It was Christmas Day and I had really left it too late to get my Dad a Christmas present…so I jumped online to see what I could get him right there and then and it was pretty slim pickings. A gift card? It would just sit unused on his desk for the rest of time. And I think that’s as far as my thinking went!
A day trip maybe…? nah, still too small.
So, I completely lost my mind and booked a trip to New York, leaving on the 21st of January! Here’s their reaction if you care to take a look…
In my excitement however, I had forgotten about my very new, very real fear of flying… so in the lead up to leaving my brain went through a series of jumbled thoughts which consisted of “oh my gosh! we’re going to New York, what shall we do, where shall we go, what shall we eat?!” And then the next minute I was telling myself “Oh shit, we’re going on a plane, what could go wrong? How many times has a plane just fallen out of the sky? What if it explodes? I am definitely going to die this time!”
And back and forth pretty much until we landed at JFK.
Considering my anxiety the flight wasn’t that bad, especially after two diazepam and a double vodka.
We arrived at JFK around 5pm after a flight of 8 hours and 5 minutes; I had watched Friends, Parks and Recreation and the Friends Reunion, which would have been perfect if it wasn’t for that talentless twat, James Corden, but we won’t get into that here.
We grabbed a taxi from the airport; there’s a proper depot there with people to help and direct you so you know it’s a reputable company. We were going to Tribeca and our fare was around $80, that included the tunnel toll and a congestion charge.
There are cheaper ways to get to Manhattan, there is train that runs from JFK which connects you to the subway, but we were knackered and hungry and just wanted to get to the hotel.
We were staying at the The Hilton Garden Inn, I do love a Hilton! And this one was perfectly placed what with having the Subway practically attached to it, plus they served a pretty tasty pizza and fairly decent beer in the restaurant, which was just what we needed after our flight. So, pizza, beer and bed was on the agenda, even if it was only 8.30pm.
With such an early night we were up at 5.30am and greeted with a chilly -11! We weren’t totally mad though and waited until 7am to venture outside, we had a lovely, fairly quiet, for New York City standards, walk around the neighbourhood. We found the Ghostbusters headquarters, took some obligatory NYC building photos, then found somewhere for breakfast before we froze to death.
Caffe Benne was right around the corner from our hotel and they served up a delicious, if somewhat slightly unusual breakfast. Pancakes, scrambled egg, bacon, maple syrup and salad…complete with balsamic vinegar 🤷♀️
The rest of the day was spent meandering; we went to the gym in the hotel, then undid all of our hard work by ordering from The Supermoon Bakehouse, and my god was it all totally worth it!
Having not consumed enough calories with cookies and doughnuts, we were hankering after a steak. Google told us that there was a very nice steakhouse around the corner called Wolfgangs. If you’re on a budget I do not suggest getting a meal here, however if you have a little cash to splash then I highly recommend it. They have at least four other restaurants dotted around the City and they do a very yummy cocktail, I opted for an ‘Angel in Manhattan’ purely for the Doctor Who reference of course!
The next day we were up and at ’em! Out of the hotel before 9.30am and on to the subway heading towards 34th Street, it was a miracle… 😉
Breakfast was our first stop, food is clearly the most important aspect of this entire trip, we went to the famous Friedmans in Hell’s Kitchen, it’s a family run business and they too have a few restaurants around New York City. Friedmans is named after the economist Milton Friedman who coined the phrase, ‘There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch’, and he was right!
Recharged and ready for the day we went for a wander around Times Square before heading to the Empire State Building, we’d booked a place the night before for 1pm so we had a couple of hours to kill. The M&M store was our first port of call and I completely lost my mind! They have all the flavours and SO many colours! It was awesome. Of course I had to get Peanut Butter M&M’s because we rudely don’t have them in the UK. I got my brother some too and some pretzel M&M’s for him to try, and after I’d been declared bankrupt we left with far too many M&M’s, an obligatory tote bag and a blanket… because, why not.
Okay, we all know what the Empire State Building is, I don’t need to give you the run down. However, let me just tell you that the ESB is over 1400 feet high! (Including the spire and antenna) and has 73 elevators! 73!
Whenever I’ve told someone I’m going to New York and they’ve been before they always tell me to forget ESB and instead do Top of the Rock, and I’m sure that’s also equally fascinating, however, the Empire State Building is iconic! It was one of my most favourite places in the world before I’d even been there! So, I will go back and visit it over and over, it’s beautiful and inspiring and I may have loved Sleepless in Seattle a little bit too much… plus it’s also been on an episode of Dr Who and that wins me over every time.
After a little more exploring we were completely wiped out, we had reservations at Nobu that evening but we were so knackered we decided to cancel the table and just get it delivered instead. That is one of my favourite things about the Big Apple, you want delicious sushi at 11pm? You got it. You want baked Alaska at 4am? Yeah, they can probably sort that out too. However, what you can’t do is wear your slippers in public after 10pm, that’s just a random New York law that I found!
My son has been wanting to eat at Nobu for years, but since the nearest one to us at home was in London it hadn’t really been feasible. It just so happened that there was one right down the road from our hotel in NYC. I knew it was going to be expensive but I was still ever so slightly shocked at the bill! Again, not the best choice if you’re on a budget. It was delicious though, definitely the best sushi I’ve ever had. We finished the evening off with a delivery from Krispy Kreme and an early night ready for our final full day.
No visit to NYC is complete without at least paying your respects at the 9/11 memorial. The memorial and museum are one of the most sombre yet beautiful places I’ve ever visited. There’s a heaviness all around in the museum but you can still feel the strength and resilience of the city.
We wearily made our way back to the hotel, once again exhausted even though we hadn’t really done much. But navigating the subway and the heaviness of the 9/11 museum is a sure fire way to get knackered really quickly!
Our flight home wasn’t until 8pm the following night so we still had a bit of time to fit in the Staten Island Ferry and wave to Lady Liberty as we flowed on by. And I even found time to call in to a local animal rescue centre to take pictures of the kitties! My friend and I were sad that we never see kitties in the city, so many dogs but no cats, for obvious reasons. So I said I would find one, and find one I did! Our last day in NYC was made perfect by me being able to see a cat.
My love for New York City goes way back, years before I first visited. I always knew I would love it. I remember making a poster in art class at school of all the things I loved; one of the things on that poster was NYC. My school friend asked if I’d ever been, I told her I hadn’t and she wanted to know how I knew that I loved it if I’d never been…
‘I just know’ I replied. ❤