This time last year, literally, I was booking my trip to New York with the Smiths and Matthew. But only just now has my venture been completed. My second trip to the USA within a few months went from sunny, shiny magical Orlando to the glimmering city that never sleeps.
We landed 11AM New York time on a Monday morning, for me this was strange as I caught a 7 hour flight at 8AM UK time, so the mind was a all over the place. Fortunately our guest house owner let us check in earlier than anticipated, but we quickly grabbed a sandwich (the 4th meal of the day) and unpacked.
We stayed at the Sugar Hill Inn in Harlem, an area I feel unfortunately gets tarnished with a bad brush, but I personally found the area to be beautiful and full of character. We were right next door to the City College there which looks like a Medieval Castle surrounded by sloping, tree filled parks. The guest house itself was interesting, but in a very good way. It was an old building and the decor was still in keeping to its original character.
Even most of the furniture was somewhat antique. Jeremy the owner was eccentric to say the least and his views on the world were subtly spread via information and guides provided in our rooms. His very long and detailed ‘what to do in New York guide’ was very quotable yet enjoyable and provided adequate bed time reading at night.
Our first night took us to Times Square then to Madison Square Gardens where we watched The Knicks. My first night in New York really did take off in true American style! I’ve never watched a basketball game and especially not to this scale. It was incredible.
We spent the rest of our days leisurely exploring, with guidance from Ellie’s forever unfolding subway map and CityMapper.
With a visit to the National History Museum, a bit of everything natural and historical about the world, with a very impressive dinosaur floor, full size blue whale and a space centre.
A moment In Central Park we couldn’t of timed better was stumbling across a group of people singing, paying tribute to John Lennon, just outside of his apartment, where he was sadly shot that day 35 years ago. There was a sadness in the air, but all sorts of people were strumming guitars, harmoniously singing and all hoping for one thing, Peace.
The world Trade Centre Memorial again was a place of reflection. It’s still so unbelievable to see the extent to what happened that day. Just being there and seeing the scale of destruction was heartbreaking. The fountain was a really beautiful memorial for those the city lost that day. Personally, I do feel the entry price for the museum was a little insulting and slightly disrespectful.
We ticked off everything from the tourist bucket list, Walking down Wall Street then getting emotional meeting the iconic statue of liberty, to seeing the world on Top of the Rock. If you are thinking about going up high to see the city skyline, rather than going up the Empire State Building, I would recommend Top Of The Rock, because you get the perfect view of the Empire State Building which is great for photos, rather than obviously standing on top of it.
We Ice skated in central park and we even took a glimpse of where they filmed Friends.
But in all honesty, we planned our trip around our appetite…
Big Daddy’s 2454 Broadway New York NY 10024
Murray’s Bagels 242 8th Ave, New York, NY 1001
Shopsins 120 Essex St, New York, NY 10002
John’s Pizza 259 West 44th Street
Molly’s Cupcakes – an amazing chain all over New York.
Katz Delicatasen 205 East Houston Street
The Cupcake ATM at 780 Lexington Avenue was a dream come true, just select your cake from the screen, swipe your card and out pop a delightful little brown box with a scrummy little cake. It was devine!
We spent the last full day walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to see what down town Brooklyn had to offer. It’s spread out streets and boutique cafes and shops gave a feel of a small town. It didn’t fail however, to still have the cities vibrancy.
Then just before our flight, we had time to hit up Bloomingdales and spend the last few dollars we had to spare. I even stumbled across a pet shop, with actual puppies for sale in the window, a unsettling experience I must admit, I don’t think I could of got a bunch of baby Dachshunds and Pomeranians through customs.
Everything you expect New York to be it delivers. From growing up watching hundreds of movies and TV shows based in this iconic city, you start to feel like the city itself is a celebrity. Everything about New York has some sort of comforting familiarities on which your first visit, you’ll feel connected to.