With everything that’s going on in America right now it makes me so thankful that we went to NYC when we did. I’ve been thinking about both our holidays there recently and have complied a little list of my favourite must see places if you’re planning a trip there:
- Brooklyn Brewery
Without a doubt one of my favourite places in New York. As it’s only open as a bar on a weekend (Friday night – Sunday) you have to be prepared to queue but once inside you will realise it’s worth the wait. The first time we went in 2014 I had never really drank Brooklyn Lager, I recognised the bottle and had seen it in some of the ‘trendy bars’ around town but wasn’t sure what to expect. When we entered we were greeted with a shop where you bought ‘Brooklyn Bucks’, with these tokens you could purchase the different beers from the bar, the stronger the beer the more it was in tokens. Seems simple right? It was, the only hard thing was deciding which beer to spend them on. The bar staff are really helpful in suggesting what to have so if you don’t know what you’ll like let them know and they will give you tasters and hint at what you might fancy. As we visited in both summer and winter we were lucky enough to sample a lot of the different seasonal beers, the only thing we didn’t have time to do was a tour – something that no doubt WHEN we go back will be on the agenda. We left the brewery with lots of treats (beer glasses, fridge magnets and even a sign for the kitchen – something we realised we had to get in a suitcase when going home). The only problem I can find with BB is that when you do return home it’s never going to taste as good.
- The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
Our first trip to New York fell when the Americans were celebrating Thanksgiving, or as I like to call it – Turkey Day! Not much is open on Thanksgiving (like Christmas here) but there’s a huge parade and then the bars open, what more could you want? I had seen the parade featured in one of my favourite films, Miracle on 34th Street, but that didn’t prepare me for what it was like in real life, incredible is the only word I can use to describe it. Get yourself wrapped up, you are stood for a while (we were a good three hours and we didn’t even see it all) and make sure you’ve got yourself a cuppa whilst you prepare for the streets to be filled with thousands of people and huge inflatable balloons. As I watched Power Rangers, Snoopy and Meghan Trainor tell me it was ‘All About The Bass’ I couldn’t help but feel like there was a sense of magic in the air, everyone was just so happy and it’s an experience I definitely want to enjoy again.
- Ground Zero - World Trade Centre Site
When you ask everyone always knows where they were or what they were doing when they found out about the 9/11 attacks in 2001. I was 12 at the time and we got told about it in school, when I went home I had to have explained to me what exactly was going on but I didn’t really understand how someone could do something like that. Like my Auschwitz post it’s hard to say you want to go to somewhere that holds such tragic memories for people but it is definitely a place you should go. When visiting Ground Zero you find yourself in one of the busiest places in New York but theres a surreal silence and air of mist that follows you. The site itself is made up of two square pools that are surrounded with the engraved names of all those who died in the September 11th attacks and also the lesser known attack on February 26th 1993, where a truck bomb detonated there. As I walked around the site and looked at the names I found myself becoming more and more emotional, especially when you read a name followed by ‘and unborn child’. Each day roses are placed in the names of those who would’ve had a birthday on that day, the care taken to do that every day astounded me, it puts a little bit of faith back in humanity when you think of the reason why the memorial is there in the first place.
- Brooklyn Flea
Being the big vintage lover that I am there wasn’t a chance I wasn’t going to be visiting the Brooklyn Flea market. In the winter months, which is when we attended, it is the Winter Flea and Smorgasburg – with over 75 vintage vendors, a food hall and the infamous Ramen Burger to try. As soon as I arrived I knew I’d have a bulging suitcase coming home; the hall was filled with checked flannel shirts, paisley tea dresses and more vintage scarves than you could shake a, well a vintage scarf at. I was in my element. Knowing I was limited with a luggage restriction I picked myself a flannel shirt, some C&P metal letters and a polka dot top. After gazing and crying inside for the items I couldn’t get (I could’ve cleared it out) we went through to the Berg’n food hall. I had seen on Instagram a Ramen Burger before and had to try it, just so I could say I had. It’s a burger with a noodle bun (I know!). Teamed with a bottle of Brooklyn I sat and devoured the lot, it was amazing – weird, but amazing. Check out which flea market is on as it changes throughout the year but definitely worth the trip.
- Central Park
Central Park will always hold a special place in my heart, this is where Phil got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, as a place not much can top that. However there are a lot of other reasons why CP is a great place to go, only one thing I would say is make sure you have enough time. When thinking of a park Roundhay comes to mind – this is not the case in New York. Central Park is HUGE, it’s literally the size of Leeds, we spent almost a day walking round and discovering new places and we still didn’t see it all. From what we did see I would definitely recommend going ice skating on the Woolman Rink, visiting Strawberry Fields and the Alice in Wonderland statue, hiring a boat on the river (you might see our engagement spot) and going for a drink in the Loeb Boathouse and, weather permitting, have a picnic in the sunshine.
- Boulton & Watt
One of our favourite things to do in NYC was to ‘do brunch’ - we had seen this place on Twitter and Instagram and were not disappointed. We were seated in the sunshine, the shuttered windows open so we could eat and get a tan, and with a menu consisting of baked grits, pancakes and a whole section called ‘The Benedict’s' we were not limited to choice. My head saying ‘get the salad’ but my heart saying ‘mac and cheese though?’ I settled on a (slightly) healthy choice of eggs benedict with sautéed spinach, pork sausage and sriracha hollandaise. As always Phil chose bread, picking the philly cheesesteak sandwich with house fries. Brunch wouldn’t be brunch without a cocktail or two and once again Boulton & Watt had a menu that delivered - I ordered a mimosa, Phil a pint. I cannot recommend B&W enough; great food, great atmosphere, friendly staff and they whip up a cracking eggs benedict.
Top Of The Rock
You’ve seen the films, the New York skyline in the opening credits, well when you see it in real life it is so much more. We had been told to go to the Rockefeller Center rather than the Empire State as you have more of a view, whether this is true or just a gimmick to get us to go who knows but it did not disappoint. As we ascended up what felt like millions of floors you learnt about the building and even got to take a picture with the backdrop of the famous ‘Lunch atop a Skyscraper’ picture, or the Friends version if you know what I mean. If you are scared of heights you might not want to go to the glass observatory section, you feel like you are literally standing on the skyline.
Dependent on the season will depend on which sports are being played in America - when we went in the summer it was baseball, in the winter it was basketball. As a football fan I love watching sports but in America everything is just ten times better, they get so involved with audience participation that it makes you feel you are playing with them. We saw New York Knicks vs. Brooklyn Nets at Madison Square Garden and New York Mets vs. Chicago White Sox at Citi Field.
One of the busiest (and I mean busy) places in New York but a trip to NYC wouldn't be complete without visiting Times Square. We went both in the day and at night - we happened to go on a night when there was a free charity concert and Bruce Springsteen, one of my absolute favourites, was playing so do look into whats happening there. It’s busy, it’s stressful, the shops are rammed but amazing - Toys-R-Us actually has it’s own ferris wheel in store. You won’t be getting a picture like you see in the magazines where it’s really quiet and it’s just you stood infront of all the signs BUT, it’s Times Square, and you need to go.
To sum it up, New York is amazing. We had so many more highlights including walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, visiting Macy’s around Christmas time, going to Coney Island, seeing the Statue of Liberty, watching Aladdin on Broadway and going to Grand Central Station. So…If you haven't been already I would really recommend it, if you have been then why aren't you going back? The city that never sleeps has well and truly made a mark on me.