New York – the third stop on our travels and our first destination in North America! We arrived into Newark airport, New Jersey, on Saturday 3rd February and caught the Newark express to Port Authority bus terminal, NYC. After checking in at our hotel (just off 8th Avenue), we went off to explore the surrounding area, quickly stumbling upon the many food options in Hells Kitchen.
With our hunger rapidly increasing, we picked the most American looking bar / restaurant we could find to chow! Our first American meal was quite an experience – the portions were MASSIVE!! We opted for a nachos tower to share (and my god it was a tower!) and also a pulled pork burger. Once we’d attempted to make a dent on the mass of food brought out to us, we paid the bill and headed out to explore some more. Only a few minutes after we left the bar, we found Times Square. WOW – the atmosphere was great, so many people and bright lights all around us. Hundreds of tourists, street performers, big bus employees and New Yorkers all in one place, not to mention the number of yellow cabs driving past, it was unreal! The long day of travel had started to take its toll, so we headed back to the hotel to get some kip before our first full day in New York.
Sunday 4th February:
Busy day ahead… After a bit of researching the local area, we discovered that the Harlem Gospel Choir were performing at the B.B. King Bar & Grill (with bottomless brunch – yes please!!!) so off we went, via Times Square and a pretzel stand, to buy our tickets! Times Square in daylight is just as spectacular as it is at night, quite the buzz! Once we’d bought our tickets, we had a little time to kill before the doors opened so we visited Bryant Park and the New York Public Library. When the wait was over, we headed back to 42nd street for our bottomless brunch and performance by the Harlem Gospel Choir which was AMAZING! All six singers and the band were incredible, a great experience!! The show finished around 2:30pm and as we knew it was Super Bowl Sunday, we didn’t want to do anything too tiring so instead had a look round the NBA store and Macy’s (of course!).
That evening we decided to embrace the all American experience by heading to a local bar to watch the Super Bowl. It felt like the whole of New York had paused to watch this game, and now we can say we’ve seen the Super Bowl in the States!!
Monday 5th February:
Another busy (if not busier) day ahead. Pre-booked tickets for the Statue of Liberty meant a fairly early metro ride to Battery Park before boarding the ferry to Liberty Island in what felt like -20 temperatures (realistically it was probably around -3 but the wind chill made it feel much colder). Beautiful day to visit the island and we’d purchased crown tickets so not only did we get to see the amazing view of Manhattan and Brooklyn from the island, we got to look out from the top of Lady Liberty.
Once back in Manhattan, we walked over to One World Trade and the Ground Zero memorial and museum, what a harrowing yet beautiful monument, and such a lovely way to pay respect to those affected by 9/11. Following that, we walked to Wall Street before catching the metro up to the Rockefeller Centre to watch sunset from the top of the rock, again another amazing way to see the city. Despite the freezing temperatures and bitter winds, we managed to stay at the top until just before the sun disappeared.
That evening we went for dinner at a lovely little Italian just down the street from our hotel, we ordered a large pizza as we were both starving, not realising that large actually meant GINORMOUS (20 inches!). It tasted really good though and also meant we’d sorted our lunch out for tomorrow!!
Tuesday 6th February:
Third full day in New York and still so much to see! Brooklyn Bridge was first on our agenda for the day and as we’d wanted to take a classic yellow cab at some point we thought this was the best time. A brief walk across Brooklyn Bridge left us feeling very peckish – luckily we’d brought along our left over pizza which served as brunch! We then, bravely, decided to walk from Brooklyn Bridge, via Chinatown, Soho and the Flatiron building, to the Empire State Building. Quite a trek so a Dunkin-Donut stop was definitely vital along the way!
20,000 steps later we’d made it to the Empire State Building for our visit to the 86th floor. We thought the views from Rockefeller were good, but these were so much better (even despite the overcast conditions). 360 degree panoramic views of NYC, made better by the fact that there were very few people at the top of the viewpoint. After we made it back down, we headed back to the hotel, via the Chrysler building and Grand Central station, to prep for the big basketball game that evening.
Drinks and dinner at the Beer Authority before moving onto Madison Square Garden for the Knicks game (Marcus’ Christmas present!). What a great atmosphere pre, during and post game! Performances at half time from Sister Sledge, Nile Rogers and the Harlem Gospel Choir (once again!) and even a few celebrity appearances including a yankees baseball player, John McEnroe and Remy Ma (Lean back🎵). Of course, we both had to indulge by getting a beer and hotdog – no American sports game is complete without them! Prior to the game starting we bought a foam finger as we lacked any Knicks merchandise, however, we somehow managed to lose this by the time we left the stadium so we won’t be bringing it back to the uk – good job we have picture evidence!!!
Wednesday 7th February:
Decided to take it a bit easier today after two very full on days! Opened the curtains to snow, which was lovely, however it very quickly turned to rain… not so nice. The morning consisted of our first taste of a traditional New York bagel before walking to Central Park, via Trump Tower, Tiffany’s and the Plaza Hotel (where Home Alome was filmed!) – all three spectacular in their own ways! Central Park was lovely, the snow was still on the ground and the ponds were frozen, just a shame about the rain which cut our visit short. We returned to the hotel around midday to dry off and warm ourselves up! Due to the poor weather, we didn’t want to stray too far from the warmth and dryness of our hotel so opted for a dollar slice and cookies for lunch. The afternoon was spent relaxing in the hotel before dinner at 5 Napkin Burger and then watching the Book of Mormon on Broadway 🎭 – what a brilliant (hilarious) way to end our time in New York!
Thursday 8th February:
Breakfast at the hotel before checking out and catching the greyhound (how American) to our next destination, Washington DC. Updates to follow… 🇺🇸🏛