We’ve finally arrived at our final Honeymoon post! And you deserve a great big pat on the back if you’ve made it this far! There has been lots of you reading, liking and commenting on this series of posts, and it really has made my year- so THANK YOU! But, back to our travels and our last stop New York City!
The Big Apple. Possibly the most famous city in the USA and definitely the most densely populated. A long weekend in NYC is never going to be quiet, relaxing or mundane.
How to get to New York
The addition of New York to our honeymoon adventure happened pretty late in the booking process. Having to change flights at JFK on route from San Francisco (you can read about our time there here) to Manchester, made us rethink how to spend those last few days of annual leave. Surely getting off at JFK and taking a direct flight home three days later, just makes lots more sense?!
If you are travelling from the UK however, you can get to NYC pretty easily. A return flight from Manchester this April, is around £500 per person.
Where to stay in New York
Of the five boroughs of New York City, most tourists opt to reside in Manhattan. But, don’t discount Brooklyn if you want to experience a more laid back life like the locals. We didn’t actually have time to get across the bridge to Brooklyn, but we’ve certainly got future plans to book an Air bnb in Williamsburg on our next visit.
Located in the NoMad district (North of Madison Square Park) on East 29th Street between Park and Madison Avenue, the boutique hotel is a stones throw from the famous Empire State Building. Surrounded by stylish bars, inviting restaurants and handy convenience stores, the location, for us, was spot on.
If the hotels facade wasn’t striking enough, once inside, The Redbury really stepped up it’s game. Retro photographs of the city greet you, guiding you down the corridor draped with luxurious red velvet curtains and checkerboard tiles, to the inviting reception desk. As expected the staff offered a warm welcome, and a concierge was on hand to answer any questions we had regards the local area.
The Redbury even continues to flourish from the lift, to the corridors and into the rooms themselves. Don’t get me wrong, our Deluxe King was much smaller than our Las Vegas pad (it is New York after all) but the clever styling made this bijou home simply perfect. The cherry on the top? The Bluetooth gramophone!
What to see in New York City
What’s not to see?! A weekend in New York isn’t even enough to scratch the surface, so my advice would be to take each day as it comes and don’t put too much pressure on seeing it all! One of my favourite things to do in New York is to ‘mooch’ around. Take it all in and stop for a coffee or something tastier whenever it takes my fancy, rather than rigidly sticking to an itinerary. Having said that, the following make a good place to start!
My hometown is a little borough called the Wirral, which is located opposite Liverpool on the other side of the River Mersey. In fact, If you ever take the ‘ferry cross the Mersey’ it’s where you’ll end up. How does this link to New York I hear you cry?
Well, a little known fact (but well told by proud Wirralians) is that the Central Park in NYC was inspired by Birkenhead’s own Central Park. However, I can tell you first hand that the American version is much more exciting to visit.
With a ‘picnic’ of fresh goodies from Sun Sweet Market, we hopped on the subway to Central Park, and settled in on a blanket for an afternoon of people watching. Picnic devoured, we enjoyed watching a local’s ball game before exploring the vast parkland on foot.
There is SO MUCH to see and do here! We barely scratched the surface. However, we managed to stumble across Shakespere’s Garden, Belvedere Castle and the famous ‘Friends’ waterfall (which actually isn’t the real one…that’s back in Warner Bros LA), where we caught a flash mob and elaborate proposal. But, we missed the Alice and Wonderland sculptures, Strawberry Fields, and Zoo. Take our advice, plan your time wisely and grab a map. So much time was wasted walking in the wrong direction!!
World Trade Centre
I had never heard of the World Trade Centre until that tragic day in 2001. And I’ll always remember where I was when the heartbreaking news broke. So a visit to the 9/11 memorial at the original site of the World Trade Centre was a must- I felt it was important to come along and pay our respects.
The memorial plaza is beautiful, with cascading waterfalls on the original footprint of the towers, surrounded by 400 white oak trees. The name of each precious life lost is engraved into the walls of the waterfall in bronze.
You’ll also find the national 9/11 museum here, which not only pays homage to those lost, but also celebrates the cities courage and compassion in the aftermath.
