In December 2015 my boyfriend and I took a trip to New York for a week, which we had booked it much earlier in the year. My boyfriend was mid-revision for his final university exams, so I think booking this was a way to shut me up going on about a holiday, so he could concentrate on revision.
This wasn’t a budget holiday and we spent more than we normally do on a week’s holiday, but it’s New York. We booked flights and hotel as a deal from ba.com, including breakfast. It cost just under £2000 for the both of us for a week in New York. We stayed at the Ludlow Hotel in the lower east side, which was incredible, from the moment we walked into the lobby we knew we had made the right choice. They had a restaurant attached called Dirty French, this is where we had breakfast and it was wonderful (I ate bagels most days for breakfast). We did have to ask what an everyday bagel was on our first day (it’s a bagel with all the toppings of a normal bagel on one), such tourists!
Normally we have a budget and stick to it religiously when we go on trips, but we didn’t for this one. It was the year my boyfriend had finished university, so we wanted to celebrate, that was my excuse anyway.
I have family that live in America but in South Carolina and Texas. Whilst we were in New York my dad’s cousin, who lives in Texas, happened to be in New York for work. We met up in a charming coffee shop just off Madison Avenue called Birch Coffee, which was lovely, as the last time I saw him was 5 years previous.
We tried to fit in as much as possible in the week we had there. It was the beginning of December, so Christmas was in full swing (I do really love Christmas, so I was like a child). I had a romantic idea of how of our trip would be, walking around central park, shopping on 5th avenue and drinking cocktails in fancy bars, something like a musical with everyone singing and dancing. It did not disappoint! No actual singing and dancing apart from the musical we went to, but in my head, there was. I know that New York has so much more to offer but for my first time there I wanted to make sure I was the biggest of all tourists. We however were unable to take the classic horse and carriage ride around central park as my boyfriend has a severe allergy to horses.
I am a massive food lover, so I had an idea of where I wanted to go for food before we had got there. The best place we went to was a small meatball shop on the lower-east side, you can choose what meat you wanted, what sauce you wanted, and what you wanted your meatball on or in. Mouth-watering! We also ate bagels from a small shop we found whilst walking to the Highline. I wanted to try a hotdog from a street vendor, which we did near the finance district, I had all of the toppings. We ate late night pizza from a shop on the same street as the hotel and ate it in bed! Next to the hotel was a chicken and waffle place, we ate there on our last evening and it was so good!
The things we did and that I would recommend:
- The Highline – it was an old subway tract that has been turned into a walkway and gardens.
- 5th Avenue – the Christmas decorations were amazing.
- The Christmas tree at the Rockefeller centre – I was not disappointed. The queues of people waiting to ice skate didn’t put a downer on it for me, it was fun to not be in the queue and watch everyone.
- Times square – My top tip would be to get the subway there when its dark, so the brightness of the lights hits you all at once when you come out of the station, it blew me away.
- Broadway – we saw Les Misérables. We got our tickets last minute from Today Tix.
- Central Park – we walked around it for about 3 hours and still didn’t see it all.
- Walked the Brooklyn bridge – we did this in the evening, it was still busy but less bicycles. Do not walk in the bike lane – it pisses them off!
- Ate some proper New York bagels.
- Went to the top of the One World Trade Centre observation deck – incredible views and a spectacular lift experience!
- 9/11 memorial
- Staten Island ferry – its free and you get amazing views of the Status of Liberty.
- The American Museum of Natural History
My top tips:
- Travel at the beginning of December if you want to go over the Christmas period. We went on the 5th of December for 1 week. I found that the cost increased a lot after this date, especially the week before Christmas.
- Take comfortable shoes! I know we all want to look glamourous in New York for those important pictures, but we walked so much that I would thoroughly recommend wearing trainers/comfy shoes. We did get the subway sometimes but didn’t want to miss the sights and views on the street.
It was an amazing week, we managed to fit in so much. There is still loads we did not get to do but it was a good start and introduction to New York. If we were to go back to New York it would be in the springtime.
Thanks New York,