I was lucky enough to be taken to New York by my mum when I was 17 and it was the best city break I’d ever been on. The bright lights, bustling snow covered streets and amazing views. It was so much to take in and I felt like we had only scratched the surface discovering the diverse city.
Tom and I decided to visit New York last December to continue the exploring. After researching flight options we decided to go with British Airways, plus they had a ridiculously good price on tickets. On a Thursday morning we set off on our trip, as you’d expect BA had a great selection of in-flight entertainment and 3 films down it was already time to land. It definitely didn’t feel like we were on the plane for 8 hours!
We landed at JFK around midday and went straight to the taxi rank to get to our Airbnb. I just love Airbnb, I’ve used it around 5 times now and it has never let us down. We decided to get an apartment in East Village so we would be close to the restaurants and bars and a little bit further out from the main city.
It was cold! So after we checked in we dumped our suitcases, wrapped up and went across the street to a coffee shop called The Bean. We made an action plan over a lovely coffee and set off to see Time Square.
We walked everywhere on the first day, from our apartment to Time Square, across to Rockefeller Centre, made an obligatory stop in Saks and the strolled to the Public Library. It got to around 6 and we decided to head back to the apartment to freshen up and grab some dinner.
Friday we woke up feeling refreshed and ready to explore some more. The coffee shop over the road was great so we stopped and had our caffeine fix and planned the day’s activities. We wanted to see the meat packing district and also explore more of the city by foot.
We ended up in Chelsea Market and had great fun exploring all the great food and spices. From there we went up onto the Highline, a disused freight track which is now a landscaped pathway just above the city streets. As we walked up the Highline we had a good view of the city on our right and to the left was amazing views of the Hudson River. It gives you a whole new perspective of the city. We walked all the way to the end of the Highline which finishes at Madison Square Gardens, we popped in to see if they had any tickets to the Knicks game. We were so pleased we managed to get tickets for Sunday’s game. I was so excited because I just remember having so much fun when I went with mum on my previously trip. I couldn’t wait for Tom to experience it too!
Once we got our tickets we walked to get tickets to go to the top of the Empire State Building at sunset. I think it’s one of the things you just have to do when in New York. After all of that walking we were both starving so we went for some Mac ‘n’ Cheese at S’Mac.
Once we were suitably stuffed we set off again, this time we made our way to Grand Central Station to soak up the busy atmosphere and people watch. It is such a beautiful station and so much happens there every minute of the day. I could stand there all day and watch the day pass me by. After we’d finished admiring the beautiful architecture we went around the corner to see the Chrysler Building before heading back to go to the top of the Empire State Building. Once we were done admiring New York’s skyline we headed back to Time Square to see it lit up at night.
After another jam-packed day we went back to the apartment to freshen up again and have something to eat. We ended up in Hearth restaurant in East for some yummy food and nice wine before heading to Runasa bar.
Saturday was a bit more chilled out, we got up a little later and went to the Brooklyn Diner for brunch. The pancakes and bacon were huge!! As it was a nice crisp sunny day we decided to explore Central Park. We spent a good 3 hours strolling around and relaxing. Stopping off at a small coffee shop to warm up before enjoying some amazing buskers playing jazz on the saxophone.
Later on in the afternoon we strolled over to 5th Avenue and visited the beautiful Tiffany’s building. I think Tom has a little freak out when we got to the engagement ring floor! As we continued to stroll around we stumbled across PizzArte – my favourite food is Italian so I was so excited when we found this place. So without hesitation we went inside to have some dinner. We sat along the high bar and were greeted by a friendly waiter. The menu was amazing, it was so hard to choose what to have. Eventually Tom and I chose a sharing dish to start and I followed with Gnocchi. While we waited for our starter the waiter served our drinks and we enjoyed a lovely glass of prosecco.
After an extremely delicious meal we went back to our apartment in East and freshened up ready for a few drinks. We had read about a bar called Empellio which wasn’t too far away so we tried it out. It had a great atmosphere and good drinks so we settled in for the evening.
Sunday morning we woke and went to Westville East which we could immediately tell was going to be good as there was a small queue outside. I would highly recommend this for brunch – great food and friendly staff.
We had dedicated Sunday to downtown, from ours we went down through Chinatown which was amazing. It was like walking into a completely different city. Street signed turned from English to Chinese, there was a strong Chinese community and lots of authentic shops. I loved it. Seeing such amazing culture was eye opening and so interesting. We continued downwards to Wall Street and eventually reached the ferry port. We opted for the Staten Island Ferry, it’s free and you get a great view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, not to mention access to Staten Island. This is definitely worth doing.
After a round trip we made our way back up through Little Italy to our apartment. We were both excited to be getting ready for the knicks game.
After an entertaining Knicks game we went to Refinery Rooftop Bar which is part of the Refinery Hotel. To access the rooftop bar you go through the main hotel reception area and enter the lift which takes you up to the top floor of the hotel. As you reach the top of the hotel you start to hear the bar’s music and when you reach the top floor the lift doors open straight into the bar itself. It was lovely, it had quite a chilled vibe with everyone busy chatting and enjoying their cocktails. Most of the bar is indoors but it has a fantastic open air patio which gives you a fantastic view of the Empire State Building. We sat outside under one of their heaters and sipped on our delicious cocktails, while soaking in the atmosphere and views. It was the perfect way to end the night.
Monday was our last full day in this amazing city and we wanted to complete our trip with one final walk through Central Park. We got a cab top the top left corner of Central Park so we could see a bit of Upper West Side. We thoroughly enjoyed our walk down the park and had fun reflecting on everything we had seen during our trip. When we reached the bottom of the park, we decided to revisit PizzArte as we had enjoyed our first visit so much.
Afterwards we wanted to finish the trip with a visit to the Top of the Rock viewing platform. It did not disappoint, it had breathtaking views of the whole city and sunset was so beautiful. You could look downwards towards the southern tip of New York Manhattan and you would see the Empire State Building and down town. Or you could look to the north and you would be overlooking Central Park. From here you can see the city in all of its glory.
Our final visit of the trip was to V Bar St. Marks to have our final drink in NYC before packing. In a way I couldn’t believe our time in New York was up but then if I look back at how much we had done and seen, it had been an action packed trip. I still feel I could go back time and time again and discover something new each time. If you like exploring cities this is definitely a trip I would suggest.