I can't believe it's been a month since I left for New York, it was my second ever time in New York, but the first time I actually had time to take in the sights, eat my way around the city, and do lots of shopping. We spent 5 days and 4 nights in New York which was just about the right length of time time, I wouldn't go for any less time though, as there is SO much to do. There is still so much that I want to do there which definitely warrants another trip. New York is hands down my favourite city in the world, what a claim, but it seriously is. It really is the city that never sleeps, New Yorkers are so friendly and there was something amazing to do around every corner. Whilst we did a lot of the touristy things we also got off the beaten track to do some things that I had researched about beforehand. I have serious holiday blues writing this right now, if you choose to go anywhere this year it has to be New York! In hindsight I should have probably written this in two parts (I even condensed it somewhat!), but with all of it packed in to one post, I promise you'll be wanting to book yourself onto the next flight out of here! Warning: There is LOTS of pictures, and be prepared for a lot of the words 'amazing', 'spectacular' and 'so good' - they really are the only ways I can describe this trip!
Day one: After arriving just after 2pm at JFK we got picked up and swiftly taken to our hotel (we flew with British Airways). We stayed at the Sheraton in Times Square which really is in the centre of everything, I loved how central the location of it was. The hotel was just like something out of an American film, it was such an American hotel and it was spotless. When we asked for as high a floor as possible, we were even upgraded with rooms on the 31st floor!! Seriously, your ears popped going up in the lift it was that high!
My sister and I shared a room and we had a massive double bed each which was just heaven getting into after every day, New York is exhausting! There was even a Starbucks corner in our room, and we had the most amazing view...
The first day is always the most tiring as it's 5 hours behind UK time. It's best to stay up as late as you can so you adjust to the local time faster. As we were literally a stones throw from the hubbub of Times Square we headed in for the evening for some food and a look around. Times Square was even more amazing than I had remembered, I'd never got the chance to see it lit up in the night before and these pictures really don't do it justice, it's just spectacular. There's so much going on and there's so much to see.
We'd only been there a couple of hours and I was already eyeing up the bakeries, I love how giant sized literally everything is in America!
We were absolutely starving, despite this being about the 5th, or 6th meal of the day - plane food isn't my type of thing and I was fancying a good burger and fries by this point. We wanted something quick and it was a toss up between five guys and shake shack. We picked shake shack and it definitely didn't disappoint, the food was insane, everything tastes better when you're ridiculously hungry, but it was sooo good. I love the lemonade they have in America too, it has no fizz and I could drink it by the gallon load! With our stomachs full we headed back to the hotel for the night.
Day 2: We did lots of sightseeing on day 2 and the weather was set to turn later in the day, we were up super early because of the time difference so we headed off to the Rockefeller for 9am.
We saw The Today Show being filmed as we walked past with the opportunity to appear on TV too, too bad we didn't know what was going on until afterwards though. We caught a glimpse at who was being filmed inside as we walked past and it was no other than Debra Messing who places Grace in Will & Grace, cool!
It was then time for our Top of the rock experience, we booked our tickets beforehand and you just turn up on the day stated on the ticket. If it's too busy you may have to wait until later but as we were so early we went straight up. It works the same way as the Shard experience, but oh my the views at the top of the rock really are like no other... It's a must for anyone visiting New York and I think better than going to the Empire State Building as you can see it all from the Rockefeller.
With our feet firmly back on the ground we walked from the Rockefeller over to Grand Central station, I think it was only about a 10 minutes walk away. The location of so many famous American movies, it really is a must see, it's quite spectacular. I was also surprised to see that there was a massive Apple shop at the top of the stairs, how random?! There was also a magnolia bakery downstairs which is also a must visit in New York!
