Visiting the Big Apple has been on my bucket list forever so going during the festive period was the cherry on top of the (Christmas) cake.
The flight was only 8 hours from Gatwick Airport. It felt like nothing compared to our 14-hour trip to Argentina the month before! It was a really pleasant journey and we watched Christmas films all the way there. Dreamy!
By the time we landed, got through border control and caught an Uber to Broadway Plaza Hotel, it was pretty late so we went to bed ready for a full day of exploring. But not before we grabbed a slice of pizza from across the street.
After getting our bearings and grabbing a breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien, we headed to the Empire State Building. As a quintessential New York landmark, we couldn’t not visit. Look at those views!
Next, we wandered around Macys on Herald Square. With 11 floors, it’s the world’s largest department store. On this trip, I was more concerned with sight seeing than shopping, but it was nice to have a nose around.
Next up, Times Square! It was every bit as chaotic, bright and loud as I expected. New York is busy regardless but Times Square is bonkers! On our way to the Rockerfeller tree, we passed Radio City Music Hall and of course, the Rockerfeller Center. Sam was a little underwhelmed by the tree and it does look better at night but I still thought it was pretty. It will always remind me of Home Alone 2!
Saks Fifth Avenue calling! I couldn’t not have a quick browse at this luxury department store. I loved seeing the beautifully dressed mannequins. We passed the New York Public Library and had a swift look inside but I was so excited to get to the next destination, we didn’t go in properly. It’s not like me to skip a library though so this is on my list for next time!
Was Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment everything I expected? Of course, it was. As a diehard fan of SATC and a bit of a Carrie wannabe (minus the selfishness), I was elated to see her brownstone. Cool fact: Sarah Jessica Parker is opening her flagship boutique down the street soon. How fabulous!
I also decided that if I ever called NYC home, I’d like to live in Greenwich Village please. If it’s good enough for Carrie and SJP in real life, it’s good enough for me and my patient, understanding boyfriend. We went to her apartment twice, by the way.
In the evening, we went to see Some Like it Hot at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway. It’s one of my favourite films of all time and it had only opened the week before we got there. It wasn’t quite like the film but we still enjoyed!
Our first stop was a Cha Cha Matcha for, you guessed it, a matcha latte. Then, it was time for breakfast at Friedman’s on Herald Street. I’d read great reviews on this place and judging by the queue outside before it was even, I knew it was a winner!
We took a subway to Seventh Avenue, also known as Fashion Avenue, due to its role as a centre of the garment and fashion industry. It’s an surprisingly grey and industrial looking neighbourhood but there were gorgeous things to look at, including this display at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
After that, we headed to the 9/11 Memorial, to pay our respects and remember those who lost their lives in the horrific attacks. It was distressing reading the names of the victims engraved on the panelling and we both found it upsetting to visit. It was a beautiful memorial though.
Wall Street wasn’t far so we spent some time in the Financial District. My dad loves the 1987 film so it reminded me of him. It was cool to see the New York Stock Exchange, various banks and corporations. It might not interest everyone but we liked it.
Following that, we rode the Staten Island Ferry and had incredible views of Statue of Liberty and the NYC skyline. I still can’t believe that it was free! Later, we strolled to Brooklyn Bridge, which was more frantic than I thought it would be. But it’s definitely worth seeing if you’ve never been.
By now, we were getting peckish (i.e. hangry) so we made our way to Chinatown and Little Italy, which weren’t too far from the bridge. Sam wasn’t sold on Chinatown, it’s densely populated with busy, narrow streets and it was hard to find a restroom. But I didn’t mind it – it’s rather colourful and there’s lots going on!
Eventually, we got to Central Park in time for sunset. I adored everything we had done so far but the park was really special. It was a chance to get away from the crowds and relax in a quieter environment. Much more calm and serene! I even saw a proposal in real life for the first time, so it was that was lovely.
Next up was Grand Central Terminal, the world’s largest train station. It was a sight to behold. The architecture was breath-taking! Admittedly, I know of it from Gossip Girl but it’s been featured in countless films too.
To complete our jam-packed day, we had a reservation at Nangman BBQ for some authentic Korean BBQ. It was a charming and cosy restaurant with live cooking stations on every table so all the food was cooked in front of you. It was a complete meat feast so Sam was in his element!
Our flight home was in the evening so we wanted to make the most of our last day. We woke early for breakfast at The Smith, which was literally opposite our hotel. It was amazing – I still can’t stop thinking about my oatmeal with honeycrisp apples, dried cranberries, almonds, oat milk and maple sugar. To die for!
After breakfast, we ambled through the NoMad district before making another appearance at Carrie’s apartment in Greenwich Village. Then, we called in for a snack at The Little Taco House before stopping at the apartment building from Friends.
The rest of the day was spent wandering around and soaking up the excitement and energy of the city. We sampled the renowned Joe’s Pizza and an espresso/dessert at Milk Bar before we hailed an iconic yellow cab to JFK Airport.
It’s a magical place anyway but in December, it’s like a fairy tale. People decorate their homes beautifully, shops adorn their windows with the most extravagant displays you’ve ever seen, the famous Rockerfeller tree is up and the city is even more illuminated.
With so much to see in NYC, you will never, ever be bored. My advice to anyone who hasn’t been is, wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be walking ALOT and do everything you possibly can during your time there. Take it all in and don’t forget to look up!