I Love New York
A trip to New York had always been on my bucket list, and when a big birthday with a nought on the end loomed ahead, there was only one place to go with a best friend ~ to the city that never sleeps! You know how you can look forward to going somewhere, or doing something you've always wanted to do, and when it happens it doesn't live up to expectations? Not this trip, New York was fabulous!
The noise and the traffic was overwhelming ~ an assault on the senses that left my head spinning! It felt like we were part of a movie set or TV show, it was all so familiar, yet unknown at the same time.
We stayed at The Lexington Hotel on Lexington / 48th Street on a room only basis. It is full of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia. When Marilyn married Joe DiMaggio they lived at the hotel in a Penthouse suite. You can now rent the suite for $1400 per night ~ a snip!
The Lexington Hotel.
There is so much to see and do that we did draft an itinerary to ensure we wouldn't be running around aimlessly. We purchased a New York Pass before we left the UK (with 20% discount ~ a bonus), though you can also buy the Pass in New York. The NY Pass allowed us to enter tourist attractions without waiting in queue (or at least, not for too long), and we saved money also.
Have to say we found New Yorker's so friendly ~ every day being told your Kent accent is "so cute," is something else! Every attraction was well organised and the staff were super polite with big smiles.
Everywhere is clean and graffiti free and we never once heard any swearing or cursing when we were there. New Yorkers all seemed so well groomed and smelt nice too!
Such beautiful old buildings, and art work on the streets. Turn a corner and find a sculpture or water feature for everyone to enjoy.
Paparazzi Dogman and Paparazzi Rabbit Girl sculpture near the Rockefeller Centre. They represent unity and acceptance in a multi cultural world
We visited the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) and amazed how close to the art work you could go. No barriers or staff telling you to "back off." It was busy but the galleries were huge and was easy to stop and stare at a Monet or Pollock. Amazing!
New York is so green with many open spaces to sit and watch the world go by. Central Park was just as we expected ~ a peaceful oasis in the middle of a busy city. We particularly wanted to see the John Lennon 'Imagine memorial,' and the Alice in Wonderland sculpture. We also saw the singer Gregory Porter enjoying the park. We might have gone to say hello but he was with his family, so we left him be.
The food! The portions! We only ate breakfast and an evening meal ~ we just weren't hungry for lunch despite walking miles every day. Our favourite place for breakfast was Juniors on 49th street. It's a fifties style diner with friendly staff. A full menu so lots of choice and the food was delicious. If you go to New York do try Junior's famous cheesecake ~ delicious!
Breakfast at Juniors. I was happy to find a healthy-ish breakfast.
Another must try is Ellen's Stardust Diner on Broadway (but be aware that there can be long queue's to get a seat). The waiting staff are 'resting' actors and in between serving tables, they take it in turns to sing to the customers. Their voices were incredible and well worth tipping in the bucket that the MC takes round. By the way, all the tips are shared equally between the waiting staff and it must go towards honing their craft ~ acting lessons, singing lessons, whatever they need. Apparently, all the Broadway shows have at least one actor who once sang at Ellen's. The food though was okay, and expensive. However this place is well worth a visit for the wait staff alone.
We rode the subway a couple of times and found it easy to get around once we worked out the line to get aboard. The thing we found perhaps a little strange was the routes are numbered or lettered ~ "take the A train!" Once you knew what was what it was straightforward. The other thing is that the subway didn't have a logo or brand like the London Underground, so you sometimes have to search a little for the station entrances (unlike the one below that we all but tripped over).
We did a couple of ferry trips, including the Staten Island Ferry ~ which runs 24/7, 365 days a year and is free! There were hundreds of people waiting for the ferry and we thought we would never get a seat. But the ferry is huge and people disappeared into the interior! It was a fun trip to Staten Island and back.
We saw a Broadway show, Kinky Boots which was fabulous ~ loved it! We managed to get good seats at 50% discount (there is a box office on Times Square) and thought they were comparable with West End ticket prices (London). The Al Hirschfeld is a beautiful 1920's theatre that seemed small, but we had a great seats a few rows back from the stage. We felt that Broadway itself had a 'run down' feel and that surprised us.
Lastly, we paid a visit to the 9/11 memorial site and museum. It was an understated yet stunning memorial to those that lost their lives. Such a peaceful site. Be prepared to be emotionally overwhelmed. I don't mind admitting I started to sob when I saw all the names on the monument of those who had lost their lives.
The Freedom Tower 9/11 Memorial
The 9/11 Memorial place a white rose by the victims name on their birthday
There was so much to see it was impossible to do it all. I love their 'get up and go' and positive attitude.
Just need to figure out how I can possibly visit again and do it all over.