Thursday, 8 December 2016

When in New York


Empire State Building from Top of the rock

Back in January I did something rather spontaneous and crazy. I booked a trip to New York City with a group of ladies that I met in a rather unusual fashion. I met these ladies on the Internet, through Instagram to be precise. We met for the first time back in October 2015, and from that point we were meeting most months to work out together, and rather quickly a friendship forged. I think I would go as far to say that this friendship is more of a sisterhood, it consists of a group of ladies from all over the Midlands, from different walks of life that bonded over fitness. 

Now the fitness aspect is far from our only common ground that we share, and I didn't think twice about heading out to the big apple with these girls. So we booked it, paid for it and got pretty excited about it, and then on Friday 11th November the 6 of us began our journey to JFK.

Empire State Building from Top of the rock

It's the farthest from home I have ever been in my life, and it was only for a long weekend. People said I was mad to fly all that way for such a short time, but I knew that we would make the very most of our time there. 

We landed around 8pm New York time (they are 5 hours behind the UK), it's a 6 hour flight time and we had left the UK at 5pm, so we made up time when we got there, but we were all pretty tired by this point, so it was a case of grabbing a Mcdonald's (which are the most humongous meals I have ever seen in my life!) and heading to bed. 


We had a room at the Hilton DoubleTree Suites right in the heart of Times Square, it was pretty surreal to be able to walk out of the rotating door and just be stood among the hustle and bustle of city life. Pictures can never really grab every single detail, and I can confirm this as I have seen so many photos of New York over the years. As I stood there looking around this new space, where there was always something going on, I knew that I could never come back and tell you everything that there is to see and do in New York, and the reality of it is 3 days was never going to be enough time to do absolutely everything that there is to do.

New York City Times Square

New York City

It was a pretty interesting time to visit, right after the presidential election and of of course the result of Donald Trump. We witnessed many a protest, and I know I was only there a few days, but I got the impression pretty quickly that a lot of Americans are not very happy with the decision. Trump Tower over on Fifth Avenue was the main frontage of these protests, and there were a number of occasions where the street was completely closed to cars and pedestrians because of the persistence of the protests. 

The police were out in force maintaining the peace within the city perimeters and that alone was incredible to see. You just don't see so many Police in the little sleepy town of Evesham where I am from, you especially don't see them armed. I could have spent so much longer watching the city like this, but of course we had a full itinerary and that started first thing Saturday morning.

Empire State Building from Top of the rock

Empire State Building from Top of the rock

Saturday AM saw us walking the short number of blocks over to the Rockefeller where we planned to visit the Top of The Rock Observation Deck. Now this is the one I was least excited about in honesty, I had never heard of it before and I was all about the Empire State Building. I have to say I ate my words when I got up there and saw the stunning un-interrupted view. You can literally just see for miles. I felt like I was stood at the very top of the world, it was such a clear beautiful day and I could have stayed there for hours on end. I didn't expect to feel the way I did when I looked out of the city that never sleeps, it was just stunning, visually breath taking and I felt incredibly lucky to be there soaking it all in.

We did a lot of walking on our trip, and I have to say that if you can this is the absolute best way to see the city. It is a lot of walking, but if your going to be enjoying a lot of food like we did, then it can't hurt right? And how else will you really see New York?

Saturday was spent walking, getting coffee and moving from each of our chosen attractions. Starbucks in hand (when in New York!) we made our way to Central Park. We passed the men who were starting to put the famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree up, which was mad as we had just seen this on the News that very morning before heading out for the day. We walked straight passed the Plaza Hotel (You know! The one that Kevin Mccallister stayed at in Home Alone 2!) and then into the park right in the centre of the city.

Wollman Ice Rink Central Park

I wish I could have spent more time in the park, we were going to try and book horse riding lessons so that we could really have a scout around and see it all (Another reason to go back!), it's crazy seeing all of the trees and then beyond that all of the sky scrapers. We went ice skating at the Wollman Ice Rink which I would definitely recommend doing while you are there.

We finished off the day at the Empire State Building, I had to do this while I was there and I am so glad I did. I do have to say though that I much preferred the experience over the The Top of The Rock as it was open and allowed you to get the best photos. The Empire State has a fence all around the top that obstructs the view, but is still definitely worth a visit.

Empire State Building

Empire State Building

Sunday a few of us went to the New York BBG Meet, we were made to feel really welcome, and they didn't think twice about making us work out HARD. I could feel the soreness inflicted for days after, but they did then show us the best place for brunch, which turned into 6 huge courses and eventually defeated us (It didn't help that I had just consumed the most amazing Levain Bakery cookie! Also known as the BEST Cookie in New York!)


The afternoon was spent on a Water Taxi visiting the iconic Statue of Liberty. By this point we were all grateful to sit down and listen to the history surrounding the area and of course the statue herself. It provided the perfect back drop for a selfie and I found the entire tour really interesting. The guide was really helpful and told us so many wonderful things (and he made us laugh which is always a good thing!).

The Statue of Liberty New York City

The Statue of Liberty New York City

The Statue of Liberty New York City

The Water Taxi went under Brooklyn Bridge and the guide really took his time to show us everything that he could. 

When we got off the boat we walked over to Ground Zero, the site where the 9/11 tragedy took place. After seeing it on the news all of these years, it was surreal and strange to be stood on the very site where it all took place. It was getting dark by the time we arrived and there were lots of people milling around, I remember looking at the pools that mark where the twin towers once stood and was just in awe at how wide they were, I looked at the sky scraper next to them and envisioned how tall they must have been. It really is such a haunting place to visit, but what they have done there is just beautiful, and it is an incredible way to memorialize what happened there back in 2001.

Ground Zero Memorial

Ground Zero Memorial
A big empty space in the sky line where the tower once stood.
When I return I plan on spending much longer here and visiting the museum.

Monday was our final day in New York, and the majority of us spent a little longer in bed than we had been, and then we decided we would hop on the Subway and make our way back over towards Brooklyn Bridge so that we could walk over it and into Brooklyn. The bridge was much bigger than I had ever imagined, but it was gorgeous. We were so lucky with the weather, and it was so mild that we soon took off all of our coats, you wouldn't have thought that it was November.

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge
We walked into Brooklyn and located Grimaldi's - They have the most amazing Pizza's and after all of that walking we had most definitely built up an appetite. I looked the menu over and decided to go for a small pizza, when the waiter came over to take my order he smiled, he told me that it was A LOT of food but he thought that I could handle it. I was sure I could too, well until the food materialised and I asked him to confirm that this was the large that my friends were going to be sharing... Of course he smiled again and told me that this was in fact my dinner.

Grimaldi's Pizza Brooklyn New York City

Grimaldi's Pizza Brooklyn New York City

Grimaldi's Pizza Brooklyn New York City

Grimaldi's Pizza Brooklyn New York City

I am pleased to report that I demolished all but two slices and he was so impressed he gave my friend pudding on the house! Of course there was no way that I could even consider pudding after all of that pizza. If you find yourself in Brooklyn then definitely go along, it was great food and great service and I would definitely go back.

The rest of the day was spent shopping over on 34th Street (Yep the Miracle on 34th Street!) and I managed to spend some pennies in the shops before we got picked up to return to JFK and make our way back home.

New York City

It was such an incredible few days, and it felt like we were there so much longer than just 3 days. We did so much, but there is still so much left to explore and tick off my New York list. Leo and Luke really want to go and see it all for themselves, so we will definitely be looking to return very soon!

I will leave you with a short clip of our highlights of our time spent in New York.







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