New York City… What can I say, you see it in the movies, its the location of at least 50% of all my favourite TV shows ( Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Gossip Girl, Sex and The City, Elementary… just to name a few), you read about it in books but its not until you’re actually there that you can get a full understanding of how crazy/ busy/ incredibly awesome this city really is! New York City has been on my bucketlist for as long as I can remember and finally at the age of 27 I managed to make my way to the city that never sleeps.
Ryan and I road tripped to New Jersey, parked our car at the Port Imperial Ferry Terminal and jumped on a ferry accross the bridge to NEW YORK CITY!!!! My excitement levels were well above average as we approached the city and I had my first real glimpse of one of the worlds most infamous skylines. From the ferry terminal we hopped onto one of the free buses linked with the ferry and rode it to the stop closest to our hotel and then we walked the remainder of the way. Our hotel room contained THE smallest double bed I’ve ever seen, I’d say it was more of a king single, I think it was this size because if it was any bigger it would have come pretty close to filling up the tiny hotel room that contained it! This was a little dissappointing considering the hefty price of the room but that’s New York and pretty much everything is painfully expensive! But in saying this our hotel was located approximately 10 steps from Times Square, so we couldn’t really complain.
We had 7 days in New York and we filled up every second exploring as much as we possibly could. If I was to take you through every little detail you’d probably be here for the next week! To save you some time I’ve condensed my New York City experience into a list of all of my favourite things that I got to experience while I was there.
Because you can’t go to New York and not see a broadway show! Somehow I managed to convince Ryan to see “Matilda” of all things with me. One of my all time favourite movies as a kid I had high expectations for this Musical and it absolutely blew me away! Mrs Trunchbull (played by Bryce Ryness) was definitely the star of the show.
2. The Brooklyn Bridge
Don’t just walk it once, dont just walk it twice, walk it as many times as you possibly can because it is AAAAMMAAAZING!!!! I did only walk it twice but if I’d had the time I would have walked accross it everyday I was there. I dont know what it is exactly that makes this bridge so special but the second I set foot on it, it became my favourite bridge of all time. It might be it’s aesthetically pleasing appearance or the 10/10 people watching seats dotted all along it or maybe the epic views you get of the Manhattan skyline when you look behind you (if you’re heading towards Brooklyn). Whatever it might be, walking this bridge is a truly magical experience! Oh and did I mention it’s totally free to walk accross the bridge, free things in New York can be hard to come by so make sure you take full advantage of them!
Ahhh Brooklyn … Giant slices of pizza, the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade AND ridiculously trendy people, restaurants and markets. These are just a few of the things that make Brooklyn wonderful. And of course the crazy amazing vantage points that are dotted all along the river giving you some of the best views of the Manahattan skyline in all of New York! The best thing though, the sunset and seeing the city light up at night. Without realising it we found ourselves in Brooklyn on September 10th, the day before the 15 year anniversary of the tragic terrorist attacks that struck New York on September 11, 2001. This meant that we were fortunate enough to witness the “Tribute in Light”, an art installation of searchlights positioned to create vertical columns of light as a memorial of September 11.
4. September 11 Memorial
A touching tribute to the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks, two fountains are present where the World Trade Centre Twin Towers used to stand. It wasn’t until the morning of Spetemeber 11, when we heard bagpipes outside our hotel, that we realised we were in New York for 9/11. As we left our hotel we walked past the 9th Battalion of the New York Fire Department, this is where the bagpipes were coming from as they remembered 9 courageous firefighters from their firehouse who lost their lives trying to save others on this tragic day. We also made a visit to the memorial which opened to the public at 3pm following the private memorial service for family in the morning. I couldn’t help but shed a tear thinking about all of the lives that were lost.
5. Coney Island
After a busy 5 days fitting in as much as we possibly could in and around Manhattan we decided to escape the bustling city for a day and head for the sea side. We jumped on the Q subway line and rode it all the way to the end and stepped off into the interesting neighbourhood that is Coney Island. With rollercoasters, a ferris wheel and numerous other carnival rides lining the Coney Island boardwalk and the beach, we felt a world away from crazy New York after what was only a 1 hour subway ride. We didn’t actually ride any of the rides but we enjoyed a stroll along the boardwalk and out to the peir where you can get a great view looking back towards Coney island. Ryan also indulged in a hotdog from the infamous Nathan’s Hotdogs established 100 years ago in Coney Island… and then we had pizza for dinner 😀
6. Statue of Liberty + Ellis Island
An iconic symbol of New York City, the Statue Of Liberty was gifted to the US from France in 1886. I was surprised to discover that a visit to Lady Liberty is actually one of New Yorks more affordable activities. For only $18 (USD) you get to enjoy the ferry ride to and from Liberty Island and Ellis Island and entry into both of these national monuments. The looming figure of the Statue of Liberty is as impressive up close as it is from afar.
Ellis island was for over 60 years one of the United States busiest immigration stations. During this time more than 12 million immigrants passed through its doors on their journey to the land of the free. Today it stands as a museum full of fascinating details from its history.
