Thursday, 25 September 2014

New York, New York!

View from Liberty Island
New York was one of the most amazing experiences. Since I was young I have dreamed of visiting the fabulous city. My first experience of New York was great.

We arrived in Manhattan at around 1am. After a 3 hour sleepy car journey, the lights were bright and vivid. I was instantly wide awake. As we drove through Times Square the streets were bustling with people and there was even traffic! My shock and fascination was laughed off by my travelling buddies who had visited before. After checking into our hostel just off Times Square, we were greeted with "Here is your key, your wifi password, and we currently have no hot water" like it was the most casual thing that we were paying over $100 each, and we couldn't have a decent shower. But then that was cheap for New York. We stayed in Equity Point Hostel. As my first experience of a hostel, I was slightly concerned, however it was very pleasant and a lot better than I expected. If there was hot water I would have had no complaints. The location was great and the rooms were clean.
I spent my first night in New York in an Irish Bar, I wish I could remember what it was called. The drinks were a lot more than I had been paying previously. $8 for a glass of white wine. But this was New York, I expected no different.
The following day we explored the Times Square area. New York has a bit of a funny smell about it, not the most pleasant, but you get used to it. With slightly sore heads from the night before and an extremely hot day making it not the easiest day, we decided to relax in the cinema. For dinner we went to a lovely Australian bar, which was actually called The Australian. One of the girls was an Aussie so we thought we would treat her to some home comforts. I had an amazing chicken and jalepeno lasagne. It was fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone.
A few weeks later I returned to the big city. This time for a bit longer. We spent our first night partying in a bar in Times Square called the Mean Fiddler. It was a small, packed out bar. The atmosphere was good to start of with, but I'm not a fan of being packed into a place like sardines and they just kept letting more and more people in as the night went on.
This time we stayed in the YMCA Vanderbilt hostel. I didn't enjoy this one as much. The room was a lot smaller and we didn't have our own bathroom, it was shared between around 100 people! You do have the option to spend extra and get a more private bathroom, which I wish we had done now.

Grand Central Station

We spent the next few days sightseeing. Grand Central was beautiful and I got my 'Gossip Girl' picture looking over the balcony. We revisited Times Square, this time popping in a few shops on the way. We briefly visited Central Park. There is so much more of the park to see, but at this point we just needed to sit down after a long day! As you enter the park there are lots of bicycles available to hire, and horse and carriage rides available. As much as I would have loved to have done this, it was very pricey. From where we were sat I could see a great play area for children and a skate park for the skaters. I would love to see the park in the winter as well as I would imagine it is beautiful.

Having a break in Central Park
The next day we took a trip to the Statue of Liberty. This was so much fun and I would recommend. We sat and had an ice cream on Liberty Island. Theres also a gift shop and cafe on the Island. You can walk around the Statue, and there is a great view of Manhattan. Walking back from the boat drop off, we stopped off at the 9/11 memorial. It's so huge! There is also a museum there, which I really wish we had had time to visit. The trip came to an end with a visit to Soho and Little Italy. We ate in a lovely Italian restaurant, unfortunately again I can't remember the name. I had a delicious chicken pasta meal and of course a cocktail or 2 to accompany the food! The man that owned the restaurant had a great Italian American accent that made him sound like a member of a mafia gang from a movie. He hooked us up with great seats so we could watch the world go by.

One of my favourite discoveries that I would recommend to anyone who is heading to New York, would be Baked my Melissa. With numerous locations across New York they sell the most delicious mini cupcakes in numerous different flavours. Whilst working at camp, one of the parents bought us office girls a box to thank us for our work and I was instantly hooked. We visited the store just off Times Square and I enjoyed mine whilst relaxing in Central Park. Perfect.

We travelled around the city on the subway. Although it initially looks confusing, its actually pretty easy. It is also a lot cheaper than the London Underground. New York just takes so long to get around. There are so many things I wanted to see but didn't get a chance. For example Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Bridge, The Empire State Building, The Met and I would have loved to have seen the New York Yankees play.
I would recommend New York to anyone, but I would say go for more than 3 days! I think 5 days would be perfect.

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