It’s New York Baby!

Hi girls,

So I’ve been meaning to tell you about my trip to New York 2 weeks ago. My boyfriend Sam and I just had the best time ever.
We flew out on the Wednesday (the day after my birthday) and landed at JFK around 6pm local time. We flew with Virgin which was great, couldn’t fault it. We went through customs, I had my ESTA printed out but I didn’t need to show it – I always think it’s worth printing travel documents anyway just in case. Then we got the Airtrain to Jamaica which costs $3 dollars and switched to the subway to get to our hotel just off Times Square. You can get the Long Island Express Way which is a faster train into Manhattan but it’s double the price. We want to travel in New York like the New Yorkers do! The journey from JFK to Manhattan is just over an hour. Easiest way to use the subway is just to buy their Oyster card equivalent and top it up, their fares are like Paris in that you pay for a single journey (about $3.75) and there aren’t any zones like there are in London; you don’t need to ‘tap out’ or anything.

Our hotel (TRYP by Wyndham Hotels) was amazing on West 34th Street (as in Miracle On 34th Street!), the next block from Macy’s and a couple of blocks across from Times Square. It was the perfect location as we were right in the thick of it and could walk most places. Lower Manhattan would be amazing to stay in too (that’s more local NY and where a lot of cool shops are) but it’s about a 30 minute subway to Central Park and all the traditional tourist spots so it depends what you’re there for.

That’s the important travelling info bit out of the way. So what did we get up to? Firstly I can tell you that I don’t think I have EVER walked so far in my entire life. The week we got back I was absolutely knackered and my legs were so stiff I could hardly walk! It felt like I had done the longest Spin class in the world. We’d done over 30,000 steps each day.
One of my highlights was getting the Staten Island Ferry from Lower Manhattan and back which takes you past The Statue of Liberty and gives you great views of Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge and Long Island. It’s free and takes 20 minutes to get to the island and back. There are tourist ferries but they’ll cost you $20 dollars if not more. When we got to the ferry terminal, I’d done my research before hand and knew that we wanted the commuter ferry but we couldn’t shake off the promoters at the entrance trying to give us flyers and selling us tickets for their tourist boat tours. We just kept saying no we’re not interested. Then this one guy wouldn’t leave us alone and tried to claim that the commuter ferry would take 2 hours and that the views are not worth it, then he asked us for ‘$50 dollars for the best views of Liberty!’. What a load of rubbish. The views on the FREE commuter ferry are perfectly good enough. See for yourself…

After the Staten Island Ferry, we walked up through Wall Street (saw the charging bull from Hitch!) and walked all the way to Soho to go shopping – about a 40 minute walk.

So, shopping in New York. I thought I was going to buy lots when I was there but actually New York has a lot of the same shops as London and I wasn’t really inspired with lots like I thought I would be. I went to lots of vintage shops in Soho and couldn’t find anything. I went to Sephora but had to walk out again as it was super busy and stressful and there were all these brands I didn’t know and I wasn’t sure what was good or not.
However, we did go into a Levi’s shop which was amazing. Not only did they have a sale on but Levi’s are so much cheaper than in the UK. I bought a pair of pink straight leg ripped hem jeans and a pink Logo t-shirt for $40 in total! I couldn’t believe it. I love them both and have worn them since.
Then I also stumbled across a little shop in The Village that sold Korean face masks with an offer of 6 masks for $10 dollars! Couldn’t resist!
Sam bought me this beautiful ring for my birthday that I found in a boutique in Tribeca, it’s a gold plated leopard with piercing green eyes.
Then finally, the ‘piece de resistance’… MY GLITTER LIGHTNING BOLT CONVERSES!
I’d seen them in the converse shop in Soho and loved them but thought, I don’t need any more trainers so I walked away. Then it was only the next day that we went to Macy’s did I see them again and just couldn’t resist! They are so amazing and totally me haha. Macy’s was huge and I’d definitely recommend going. Their shoe department was huge and had a lot of the big cool brands. But apart from that their selection of clothing was disappointing. It’s just amazing to see how big it is, it really is the biggest department store in the world!

Tribeca, Soho and The Village have some weird and wonderful shops which are fun to discover even if you’re not likely to buy anything. One Sam and I stumbled upon was this cowboy/Native American shop called Western Spirit. They sell real authentic cowboy boots for men and women and everything else relevant from beautiful detailed horse saddles to small little Native American cowboy trinkets. Sam and I are now obsessed with cowboy boots and both want a pair! Opening Ceremony, a cool designer boutique in Soho also had some awesome cowboy boots I was tempted with (if they weren’t more than $500 dollars!). I so want a pink pair, obviously.

