I don’t even know where to start with this post, but all I’m going to say, is that this will probably be one of those long, long posts, so grab yourself a drink and a snack and then we can settle down.
Okay, let’s start at the beginning shall we? I jetted off to NYC with my Mum from Heathrow, arriving at the airport eyewateringly early. To start off the holiday, we had some pampering at World Duty Free. Heathrow’s Terminal 5 has a huge duty free store, with loads of brands and make up houses to choose from. You can have mini express treatments at each brand, for example, my Mum and I had a hand and arm massage at Jo Malone which was lovely and relaxing, then my Mum had a makeover at Nars and I had a smokey eye created at Urban Decay. It was a really lovely way to spend an hour before our flight, as I always find the airport a bit of an anxious place, so this totally relaxed me and got me ready to board our plane. After making a little Nars purchase, it was time to get to our gate.
We flew with BA and our flight was just under seven hours, we soon arrived at JFK (which word of warning had the longest customs queue, I have ever been in! Took us basically two hours to get through, which is not exactly the best after you’ve been up since 5am!) We got a shuttle transfer to our hotel, which is one the scariest experiences I’ve ever had. On the way home, we took the subway and I would much more recommend that than going in a shuttle with our crazy driver who I genuinely thought was suicidal at one point.
We stayed at Homewood Suites by Hilton, it was on 37th street and was a perfect location. We were a couple of blocks away from Times Square (5/10 minute walk in normal speak) about 2/3 minute walk from Penn Station, and everything was on our doorstep. Obviously it depends what you want to do in NYC, depending on where you stay, but we found this to be a great location for us. The rooms were really big and spacious, there was a rooftop terrace where you could take food and drinks up there, there was also a free breakfast and dinner service too, we tended to have the free breakfast most mornings as it saved a few pennies here and there. We had a lovely stay though, and the beds were easily in my top three of comfiest beds, I’ve ever slept in.
The first night was a bit of a write off, we ended up going to Times Square, getting some food and going to bed at 9pm, we were so shattered and jet lagged.
We woke up pretty early, and I replied to some emails and we got ready for our day. Henry was well into this secret squirrel plan and sent my sister to come see me, I’d believed she’d flew in that morning, so I was completely shocked and completely unaware that Henry was a few floors up in his room. For day one, we carried out a scavenger hunt which Henry had created for my birthday. He’d done clues to places that I’d wanted to visit such as where Blair and Chuck got married in Gossip Girl aka Bethesda Terrace at Central Park, there was two men having a rap battle in there though and kept swearing, and I was one step away from being like ‘DO YOU MIND? YOU’RE RUINING MY MOMENT RIGHT NOW.’ rude.
We also went to the Alice and Wonderland statue, the model boat lake from Stuart Little (not even gonna lie, one of my fave films, god I love that mouse) and then we grabbed some lunch at this random deli we found. Then we went to Victoria’s Secret by Macy’s at Herald Square which wasn’t too far from our hotel, we spent about 7 hours in there. Well that’s what it felt like, I may have bought a few things and then we went back to the hotel. Later that evening, we headed Brooklyn Bridge Park where of course, Henry walked round the corner with a little black box in his hand. Taking in the amazing views and the sunset, I thought I would burst with happiness. I’d definitely recommending taking a trip to the park at dusk, you will not regret it. (If you want to see the video of our proposal and all the planning that Henry went to, you can see that here)
After the excitement of being an engaged woman and asking Henry questions such as ‘can I still like One Direction now I am engaged?’ ‘Shall we start a Pinterest board?’ ‘I can have peonies at the wedding yes?’ After telling all the family, and sending excited pictures and messages to everyone, it was time to get back on with the holiday. We decided to take a open top bus tour, as myself and Henry found that one of the best ways to see everywhere and thought seeing as my Mum and sister had never been to NYC before, they’d probably enjoy it. Tbh, we should of just left my Mum on the buses for the week, as she loved it so much.