With my heart set on finding the famous Dominique Ansel bakery we walked for miles from Grand Central trying to find this place, my Iphone GPS was rubbish and sent us in completely the wrong direction. But nonetheless we walked past Madison square park on the way which was beautiful. As predicted the heavens opened up shortly after and oh my did it rain, from this point on it rained for 2 whole days which was really annoying as it stopped us from doing outdoor sightseeing and it was very difficult to get pictures. But I had my heart set on visiting the bakery for the chocolate chip cookie shots so we jumped in a yellow cab and got dropped off there...
I was so surprised at how small the bakery was, but this place is SO well known and popular, people from all over the world come to visit this place who are the original inventors of the cronut and chocolate chip cookie shots - you'll be pleased to know this place is coming to London this Autumn! We were lucky there wasn't massive queues on the day we visited which was probably due to the impending weather! I was SO happy to spot the chocolate chip cookie shots, my first shock was that they were $25 dollars, then realising that it actually said $3.25, I still said I would have bought it at that price for the sheer novelty factor though. I was so gutted to then realise that they only sold them after 3pm for an after school treat. I had trekked all of this way for the one thing that they didn't have, I really was upset about it, but needless to say I found another treat and quickly forgot about it afterwards...
They are the original creators of the cronut after all, and as I had never had one before I thought it was only right that I sampled one. Apparently these usually sell out by about 11am as they only make a small batch in the mornings. This one was filled with blackberry jam and chocolate ganache with icing on top, it is a cross between a croissant and doughnut and it was the most jammiest, most delicious and most amazing thing my mouth has ever tasted. Please please please try one if you ever visit New York! And make sure you go after 3pm for the chocolate chip cookie shots!! With a heart and stomach full of happiness we ventured out into the rain to China Town.
Dominique Ansel bakery is essentially in China Town, and it's a place that you definitely have to visit if you get the chance. Whilst it's a rest from the main hubbub of the centre, China Town was still really busy, packed with cute little shops and walls littered in street art.
After China Town we headed back on a subway into the centre and had some more food.. The rain was so bad at that point that I couldn't get any more pictures in the day, but we headed to Bubba Gump for food in the evening which was a welcome relief.
I ate at the exact same one 4 years ago and it did not disappoint. Despite never watching Forest Gump, I absolutely adore this restaurant and love the memorabilia and theme that runs throughout. The sharing dessert was literally to die for, bread and butter pudding, lemon biscuit and cookie cake!
Day 3: We woke up to another wet and miserable day, there really was rain like I had never seen before. But any type of bad weather couldn't ruin a day in a city like this, even a gloomy times square couldn't look bad,
As the weather was so bad, it was decided that it would be a shopping day! Unlike London, everything in New York is very spread out and I had a long list of shops that i wanted to visit that really were all over the place. You definitely need a plan when you go to New York because of this, and especially if it rains!! Our first stop was Macy's and Bloomingdale's, which is a must see regardless to whether you buy anything in there or not. As you probably all know by now I picked up the most beautiful Kate Spade bag whilst I was there, it was more of an 'Oh I might buy that' than a planned purchase, it was love at first sight and I had to have it!
There was also a good few Sephora trips thrown in as you'll have seen in my New York makeup haul!
I saw these shoes in Macy's and laughed out loud! Reduced to $59.99 though, what a bargain...
In the afternoon there was a bit of relief from the rain, so we got out of the shops and did a bit of walking whilst we could. I just love the signage in New York. everything runs like a grid system with avenues running across and streets down, whilst it's easy to find your way, it's also very easy to get lost here! Luckily New Yorkers are literally the most friendliest people ever and there was almost always someone who would help, that's definitely something that is hard to find in London.
It was a good job we went to the top of the rock the day before as the sky was literally pea soup. It's crazy how high up the buildings are when you look at them like this.
Magnolia bakery is another very famous American bakery which has been around for years, there was probably one on about every street.We picked up some delicious baked goods and headed into the Rockefeller to eat them with a Starbucks, this place is great for sheltering from the rain as there are loads of seats that anyone can sit at. I went for the standard milk chocolate icing with sprinkles on top, it was definitely as good as it looked.
