I know – crazy – I feel like we’ve only just come back from travels all over the place, and here we were jetting off again!
The weather in the UK this summer has been horrible. I always tell my children that it’ll be sunny right up until the school holidays start, then it’ll rain for 6 weeks, and it hasn’t disappointed! So we gave in and booked for the bank holiday weekend to go away. Holiday restrictions with work meant it needed to be close enough for a long weekend, Thursday to Tuesday morning…… so where to go? We looked at Dubai again, 7 hour flight, guaranteed sunshine, but at 44 degrees it would be aircon all the way!
Europe looked good too, Barcelona, Paris etc, but then we thought about New York. I’ve never been, my husband has on business, but you don’t do anything touristy, just visit the nearest office! We’ve never taken the kids on a city break – yes we go to London all the time, but thats different as its only a train ride away. Could we do it?
Well in the next 3 hours we’d kind of booked it… for 3 weeks time – ekkkk!
(Then came the practicalities of ESTAs, car parking, travel insurance, dog and chicken sitters). A trip to the library secured 2 guide books to read before we went – we needed kid friendly things to do, but actually take in the sights too.
We took an afternoon flight with American Airways from the UK – leaving at 2.30pm. This was my first time flying American, and I was very impressed. The food service was quick, and the food, for airline food delicious. The drinks service also nice and trouble free, and the best bit, if you asked for a Coke zero – you got a proper sized can rather than the mini ones some airlines give out. The onto the entertainment, lots of choice again, 2 movies and most of a box set later, and a snack service, and a hot box – pizza and cake, we finally landed, 7 and a half hours later.
An Uber got us from the airport to our hotel, and even requested one with a car seat for the pink one.
We finally got to our hotel about 7.30pm, and checked in. The off out for some dinner quickly, baring in mind it’s now about 2am UK time!
We went to the Brooklyn diner, which was only one block away, where we shared a some fish tacos, and the kids shared a huge hotdog!
Time to go back to the hotel and try and get some sleep. Jet lagged, I woke up at 1am, and then again at 5am, and then I woke everyone else up at 7am, ready to hit the tourist sites!
We ate breakfast in a local deli – eggs anyway with toast and bacon or sausage, with a cup of tea or coffee for only $7. Bargain we thought…..and then this was brought out…. the sign didn’t mention the potatoes and the toast!
It was huge……. a theme for the size of portions that carried on over the next few days!
Breakfast done, we headed into Central Park – which was only 2 blocks away from our hotel.
This park was amazing. It’s so hard to visualise this huge expanse of green right in the middle of the city, but it was lovely! We walked through the park until we got to the Natural History Museum – bright and early for when it opened at 10am.
Bonus points from the kids here, as they had only watched Night at the Museum the week before, and boy were they excited to see everything!
I’d read in a guide book that the museum was free, with suggested donations, just like the UK one, but when we got there there were signs everywhere saying buy your tickets here- so we went to a machine and bought tickets at over $100. It transpired that they were donations, and the museum was free but they herd you into rows with cashiers so you end up paying.
The museum, even though a lot of money was great. The displays were amazing, from the painted backdrops, to the stuffed animals, and the way they displayed things was great (trying to show the pink one how the birds were flying was interesting as she just couldn’t see the sticks or wires!). Can you see the glass on top of the dolphins to make it look like water?
We found the giant Sequoia, and then the highlight of the whole museum trip – Dum Dum from Night at the Museum! One tip – download the App, as the museum is huge. It gives you directions and you can search for different exhibits! I don’t think we’d of found Dum Dum without it!
From the Museum, we were going to do the highline, but aching feet after 22 thousand steps, and it being 3pm meant we changed plan!
We went swimming on the top floor of our hotel! The actual reason we chose the hotel (Le Parker Meridian) was because of the roof top pool – and it didn’t disappoint. Views of Central Park, from the 42nd Floor!
