Sunday, 31 January 2016

J&J in NYC ~ Part One


I've always been a big city kinda gal! I've fallen in love with London and Paris and can happily add New York to my list. Because the street will make you feel brand new, the lights will inspire you...let's hear it for New York, New York! Yes I did repeatedly sing this song around New York getting strange looks from people! New York was incredible and was everything I dreamed it would be from yellow cabs, towering skyscrapers, hot dog stands, steam coming up from the subway and bright city lights in a place that never sleeps. I couldn’t get enough of it, and I cannot wait to share this crazy adventure with you. We did and saw so much that I have split our New York trip into two posts...Without further ado here is part one! 

We stayed at Viceroy on 57th street and it was a perfect location. It was close to Central Park, we even had a view of Central Park from our window. We were also just a couple of blocks away from Times Square so everything was on our doorstep. It didn't feel like a hotel room, more like someone’s trendy Manhattan apartment, and has one of the most luxurious hotel beds I've experienced in a long time. Along with the beautiful decor and wonderful staff it really was excellent. We managed to have brunch at their restaurant Kingside, one morning and their breakfast pizza was a favorite of mine. It is a very popular spot and was always full with people. And I haven't even mentioned their roof top bar yet....


I had always envisioned visiting New York in Winter, maybe it has something to do with all those Christmas movies I watched as a kid, it really is magical. We woke up bright and early to explore as much of New York as possible having meticulously planned each of our days in New York, we wanted to cram in as much as possible. First stop was Central Park which is set right in the middle of Manhattan. It is one of the most famous parks in the world, and also the heart and soul of New York. We wanted to get to the park early so we could experience it without a large crowd and it was beautiful with a dusting of snow from the night before. After wondering around the park for hours we brought a couple of hot drinks to warm up our hands as it was freezing! We went and found Wollman ice skating rink and watched the ice skaters twirling around. 





It was time to warm up and I knew the perfect place...I had dreamt of going to the Plaza Hotel for high tea ever since I was a little girl. It’s exactly what I thought it would be as soon we entered the hotel lobby it was stunningly gorgeous and grand. We opted for the high tea with a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne and sitting here, enjoying the view made us feel like we had fallen asleep and awoken as royalty. Wow, the food was magnificent, savory and sweet all lived up to the reputation. The whole experience along with the beautiful surroundings was unforgettable. I highly recommend high tea at the Palm Court as a very special experience while in New York.


You haven't seen New York until you've seen it from the top! Located in the middle of Rockefeller plaza, Top of the Rock has not just 1, but 3 observation decks! I purchased jump the line tickets in advance as Jake hates waiting in lines which meant we got to go straight up as soon as we arrived. We were greeted with overwhelming 360 degree views of the entire city from Central Park and down town Manhattan including the Empire State Building. I made sure to book our tickets just before sunset which meant we got to experience views of New York while at sunset and see this gorgeous city that never sleeps turn into night and watch as all the lights over the city lit up. If you ever get a chance to go to New York, go to Top of the Rock and watch the sunset, it's an absolute must!


The next morning we stopped in Times Square to do a twirl! A visit to NYC just doesn't feel complete without a visit to Times Square, we sat here for a while taking in all the brightly colored billboards and flickering lights. Times square is just what you would imagine it to be, lively and full of energy. I felt so tiny standing in the middle of it. The pictures don't do it justice.

Travel tip - I always head to the touristy places early in the morning this way you get to experience it without it being very crowded.


We decided to head to Grand Central Station to catch the subway down to financial district and also to try the infamous Shake Shack - Yes that's right we had burgers for breakfast! I'm not gonna lie, we loved Shake Shack so much it had another two visits from us before we left New York. The station building is absolutely beautiful, it gave me goosebumps as soon as we walked in! The roof is several stories high with a beautiful painted celestial ceiling, the famous brass clock, the architecture and the actual sheer size of the place. Go to take pictures, or to grab something to eat or drink, or just to catch a train. A true NYC landmark!

Travel Tip - Visit Grand Central station between 10am and 2pm. You will miss the commuter rush.


We hopped off the subway and made our way to Ground Zero, we stopped to see the memorials which were so big and vast, it really hits home how devastating 9/11 was. It was very peaceful and tranquil, and there were flowers and flags in some of the names on the memorial which made the emotion very real. Words can't explain how much it broke my heart, take tissues - you'll need them! We headed inside the 9/11 museum and as soon as you enter the museum you get the chills. The artifacts and the stories behind them are interesting and captivating. We spent at least two and a half hours walking around the museum and could have easily spent another two there, it's well worth the visit.


After Ground Zero we made our way over to the Staten Island Ferry to Say hello to Lady Liberty! The Staten Island Ferry is the best kept secret of New York tourism, and I don't know why it's a secret. It's completely free! You ride past Ellis Island and the statue of Liberty which is breathtaking, as is the skyline. It was lovely to get to sit and relax on the boat whilst you sail past and take in all the wonderful sights. A must for your NYC travel bucket list! 


Next stop was Brooklyn Bridge which is the bridge that connects Manhattan to Brooklyn and it's worth walking across it for the amazing views. We timed our visit perfectly in the afternoon when it was not too busy so it was perfect to take some photos with not many people around. The bridge itself is so photogenic and the views are amazing. We walked over half way to soak up the last of the beautiful afternoon Manhattan sun. It was a lovely walk, but can get little bit chilly when the wind picks up. This bridge is featured in so many films and photos but you really have to see it to appreciate its beauty.


I have a little obsession with red doors! We headed to West Village for dinner which is a little hipster area with cute boutiques and shops including some great places to eat. I saw this door and literally yelled stop to our taxi driver, it looked so picturesque down a beautiful tree lined street with gorgeous towering steps leading up to pretty New York style doors, most of them still decorated with Christmas wreaths. I sat here imaginging what it would be like to live here and proceeded to convince Jake over dinner that we should move to New York.....I'm still trying with that one however, I have officially decided we are painting our front door red when Jake and I build our dream home!


I had done a bit of research on places to eat before we headed to New York and heard Mighty Quinns was a must stop and did the best BBQ ribs in the city, which I knew the hubby would love. Jake ordered brisket and said it was pure mouthwatering awesomeness!! So I definitely earned a few wifey points finding this place! Jake ordered for me so I had ribs and they were incredible! Especially topped with the famous secret recipe Mighty Quinns BBQ sauce and they came with a side of sweet potato casserole and coleslaw.


That was just part one! I can't wait to share the rest of our trip with you all soon.

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