At over 100 years old, Grand Central Terminal is home to 60 stores, 35 eateries and the famous opal faced clock. Situated in mid Manhattan, between Park Avenue and 42nd Street, the main concourse is definitely one for your New York bucket list. Painted an exotic, aquatic blue, and featuring the signs of the zodiac, you’ll also spy constellations and stars painted in gold leaf. I was blown away by the ceilings beauty, and could of stayed gazing up for hours.
Once you’ve snapped away on the concourse, head to the market for some grub. Keep reading for my suggestions on the tastiest treats!
New York Public Library
Ok ok, the sole reason I wanted to stop here was all down to SATC. And that iconic scene in the first film when Big has the nerve to stand up Carrie. But there is a lot more to the city library.
The fourth largest library in the world and home to 53 million items, you’ll instantly recognise the library from the lion statues guarding the front door. After enjoying the stunning entrance hall, head up the iconic stairs to prepare to be wowed. I didn’t realise the library housed such ornate paintings, which you’ll find upon the ceilings and surrounding walls.
Possibly my least favourite spot in NYC, but one to be seen and ticked off the list.
You’ll know you’ve arrived by the glaring billboards and noisy traffic, and the hoards spilling over the sidewalk. I can’t help but walk with my head in the clouds, trying to take in every animated sign!!
It’s usually pretty impossible, but if you can, grab a seat in the centre and take in your surroundings for a moment or two. It’s the only way to fully appreciate the madness that is Times Square!
If you are hoping to nab some cheap Broadway tickets, the TKTS ticket booth is located behind the steps I mentioned. Open from 10am daily, get there nice and early to steal a spot in the mammoth queue. Tickets are available for same day showings only, some at up to 50% off the standard price. But before, only selected shows are available and you may not get to sit next to your loved ones.
Did you know, it’s only called ‘Times Square’ because the ‘New York Times’ moved to a skyscraper here in 1904?
Where to eat in New York
You haven’t visited New York if you haven’t been to Juniors.
Situated just off Times Square, I like to think of their famous Cheesecake as my reward for dealing with the craziness of the area!
On arrival, you’ll find two queues – one for the restaurant and one for the take away. At times the two can become combined, so make sure you join the right one! The wait time for a table in the restaurant is generally much longer than the wait for take away, so we decided to order and hope that one of the outdoor tables would become vacant once we had our paws on our cakes!
Luck was on our side and we devoured our Raspberry Swirl and Chocolate Mousse Cheesecakes in the April sunshine. Heaven!
Ellen’s Stardust Diner
It’s no secret, I am OBSESSED with musicals. So when we decided to save ourselves a couple of hundred dollars by not booking Broadway tickets, we knew Ellen’s Stardust Diner was a must.
It’s the ‘home of the singing waitstaff’, and future stars of Broadway- and nothing can prepare you for the craziness of the place.
Over our burgers and sodas we had staff dancing above us, singing to us and generally creating the happiest of atmospheres! If your having a bad day, I challenge you not to smile at Ellen’s.
California Pizza Kitchen
Ideally, we would of loved to have dined at The Redbury’s trendsetting restaurant Marta, but with the queues for a table meandering out of the front door, we headed elsewhere for our pizza fix.
Luckily, California Pizza Kitchen was a stones throw away, and served delicious pizza’s and cocktails. In fact it as so tasty I forgot to take a picture, doh! But believe me, they were delicious!
Central Station Dining Concourse
Lastly, my favourite spot to grab some grub during the lunchtime rush. Central Station’s Dining Concourse, is filled with some of America’s favourite eateries, and you don’t need to stick to the one cuisine!
We filled our boots, picking up small dishes from a variety of the outlets, so we never had the fear of missing out!
But the one thing I was sure to pick was from Magnolia Bakery ! Yes, all because it reminded me of Sex and the City…
Off the beaten track in New York
Of course you’ll want to sail by the Statue of Liberty during your weekend in NYC!
The cheapest way to catch a glimpse of the Great Lady is aboard the Staten Island ferry. Why? because it’s free! Simply wander down to Whitehall terminal and follow the signs to the departure gates.
The journey takes 25 minutes each way and the ferry leaves on every hour and half hour.But take my advice, don’t get off the ferry. We did, thinking we’d have a lovely little stroll around Staten. Although crime is relatively low on the island, we felt rather unsafe and headed back to the ferry terminal after a short walk. Save yourself the extra wait for the next ferry, and just head back to Manhattan.
And that’s it! With one flight home, our honeymoon is over!