After a full day of shopping it was time for more food. We went to the hard rock cafe this night which was sooo good, I always love visiting hard rock cafes as you know you'll always get a good quality meal. I had a pulled chicken burger which was SOO good, no one does burgers quite like the Americans!
Day 4: This was our last full day in New York and the sun finally came out much to our joy which meant we could get lots of sightseeing crammed in to make the most of our last full day. From Times Square we caught a subway into the financial district.
The statue of liberty is obviously a must see when you're in New York and I'm so glad I went with my parents as I would have most definitely been seen off getting onto one of the tourist ferries where you have to pay for the privilege to the see the statue instead. The Staten Island ferry is a commuter ferry which is completely FREE of charge, whilst it doesn't stop at the island you get a good view going past it and the statue of liberty ferries are in the region of $30 so unless you particularly want to do that you'd be silly not to take the free ferry option instead.The ferry takes about 30 minutes to get over to the other side, and you literally walk off it and have to walk back onto it again so it's about an hour round trip.
The boat we had on the way back was much better as it had an open bit so we could get better pictures, and have a better view. It was such a cold day day though!
There she is!
We got such a good view of the financial district too from the boat which was just breathtaking.
After leaving the ferry we were in the perfect location for walking the Brooklyn bridge, something that I have always dreamed of doing. I think it's about a mile walk across and it's just so amazing.
It's a simply phenomenal structure, with an amazing backdrop.
How cute are these NYPD cars?! I was so impressed that there was police everywhere I went in New York, I never didn't feel safe here which was great.
As we neared wall street (the financial district) it was getting to lunch time...
You can't visit any part of America without visiting a Dunkin' - it's just not right! I used to get a dunkin doughnuts every single day off that I had at camp, they are sooo good!! We also headed to the most amazing deli for lunch for the best bagel ever!!
After lunch we had more of a look around wall street, the sky scrapers are just amazing, it's really like nothing you've ever seen before.
We headed down to the 9/11 memorial afterwards to pay our respects, I visited here 4 years ago and it was as sad as I had remembered. It's truly terrible to think what happened here on that day, but it's definitely something that is worth doing if you are in the area.
After a long day sightseeing it was time to get the subway back to times square, do a bit of shopping and get ready for a meal!
Every single meal topped the one before which I didn't even know was possible. We ate in Planet Hollywood on the last night which had a really fun atmosphere, it was definitely better inside than Hard Rock. I'm surprised I didn't turn into a burger after this trip as I had one every single night! I was even too stuffed for a dessert which never happens, there were TOO many other places I wanted to visit though for food. But I loved every single place we went too which you don't always get, so we were very lucky.
Day 5: It was typical that our last day was the sunniest of them all, it was super cold though. Up early, we headed to central park which was only 5 minutes away from the hotel.
Central Park is literally massive and we probably only covered half of the park as we didn't have a lot of time on our last day. It looks so different in the winter than it does in the summer, as the parks are usually packed with runners, people playing baseball and holiday makers. It was the perfect escape from the noise of times square.
What a place!
We ended up the last day with some more food and shopping, this was only a few bags from our haul! The shopping was literally amazing and I did a couple good months of saving up beforehand so I could really treat myself and have fun whilst I was over there, it was worth every dollar! The shops are just amazing, and the sheer fact that they have like a million Sephoras wins me over every time - that place is the creme de la creme if you like makeup!
Out pick up from the hotel was at 2pm and I was not ready to leave, I don't think I've ever felt so sad about leaving a place. My week in New York was everything I could have asked for and more, it was simply amazing. February was a great time to go as it was cheaper, a lot quieter (New York was SO busy when I visited in the summer) and although you'll never be able to know what weather you might expect we were lucky that everything wasn't frozen over! There are so many many places i want to see, places I want to eat and things i need to experience in New York, I now know why they say - 'New York is always a good idea'...