Without doubt, New York is the best place I have visited so far. That may not be surprising to you, as it is widely spoken about in the media in this way, being given names like ‘The Big Apple’ and ‘The City That Never Sleeps’. It was these kinds of reviews that gave New York such prominence in my mind and placed it right at the top of my holiday list.
It certainly did not disappoint and since visiting, I have fallen in love with it even more than I had. So it seems fitting that a year on, I share with you what I loved most about the city, and my fave five adventures whilst there!
Macy’s Department Store
My first fave has to be our visit to Macy’s department store. Its funny, when you see it in TV shows, it looks big, but I was not prepared for the real thing! To put it in perspective for you, we spent HOURS in there – all morning and into the early afternoon – and we didn’t even go to all eleven floors!
We did have a thorough look through as much as we could, and it was crazy how much there is. Everything from clothes, shoes and accessories to brands, handbags and homeware! And did I mention the replica set of Central Perk from the sitcom Friends? I could have bought plenty of things if it weren’t that I had to fit it in a suitcase (and a plane) home. But the thing that blew me away most is the floor piano. You read that right, a floor piano (a GIANT one at that). As if it couldn’t get any cooler, its the original floor piano that was used in the Tom Hanks movie, ‘Big’. Remember that moment in the film where Tom plays a tune on that floor piano with the manager of the store? I had a little go at playing it myself, but unfortunately it didn’t quite match up to his rendition. It was still great fun!
The Empire State Building
This just had to be on my list – it is one of the most talked about NY attractions, and was one of the most exciting things I did during my trip! It even looks exciting from the outside – its ridiculously tall (as you would expect) and has a bright red carpet at the entrance. Pretty hard to miss! The inside was incredible. For such an old building, it was so modern and full of character! The combination of the marble floors and the colour scheme, which carried through the entire building made it look so elegant – its one of the most instagrammable places ever! The queues there move pretty quickly so you won’t be waiting too long, just the right amount of time for you to get that perfect shot! Soon after that you are escorted into a lift where you are taken up to level 80, and then the first observatory level on the 86th floor.
I don’t think I was quite prepared for the view that would greet me on the other side of the doors. I stood in awe for a really long time. It was quite something. The view was a real wonder to behold, and I couldn’t see the end of it! We didn’t go up to the second observatory floor (the 102nd, at the very top) – you need to purchase another ticket for that – but if you can, do it! From both floors, you definitely get to see New York from a completely new perspective. I would advise you to take a camera!
TIP: If you’re interested in visiting Macy’s and the Empire State Building, they are so close to each other, you can do them both in a day! We visited the two attractions across two separate days, which meant extra time, walking etc… If you see them on the same day, that means extra time to explore other things.
Times Square is exactly like the movies. By that, I mean, every billboard and flashing light is just as incredible as you imagine it to be. In fact, better. We happened to stay in Times Square during our visit and it is just completely buzzing with life, at any time of day. I’m a town girl, so this kind of thing is so unusual to me, but I have now fallen under the spell and love the hustle and bustle of city life. And in a place like Times Square, it seems even more magical than that of cities at home.
Here, there are quite a few attractions close by, so there is plenty to get up to. I visited many restaurants and shops, took a walk through Times Square at night and even saw Matilda live on Broadway. This was one of my favourite childhood films, so to see it come to life in this way was mesmerising – I even started listening to the musical album before our NY trip so that I could sing along to the songs – how sad is that?! But it was brilliant! Times Square certainly was one of the most incredible things I have ever experienced, and truly adds some meaning to the reviews I had read previously – New York really is the city that never sleeps.
Statue of Liberty
Lady Liberty has become an infamous symbol to many. Its hard not to come by her in some way at some point in your life time, even if that’s just seeing her on the TV or in films. Until a year ago, this was the only way I would come by her, but I would instantly feel a sense of excitement, being able to get a glimpse into the Big Apple, and what it has to offer. Having felt this, I couldn’t come all the way to NY and not see her in all her glory.
And glorious she was. Its difficult to say much more than that, because its only now that I realise that words, photos and shows featuring Lady Liberty do not do the real thing justice. We took the boat over to Ellis Island, where we stood right beside her (and took a selfie or two!) There are so many things you can do during your visit there, including a souvenir shop and an ice cream van (with HUGE ice creams). You can even buy a ticket to go to the top of the statue! Plus if that wasn’t enough, you can stay as long as you want to!
If you don’t fancy Ellis Island, you can just go on the Yellow Taxi boats, complete with a tour guide, and admire the view from afar. We did this too, and it was so interesting -they revealed some little known facts about Liberty and her history. I have never looked at her in quite the same way!
Central Park (& Central Park Zoo)
This was the final stop before the journey home. Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to visit so this was really exciting for me! Unsurprisingly, I didn’t manage to make it around the entire park in the short time we had left, but nevertheless I was lucky enough to be able to ride through what I did see on a horse and carriage, which made it a little quicker. From the moment I arrived in New York, it was clear that this mode of transport was not unusual – they were pretty much everywhere! Central Park is so atmospheric and it offers some spectacular views – so many that I never quite knew where to look! But Patricia the horse and her handler were quite the chauffeurs!
Specifically, we headed to the Central Park Zoo. I have visited quite a few, but none quite like this one! It was a maze, there were so many sections with so many different species of animal….. thank goodness for the map we picked up on arrival! We made our way around most of the zoo before leaving and I ldid so having had an up close view of two grizzly bears and taken many photos! One of my favourite things about Central Park generally was how pretty everything was. The park is entirely manmade, and it was whilst I was admiring its many views that I realised what a complete sanctuary it is. If I was lucky enough to return to New York, I know that this would be one of the first places I would go to, so I can explore it even further!
This trip has really opened my eyes to how big the world really is. I have fallen in love with the USA and would love to visit other states and counties in the future. Please tell me any places you have visited and enjoyed, as I would love to know! And I would love to hear all about your experiences in New York – what did you enjoy most? And is there anything else that I should do if I were able to go again?