Monday, 14 January 2013

so good they named it twice

 Brooklyn Bridge

(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? 
 New York Public Library 

Rockafella Centre

Ghostbusters' Headquarters

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, 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

Times Square 

outside the Blue Smoke restaurant and jazz bar - the chicken wings here were soooo good.

The food - everywhere we ate the food was fantastic from fancy Steakhouses and restaurants where the waiting staff belt out broadway numbers to the tiny deli home of the fattest pastrami sandwich I ever eaten and the 24 hour diner which became our local brunch spot. We ate a lot of meat over the 10 days (I'm having a little detox from it now that I'm back) - burgers, ribs, BBQ chicken wings, steak, I was even asked whether I'd like some bacon with my pancakes! Which brings to me to the breakfasts. Oh my god the breakfasts. New York/the US certainly knows how to do breakfast. Yoghurt, granola and berries, buttermilk pancakes, pumpkin waffles with cinnamon butter, banana and walnut pancakes and, my favourite, nutella french toast courtesy of Penelope's (a v.excellent establishment - we may have gone back to it more than once...).

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.

Inside the Guggenheim

Wool swoon in Purl Soho

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.
We went to the What Not workshop in FAO Schwartz and Mitch designed his very own muppet!

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 :)


  1. Your trip looks amazing! I'm hoping to go to New York before the end of 2013, so I'm bookmarking this for later!

  2. Amazing! sounds so great, I'm jealous you got to go for so long. & I totally know what you mean about macys, we thought it was crap, wanted to try and buy some glasses and they were all horrible--and a really weird atmosphere! would love to go to NYC in winter, looks like snowy central park is beautiful x

  3. When I looked at your snowy central photograph - My imagination made ghosts appear. It is a very haunting atmosphere when the snow falls.:)

    Your entire trip looks very inviting! Makes me want to pack up my luggage and take the next train out of town.



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