Like many people, it has been a dream for years to one day visit New York City. It's a city that evokes so many emotions, and is a city that is such a huge part of most of our lives. From the music, the tv shows, the movies, the news. It's one of the major cities of the world and is therefore naturally a city that most people are intrigued by and drawn to.
In 2015 I included NYC on my 'Travel Wish List', but sadly I couldn't tick it off that year. Completely unexpectedly back in January one of my best friends from Australia, Anna, who you've seen on the blog before, messaged to say she was going to be in New York and did I want to go over and join her. I didn't even have to think about my response, I had my flights booked within days.
To be honest it all happened so quickly, and right around the time I went to Thailand, that I barely had time to register it in my mind. Even when I was on the plane I still couldn't quite believe that I was finally on a flight bound for JFK. The excitement was unreal, and I spent my evenings and weekends leading up to take-off researching as much as possible and creating the *perfect* itinerary for 4 days in NYC. Unfortunately as always happens with me, I fell ill days before I was due to leave, and so parts of the itinerary went totally out the window as my body just refused to continue come the afternoons. But honestly? I do not care.
I HAD FOUR INCREDIBLE DAYS IN NEW YORK, NEW YORK.
My grandfather spent years telling me about NYC and how much he loved the city - he used to dock there when he was in the Merchant Navy, and then when he worked for Cunard too. It's always been one of those places I thought was so magical and out of reach, and I felt a whole range of emotions when I got off the plane and stepped out of the airport to the crisp winter air. I arrived at my hotel for the first night, The Knickerbocker, at around 3am on the Friday morning, and collapsed in a heap on the bed after a pretty miserable flight delay.
A few hours later I awoke pretty refreshed and ready to explore. I wasn't meeting Anna until the afternoon at our hotel, so I had the morning to do what I wanted. I walked through Times Square (The Knick is right on Times Square), and up 7th Avenue, past Carnegie Hall, and up to Central Park where I had brunch at Sarabeth's.
In all honesty the brunch was mediocre, and cost me $40 (damn US tax and tipping). And considering the price our hotels were costing us I had a mild panic and vowed to spend far less in future on what was essentially just juice, and waffles and fruit.
Anyway, after filling up on over-priced waffles and juice I made my way through Central Park. I guess I didn't pick the best time to go, it was all brown and grey, and really quiet, and a little underwhelming. In my mind I always picture it in the summer and all green, so I'm just using it as an excuse to go back! It was very strange seeing the places that I've seen so many times on a screen in films and on television shows, and the entire time I was there just felt very surreal.
I walked all the way up to the Met Museum, saw the steps that Blair Waldorf made famous, and continued up to The Guggenheim.
I didn't go inside either as there weren't any exhibitions on that interested me...and hello! I only had four days to see NYC! By this point I was feeling very ill, so my plan to walk all the way down to Bloomingdales got scrapped, and I jumped on a bus.
What I didn't realise was that the bus only takes a metrocard and coins...and I only had notes. The bus driver was very nice though and let me get on for free. If he'd kicked me off I would have had to have got a taxi, every step I took made me feel closer to vomiting all over the sidewalk.
I jumped off the bus outside Sak's on Fifth Avenue, and walked down past St Patrick's and the Rockefeller Centre to my hotel on Times Square.
I picked up my luggage and got a taxi round the corner to home for the next three nights; Langham Place. One thing I found just within my first few hours in New York, was how friendly everyone is!! I don't think I met a single horrible person, everyone was lovely and really helpful!
I arrived at Langham Place and the doorman helped me out of the taxi and took my luggage inside. Anna was already waiting in the lobby, and as we hadn't seen each other for almost a year lots of squeals and hugs ensued much to the amusement of the staff! We checked in and were lucky enough to have an upgrade to a Residence Suite...we were shown up to the suite and our mouths literally dropped in astonishment. But...I'll tell you all about the suite in a full review very soon ;)
After dropping off our bags we were both starving, so wandered up to the New York Public Library, then over to Grand Central Station for Shake Shack. We just got hot dogs and lemonades, but it was exactly what I needed after my already fun-packed day exploring NYC.
After lunch I had a bit of a shopping spree at Victoria's Secret and Macy's on Herald Square (helloooo Nike Air Max Thea's).
We then chilled in the hotel and got ready for dinner and our entertainment for the evening. Langham Place have a house car that's free to use for any hotel guest, but it's done on a first come first serve basis. We asked the doormen if it was available and luckily it was, so we hopped into the Lincoln town car (so American), and a few minutes later arrived at Le Parker Meridien.
We strolled through the lobby and round the corner behind the check-in desk where there was a small queue below a neon sign. We had arrived at the infamous Burger Joint, a tiny little burger shack nestled within a luxury hotel in Midtown on 56th Street. Anna grabbed a table while I queued up and placed our order - we both had cheeseburgers with all the extras, and then we shared a portion of fries. Even sharing fries we still couldn't finish them all!
The burger was incredible, it was exactly what I needed after my long day, and an excellent welcome to NYC! After dinner we then got a taxi down to the Palace Theatre on Times Square for An American in Paris. An American in Paris has always been one of my favourite old films, and 'I've Got Rhythm' has always made me want to just get up and dance.
When I first heard that it was coming to Broadway, I wistfully watched the preview video over and over, and wished I could see it for myself. I never thought I would. I thought it would be one of those things where it went to Broadway then maybe disappeared. So as soon as I had my flights booked I then booked us tickets to see An American in Paris. It's funny how things work out, dontcha think?
The musical was hands-down one of the best I've ever seen...and I've seen a lot of musicals. Despite the jetlag I spent the whole time completely mesmerized by the dancing, the music, and the absolutely incredible stage sets. It was just beautiful, and well worth the price of the tickets. Tickets are quite pricey, but we managed to find a discount code online so they were half price. Anna had never seen the film before, but she loved the show and wouldn't stop raving about it after!
We came out of the theatre around 11pm and wandered around Times Square just soaking it all up. It was a Friday night, and I was finally experiencing the city that doesn't sleep. There were people everywhere, traffic, lights, all the shops were still open. It was tacky, and touristy, and magical.
|We all know Coca-Cola is one of my favourite brands. I LOVE this ad ^|
We popped into the Disney store and I bought my god-daughter a couple of NYC themed gifts, and then we walked slowly back to our hotel via Walgreens and Bryant Park. As we walked past Bryant Park and saw the Chrysler Building all lit up straight ahead of us, we both jumped up and down and just shrieked with excitement and laughter at the fact we were actually in New York City. We just couldn't believe it. It was one of those 'pinch me' moments. I was in NYC with one of my bestest school friends from back in Australia, and we still had three days of exploring the city together to go! I couldn't wipe the smile off my face, and we walked down the street arm-in-arm singing and dancing around like a couple of drunks.
New York, I still get tears in my eyes just thinking about you.