Hi everyone and welcome back to part 2 of my trip to New York! I really hope you loved my previous post that you came back for more, I love reminiscing about the trip, it seems a lifetime ago already. Without rambling, I’m going to get straight into it!
Tuesday we woke up to a drizzly city, tops of buildings were hiding behind clouds and everything was grey. We had luckily planned to visit the American Museum of Natural History in the morning, so we sat in Times Square, ate our bagels in the rain and headed for the subway. I’d like to say it was plain sailing, however my jeans split as we were boarding and then we got off at the wrong station and still had to walk a good twenty minutes rounds the streets finding our way to one of the largest museums in the world.
When we’d finished in the museum, we crossed the road and headed into Central Park, taking in nature around us whilst Face Timing my parents. It’s so strange how you can be sat in such a silent place yet over the road the street is crawling with people as it’s so busy. Located between the Upper East Side and Upper West Side and covering 843 acres, Central Park has an estimated 38 million visitors annually, making it the most visited park in the United States. I love Central Park, there’s always something to see and it’s full of wonders, we even came across a Castle! An actual Castle inside a park!
As the day was so grey and misty, we took a leisurely stroll up Fifth Avenue and ate chicken tenders from a food cart before heading back to the hotel to change (I was still wearing my ruined jeans!) and get ready for our Night Bus Tour.
One activity I would recommend for absolutely anybody is the Night Bus Tour with Big Bus Tours. Departing from Times Square, we were taken all around Manhattan and Brooklyn with a the most amazing tour guide, we got to see parts of Soho, Chinatown, Little Italy, Greenwich Village, the Financial District, Macy’s, Flat Iron Building and East Village. We even saw Jay-Z’s old school and the late Heath Ledger’s apartment.
Wednesday I woke up incredibly ill. Remember the chicken tenders? I did. I dragged myself to get dressed and we headed straight to Walgreen’s where I purchased the most expensive Imodium ever and probably took half the pack just to get through the day. As we were passing, we ate (well, not much) at Hard Rock Café, which was amazing inside. Even though I spent money on a buffet that I didn’t really touch, I’m so glad we went because the décor and atmosphere was fantastic; from vinyl walls to Bo Diddley’s guitar, it was full of the stuff of legends.
Next up was Macy’s. Although world-renowned, we didn’t actually stay too long and sort of passed through it on our way to Victoria’s Secret and The Empire State Building. I had already visited once before, and Abigail wasn’t too fussed about it. I think The Empire State is one of my favourite buildings in the city, the build up to the top is brilliant, full of models of the building, a glass floor, and an exhibition of all the films the Empire State has ever featured in, including an interactive King Kong. The views from the 86th floor are truly spectacular, a 360° experience of Manhattan in all it’s glory. Until the construction of the World Trade Centre in 1970, the Empire State stood as the world’s tallest building, and again stood as New York’s tallest building after the destruction of the World Trade Centre until 2012, and now sits in at the city’s 7th tallest building.
A quick pitstop at Starbucks followed, then a trip upstate to Bath and Body Works, where I spent a fortune on candles and hand gels, unbeknown to me that a few weeks later I would need them in the middle of a global pandemic.
In the evening we took our seats in the Minskoff Theatre awaiting the curtain call of The Lion King. Words cannot describe how much I loved this musical. It was magnificent, the actors and dancers, the music, the costumes, everything about it was amazing. My favourite detail was the cast dancing between the stalls, a bird even danced next to me. We ended the night watching dancers in Times Square and eating giant pretzels in bed.
I woke feeling so much better and ready for the day, and we began by hopping on the Day Tour Bus. Much like our night tour, the tour guide educated us on many sights in the city, taking a slightly different route. We saw Fifth Avenue, Union Park, Washington Square Park and Waverly Place, to name a few. As it was a hop on tour, we hopped off downtown and walked a short distance to the Brooklyn Bridge. I have always wanted to walk the bridge, and it didn’t disappoint. Before the bridge, the streets are lined with stalls of keyrings, mugs, photography and lovely little trinkets that I spent way too much money on, and more on the bridge, which again, I spent too much money on. The views are amazing, I must have taken 100’s of photos of the city skyline, and selfies of myself against the skyline. At the end of the bridge we reached DUMBO, a quirky little neighbourhood on the outskirts of Brooklyn, we ate the biggest slice of pizza I have ever seen, and explored the neighbourhood before taking the subway back to Manhattan.
