Lucky me - I have returned to the Big Apple! Before going, I was curious as to how I would find New York the second time around. Having done all the major sites during my first trip I was not sure if it could be as fantastic the second time around, however, I was wrong - it was great! I made an effort to do and see different things and the things I did repeat we did in a different way and it resulted in another great adventure in the US of A and a great few days in this magical city.
On our first day, we arrived at the hotel at around 3pm and after dropping our bags off in the room we headed straight out for Times Square. My personal recollection of Times Square is that it is a magical place that completely wowed me on my first visit. Although I did not get quite the same feeling when I saw it again, it is certainly still an amazing place that is unlike anywhere else in the world. I loved just sitting on the iconic steps and looking around, watching everything that was going on and taking it all in. What a great place!
Our next stop for the day was to the Empire State. Again, in an effort to do things differently, we went up in the day (previously I had gone up at night time). When I last went up at night the queues were horrendous – so long! – and it took hours to do the whole thing. Much to my surprise, this time in the day it was straight in and straight up, I couldn’t believe it! I was convinced it would take forever but within twenty minutes of walking through the doors we were at the top. What a view! It really is quite remarkable and I still cannot get my head around the fact that people actually built something so high up. It is great to see the city from up high and shows how big and build up NYC really is. It is something else to be so high that the sky-scrapers around seem small!
On our second day the first thing we did was get up and find a proper American diner for breakfast. Of course, I had pancakes! It was great to get that all-American experience and I really enjoyed it. Our next stop for the day was Central Park. When I last went, we walked in and had a little walk around, a little sit down and then moved on. This time we decided to do it all – on bikes! It was very reasonable to hire bikes and we actually got discount off a card our hotel had given to us so it was even better. We hired them for three hours and literally cycled the whole way around Central Park. It is such a beautiful place and it is really amazing to be in a place so green but when you look out you are surrounded by sky-scrapers. The bike hire came with locks so we could leave them here and there and have a little walk around/explore, so we got to go and see Strawberry Fields (I am a big Beatles fan 😊) before heading back and dropping the bikes back. It was a great way to see a lot of Central Park without taking up a whole day to do so.
Next, we visited the Rockefeller centre. It was really cool to see the front of the building where the ice rink goes at Christmas, only at this time of year it was a bar/restaurant area. Next to the centre was a massive Lego store that Adam insisted on going on (desperate for a Millennium Falcon) and then we had a wonder around this area before heading back to the hotel.
That afternoon we headed to La Bronx and to my first ever baseball game to watch the New York Yankees. We headed down a few hours before the game had started so that we could have a wonder around Yankee Stadium, which is huge! The food selections were amazing and during our walk around we picked out what we would be getting later (steak sandwiches and garlic fries, yes GARLIC FRIES! Insanely good!) We saw the Yankees warming up and the old kiss cam was making the rounds which was fun to watch. Baseball is not a sport I know too much about but I soon picked it up and found myself enjoying it more than thought I would (perhaps because it reminds me of Rounders!). It was a great experience and I am glad Adam wanted to go as I doubt I would ever have gone otherwise.
The next day was a busy one and we did so much! We had booked a hop-on hop-off bus as a way to get around and to make sure we saw everything that we wanted to. We got on this and stayed on for quite a while, taking in the city from a new perspective and got off near Brooklyn bridge. From here, we first walked to Ground Zero and the 9/11 memorial and museum. This had changed a lot since I last visited – for starters the new World Trade Centre is complete! When I came last it was only half way up. Also, the museum is now completely different. We went into here and spent a good couple of hours walking around and taking it all in. It had quite an impact on both Adam and I and at the end we were feeling very sad about the whole tragic event.
After visiting 9/11, we walked back on ourselves and went to Brooklyn bridge where we walked half way across. The view from the bridge of the city was impressive and it was great to experience this. Plus, the bridge itself was lovely! We got back on the bus after this and headed down to the harbour. We were getting on a ferry to go and see the Statue of Liberty. There had been quite a buzz around the city and we could see roads getting closed down and once on waiting for the ferry we found out why – Trump was coming to town! Not only that, his helicopter was due to land on the jetty right next to ours. We could see several large, black suburban cars, police cars, an ambulance and fire engine all there waiting. We had been told that they were not sure when he was due but if he came in the next hour then the water would be on lock down for two hours, causing massive delays! Half of me wanted to see him despite the delays it would cause (I am not his biggest fan but he is still the President of the United States!) and the other half just wanted to get on the boat and go. The boat ended up coming before Trump did and we went across the Hudson to see the Statue. Last time I went, we got on the Staten Island ferry and saw her that way. This time, we got a lot closer and it was great to see her a lot more clearly! She is rather impressive. I was also chuffed to be on the Hudson after not long ago watching Sully (great film!).
After we got back to Times Square we decided to go out for our one and only proper sit-down meal. I absolutely love Red Lobster (my family live in Arizona and we always go here when I visit) and I wanted Adam to try it so to Red Lobster we went. We had a lovely meal it really was great, however, it was so expensive! We paid over £120 for two starters, two mains and two drinks, which I think was rather a lot but hey that is New York! We then decided to jump on the night bus and do a tour of the city and Brooklyn at night. It was great to see the city at night but I was unprepared for this and therefore freezing cold! Spent most of the trip huddled up trying to keep warm! Coming back over the bridge and seeing Manhattan all lit up looking fantastic was a great view and made the cold worthwhile.
The next day (which was our last full day) was not what we expected – it absolutely poured down! I think it may have been the heaviest rain I had ever seen, there were even flood warnings issued. This did affect things but we still got out and about (just not for as long!) We decided to get the underground today instead of walking and got off at Bleecker Street. This was a big thing for me as I am a huge Paolo Nutini fan and he sings about Bleecker Street in his song Better Man, so I was very excited and got the appropriate photo under the sign. From here, we went to Katz Deli, famous for being in several films (most famously When Harry Met Sally). It was a very unusual place and we had sandwiches which were overflowing with meat! From here we went to the Cookie Dough Café. I saw a post about this place on Facebook a few months ago and knew then that I just had to go! It was great – a very cool and unique place with so much cookie dough! I ordered rather a lot (so I had enough to take some home for my sisters) and tucked in. It was lovely but could not eat it all at once due to it getting quite sickly quite quickly. This meant that I had enough for the rest of the holiday which was great. From here, we went back to the hotel to dry off and see if the rain eased off, which it didn’t. However, it just so happened that the new Guardians of the Galaxy film was released that day so to the cinema we went. Cinemas in America are huge and the seats are all like our premium ones so it was great. Also, I love how involved everyone gets! Every time there was a really good joke people were laughing out loud and clapping, it was brilliant. We finished our day off with a pizza from John’s Pizzeria (we had been advised that this was the best place for pizza in NYC) and chilled out.
Our last day in NYC was a short one with having to get off to the airport in the afternoon but we did manage to fit some more stuff in. One thing I wanted to do was go to Stardust café – a café where all the waiters/waitresses sing constantly. This is my idea of heaven, but Adam’s of hell. There was a huge queue to get in but we decided to wait and as soon as we got in Adam was desperate to get out, so we ate and left but it was still good fun! After this and after a spot of shopping we met up with a couple who we had met on our holiday in Italy last year who were from New York. Ruth actually works inside the Rockefeller Centre and kindly took us up for free, which was great. It was another spectacular view and it was cool to see the Empire State up high also. We went for a few drinks with them and then had to head off to catch our flight.
Even though it was my second trip to New York, I enjoyed it just as much as the first time and saw so many new things – it is such a great city!