We did a downtown tour, we stopped at Ground Zero, we stopped to see the memorials which were so big and vast, it really hits home what a devastation 9/11 was. You just don’t realise how tall/big the buildings were, so it brings it all home. It was very peaceful and tranquil, and there were flowers and flags in some of the names on the memorial which made you feel quite choked up. (I thought I had taken some pictures but I had obviously not, tbh I felt a bit weird seeing tourists taking selfies where such a disaster had happened where so many people lost their lives. It just didn’t feel right to me. For me, just seeing it was enough.)
We then walked to Battery Park which wasn’t far from ground zero, and we took the free Staten Island ferry, which gives you such a good view of the Statue of Liberty, and the skyline. It’s free, it’s a nice little ride, and you get some cracking photos- winner winner chicken dinner.
Really great HD pic of the Statue of Liberty there.
We then hopped back on the bus back to Times Square, and went back to the hotel. Henry and I strolled down to our favourite NYC pizza place which is NYC Pizza Superma which is just opposite Madison Square Garden, the slices are as big as your head and are $3/4 so pretty bargainous too. We then got ready and went out on the Nighttime tour on the buses (btw we went with Gray Line) it’s definitely worth a trip to see the city at night.
We decided to go to Soho for a morning of shopping. We got the bus to Soho and then spent a few hours shopping at places like Brandy Melville, Urban Outfitters, American Apparel etc… we then got some lunch at a restaurant called Tony’s in Little Italy, we had a cracking meal. I had some amazing pasta, and their garlic knot bread was just on point. We also visited Eileen’s Cheesecake which was in Soho and was home to the most amazing cheesecake that I’ve ever tasted. We headed back to the hotel * I think* and then we decided to head back to Brooklyn Bridge Park to take photos, and just visit again as on Wednesday night, we’d been so excited we didn’t really take it all in.
We took some pics and just sat for a bit, which was really lovely. It’s so nice to think that we will always have a special place to visit in NYC.
For dinner, we visited Shake Shack which was on my NYC bucket list as it’s the only ‘cult’ burger place that I haven’t visited yet. There was one just by the park and it was a hell of a lot quieter than the Shake Shack on restaurant row by our hotel, we grabbed cheese and bacon burgers with cheesy fries and was pretty full pretty quickly. I wouldn’t say they were the best burgers, I’ve ever had, tbf I think In N Out was one of the best, and Five Guys are up there too. But worth a visit and also they have a dog menu so you can get food for your dog there too, ah we found that cute.
This was our last day of the bus tour, so we did the Uptown Tour which tbh we found a little boring, as there wasn’t that much to see. However we hopped off at the Met Steps where I ran up the steps and was like ‘TAKE MY PICTURE SO I CAN PRETEND I’M BLAIR.’ Tbh, all my NYC locations are based on ‘were they featured in Gossip Girl?’ We then got back on the bus, back to Times Square and walked to the Rockefeller Centre to go to the top of the rock. We visited the Empire State Building back in 2012, and really regretted not going to the Top of The Rock, so this trip, I was determined to go up there. This was where we took a million photos, and it was so quiet and took no time to get up, so I’d definitely recommend going up there. Also because you can see the Empire State Building in the skyline, so it just screams NYC. I totally think it’s worth the $30 price tag as the view will provide many instagrams.
Then we had a walk down 5th Avenue ( I think) and had a look in shops such as Tiffany’s and the cool glass Apple store. Then we went back to the hotel as were pretty shattered. One thing you forget or don’t realise about NYC is just how much walking you will do. Everything is quite spaced out, so you need comfy shoes, and when paired with 30 degree heat, us Brits do get worn our pretty quickly. I’m a little old lady, so I was like ‘ I need a nap’ most days at about 4pm. I definitely had a nap when we got back to the hotel, we couldn’t be arsed to go to far for dinner so we went to Chipotle. I have never been to here before but it was like five mins away from the hotel, and I had the biggest burrito ever, I had guac ‘ yes I know it’s extra, just give me the god damn guac’ and it was SO GOOD. In fact tomorrow, I am attempting to make home made burritos, I can tell it’s already going to end in tears that they won’t be as good, but omg. By now you will realise that I’m not really a fancy eating person, I cba with posh restaurants and stuff, so just so y’know my food guides will never be too sophisticated. I know what would Blair say?
