New York Travel Diary
I can now say that I’ve visited the greatest city in the world!
It still doesn’t feel real that I’ve visited New York.. It’s so surreal! It was incredible. I possibly hyped it up in my head a bit too much though, like I do with every new place I dream of visiting.. That being said, I did still have the best time ever and am so happy to have finally been. I ticked off so much from my long list of must do’s, so here’s everything we got up to and lots of pictures to go alongside!
The Westin New York at Times Square. We looked at a few options, but decided to go with the Westin as my mum and Auntie have stayed here before and really liked it. The location was actually pretty great and we got to most places with ease using the Subway. We were also in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, what with being located on Times Square! The hotel is situated on the corner of West 43rd street and 8th Avenue – trying to work out the streets and avenue’s is a proper minefield isn’t it?! The hotel itself was lovely and our room was located on the 22nd floor, so we were nice and high up and had a lovely view of the Hudson river out of our window. The room’s are fairly basic with nice big and comfy bed’s and also a decent sized shower too. All four of us (mum, Auntie, cousin and me) were in the same room and, aside from being woken up at 5.30am each morning mum, that was really fun!
Technically we took a wander around Times Square on the day we arrived, as our hotel was located there and the main area of Times Square was literally a 5 minute walk from our hotel. Seeing all the big bright lights, billboard’s and shops all lit up at night and in real life is e p i c. It’s so so bright and busy, constantly! I do have to admit that it wasn’t my favourite area – I can’t stand super crowded places. It was incredible seeing Times Square in real life though.
Staten Island Ferry/Statue of Liberty
A must see! We took the ferry over to the island that the Statue of Liberty is situated on and I couldn’t recommend this more. Honestly, seeing Lady Liberty herself in real life (the words ‘real life’ will be used a lot in this post, you have been warned..) is breathtaking. She is absolutely huge – bigger than you’ve even imagined. Put this at the top of your list!
A neighbourhood in Brooklyn with one of the most picture perfect views. Everyone’s been there, everyone’s snapped a photo – yes. But for good reason, I loved it here! There’s a few cafe’s and restaurants here too, so the street with THAT famous photo opportunity on is a really nice and chill area (minus the crowd of people at the bottom trying to get the best insta photo of course..).
Again, SO big! I don’t think you ever truly appreciate the sheer size of everything in New York, until you actually see it all in real life. The views from Brooklyn Bridge are incredible too, hence another great photo spot. Be careful of the bikes though, they will knock you down if you’re in their way!
Grand Central Station
So breathtaking and so beautiful! It’s so grand (heh) too and the hustle and bustle is great if you love people watching. My cousin and I tried the ‘whispering walls’ and it actually worked – so cool! It is super dark inside though, so it’s really quite difficult to get a decent photo without flash. The above is the best I could do with editing..
An Art Deco building which really is stunning! We only saw the lobby and the outer building itself – I’m not really sure if you’re actually able to see more than that though? Either way, it really is a beautiful building.
9/11 Memorial & Museum
This is without a doubt a must see/do. I don’t think anyone who isn’t an American citizen truly appreciates the impact of 9/11, until they visit the memorial and the museum. It’s just one of those things that moves and really impacts you. The memorial waterfalls are lovely, for want of a better word, and they’re massive too. I actually watched the documentary of how they made the the engraved material round the edges of the waterfall’s, it was really fascinating. The museum has so much more information and is really insightful – highly recommend.
Top of the Rock/Rockefeller Center
My favourite from the whole trip! I could actually visit Top of the Rock over and over again and never get bored! The view from up here is just so insane. You can see the Empire State Building from one side and Central Park from the other – honestly, breathtaking! We arrived for opening at 8am and that was an absolute winner. There was hardly anyone else up there!
Such a gorgeous area and all of the grass and greenery is a nice change from the bustling city life. I love how it’s right in the thick of it all, but it’s just so incredibly peaceful. It’s such a huge park, so obviously we didn’t manage to cover even a quarter of it.. But at least that gives me more to explore when I go back one day! We were supposed to be riding bikes around Central Park, but unfortunately my knee decided to play up on the day, so we couldn’t. Again, I definitely want to do this next time.
Oh my the shopping! If I had all the money in the world, I would fly to New York just to shop on 5th Avenue and buy allll the designer goodies. Hopefully one day when I head back, I can save up my pennies and treat myself to a designer bag..
Ellen’s Stardust Diner
Wow! My mum was desperate to eat here, as they’ve done so before and she knew I’d love it. She was not wrong! What’s better than waiting for food to the sound of some incredible singing voices?! Ellen’s diner has singing servers, who all hope to make it to Broadway one day. They have a ‘wall of fame’ of all of their previous employees who have succeeded and made it to Broadway – how amazing is that?! The food is also great too, of course.
Empire State Building
My least favourite part of the whole trip. Which, to be fair, probably isn’t the Empire State’s fault, but still. We had an incredibly rude man speak to us awfully for ‘pushing in’ – I’m sorry America, but you can’t bloody queue for shit anyway haha.. Which we weren’t, we were following the rest of the people in front of us. BUT, enough of that. We stupidly didn’t think about the evening we were visiting on – Labor Day evening! It was absolutely rammed, we ended up taking the stairs instead of the lift to the top. The lift queue was an hour long! I’m not sure how many flights we climbed, but our legs were aching by the time we got to the top. Good job the night time view was incredible eh?! I really do hate to moan, but I’m just sharing my honest experience. I probably wouldn’t bother with the Empire State again, but if I did then I may visit during the day. Or at least on an evening that isn’t Labor Day!
The Ride Bus Tour
I won’t ruin this for anyone that hasn’t experienced ‘The Ride Bus Tour’ in New York before, but it takes a bog standard bus tour and completely elevates it. You must do this if you get the chance! I thoroughly enjoyed this and laughed a lot..
I’ve been to the Madame Tussauds in London, but that was around ten years ago now! It was included in our pass and the day we decided to go, it was raining anyway, so we thought why not. Definitely not a ‘must do’, but if it’s raining, then it’s something fairly interesting to keep you warm and dry.
Flat Iron Building
Originally, we weren’t planning on heading to this part of New York, but the weather had cleared up a bit and we wanted to find the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. building (which we didn’t end up doing as the heaven’s well and truly opened before we could get there). I have wanted to see the Flat Iron building in real life too, so I was happy that we managed to see it in all it’s glory. It’s actually situated across from quite a pretty area in New York too, so if the weather was nice and sunny, then there’s a cute little park (just to the left of me in the above picture) you could chill out in.
Wow.. I’m definitely going to stop talking now and I’ll be back in a couple of days with all of my recommendations, food places, advice, etc. We had an epic few days exploring all that New York has to offer and all I have to say to you is; GO. Is New York is on your travel bucket list? Book those flights! Why is New York not on your travel bucket list?! Put it on there.
Have you ever visited New York? I’d love to know what you got up to!xoxo