Earlier this month I boarded a flight to New York for the first time after years of wanting to visit the concrete jungle. Adam and I stayed in the city for a week and covered a lot of the sights in that time with so much more yet to explore. I’ve decided to share some of my experience in a series of different posts over the next few weeks, with the first one featuring the highlights of my holiday. If you’re planning your own trip to New York, I hope this post inspires you.
Before going to New York City, I’d had friends, family and people online saying they can’t get enough of the city, despite how many times they might have visited in the past. As someone who likes to explore and travel to different places, I couldn’t imagine myself wanting to visit New York again so soon, especially as it’s not a cheap holiday, I would rather spend that money going somewhere new. However, I am already really eager to go back in the summer (maybe next year) and do all the things we missed and to experience the city in a whole different season.
Strolling through Central Park
One thing I was most looking forward to was spending time in Central Park. On our first full day, we were up and out by 7am due to a mixture of jetlag and excitement. After going for some breakfast at Westway Diner we went for a walk in Central Park. It was such a beautiful morning and really quiet. Our first point of call was to find a coffee shop for a hot drink as it was a freezing morning! We went to the Loeb Boathouse where we sat outside and drank our drinks whilst ogling all the doggies! We even saw a cat on a lead, her name was Lulu – Anything goes in New York!
I was most excited to go ice skating in Central Park which we had originally planned to do mid-week but couldn’t fit it in until the Saturday before we left. The ice skating at Wollman Rink was unfortunately the biggest disappointment of the holiday. Before we even got started, it cost us $19 each to skate on a Saturday, plus $9 each skate rental and $6 for locker rental which we shared. Before we were able to get on the ice, the rink was closed which resulted in a build up of people waiting to get on, making the rink very congested. We managed four laps around the rink in the old, uncomfortable boots before calling it a day!
Sticking my legs out of a helicopter whilst flying over Manhattan
For Adam’s birthday I booked us a doors-off helicopter experience over New York City with FlyNyon. We headed to the helipad in New Jersey where we watched a safety demonstration before being strapped up into an 8 point safety harness system and making flight over Manhattan. Despite being nervous about sitting in a helicopter with no doors, the views of the city from above were incredible.
As we flew in February the weather was very cold, dropping to temperatures of around -5, and the wind chill was almost unbearable. Luckily our 15 minute flight was just enough time to capture the photos we wanted before my fingers well and truly gave up on me because of the cold! I would absolutely love to do the doors-off experience again in the summer time for longer for a chance to overlook Central Park as it was a little far out to visit on our 15 minute flight.
Walking over Brooklyn Bridge
One of my dad’s biggest regrets is not walking over Brooklyn Bridge when he visited New York a few years ago so i made sure it was something I did during my visit. We were told the view is much better walking back towards Manhattan so we decided to get the ferry from East 34th Street over to DUMBO, have a wander around Brooklyn and then walk back to Manhattan over the bridge. The ferry only cost a couple of dollars each and it gave us some great views of the city and the many bridges.
We had a slow walk along the bridge which has a separate walkway for pedestrians and bikes and the cars are beneath. We bought a lovely canvas drawing from a man on the bridge to take home and frame as a reminder of our trip. It was a drawing of Brooklyn Bridge with the skyscrapers in the background, One World Observatory stands out quite prominently which we loved.
Eating my bodyweight in Pizza
I can’t recommend the pizza shops in New York enough. We ate a slice of pizza almost every day of our trip. For as little as $1, you can get a huge slice from a 16″ or 20″ pizza! There are pizza shops dotted all over New York and each one we tried was amazing – so flavoursome and saucy, no two pizzas tasted the same. We would often grab a slice or two whilst we were out exploring or before going back to our room to get changed for the evening.
Going to a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden
On our first full day we had bagged ourselves some verified resale tickets for a New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden which we booked direct through the MSG website a month or so before we travelled (the prices came down as the event got closer). I wanted to experience an event in Madison Square Garden and say I’ve been and the Knicks game was so fun to watch! Although they sadly lost the game with a nail-biting last few minutes, they put on a real show with dancers and entertainment on during the interval. Even the music during the game was entertaining as it sounded like music from a carnival and the chants were fun too. If you can get tickets to a Knicks game whilst you’re in NYC I’d 100% recommend it.
The food court had a fantastic selection of food, much better than our arenas at home (even if the bottled water was $7!!). Make sure you have a wander around the different food outlets before deciding what you want, we went to the first place we seen which was a hot dog stall then we saw someone with a big bowl of fried chicken and fries so we went to the next counter to get some but were served waffle/criss-cross chips instead because we hadn’t walked far enough around to the next stall.
The view from the ferry to the Statue of Liberty
Despite the ferry queue being the longest queue we had stood in all week resulting in us missing our crown access ticket time by an hour and a half, the view from the ferry looking back at New York City was breathtaking. It was a windy day and the wind chill was terrible but the sun was shining meaning we got some fabulous photos of the city and the Statue of Liberty.
Although we were late for our time slot into the crown of the Statue of Liberty, we were still allowed straight up without any wait time. We decided to take all of the steps straight to the top, with the steps to the crown being particularly tight – I would not recommend if you’re claustrophobic! Once we reached the top we were both surprised by how small the crown actually was and there’s no wonder there’s a restricted number of tickets available per day for this attraction. I enjoyed being able to read the tablet she is holding, something you can only do from the crown or by helicopter! The windows were dirty so it was difficult to take any decent photographs. It’s unlikely I would go up to the top again but at least we can now say we’ve been in her head!
Adam asking me to marry him!
Lastly (but certainly not least!), after our helicopter ride we went to the One World Observatory and Adam asked me to marry him! I’m not going to share too much about this right now as I’m thinking about putting together a proposal story in another post since I’ve had a few requests for it, so watch this space!
I hope you all enjoyed reading about the highlights of my trip to New York! I already can’t wait until my next visit to the incredible city. What are your favourite memories of New York? And if you haven’t been yet, what is one thing you would love to see or do? I’ve made a guide to planning your first trip to New York City if you want to take a read.