Oh, New York, New York. A city that’s so good they named it twice is definitely the only one on Earth for me.
Last month I spent 9 magical days in the greatest city on Earth. My boyfriend Tom is currently across the pond for three months for work, and I couldn’t not visit him, could I?
People often say that large cities make them feel small. I feel the opposite. I feel like being in New York City made me feel right at the centre of everything, and where else should you possibly be if you’re ambitious?
I’m going to write a few posts about New York – how could there only be one, especially since I’m going back there in just a few hours!
Arriving in New York City and First Impressions
I flew out of Terminal 3 at Heathrow at 4pm on Saturday 15th November. This trip marked a couple of firsts for me – my first long-haul flight, and my first flight alone.
The seven-hour flight was fairly empty and seemed to pass in no time. I peered out the window as we came into land, and thought I might have glimpsed the Empire State Building, or some other New York skyscraper. In a flash I was off the plane, through customs and greeting my boyfriend. Our taxi into the city gave me my first taste of NYC: bright, loud and oh-so-busy.
Tom’s apartment was spacious and luxurious, and just 10 minutes walk from Times Square. Our first evening we visited a real American supermarket (spoiler, not that different to a UK supermarket), then jetlag hit me and I fell asleep (not in the supermarket, we made it home first).
The next day we took a trip to Central Park via Times Square. By day, the tall buildings and busy shops and restaurants crowd around a frankly fairly tiny square of pavement, and both road and pedestrian traffic is often at a standstill. The giant billboards were impressive, but I wouldn’t see it lit up by night until much later in the week, which is when the square really comes to life.
Wandering around Central Park hand-in-hand, I could see exactly why so many New Yorkers love it. An island of calmness in a sea of bustle, autumn (or fall, as the Yanks would say) had turned the leaves a thousand shades of orange and red, and many families had decided to spend the day tossing around a football or clambering over rocks. The squirrels were friendlier than any I had met before, and almost seemed to be posing for my camera-phone. The weather was freezing but our excitement kept us warm.
For lunch we visited the place which had been most recommended to me – the Loeb Boathouse in the middle of Central Park. It was pricey, and service wasn’t the best, but the food was to die for. The American tradition of brunch seemed unusual to our palates. We split a starter of macaroni gratin (fancy mac and cheese), then Tom had an English Breakfast-esque meal while I tucked into some waffles. And mimosas, of course.
Our afternoon took us down the famous Fifth Avenue, home to the best shopping in New York City. Not that we could have afforded much of it – the corner near Central Park is full of designer boutiques. A little further down we found some outlets that were more our price range, as well as the ice rink in front of the Rockerfeller Centre (to be returned to). We also stopped in at the impressive Grand Central Terminal, New York’s main train station.
Still feeling the effects of the time difference, we took part in the NYC tradition of takeout from the Oriental place downstairs and snuggled up in bed. Having taken all his remaining holiday off for when I visit at Christmas, Tom was going to be working all week, leaving me plenty of time to keep up with my own work and explore the city on my own.
I’ll be posting about the rest of my trip soon, but I’m about to leave to catch my flight back there!