7. Central Park
Of the 7 days we had in New York I think we probably visited Central Park on at least 4 of these days because Central Park is awesome and it’s free (I love free things!). On our first visit I think we probably covered maybe 15% of it and got a good idea of the sheer size of the park and the amount of time we would need to dedicate to fully explore it.
On our second visit we decided to join the masses and go for a morning run around the park. Now I love running but I’m not very fast, Ryan never runs but he is really fast. About 5 minutes into our run I new I was slowing him down so I told him to go ahead and I would meet him back where we started. I had a lovely run and cut through the park at the resovoir making it about a 6 km loop. I got back to our meeting point and was probably waiting about 20 minutes until Ryan eventually showed up all sweaty and out of breath, turns out he’d decided to run the full 10km loop!
On our third visit we took in all the major sights that you see in ALL the movies! And I mean all of them, Central Park is one of the most filmed locations in the world. We stopped by Bethesada Fountain (“Home Alone 2”), the Boathouse (“27 Dresses”), Sheep Meadow (“Wall Street”) Strawberry Fields (John Lennon Memorial), the Alice in Wonderland statue, the Mall (“Maid in Manhattan”), Cherry Hill (“Friends” Fountain) and Bow Bridge (“Enchanted”).
On our 4th visit we decided to embark on a photo run. What this means is Ryan wears a backpack with my camera in it ( he’s just too good to me) and we run around Central Park stopping for photos in all the best spots. We timed this one for sunset and were blown away with THE BEST SUNSET EVER looking accross the Resovoir back towards Downtown Manhattan.
8. Top of the Rock
When you’re in New York you have the option of going to the “Top of the Rock”, the top of the Empire State building or the One World Observatory (top of the One World Trade Centre). I think you have to go up at least one of these when you visit New York to get a birds eye view of the incredible place, but they’re all a bit exxy (about $37 USD each) so make your decision wisely. We opted to head 70 floors up to the top of the Rockerfeller Plaza building for that incredible view over looking the Empire State Building and Downtown Manhattan ( you know the one I’m talking about). And if you look the other direction there are breathtaking views of Central Park and its surrounds. The crowds are hectic especially if you go of a sunset viewing session but watching the city come alive at night time makes it totally worth it!
9. New York Public Library
There are 4 branches of the New York public library, the main and biggest branch is located in Bryant Park, Manhattan. This incredible building was completed in 1911 and is the perfect place to escape the bustling city for a few hours. For us it also offered us a reprieve from the unseasonal heat that was hittting New York when we visited. There’s countless rooms containing more books than you could ever dream of and the study halls with their high ceilings and golden lighting will take your breath away. One of my favpurite things about the library was the childrens section where you can see the original stuffed animals that inspired the childrens classic Winnie the Pooh.
10. Yankees Game
“Take me out to the ball game”… this phrase was on repeat pretty much the whole time I was at the game! We caught the subway to the Bronx and made our way to Yankee Stadium where I felt compelled to buy a baseball cap because I was at a baseball game, obviously. Ryan and I stocked up on hotdogs and popcorn and headed to our seats in the nosebleed section. We might have been far away but we still had a great view of the pitch. It was Yankees vs the Toronto Bluejays, I was cheering for the Yakees and Ryan for the Bluejays (he is Canadian after all). Baseball games are long and I’m not much of a sports fan at the best of times so when we were already 3 hours into the game and ONLY 2 home runs had been scored I did start to get a little restless. Luckily it didn’t go on for too much longer and the Yankees won, wooo hooo!!!
11. One world observatory
The One World Trade Centre totally dominates the New York skyline at a crazy 541 m tall! And at the very tippy top of it there is an observatory giving you breathtaking 360 degree panoramic views of New York. Like I mentioned before these view points are pricey to visit so if I was to choose between the One World Observatory and the Top of the Rock I would choose the Top of the Rock, the views are comparable from both but One World Observatory is closed in by glass windows making it a bit harder to get amazing photos of what you’re seeing. But in saying that it is spectacular so if you’re not on a budget I say do them all!!!
12. American Natural History Museum
Night at the Museum…. need I say anymore? I snuck around every corner hoping I would find one of the displays coming to life. I didn’t have any luck but Ryan and I had a blast exploring all of the halls, particularly the dinosaur bones and the ocean life halls.
13. Times square
Times square is like a whole world of its own – a very flashy, bright light, over the top world of it’s own. Since we were staying practically in Times Square we got to witness it coming to life every night. On a number of occasions we went and took a seat on the red stairs and simply watched the world go by. You get a great view of all the performers dressed up as characters and really they’re one of the most entertaining parts of Times Square.
14. Iconic Friends locations
Since it is my favourite TV show of all time I went out of my way to make sure I hit up a couple of the locations that were frequented in the show. The famous fountain seen in all 236 episodes in the opening credits is the Cherry Hill fountain located in Central Park and the apartment block where Monica and Rachel, and Chandler and Joey have apartment is in the West Village on Bedford Street.
After a week exploring this crazy place I can officially say I LOVE NEW YORK! I think I could visit 100 times and still love it just as much! Make sure you check out my New York video for more of my adventures!