Today we had a lazy Sunday, we got the subway to Central Park. Okay no hold up, first of all my sister and I spent the morning shopping, then after a couple of hours of shopping, and Sephora hauling *hides the bank card forever now* we then headed to Central Park. We got some lunch from that random deli on the first day, and sat in Central Park for a few hours and watched the world go by. There was a man with a speaker playing music from the 1940’s/50’s and I felt so NYC. We then found these rocks whilst on a walk, I say walk, they were like 500m from where we were sat before, but we sat on these rocks overlooking the lake and watched all the people on their boats go by. It was so peaceful and quiet, and we just people watched. It was so nice to see the skyline of NYC, but be surrounded by a calm atmosphere. My Mum read her book, whilst we laughed at a jolly couple who were just rowing on their boat singing and dancing. We basically spent all day there, and it was nice to just stop and reflect on the holiday so far as it was whizzing by so quickly.
I think we then headed back to the hotel and went to Five Guys for dinner, and ate it on Mum and Hayley’s roof terrace that they had on their room. We then headed to bed, which was very exciting but hey we were shattered.
We went back to 5th Avenue as we felt like we hadn’t quite explored it properly yet. We stopped off at Grand Central, had some cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, and explored some of the shops there. I bought a lush suede biker jacket from Abercrombie and Fitch, we pottered round for a few hours and it was a really hot day so we went back to our hotel and had a look round some of the shops there before heading back to the hotel. We decided to go out for dinner that night, but had a bit of a fail, we ended up in Tik Tok Diner, which is by Penn Station, they do amazing breakfasts, but the dinner wasn’t so good. I’ll leave it at that. We had a couple of cocktails and then decided to head back to our rooms. We were so tired and writing this back now makes me think ‘god why didn’t we do more?’ But I remember by this point, being pretty exhausted and I felt like we’d done a huge range of things.
We weren’t flying out till 9pm that evening so we had a full day to spend in NYC, Henry and I decided that there were only two things left on our NYC list to do and that was to walk along the Brooklyn Bridge and walk the Highline. By this point, my feet needed a rest, so walking along the Brooklyn Bridge seemed a bit too adventurous for the last day, so we decided to go to the Highline. A fairly new addition to NYC, it’s a public park on unused elevated railway tracks. It’s so peaceful and tranquil. Although we didn’t walk the whole route, it was cool to get up there and see it. There was a Lego sculpture at one point, which invited the public to build themselves with you guessed it lego. It was a really cool idea, and we couldn’t resist playing too, although I must say it was mostly adults pulling their sleeves up, rather than the kids. We went for the cheesy initials but it was a fun idea. After spending a couple of hours up there, we had to check out of the hotel. We did some last shopping in Times Square, some last drugstore shopping and then we grabbed takeaway pizza from NYC Superma again and spent the rest of the afternoon on the rooftop of the hotel. Well the terrace, not being rebels on the roof of the hotel. Before we knew it, it was time to head to JFK and fly home.
Phew what a long post. Thanks for sticking with me had a lot to pack into this post! But I had the most amazing week, for 8 months, I had believed that my trip to NYC was a competition win with my Mum, I had no idea Henry would be coming or my sister, but it was so lovely to spend time the four of us. I also had no idea that this holiday would be where we got engaged, as Henry always basically made me believe that I would be 35 before we got engaged. It’s so nice to think that NYC will be a little more special to us now, and we will always have Brooklyn Bridge Park to visit and remember. I had the best time, but was quite glad to get home for a little rest.
I loved NYC, and it didn’t disappoint at all.
Thanks for the memories NYC, a week we will never forget.