Love locks on the Brooklyn Bridge

New York City 2014 Overview

New York is a vibrant city, full of culture, stunning architecture and interesting people. I’ve been asked why I was going back for a third time, and I suppose the answer is that there is so much to do! We flew out on the Thursday morning, stayed for Easter and flew back Tuesday night. Here’s an overview of the trip, with more photos at the end!

Location Location Location

The view towards Times Square
The view towards Times Square
The view towards the Hudson River
The view towards the Hudson River

Our first trip we stayed on East 31st which wasn’t a bad location, but not nearly so handy as the consecutive visits – West 56th and 57th. All the hotels have been good, but the Holiday Inn on 57th was the best one by far. We noted the mixed reviews on Trip Advisor, but got lucky by requesting a room high up and away from the lift/ice machine. I had a big problem with not being able to sleep for the noise at the other two, so this was a relief.

We were on the 17th floor and had a stunning view that stretched from Times Square to the Hudson.

The Subway and Getting Around

You can get a subway pass for $30 that lasts the week. You can use it as much as you want and go anywhere in New York. I would recommend walking as much as possible – there is so much to see – but after some rather painful feet on the first visit, we became more discerning with our subway use.

The NYC subway is mostly served by stairs, something to take into consideration if you have heavy luggage!

HIGHlights

The Statue of Liberty from a helicopter
The Statue of Liberty from a helicopter

I love going up tall buildings, but having done the Empire State and the Rockefeller Centre we decided to do something a bit different. Namely a helicopter ride. I absolutely loved it, it was over far too quickly. The tour took us up the Hudson River and spent time around the Statue of Liberty. They’re not allowed to fly over the city itself, but you still get an awesome view and plenty of opportunities for photographs.

The helicopter package included an evening boat tour of the bay. I’ve been on one during the day, but it was lovely to see the New York skyline and Statue of Liberty at night.

Food

We tend to rely heavily on Wholefoods for meals. They have a crazy range of hot, fresh food that spans all cuisines and features tons of veg. We seemed to only have two meals a day with some grazing in between.

Food at Big Daddy's NYC
Food at Big Daddy’s NYC

Two visits to Big Daddy’s were delicious, I especially recommend the cotton candy milkshake. Super yummy!

Breakfast is a must in New York, they love it there. Everything seems to come with potatoes, delicious.

Shops

Tangled lanterns at the Disney Store
Tangled lanterns at the Disney Store

Weekday evenings seem to be best for Times Square, although due to the Easter Weekend madness this wasn’t as true as last time. My favourite shops tend to feature toys as I seem to be amassing a collection. Times Square has a Disney store that always has that magical feeling, and what I believe is the worlds largest Toys R Us, complete with it’s own indoor Ferris wheel.

This time I only brought one doll back, and I got her in the sale at Kmart. I love the Monster High merch and wish it had been around when I was a kid. I got Draculaura last time, and this time got Rochelle Goyle for $10. This particular version is £28 here, I think it’s safe to say I got a good deal there!

I also got a lot of sweets. The M&M and Hershey’s stores are well worth a look. I brought back some Easter peeps as presents, birthday cake flavoured M&Ms… They do have some weird flavours, always a lot of fun to try.

Outdoor Spaces

We visited the highline garden this time, which was very pretty and a nice way to see that side of the city. I expect it’s gorgeous in the summer.

The Conservatory Garden was just beginning to bloom and made for some lovely pictures. Bryant and Washington Square Park were bustling with people, street entertainers and cute dogs and even pet rabbits.

Central Park in bloom
Central Park in bloom

Central Park itself was gorgeous. We paid our first ever visit to the turtle pond, which apparently ended up full of turtles as a result of people abandoning their pets there.

A child being taught about John Lennon at the Imagine memorial in Strawberry Fields
A child being taught about John Lennon at the Imagine memorial in Strawberry Fields

I spent quite a long time at Strawberry Fields. I love people’s reactions to the John Lennon memorial. It’s a shame it exists, but it does seem to do something beautiful. People share stories, there is always a busker there playing familiar tunes, there are often flowers on it and the whole atmosphere is one of peace. It is possibly my favourite place in the whole of New York.

Architecture

Sunset on the Brooklyn Bridge
Sunset on the Brooklyn Bridge

We walked the Brooklyn Bridge which was a lovely experience. We went at sunset which afforded some great photographic opportunities. Keep an eye out for the padlocks which decorate much of the structure, such a cute idea! I wonder how many of the couples who added them are still together.

Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a must if you love art. I don’t think it’s possible to do the whole thing in one day, I spent some time in the European and American sections, and then wandered aimlessly through another part of it, taking in some beautiful artefacts on the way.

We had a quick visit inside the library, initially to use the wifi, but upon talking to a local we actually had a little explore. The ceiling in the main reading room is stunning, as is the rest of it.

Random Events

Easter bonnets on Fifth Avenue
Easter bonnets on Fifth Avenue

It’s worth watching the local news, and checking things out prior to going. For Easter they shut 5th Avenue and people wander round with enormous hats on! Was quite an experience, and great to see it without all the cars.

All in all a great visit! Very busy, but enough to recharge my batteries and get thinking about things.