Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Diet Mountain Dew, Baby, New York City

I've just returned from a trip to NYC (this time yesterday I was sunbathing in Central Park). This was my second visit, I first went in 2008 with my mum for my 21st birthday (yes, I'll be turning 25 this year, I'm old) and it was lovely to go back as the city felt familiar but this time I felt as if I experienced it more from the perspective of New Yorkers rather than as a tourist. I traveled out by myself but had friends who live in the city or were visiting at the same time as me. Being a little older and having a little more cash to splash made it quite different to my first visit. I'll definitely be blogging more about my trip once I've caught up on sleep and can actually remember what I did but here are a few little highlights:

1. Grand Central Station

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Yes, its just a station but the building is so beautiful. There are cafes in the basement and an arcade on the ground floor too.

2. 5th Avenue

Probably the essential NYC destination for shoppers. I love the horse carts (remember Carrie and Big taking one through the park?) and the Trump Tower building on 5th has the most opulent Starbucks I've ever seen. Definitely the best place for a mid shop coffee break.

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3. Times Square

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Busy, noisy and rather dirty but you still have to see it (and then divert around it for the rest of your trip and definitely don't attempt to get a taxi through it!).

4. Work Trade Centre Site

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A thought-provoking must-see. The WTC site is a peaceful tragic reminder of what happened just over ten years ago. The floor plans of each of the towers have been transformed into giant fountains which really gives a sense of the scale of the buildings although its still hard to comprehend what it must have been like on the day of the attacks. Tickets are free so reserve in advance or turn up early on the day.

5. The Guggenheim

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The exhibitions change regularly but the architecture of the building makes this a must-see. Its $22 dollars to get in which is a bit pricey and is quite small but I think that's sometimes a good thing with museums as you could spend all day in the Met! Its worth Googling all the museums you're interested in before your visit as some a free at certain times. Don't expect it to be like London - we're so lucky that all our museums and galleries are free.

6. The Statue of Liberty

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Another stereotypical NYC site. The ferry to Liberty and Ellis islands is $17 dollars and the ferry ride provides great views of Manhattan. The free Staten Island ferry gives a good view of the statue without stopping on the island and on my first visit I did a Circle Line cruise. It's definitely best to book your tickets in advance or go early. I got to the ferry terminal at 9am and queuing was minimal but the queue barriers set up made it clear that this is not the case the rest of the time!

7. Brooklyn Bridge

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Take the subway to the Manhattan side and walk across - it takes about 40 minutes and the views are amazing. Afterwards, take a walk around DUMBO and the promenade. The Brooklyn Bridge park has free wifi (as do Battery and Union Square parks, very useful if you don't want to risk an extortionate bill by using data).

8. Iconic Movie Sites

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Before you go, look up the Friends cafe, Carrie Bradshaw's apartment and anything else from the movies that you want to visit. Some are a little far out like Katz's Deli on the Lower East Side, made famous in When Harry Met Sally.

9. Central Park

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I didn't really visit the park on my last trip but this time I took an early morning run (do as the New Yorkers do and take a cab to the 86th street transverse to run a lap of the Jackie Onassis Reservoir and then run down through the park) and the views were beautiful. In the morning the park is so peaceful and feels like a great break from the all too constant car horns in the city. It was great to see New Yorkers running, walking their dogs and roller skating through the park. The lawns are great for sunbathing, picnicing and people watching - a particular highlight was a man in his underpants cartwheeling through the park in broad daylight. Only in New York!

What are your favourite NYC sites?

PS. I traveled with Virgin Holidays which worked out the cheapest for flights but its definitely worth shopping around as the prices vary a lot. As I wanted to save money for shopping I stayed in the Flatotel which was really centrally located but not super swish. The hotel was a little dated but it was perfectly adequate and, lets face it, unless you're staying somewhere amazing you actually spend very little time in the hotel anyway! One more thing, July is hot. I knew it'd be warm but 35 degrees in a city is tough when you're used to London weather. Thankfully, Starbucks frapuccinos are practically half price!
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23 comments

  1. Amazing photos!! ive not long come back from New York and i have to say my faviourite bits were definitely central park, the Rockefeller (i didn't like the empire state all that much), the water taxi and movie tour ;) haha.. looks like you had an amazing time!! xx

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    1. Thanks! I did the Rockefeller last time and definitely preferred it to the Empire State! x

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  2. WOW! You are making me so jealous of your trip. I really want to go back to NYC now. I love Staten Island, Times Square, Soho and Fifth Avenue...so many amazing places in that city.

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    1. I already want to go back! There are still so many places I need to see...x

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  3. Oh I am so envious...maybe next year!

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    1. It's an amazing city, definitely one to go to or keep going back to! x

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  4. Looks like you had such a fab time and visited terrific places too. I adore NYC and can't wait to go back next year. If I could live anywhere other than London it would be Manhattan. Next time I want to go over to the Statue of Liberty as it was closed when I went. Also need to do more exploring in Brooklyn as I spent very little time there in January. Did you go to Katz's? The sandwiches are amazing!

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    1. Your posts on NYC were so useful in deciding where to go! I'd definitely go back to Brooklyn, the vintage shopping was amazing. I didn't go into Katz's as I was on my way to brunch on the Lower East Side but I'll def have to go next time! x

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  5. It looks INCREDIBLE! New York is absolutely top of my list of places to go asap! Looks like you had a wonderful time, so jealous! :) x

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  6. I adored Grand Central, Brooklyn and Greenwich Village...just beautiful!
    x

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    1. I didn't make it to Greenwich Village, it was on my list but means that I have a reason to go back. x

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  7. oh wow, it looks like you had such a lovely trip. the picture which moves me the most is the picture of the central station, such a legendary place. because i am a plonker, i would need to go there where the sunlight hits it and cast light through the windows haha.
    picture of you in front of the statue of liberty is so well taken. it makes you looks 7ft tall. must remember this angle. i think you should go more on holidays, this post was a real treat for the eyes
    liloo/@tsunimee xx

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    1. Thanks! The station is amazing, so much nicer than any here. That was the only statue picture where both me and the statue were in it! x

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  8. I love NYC. I really wish i could afford to go back soon but it seems highly unlikely :( x

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    1. I don't even want to think about the state of my bank balance at the moment! x

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  9. Ahh, it looks amazing! I would love to go to New York :) x

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    1. It was so much fun, I'd definitely recommend a visit! x

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  10. Hey missus if your old at 25 what I am at almost 30! ;-) LOVE NYC! I can't wait to go back. My fave area is SoHo and around Union Square, I just love everything about the place!

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    1. Hehe, it is scary how fast time goes by! I love Union Square, the Wholefoods there is amazing. x

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  11. I've always wanted to visit New York. It looks like such an incredible city!! Glad you had such an amazing trip.

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    1. Thanks! You should definitely visit some time! x

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  12. New York looks amazing! We're thinking of maybe going next year and I can't wait to check out some of these world famous sites x

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