As we were in the area and we had our city passes, we visited The 9/11 museum. Again, I’m not going to say much about this out of respect, except that it was truly harrowing and I found myself overcome with emotion.
If you remember part one, you will know we missed our boat trip on Monday, however as it was the company’s fault, we were given an open date ticket, so that’s what we did next! The boat left Manhattan at around 5pm, meaning we got to see the skyline at sunset as well as in darkness, which was beautiful. We circled around The Statue of Liberty and past Brooklyn Bridge, meaning we could take in the views of both Manhattan on one side, and New Jersey on the other. The tour lasted roughly two hours, leaving us with the rest of the evening to return to Times Square and eat our fill of chicken and ribs and Junior’s Diner. Delicious.
Friday started with a chilly walk to Central Park for our tour with Frankie Legs. We’d had this booked for months and were both really looking forward to it having seen so many great reviews. The tour was absolutely fantastic, I cannot recommend Frankie enough. He biked through Central Park whilst giving us a guided tour; I learnt so many things about the park’s history, filming locations, the various statues, even the Central Park Rangers! We also visited John Lennon’s murder site and apartment, which was really cool. Luckily the weather was bright, highlighting the leaves on the trees and the ripples in the lake, but it was bitterly cold, by the end of the hour I really couldn’t feel my hands.
Next up, we crossed the city to Ulta, where I managed to spend $200 on make-up. The less said about this the better. Following my splurge, we headed to Madame Tussaud’s. What a wonderfully weird place it is! I think we must have been there at least three hours, taking selfies with HUNDREDS of life like wax celebrities over five floors. I had never visited a Madame Tussaud’s before, and I thought it would be boring, but it was so much more than just wax; the rooms were styled as sets and the attention to detail was second to none, even down to the Queen’s pot of tea in Buckingham Palace. I loved it.
As we had the Knick’s game later, we grabbed a slice of rainbow cake from Carlo’s Bakery and chilled in our hotel room and started to pack our cases so we had less to do the following morning.
Around 5pm we rode the subway to the game at Madison Square Garden, settling in our seats with a fantastic view and overpriced bottles of water. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t what we experienced. It was great! From the DJ, the dancers and the T-shirt cannons, I loved every minute. The atmosphere was something else entirely, I’ve never seen anything like it, even kids as young as ten years old were getting involved in the shouting and excitement of the game. Unfortunately the Knick’s lost the game, but it was great all the same! We finished the night in Times Square eating hot dogs and watching break dancers, I love it so much.
Our last day! I was so sad packing my case that morning, I really didn’t want to leave. After checking out of the hotel and storing our luggage, we ate the delicious lemon pancakes at Friedman’s again, as the hotel was next to a bigger restaurant. They were just as amazing as the ones in Chelsea, I miss them.
As we had two slots left on our city passes, we decided to go ice-skating at Bryant Park. When I was a kid I loved skating, however this time around I hated it! The skates were so uncomfortable, I was so shaky on my feet and people were skating around so fast I was scared any wrong move would result in serious injury. I must have only skated around the rink twice before I got off, but it was nice to watch everyone else whilst Abigail skated too. When Abigail had finished, we had steaming hot chocolates in the pop up café and had a look round New York City Library. What a magnificent building.
By this point we were nearing the end of our time in the city, so we ate a chipotle in Times Square, finished off some last minute shopping and had our last Starbucks (the American drinks are so much better) before getting on the coach to the airport.
Now, I would end it here, but it wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t tell you about being delayed in JFK, having only 35 minutes to reach our connecting flight, and being searched by armed police in Frankfurt because I left a mini deodorant in my bag in security. It was wild. Thankfully, we made our flight by the skin of our teeth, and landed back in Manchester to wind and rain, home.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you! This was my second visit to New York and I already long to go back, I absolutely love it. If you’ve ever visited, please leave any suggestions of what to see next in the comments, or if you want to visit, please let me know why!