Even having lived in London for nine years, I’m still blown away by the buzz of New York. I’ve visited the city a few times now: once as a child when my Mum was writing a travel article about taking kids on holiday to New York, once for work, and the most recent time was with my sister and Grandma. My Grandma had always wanted to go to New York, but being of a generation that tended not to travel that much, she had never been…So my sister and I took her as part of a present to her from our family for her 76th birthday!
We squeezed as much as possible into a long weekend. We kicked off our first day with a New York Knicks game and a walk over the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Now, I am by no means a big sports fan. Or a little sports fan. Or any kind of sports fan at all. But seeing the New York Knicks live was awesome. We sat sipping our oversized sodas whilst videos flashed up on the screen and my sister tried explaining the rules of basketball to us, although it was just as fun watching the game without knowing the rules.
We stayed at the W Hotel in Times Square, which is quite possibly the most touristy area that you could ever stay in New York, but it’s perfect if you are just staying for a few days and want to be right in the centre of the hustle and bustle. I think of Times Square as New York’s equivalent to London’s Leicester Square, although the buildings are much much taller and there are many more garish, flashing billboards. At the end of a particularly long day during which we had walked a total of 15km, my sister and I suggested a nap…My Grandma replied, “Really? I quite fancy a gin and tonic.” Ummm, can I be like her when I’m 76?
No trip to New York is complete without a view of the city skyline. We visited both Top of the Rock (timed perfectly to watch the sunset, of course) and The Empire State Building. I marginally prefer the view from Top of the Rock, but it’s worth doing both if you have time as The Empire State Building view looks out over Central Park, which is pretty impressive.
Staying true to my core values, we went on a hunt for the best pancakes and ice cream. We had amazing pancakes at Jack’s Wife Frieda, and another hearty stack at Friedman’s (the former just about takes the edge over the latter). We tried cereal milk ice cream at Momofuku, which genuinely tastes like someone has put a bowl of breakfast cereal through an ice cream maker. I wasn’t the biggest fan, but it’s still my sister’s favourite ice cream ever.
There is still so much more that we wanted to do. I swear you could spend years in New York and still find plenty more to explore. Fortunately for me, one of my best friends is in the process of moving to New York, so I’ll have both a couch to crash on and an excuse for plenty more visits.