I planned on writing a massive blog post on what we got up to in New York but having written out 28 pages in my journal I’ve realised there that we just did too much to put in detail – not that I am complaining, we had an absolutely amazing time!
I feel so so lucky to say that I have been to New York. My boyfriend surprised me with the trip as my 21st Birthday present and without him I’d still be day dreaming about going now. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I’d do anything to go back. It’s such a magical place.
Day One: After an 8 hour flight with American Airlines, we were pretty shattered. We stayed in the Riu Plaza Hotel which was two blocks away from Times Square. It was in such an ideal location and within walking distance of several subway stations meaning we could get to places so easily. We spent the first day exploring Times Square paying visits to Hershey’s, the Disney Store and M&M World. Everyday we’d walk through Times Square at some point so this became a routine. We were going to go for dinner at Blacktap which has been an internet sensation at the moment but the queues were too long, so we settled for a big juicy burger at Hard Rock Cafe.
Day Two: We thought it would be a good idea to start of with a view of the city from the river so we took a free trip of the Staten Island Ferry. I experienced my first Wendy’s burger and it was so cheesy and juicy, it was honestly my favourite burger of the trip. We then discovered the joys of Century 21 which is a discount designer store and it really is so cheap so I definitely recommend going there if you’re visiting and want to goodies. Next, we stopped off Wall Street to get a picture with the Charging Bull and maybe kind of expected Leonardo DiCaprio to walk past…. in my dreams! We then decided to the Top of the Rock which was my favourite thing of the whole trip – the view was incredible, I could have spent hours up there. At the bottom of the Top of the Rock was Nintendo World which is cool if you’re interested in Gaming. For Dinner, we decided on Little Italy which was SO good – the restaurant seemed so authentic and the food was delicious. I think everyone should have dinner in Little Italy at least once in their life!
Day Three: This was ‘Central Park Day’ – we started off with wholesome America McDonalds which in truth was nothing different to the British one! I really wanted to see the Love Statue so we stopped off at that on the way to hiring our bikes. Once we had our bikes we cycled the whole of central park – it felt smaller than I thought it would be but it was lovely to be cycling round when the sun was shining. Even though towards the north of the park, it does get a little bit hilly and you do feel the burn! We had a little bit of time to kill and because the weather was so nice they opened the boathouse and we were able to hire a rowing boat which I really enjoyed. It was a very physical day! After returning the bikes, we went to my must do bucket list of the ‘Levain Bakery’ to try one of their famous cookies and I was not disappointed! They were soooooooo sickly but well worth the $20 I spent on them (for 4)… I was truly in cookie heaven. We stopped off at the Modern Art Museum on the Free Friday where you do not have to pay for admission which was ok… I got to see some Andy Warhol but it was so busy that it was hard to enjoy. For dinner, we decided on China Town which is a very different experience to going to a Chinese Restaurant in the UK, they had dead baby chickens and live fish hanging in the windows which was a bit of culture shock. The food was still delicious though!
Day Four (My 21st Birthday!): After opening all my presents and cards in the morning, it was time for food. We decided to go for a classic New York Pizza shop called ‘NY Pizza Suprema’ near Madison Square Garden and it did not disappoint! The pizza slices were as big as my head and I greedily tried to eat two (and failed) – it was so cheap and I felt like I was getting the true New York Pizza experience! We decided that my birthday was shopping day so we went everywhere from Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Tiffany and pretty much every shop on 5th Avenue – our feet were killing, we shopped until we dropped! I bought so much makeup from Anastasia Beverly Hills including the Modern Renaissance Palette which has become my make up child. My boyfriend was in control of the evening of my birthday. Like typical Kate style is poured with rain as we was trying to get to the restaurant…. when I was wearing heeled sandals and a bodycon dress…. we arrived at the restaurant absolutely soaked! We went to Jack’s Steakhouse which was VERY pricey but definitely an experience I won’t forget. After that, we went to the Empire State Building. Although the views were AMAZING, I definitely enjoyed Top of the Rock better because the view was a bit more unobstructed and you could see the Empire State from it. It was such an amazing birthday spent in NYC!
