets to New York we said we would like to do something each that we loved. Mark wanted to go to a basketball game and I wanted to see something in the theatre. We simply looked online when we got back to the hotel – as we were round the corner from Madison Square Garden and got tickets for $60 each – that night to see the Nicks play the Toronto Raptors. It was the best decision we ever made as a couple, after making the kids of course!
The atmosphere was euphoric, the seats were all full and its the best thing we did. Just so much fun!
That was the end of Friday. What a packed day we had. If you would like to read more about our trip to New York. Stayed tuned to Part 2 as well as the blog post I did previously with 11 Packing Tips for a Long Haul Flight to NYC.
Hope you have enjoyed this post!?
More to come…