This year Santa Claus (aka mum) bought me a trip to New York City with mum. I bought mum this trip last year so who know who will be buying a travel gift next year. Last year I had never been to New York, but mum had lived there for a short time. If you wanted to know what we got up to last time, you can read all about it here. This year, I feel more Carrie Bradshaw than carrying my head in the sand, honestly I didn’t have a clue, I hadn’t really done my research because I thought I’d seen enough movies.
*Beware this blog post is picture heavy
I started by making a list of all the things I wanted to do before we went, then on one piece of paper, wrote down all the days we were there and started looking at a map, what made sense and when. I should note at this stage we have 4 days in New York, but storm Emma had other ideas and we had to leave the next day on a much later flight that was also delayed for hours, not to worry, perfect time for mum and I to have a good catch. Plan in place, we used the delayed time to make some changes and also to note the things we wouldn’t be annoyed if we didn’t get to go.
Book before you go
This year by being more organised we were able to book things before we went. I booked the NYC Airporter bus from JFK Airport to Port Authority (it also makes a stop at Grand Central), this was $70 for two people return on a coach, depending on traffic its about an hour into Port Authority and honestly the cheapest (we paid $100 for one way trip to and easiest way to get from the airport to your hotel. We walked to our hotel (it was 5 blocks up, so super close) but you could get a taxi, it’s fairly easy to hail a cab.
Once we arrived it was late at night so we checked in and straight to bed. Annoyingly if we had got our original early morning flight we would have arrived at lunch and had the rest of the day but oh well nothing we can do about delays and a storm.
I woke up so early on the Sunday morning, like 4am, what is there to do in New York at that time! I tossed and turned for a while and then got up about 6:30am, mum and I got ready at our leisure and got breakfast from Starbucks. When they say New York is the city that never sleeps I can’t say that’s right for Time Square at 8am, it was so quiet.
We grabbed our coffee to go and got the Subway from Time Square down to South Ferry. This is the closest subway stop to the Staten Island Ferry. We walked over and into the terminal. Last year we arrived in the afternoon and there were so many tour sales people there and they told us that the ferry was booked up, this is a load of rubbish and probably the one thing I’ve learned from my trip is don’t believe everything that they tell you there. The Staten Island Ferry is a free service run by the New York department of transport. It runs every 30 minutes to and from Staten Island and provides you with a great view of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan. When you arrive at the terminal, walk in, past all the tour sales people and straight up the escalator and you will see the glass doors which open when the boat is ready to board. Simple. It does feel like a bit of a cattle market getting on to the boat. The temptation is to walk the whole way to the back on the boat as your heading over to Staten Island but don’t, stay at the back as this is the perfect place to get a view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. You will also be able to go outside and take it all in, you are not able to go outside the boat in the direction that it is heading for safety reasons so be sure that you get outside on the way over to Staten Island as you won’t be able to get that gorgeous Manhattan skyline view on the way back as well. Once we arrived in Staten Island we walked off the boat, downstairs and straight back on to head back to Manhattan.
Once we arrived back in Manhattan we walked up to the Brooklyn Bridge walkway. This is the most delightful walk over to Brooklyn. I wanted to walk round to the pier when you can take a picture of the Manhattan but we ended up walking around an area called Dumbo.
Dumbo is an uber hipster place to go shopping and grab a coffee. We walked to the Brooklyn Park. If I had to move to New York this is exactly where I would love, lots of coffee shops, restaurant and the streets are really clean. There is a sense of tranquility here that was difficult to leave.
Then of course I had to go to West Elm, one of my favourite interior shops. We grabbed a coffee and planned our next stop.
We decided to walk back over the Manhattan Bridge, it is not as busy as the Brookly Bridge but there is a reason for that. One of the trains goes over the Manhattan Bridge so it is very noisy and a little wobbly at times, which to say the least made me feel nervous.
One the walk over we seen Chinatown. It looked amazing to see this community that was set in the middle of New York. The signs are all in English and Chinese and one Sunday they had fresh fruit and vegetables on sale on the streets.
We walked through Chinatown as I wanted to go to Glossier (I’ll write a little bit more about my purchases soon).