We also walked down Madison and 5th Avenue which is where all the expensive designer shops are and the famous department stores of Saks and Bergdorf Goodman are located. The Ralph Lauren Men’s and Women’s shops on Madison are a must see as well, Ralph Lauren himself had them commissioned and the interior is just stunning.

We also went to Bloomingdale’s (my mom calls it Bloomies!) but I must admit I wasn’t that impressed. It’s really quite small compared to your Selfridges or Liberty, considering how famous it is, and the product there was neither special designer product or cool brands. Their shoe department was quite something though I’ll give them that…

With shopping out of the way, we also ate SO MUCH FOOD. Bagels, pizza, burgers, chips, lobster mac n cheese, ice cream, more pizza, more bagels and why not! We’re in NEW YORK BABY!
The highlights were going to BAAR BAAR in Soho with some family friends of ours who live in New Jersey. It’s a cool vibe kind of restaurant that do bottomless boozy brunches and delicious Indian food. The other highlight was The Spotted Pig in The Village which is a famous local restaurant that Sam had been to before and wanted to take me to because apparently they had ‘the best burger in the world’. I can now confirm that statement, it really was THE BEST BURGER EVER. It’s making me hungry just thinking about it. It had the best tangy blue cheese inside which is the special ingredient that just makes it sooooooo SCRUMPTIOUS. For breakfast we went to The Best Bagel & Coffee Shop (that’s actually their name) which was round the corner from our hotel on West 35th Street. Bagels in New York are so much more incredible than in London and the choices out there are amazing, I was blown away. I miss NY bagels, it’s just not the same in London, even on Brick Lane.

So what else did we get up to apart from eating and shopping…
One evening we went up to the Empire State Building, recommended by my sister to go up at midnight which was the best decision, thank you Jemima! The doors are open until 2 am so definitely go really late at night as there were no queues and you could have the whole rooftop to yourself for views of the city. The views are incredible, definitely a must see!

In case you didn’t know, The Empire State Building is where Buddy The Elf’s Dad worked?

Talking of movies and film…
Elf, Hitch, Friends, Sex & The City and of course GOSSIP GIRL New York scenes were awesome to see in person. Do you recognise them all?

Where Blair & Chuck got married

Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment

FRIENDS, enough said.

Another highlight was walking The High Line which is an old disused railway that has been turned into a garden walkway that runs from Hell’s Kitchen district down to The Village. Such a beautiful peaceful walk and is something to do that’s a bit different from your usual tourist hot spots and away from the crowds. 

We also went across Williamsburg Bridge and went shopping around Brooklyn which was great fun, definitely recommend shopping there as well for the weird and wonderful; lots of vintage shops in Williamsburg. We were told not to bother with Brooklyn Bridge because it’s always so packed with tourists taking pictures and you can get just as good a view on Williamsburg Bridge. The weather held up the entire time we were in New York apart from when we were crossing the bridge which was rather bad timing. It suddenly turned and it became incredibly windy as we were on the middle of the bridge but then by the time we got off the bridge it was super sunny again! Weather in America is definitely as extreme as they say it is.
So what was my all time must see, favourite, definitely top of the list of things to do, highlight? Without a doubt, The Camp exhibition at The Met.
I’ve written about it in my previous post so I won’t go on about it again but it was just such an inspirational exhibition, definitely go and see it if you can!

Aside from that, seeing Times Square (both day and night) was mesmerising, everything really is that much bigger in New York and The Empire State Building was so incredible at night, spectacular views!On our last day we walked from our hotel, through Times Square in the morning where we stumbled upon The Scissor Sisters in rehearsals for their live performance of the World Pride closing ceremony! It was so random. We then walked up through Central Park, saw all the horse carriages taking tourists round, if we had more time I would have loved a ride through the park at dusk, talk about romantic!

It really was just the best trip ever, I have fallen in love with New York and I most definitely am going back. I want to go at Christmas time as well and would love to move to New York and live there for a few years one day, we’ll see…

New York baby… I LOVE YOU!

Lots of love girls xxxx

PS, if you’re planning a trip to New York and have some questions or need some advice then message me through Instagram, Facebook or email me at hattie.w1994@gmail.com

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