What Travel Geek Tara did in New York City – Part 1
I found it difficult to keep myself from blabbing on social media about our trip to New York, but I managed to keep it a secret from my husband and surprise him at the airport! Planning was a little harder in secret but I think I pulled it off.
My first impressions of New York City were: Big, Brash and Loud! I expected Cool but I didn’t get Cool.
The queue to get through immigration at JFK took an hour which didn’t set us up to a good start! After avoiding the dodgy taxi companies we waited in the short line for a yellow cab. Apparently New York City taxi drivers have their own highway code.. but we got to our hotel quickly and in one piece! The $52 dollar fixed airport charge plus $10 toll charges was paid as expected.
We stayed at CitizenM hotel This hotel was a pretty cool, a tech hotel near to Times Square. I will be writing the hotel review soon…
As our flight got us in pretty late I had pre-booked a table at Patzeria family and friends. A great buzzing Italian place which was just what we needed on our first night. Lovely homely Italian food.
On our first day we were excited to get out and see the city. We started with a breakfast of blueberry pancakes and waffles at Applebees before exploring Times Square and the area surrounding our hotel.
First stop was MoMA – the Museum of Modern Art. For the $25 entrance fee there are many famous works to see. Van Gough’s starry night was a highlight (especially as we missed this in the Van Gough museum in Amsterdam). Also The persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali, and Andy Warhol’s Gold Marilyn Munroe.
Then we visited the Rockefeller Centre. There are so many movies that spring to mind here. Quite an iconic spot. We watched the ice skating then made our way inside to see the view at the Top of the rock.
We were advised to come here by friends as you get a great view of the skyline including the Empire state building.
Next we visited the New York Public Library and Grand Central station. More iconic buildings in New York City. It was quite a walk and it made me realise just how big the city is! And this was just a small part of Manhattan Island.
Another recommendation from friends was the Houndstooth Pub, where we had dinner and drinks before calling it a night after a busy day!
Day two and I had booked a helicopter ride over Manhattan. A new experience for both of us. We took the subway to the heliport and met our team from Helicopter Flight services. It was only 15 minutes but we had a lovely view over the city, and the statue of liberty.
Nearby we could not miss the 9/11 memorial. A somber and peaceful place for reflection but there was also a sense of defiance and solidarity. Listening to family members of those killed guiding visitors with their personal stories was touching and humbling.
As we were so close to the ferry port today I had pre-booked with statue cruises to Liberty Island and tickets to the pedestal of the statue of Liberty. I’m glad I had! I learned here that the queuing system in America is quite different to the UK… No formal lines, free for all to the front apparently. After a long wait we got on the ferry and views across the city were pretty cool from the water.
So I have to admit I really enjoyed seeing lady Liberty. Its one of those sites you have to see at least once. When we got to Ellis Island though we decided not to get off the ferry! I learned about the history of the island prior to visiting which I found quite interesting. However looking at the queues to get back on the ferry… which looked liked hundreds of people, we decided to give it a miss.
That night we visited Keens Steakhouse where we enjoyed the best steak we have ever had and the decor of a historic pipe clad restaurant, stroke gentleman’s club.
To round off a packed couple of days, what better way to see finish the night than a night time view from the empire state building. Again the queue here was quite long but I think it was better than visiting in the daytime.
So wow, this is only a couple of days, stay tuned for my experience of St Patricks day and the rest of our trip!