So, when I started this blog, is was primarily to document my solo travels. Ironically, as soon as I set it up, I suddenly had various opportunities to go on holiday WITH other people so, this blog is now inclusive of those trips. So, whatevs.
So, gird your loins my friends, because I’m about to tell you all about my travels to NYC. The Big Apple. The City That Never Sleeps. Also known as The New Love of My Life. There will be six instalments and I apologise in advance for all of my emotional warblings.
Our DAY 1 tick list:
- Get in a yellow cab
- Go to Times Square
- See the ice rink and tree at Rockerfeller Centre
- See the Saks light show
- Go to Hells Kitchen for dinner
- Eat classic New York Cheesecake
At 4.00am on December 8th 2016, darling mumma Cronin and I hauled ourselves into a taxi to be taken to Heathrow Airport. We were excited. This trip had been a long time coming (we booked it a year in advance but I’d been dreaming of NYC for years). It also came at a time when we’d just lost my darling Dad, so an escape was needed. It was because of Dad that we booked it in the first place (“just fucking do it!”, he said) so despite our general malaise and feelings of illness and borderline depression, we were determined to go and make the best of it.
WELL, it was literally more than I could ever have hoped for. Seriously reader. I genuinely almost wept when we entered JFK arrivals and saw a line of yellow taxis lined up outside. I almost wept again as we were in one of these taxis (TICK!) and emerged out of the Queens-Midtown tunnel to the vision of the Manhattan skyline in front of us. The journey through Queens and some place called Jamaica (?!?) was interesting because, as I now know, NYC drivers are FUCKING INSANE, but once we hit Manhattan I was all WOOHOO YEAH MUTHAFUCKER!!.
I’ll fast forward through the part where we found our hotel because, why would you really give a shit about our hotel? (In case you do, it was called Fairfield Inn & Suites, on W40th Street…and it was fairly good) It was about 4pm by the time we were sorted and ready to go exploring, so we bundled up and head out for a nice walk around the surrounding area. Yeah, that’s right…we thought “a nice gentle walk” would be a thing, when we were staying, like, IN Times Square. It was not a “nice gentle walk”, more a frenetic march through the manic crowds. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we were loving it because it was our first time seeing it all, but it was bloody intense. Particularly for my Mum who finds even a trip down the local shopping centre on a Wednesday afternoon “a bit too busy”….! We fell into a tourist trap within about 5 minutes, as we spotted Mickey Mouse and Olaf and I OBVIOUSLY ran over to hug Olaf like the infant that I am.
Some knobhead dressed as Ironman offered to take our photo with them, and then chased us to give them money. Disney characters can be aggressive little fuckers.(Although I’m not even sure they were Disney registered costumes…they looked super-budget on closer inspection) I gave them $10 then scarpered before we were cornered by more of ’em. Totally worth it though, obviously.
We powered through Times Square, which is a total crazy joygasmic tornado of a place, right over to Rockerfeller Centre (TICK!) because I’ve been obsessed with seeing that bloody tree for YEARS. It was huge and joyous and I would have wept (again) if I wasn’t so jet-lagged.
What I didn’t realise was that the tree overlooks 5th Avenue, and to be specific, Saks. Now, I had never been that bothered about seeing Saks really, but a few days before we went, a friend had told me to check out their light show (Thanks Emily!), so I added it to my to-do list. The light show is projected onto the front of the building and runs every 10 minutes in time to ‘Carol of the Bells’, and is AMAZING – the yanks really know how to do Christmas. It shits all over anything on Oxford Street. So we watched this light show (TICK!) and then you turn 180 degrees and there’s the Rockerfeller tree…it’s like the most perfect intersection ever.
Once we’d taken abut a zillion photos, we realised that I hadn’t eaten since 4am UK time so we head to another place on my list, Hells Kitchen (TICK!) which apparently has the best eateries. My pal had recommended a place called The Brickyard (thanks Rob!), so off we went. The food was good and service even better. The wine was so expensive it made me want to be sick in my mouth…little did I know that was only the start of it (more on that later).
We had New York Cheesecake for dessert (TICK!) because, you’ve gotta really, haven’t ya?
We were exhausted by this point and my Mum looked about ready to drop, so we took a slow walk back to the hotel, back through Times Square…just taking it all in. Times Square is like nowhere else…the energy of it is so overpowering but stimulating at the same time. For me, knowing it’s the hub of all Broadway theatre, makes it extra magical, and at night it really does feel so special.
After such a shit few months (well, year, really) I couldn’t believe that I’d finally achieved this dream that I’d held onto for so long. I was IN BLOODY NEW YORK. IN TIMES SQUARE. I felt like I was in every film I’ve ever watched (that’s what happens when all you watch are rom-coms and cheesy Hallmark Christmas films set in Manhattan) I rest my head on my pillow that night with a feeling of happiness that I hadn’t felt in months.