Off out to dinner after the swim,Via the Trump Tower – security was huge, and just as we crossed the road a huge black armour plated car pulled in! We were recommended Ellens Stardust Diner. We got there and there was a huge queue! One thing we learnt is that a lot of New York restaurants don’t take reservations – you queue up – or “join the line”.
We queued for about 45 minutes, not really knowing what to expect. But when we got in, it was the most fun meal we had! The waiters and waitresses all sing and perform! Musical and dinner in one session!
Note my huge plate of brown food – this was actually chicken fillets, onion rings and waffle chips!
We came home via Time Square, it is so bright with screens and people everywhere!
Day 2 – plan for today was the free Statton Island ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. We caught the subway (to confuse me completely you need to buy a Metro card to ride the subway – so I kept calling it the Metro – like the French underground much to the blue ones amusement!) to the bottom tip of Manhattan island. Avoiding the people there trying to sell different boat cruises – the door for the ferry was straight ahead of the metro exit.
The views were brilliant, even the view back to the Manhattan skyline was worth it. When you get to Statton Island, you need to exit the boat and run around to get back on again! We saw the worlds biggest cruise ship too my husband informed me!
From here we headed to the 9/11 memorial. Wow – an absolutely stunning tribute to all the people who died that horrible day. I still remember where I was when I heard the news, and it brought back so many memories. We only took 3 photos here, somehow it didn’t seem right to be stood there snapping away – some people were, but we quietly observed.
From here we headed into China Town – we have one in London, but it’s always good to experience.
A huge dining hall, up a huge escalator, with loads of dim sum trolleys whizzing around. The adults loved it – the kids not so much!
Then we tried to find an ice cream shop in Little Italy, which we did find, but the pink one is allergic to egg, and all the ice- creams contained egg, so we all gave it a miss, and went back to the hotel for a swim!
Out to the Vynl diner for dinner,
This was the day for Rock at the Top – or the Rockefeller building. I’d read get there early – so we were up and about super early. We’d visited a shoe shop the day before too – and each bought a pair of shoes, I have to show you the pink ones choice……. she dressed to impress today!
So queues at all for The Top of the Rock – and a nice bit of history on the way up to the top – I didn’t know this was the famous men sitting on the iron gurder photo! We chose the Rock rather than the empire state so we could see the Empire State building from the top too!
From here we headed to Grand Central Station, before heading down to see the Empire State building from the bottom.
Lunch was now in great need. So we went back to what is listed as the best burger joint in New York, which we discovered in our hotel! Behind this horrible red curtain, there is a this really cool place.
Menu’s written on cardboard boxes, everything served in paper, and writing all over the walls! We got a booth, and ordered, by this time the queue (or line) was increasing by the minute, so much so that when we left there was queuing system outside to contain the number of people! The food was rustic, and absolutely delicious! We’d go back!
We learnt that Central Park is closed to cars on the weekend, so we decided to cycle it – it was Sunday! We hired bikes just outside and walked them into the park……. then pedal we did, along with thousands of other people!
It’s got a lot more hills than it looks like when looking down from a skyscraper!
Dinner was from an Italian across the road from the Hotel.
Final day, and we’d already decided we were going to do the High Line. We took a yellow cab (much to the blue ones delight), to the entrance, then spent an hour walking (and cartwheeling) over the top of the city. Some of the architecture was stunning, from the apartments, to the old brick buildings.
Our final stop was a yarn shop……. but I’ll right more about that later!
Back to the hotel for a quick swim, before the long trip home on the Red Eye “back to London town” as Jamie Cullum would sing! Hardly any sleep on the plane, and then a day out in London at the theatre meant jet lag was minimal.
Would we go again? The blue one has already asked if we can go to another city – he loved the tourist things. We packed a lot in – and I mean a lot, but it actually felt pretty relaxing as we went to the pool for a couple of hours every day – so it kind of felt like a pool holiday too! Lots to see and do, and I’m so glad I’ve finally been.
Back home to lots of fruit and vegetables I think!