Day Five: I originally wanted to visit the Statue of Liberty earlier on in our trip but due to booking problems, the 26th was the earliest we could visit with access to the Crown – booking in advance was vital. We decided our lunch for the day was hot dogs but we made the rookie mistake of buying them from Times Square so they were quite overpriced and not too great – despite this, I enjoyed sitting and watching the world go by. We then headed to Battery Park to catch the statue cruise over to the statue. It was cool to see Manhattan from the boat, I took a lot of pictures. Climbing to the top of the statue was quite scary, the stairs were spiralled, cramped and steep which put my nerve on edge. I find I’ve got worse at heights with age but I felt so lucky that we got to have that experience as not many people can say they’ve stood inside the Statue of Liberty’s head! It was pretty cool. We didn’t bother with Ellis Island or the Immigration Museum as by the time we had finished on Liberty Island it got quite late. Once we were back in Manhattan, we headed to the 9/11 Memorial. This was an overwhelming experience. The fountains themselves were very peaceful and I feel like having them where the old foundations were was such a lovely idea. I struggled with museum itself – you hear a lot about 9/11 on TV and through the media but actually seeing the ramifications in real life in the shape of an exhibition was surreal – you couldn’t help but feel sad and to be completely honest, I could not even begin to imagine what it must have been like for the victims and even for the families. After the 9/11 museum I discovered that there was a nearby Target which I obviously had to go to, I picked up some American Candy and cheap lip balm! I must give a special mention to the Chips Ahoy Chewy cookies, they are incredible and I want everyone in the world to try them. For dinner, we decided on an American Diner and pretty much convinced our waiter we were the fattest people going, we ate so much that when it came to desert we had one spoonful each and gave up. Our eyes were definitely too big for our bellies. One thing that my boyfriend and I really enjoy doing is comedy, so I thought it would be a really good idea to pay a trip to Comedy Cellar…. this was interesting as their sense of humour is very very different to the British sense of humour but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Day Six: We finally got to go to Blacktap for the most amazing milkshakes before catching a subway to Brooklyn to go a spot I’d seen on instagram called ‘Dumbo’ to take pictures. It’s really cool as you get to see Manhattan Bridge wedged between two buildings and it makes for a good bit of photography – we spent ages there. We then walked back across Brooklyn Bridge which was cool as it gave us another opportunity to see New York from a different angle. On the bridge were little stallls were I picked up lots of pop art style fridge magnets for 2 dollars! We then went for a late lunch at the Meatball Shop which was another recommendation I’d seen on the internet. It was ok, it literally was just meatballs which I don’t mind and as the sign said outside ‘you must not neglect the balls!’ Obviously, when you’re in New York, a must do is go to Grand Central and that’s exactly what we did, I’d seen it in so many films so it was weird actually standing there and you kind of forget it actually is a train station, it felt more like a film set to me. The most exciting part of the day was going to watch a basketball match at Madison Square Garden. For Valentines Day, my boyfriend brought us matching shirts which were personalised with our age and number on them. We must have looked SO cute but it was so much fun with our foam fingers, matching shirts and cheesy nachos. On the way home, we even got a picture with elmo, spider man and two woody’s in Times Square which just rounded the night off perfectly!
Day Seven: This was our last day so we left our packed bags with the hotel and did a final bit of exploring! We went to Ruby Tuesday for some fried chicken, we realised last minute that we hadn’t had fried chicken in America and we would have been highly disappointed with ourselves if we didn’t complete this mission. The chicken was so good and of course, we couldn’t finish it all. The service in Ruby Tuesdays was very good as well, I felt as if the girl actually deserved the tip! We spent the day tying up loose ends so went to the flat iron building, walked along the arty highline and visited Chelsea Market. All were very interesting. Our final stop was Planet Hollywood where we had one final milkshake before heading back to the hotel to get our bags ready for our flight home.
Overall, New York was THE BEST….. the tipping confused me, I successfully did not get lost on the subway, I explored every place I ever wanted to go, I ate until I almost exploded, I came home with so much american food and makeup, shopped until I dropped and just had the most incredible time ever. New York is a must and I definitely will return one day.
If anyone has stumbled across this hoping to find out about New York (I know I spent a lot of time on people’s blog posts trying to find the best places) feel free to comment if you have any questions or want to know more about some of my favourite places. I’d be happy to tell you all my tips and tricks!
This was a long blog post but one I really wanted to do. Congratulations if you have read it all, haha.