One thing about heading away with mum is she loves clocking up the miles when we go away, crazily this means we decided to walk to the Meat Packing District. I use the term crazy as mum was on the navigation with a paper map and we ended up walking about 10 blocks in the wrong direction. Luckily we walked around the Financial District, we seen the Federal Building, Wall Street and September 11th Memorial. Once I got Google maps on the go we started walking in the right direction. The weather was so beautiful it was a lovely walk to the Meat Packing District. We went to the Chelsea market and then walked the High Line. Once we finished the High Line we walked back to Time Square.
We wanted to see if we could see a show with some last minute tickets but unfortunately there wasn’t anything of interest so we headed to dinner. I got a recommendation to try the Burger Joint, a secret burger bar in the lobby of the Parker Meridian Hotel. You wouldn’t know it was there, in fact we walked past it in the beginning only the burger light indicated where we needed to go.
It’s behind a curtain and you walk along the curtain into a small room. When you initially walk in you wouldn’t know what to make of it, The menu is written on cardboard, there are random posters over the walls and the walls are written over. Its simple, just burgers and chips, you decide what you want on the burger, cheese, bacon, salad or sauce and how you want it cooked. There are 3 beers on tap so the choices are limited but that is what makes this place so good. We grabbed a table and waited for our food. It was a quick wait and it was so worth it! Easily the best burger I have ever had and I don’t say that lightly.
The atmosphere is amazing, it was surreal that this is in the lobby of a hotel. This is definitely one thing I would say you have to do if you head to New York. After walking 15 miles that day and an early start at 8.30pm, I was ready to head back to the hotel. We walked through Time Square and took in the sights but headed for an early night ready for the next day.
Monday we went to Woodbury Common Premium Outlet. Again we bought the tickets before we went on groupon. Shortline Coaches is the service that runs from Port Authority to Woodbury Common which is about 1 hour 15 minutes away. With this groupon deal you pay $25 dollars instead of the $42 you would pay if you just arrived at Port Authority, plus you will be able to redeem a saving passport when you arrive at Woodbury Common. As you can imagine, Port Authority is massive, so head up the escalator and round to the left and you will see the Shortline Coach desk where you redeem you groupon vouchers. Then walk to 110 depot and you can board the bus. The coaches are regular with the first one leaving at 8:30am. This is about perfect timing to get there on time for the shops opening. We grabbed breakfast and made a list of the places we wanted to go. I’ll bore you with everything I bought but this place is good for casual clothes and gym wear. I actually ended up buying more things for Chris as it’s great for mens clothes. There are also a number of designer shops, they don’t keep any core lines and usually the colours are quite elaborate so no bag purchases for me this time. We walked around all, stopped in a few shops before we took the plunge to buy anything then there was a shopping frenzy. Mum wanted to stop in Levis to see about a pair of jeans, an hour and $300 later we left the shop heavy ladened with bags. My one tip for outlet shopping is bring a 4-wheel suitcase. Its easy to pack everything in and also lots of the shops use paper bags and when you have so many they easily rip. Its also much easier to get back to your hotel without forgetting any bags if it’s all in the case. We got back pretty late, when to Walgreens for some sweets and a quick bite to eat then went to Sephora to pick up a few things and then back to the hotel. Another day of walking over 8 miles so its bed for us.
Last day and we have ticked off everything that we set out to do on this trip so this day is much more relaxed. We start the day with a run round Central Park, we ran over 3 miles and mum has run in years so it was amazing that she ran the whole way with me.
We went back to the hotel got shower, changed and packed up and checked out leaving our bags there for the day. By this stage we had done enough walking so today was definitely a little slower after the run. We walked to Anthropology then Rockafeller Centre and people watched really.
We then began to get peckish so we walked to Levain Bakery on the Upper West Side. A small little bakery with the freshest cookies you will ever have. They are a small shop packed full of people. There cookies are made fresh and hot in the middle with the chocolate, plus they had Earl Grey Tea so I was happy. They have a lovely little bench outside where we enjoyed baguette with butter and jam (yeah!) and then our cookies! They are so rich, one between two is more than enough.
We walked back to Central Park for a walk around then back to Sephora for another quick purchase (I wouldn’t want shoppers regret) then back to the hotel to go to the airport.
So another trip to New York ticked off the list. I just love that city so much and could go back again but after I have a big long nap to recover from the lack of sleep from this trip. I enjoyed doing a few more of the non-tourist things attractions and there is so much more of New York that I still need to see.
Lashings of Love,