(This had been intended for last Friday but my god it's been a busy weekend!)
Last Tuesday Mitch and I returned from our 10 day jaunt in the Big Apple. Needless to say it was unbelievably awesome. Where to begin?
The sights - I guess anyone who's been to Manhattan, aside from residents, must have a felt a little like being in a movie whilst walking the streets and avenues of the iconic city, I know I did. It was all v.familiar despite the fact that it was my first time to New York (to the US even). We did lots of touristy stuff (naturally) my favourites being The Top of the Rock (and I mean the v.top, none of this glass around the edge business), The New York Public Library and the Guggenheim Museum - all of which are truly fabulous buildings. We walked a lot, partly to work off all the food we consumed (see below) but mostly because it meant we could take in all the sights of the city - the flat iron building, Battery Park, The Chrysler Building, The High Line, Chelsea Market, Soho, Ground Zero, Central Park - where I might have got us slightly (read very) lost, Madison Square Garden, Times Square...the list is endless!
A rather snowy central park
outside the Blue Smoke restaurant and jazz bar - the chicken wings here were soooo good.
graffiti from the High Line
seriously big and old (1300 years!) sequoia in the American Museum of Natural History
gazing out at Lady Liberty
Hoboken NJ and Brooklyn - We ventured over to NJ for an afternoon and evening - it's a very quick crossing either by train or ferry - and wandered along Washington Street. As well as excellent views of New York City, Hoboken also offered some great pizza, quirky little shops and plenty of drinking holes. I really liked it there, it was a little more village-y, however I still don't get the riff between new yorkers and new jerseyers (pretty sure that's not a word). I loved Brooklyn. It's not quite so hectic as Manhattan, the buildings aren't as tall so you can actually feel the warmth of the sun PLUS it's home to the Brooklyn Flea - a totally rad market set up in the Williamsburg Savings Bank (awesome building) selling anything from up-cycled furniture and kitschy memorabilia, to vintage clothing, maps and prints, as well as work from modern designers and crafters, we even had a delish slice of s'mores pie. The market was easily one of my highlights from the holiday - there was so much I wanted to buy.
all is fair in love and brooklyn
despite the encouraging sign I refrained from buying any of the scantily clad women pics from bygone times. Brooklyn Flea.
Just outside Prospect Park
The people - everyone we encountered in Manhattan, Brooklyn and NJ (save for the guy in Tiffany's) whether we were eating out or asking for directions, everyone was v.friendly and helpful. The service in NYC was excellent - I felt like a queen - and the majority of our cab drivers were v.chatty, one even gave us a load of restaurant recommendations!
The weather - it snowed on our first full day in New York, not a lot, but enough to blanket Central Park in about 3 inches - so pretty. The rest of the time it was bright sunshine, clear blue skies (the exact opposite of what was happening in London I've been informed) and v.cold but nothing that multiple layers couldn't handle.
And of course, New Year's Eve - I'd been warned that Times Square for NYE would be a huuuge mistake (massive crowds pushing and shoving and nowhere to pee) so Mitch and I saw in the new year, 5 hours after all our family and friends, on the Brooklyn Bridge after walking along the promenade and taking in the spectacular night time views of Manhattan's skyline.
View from our hotel's rooftop
good advice in hoboken
Disappointments: Macy's (what is all the fuss about?), Tiffany's (a rude sales assistant is technically to blame) and tea. I cannot fault the bottomless coffes in NY nor the insanely refreshing spring water that comes from their taps but the tea was shit.
Celebrities spotted: Alan Rickman across the street from Chelsea Market. Mitch and I were both star struck and so said nothing and stared at him, he gave us an extremely puzzled look. Opportunity wasted.
People were surprised when we told them we were going to New York for 10 days, yes it did and continues to financially cripple me, but it was worth it. Mitch and I didn't want to rush around and cram everything into 3 or 4 days, we wanted to take it easy. For the first few days we went a little crazy but then we settled into New York, treating it less like a holiday and more like somewhere we lived - leisurely brunches, wandering downtown, catching a movie - and it was great. There was plenty of stuff we didn't get round to: Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty (these were both off limits due to the damage done by Hurricane Sandy), Coney island (I think this shuts down in the colder months), watching a game of basketball in Madison Square Garden, ferry tour around Manhattan, watching a gig in one of New York's famous venues, the Botanic Gardens. I reckon you could spend a month in NYC and still find stuff to do, the extensive 'things we missed' list means we'll just have to go back :)