When I first walked out onto a Manhattan sidewalk, my neck was constantly craning to look up at all the skyscrapers and buildings that towered over me. I was in awe of my immediate surroundings. Being a film and TV fan, it’s hard not to already have formed a mental image of New York and its intrinsic core that makes it so world-famous from the yellow taxi cabs, gloomy subways and famous landmarks.
I’m lucky enough to have been twice – and I’m certain it won’t be my last. The first time was back in 2000. I was a young adult and my then ex, was not only ill for the first half of our stay (which meant i ended up wandering the city on my own), but he is a jazz musician, so wanted to frequent all the musical dens into the early hours of the morning. It really wasn’t my thing…
Even though I got to see the city and get a flavour, it wasn’t until I went back with my now husband in 2007 that I really appreciated it – much more so after the horrific 9/11 attacks. Standing at the crater of the World Trade Centre was a truly moving experience. I was shocked to see the devastation caused with my own eyes, and recalled my time in the Twin Towers during my first visit.
This was the first time my husband had ever been to the USA and he was adamant he wouldn’t like it. But that’s thing with New York… It takes you by the hand and pulls you in. When we left, my husband admitted that he’d been wrong. And it’s not surprising really…
We got up to so much during our week in NYC. Just wandering the streets is drama enough – drinking in the sounds and smells, and just grabbing breakfast in a busy diner is a truly fantastic experience, let alone visiting the must-see attractions and sights, and shopping in the hugely popular department stores.
There are several smile inducing memories that spring to mind during our time in New York, including:
People watching in the trendy Hudson Bar
But only because we were actually staying in the Hudson Hotel which meant we got a free pass. The beautiful people of Manhattan were out in force and it was great watching them and enjoying delicious cocktails.
Hudson Bar 356 West 58th Street New York, NY 10019
Not finishing my dinner at the Porter House
I can eat. So for me to be defeated by a beautifully cooked piece of beef from one of NYC’s premier steakhouses, a side of fries, green beans and mashed potato on a plate bigger than my head, was rather upsetting.
Porter House Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle, 4th Floor, NY 10019
Getting warm in The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park
On the first half of our trip temperatures dipped to a chilly -5 degrees and, after a bracing stroll around Central Park, sipping mulled wine and grabbing some lunch at The Boathouse was just the perfect anecdote to the wind chill factor. It was a truly romantic setting.
The Loeb Boathouse East 72nd Street and Park Drive North New York, NY
Sipping champagne in the Rainbow Room at The Rockefeller
Just because it was a treat and we were on holiday – the views of the Empire State Building are phenomenal and the live band adds a certain glamour to proceedings.
Rainbow Room 65, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112
Finding the Burger Joint
A hidden, no-frills burger bar in the depths of the swanky Le Parker Meridien Hotel. You can’t book, it’s cash only and they only have a few choices on the menu. But huddled together in the dim-lit room with other diners and chewing on a juicy, cheeseburger with crispy, salty fries, was well worth seeking it out.
Burger Joint 119 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019, United States
Slurping noodles in China Town
Literally noodle heaven. There is such a vast choice. Just wander and spy the busiest options.
Catching a show on Broadway
We watched The Producers with Who’s The Boss star Tony Danza – remember him? I remember laughing so much.
For cheaper tickets go to tkts ticket booths throughout the city
I’m not going lie – sleeping is cheating when you’re in NYC. In order to do and see so much takes an iron will, lots of walking and good, strong coffee and hard liquor.
Next time I go back it will be an altogether different affair as we will have our son with us. Having explored the city extensively I would like to stay in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. And it would be great to take Monkey to a new neighbourhood, for us as a family to explore new territory and show him some of the old.
When we do eventually return, apart from stealing myself for a mammoth exploration task and keeping Monkey occupied, there is one less thing I have to worry and that’s gaining entry into the USA.
It’s now is a doddle, compared to the days before ESTA. Now, by simply filling out an online application at ESTA and letting their helpful agents aide you with all formalities or deal with your worries, you can travel to New York or anywhere else in the USA without any hassle. The great thing is under the Visa Waiver Programme, travellers coming form the EU and other eligible countries can go to the USA for 90 days for holidays or on business without having to apply for a visa. It also lasts for two years without you having to re-apply again.
Back to my time in NYC… I remember vividly sitting by the Hudson River overlooking Brooklyn Bridge and just watching the world go by. It wasn’t anything exciting but the iconic view coupled with an amazing week, really cemented my love for New York. I really can’t wait to go back again and make new memories with my son.
Have you been to New York. What are your most treasured memories of your time there?