Holiday's can - quite literally - be a blessing from God after working hard all year round. Everyone needs a breather and some excitement from time to time. Well, I've had a huge amount of excitement over the past week. Visiting New York City was a dream come true. From the skyscrapers to Broadway and everything in between it's truly magical. I've fallen in love with this city. To be able to experience NYC even for a short period of time can change your perspective on not only America, but the world as a whole. Being able to witness such beauty up close is enough to make you want to see more of what the world has to offer. We spend so much time focusing on the bad in this world; it's time we started focusing on the good.
We traveled with Thomas Cook and the flight was faultless both ways. The lack of legroom on the Airbus on our return flight was troublesome, though. So, I'd recommend going premium if you can afford to. For 5 nights, I stayed with some friends at the 4* Novotel in Times Square. Honestly, even the hotel itself was quite extravagant. For central New York, the bedrooms were fairly large as well. In fact, everything in New York is large.
|Time Square, New York City: Skyscrapers Galore.|
Of course, the food portions in America have always been humongous. It's difficult to finish a meal, and yet you struggle through it because it's so delicious. One morning, we came across 'Andrew's Cafe' which is near to Macy's on 34th Street. Holy moly, if you want to eat good pancakes I highly recommend this place (the strawberry ones are divine). Not to mention the iced mocha (as seen on the pic below) which is just as delicious.
|Just looking at them makes me drool...|
If you wend your way to the Upper East Side at any point look out for Sarabeths. Even though they're pricey - our breakfasts were $17.50 each (excluding tips) - it's so worth splashing out for a beautifully cooked meal. The French Toast was superb.
Moving on, I'd recommend purchasing a NY CityPass before you go on holiday here. These ticket booklets will save you a heck of a lot of money instead of forking out a small fortune every time you want to visit an attraction. Also, they're handy for skipping queues meaning you get far quicker access to the attractions. Speaking of attractions, here's a few we went to see during our trip.
The Empire State Building
Needless to say, this place was incredible. The easiest way to fall in love with NYC is to go to the 86th floor of this building and gaze out across the city. Honestly, the height is terrifying at first but you quickly get over it. As you can imagine, there were security checks at every attraction, so you have to be prepared for those. With the CityPass, you can go up The Empire State Building twice in one day. Once during the day, and the next at night. However, there are time restrictions so be wary of those. You can only go to the night time session after 10pm which may be difficult with younger kids.
9/11 Memorial Museum
Truthfully, I find it difficult writing about visiting here. It's wonderful that the memory of all those victims stays alive but it was harrowing. You have to prepare yourself mentally before going inside. Of course, it's not supposed to be easy when you visit here. It's purpose is to make you aware of the devastation and heartache the events of 9/11 caused to all involved. Personally, I didn't take any pictures whilst inside the museum because it felt somewhat disrespectful to me. Additionally, seeing people taking selfies whilst they were smiling til their cheeks could split didn't bode well with me either; but what can you do? Everybody has their own way of moving on from tragic circumstances.
Statue of Liberty
Be prepared for the heat when you visit the Statue, especially during the summer months because there's limited air-con on Ellis Island and there's none on the cruise. The queuing before going through security can also take up quite a lot of time. Although this wasn't my favorite attraction, I did enjoy it. The views of the Manhattan skyline were stunning. That's a sight I could never tire of seeing.
Top of the Rock
The views from Top of the Rock were picturesque. Being able to see The Empire State building and central park from the observatory deck was a huge bonus. Standing on the observatory deck and being able to see all these massive skyscrapers spreading out for miles was enough to make you feel like the size of an ant. And yet, strangely, it didn't seem daunting. It added to the excitement of being in NYC.
Broadway: Jersey Boys
I'm all for a good musical, I love them. However, I have a confession to make. When we went to see Jersey Boys at the August Wilson Theatre I dozed off. I tried desperately to keep myself awake but with the air-con blasting and the comfy seats making me all snuggly... I couldn't help but let exhaustion take over. In saying this, I wouldn't want to discredit the actors because regardless of how much I saw of the show, they did a splendid job. It wasn't their fault I fell asleep, I promise! All jokes aside, I would highly recommend going to see any Broadway show whilst in NYC because it's an amazing experience.
Baseball: Yankees VS. Red Sox
Truthfully, I'm not into sports much. I'll watch the odd football and tennis match every now and then, but I'm not fussed. After going to this baseball match, I'm quite sure I'm a lover of this particular sport. It's easy to follow and the atmosphere was electric. I swear we did about 10 Mexican waves and the YMCA... and seriously now, who doesn't love doing the YMCA? They sell the best lemonade at these matches; make sure to get yourself a cup if you go to one. In order to get to and from the match, we travelled via the Subway which is nowhere near as bad as it's made out to be. If we're making comparisons, it's similar to the tube in London (so I've heard) or the metro. It gets extremely hot and stuffy at the stations though as there is no air-con.
All in all, this city is beyond your wildest dreams. Sure, the hussle and bussle of a huge city isn't for everyone and that's cool. I truly feel like no matter who you are, you would be able to fall in love with New York City. If I could afford to, I'd move there in a heartbeat. It's made me realise that I want to travel the world now more than ever. While I'm still young, why not go for it? Of course, it's a ridiculously expensive holiday, but it's worth every penny. Do not pass up on the opportunity to visit NYC because you'll regret it.
Until next time,