New York is honestly one of my favourite cities in the world. A cliché, I know. I’m really not a city person – I find them stuffy, crowded and stressful. You could say New York is all three of those things, but for some reason I just don’t care and always want to go back. I have been to New York once before, in the winter when the city was bitterly cold. It was honestly everything I imagined it would be, and I vowed I would be back. It’s funny, because as soon as you set foot in the concrete jungle, it feels so familiar even if you’ve never been there before (thanks to Gossip Girl, Sex and the City, Home Alone, etc.etc.etc). Aled had never been to the States, so we decided to hit up the East Coast in the ‘fall’, starting with NYC. Even though we only spent two days in this gorgeous city, we packed SO MUCH in! So I’m going to split it into two posts on here – Central Park & Midtown, and Downtown.
We spent our first morning wandering through Central Park, which is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle between the skyscrapers. Although I visited the park on my last trip, it was super cold and we didn’t spend too long there. We were treated to a lovely warm fall morning, and we spent hours wandering around the huge park with coffees in hand (including briefly popping out to the Met on the Upper East Side, so that I could sit on the steps and pretend I was in Blair Waldorf’s posse). Central park is dotted with mirror-like lakes, ponds, and fountains which beautifully reflect the cityscape and surrounding trees. A photographers dream! We also managed to walk all the way up to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, which I think may be my new favourite part of the park. We stayed on the Upper West Side in New York, around 4 blocks from the park. I won’t talk to much about the hotel… because… well…. it was s***…. BUT I would like to shout out to the nearby Chinese restaurant Jing Fong. They served up some of the best Chinese food I’ve had!
Once we had our park fix, we spent the afternoon being cheesey tourists in midtown Manhattan. You just gotta, right?! Aled had never been to NYC before, and I was really excited to take him to the top of the Rockerfeller Center, which in my opinion offers the best views of the city. On the one side you can see across central park, and on the other you have the classic NYC postcard shot of the Empire State building flanked by the Brooklyn bridge and the Statue of Liberty. We pre-booked our Top of the Rock tickets, which I would really recommend as you can avoid the queues. However, I WISH we had booked a time slot before noon. We went at 2:30pm, which meant the sun was behind the Empire State building, making it tricky to photograph. OH WELL I’M SURE WE’LL BE BACK :p While we were waiting for our turn to take the elevator, we explored the shopping area of the Rockerfeller Center. If there are any other stationary nerds out there – Paper Source is the most beautiful shop!! I really really really wish I had bought a Rifle Paper Co. print- serious shopper regret there.
After seeing NYC from above, we went into the golden foyer of the Empire State building, and took in the flashy lights of Time Square. As exciting as it is, midtown Manhattan is pretty busy with tourists – it feels impossible to relax there, which is why we allocated an afternoon to tick off all of the major sites. It’s also a bit overwhelming with regard to food and restaurant choices! We popped over to Hell’s Kitchen for lunch, and ate delicious noodles at the Pure Thai Cookhouse. For dinner, we decided to check out the much-raved-about Shake Shack…. honestly? My burger was soggy – I really didn’t get the hype. The cheesy crinkle cut fries were nice though! If anyone has any good Midtown restaurant recommendations, please lemme know! After dinner, we decided to walk back to our hotel via Times Square, which shines even brighter at dusk! The walk back to our hotel was 50-something blocks. Turns out … that’s quite far – my feet were in SO MUCH pain by the time we got back (big thumbs up to my M&S boot’s though – brand new and no blisters!). We looked at the fitness tracker on Aled’s phone and we had walked nearly 20 miles in a single day! New York does that to me – I can just meander for houuuuurrs. Needless to say, the following day I took the subway (I’ll pop a mini subway guide in my next post for anyone who feels as intimidated by it as I did!).