Trip Throwback | New York
This post hopes to give you all the information that I learned (& all the things that I enjoyed) on my trip to New York last Summer. Including what sites to see, what shops to visit and how to make the most of your trip; all from a young perspective.
Last June; or this time last year, I went on an amazing trip to New York City. I was completely blown away by what an amazing city it really was. I can say that there was no let down, it exceeded every expectation.
I went with my Mom, and we stayed 5 days. I could have stayed wayyyyy longer but it was the perfect starter trip to what will hopefully be the first of many. It was also my very first trip to America, which is a landmark in itself. Especially considering the whole American-Irish connection thing that most American's seem to possess.
I will write a little conclusion at the end of this post to wrap up my general feelings on the whole experience (spoiler alert: it's mostly all positive),but for now, I want to get straight into the specifics of the whole adventure. In the hope of helping those who are planning a trip soon.
Buckle up and let us begin.
I was very lucky that I didn't have to get too far into the specifics of the whole trip because my Dad kindly worked out the nitty gritty details for me.
For me, New York was an easy decision for me (even though LA is next on my list) but you want to make sure that you have a genuine interest in where you going. So you should read up on your desired destination before you hit confirm on any flights, this blog post is a very good start ;)
Now, when you have decided where you want to go. You are going to need to book your flights in advance. I know that sounds so simple it's crazy, but you would be surprised. Choose your preferred flyer (we went with AerLingus, but it obviously depends where you live and what airport is closest in proximity to you).
BEWARE of Cookies. The prices will keep going up and up if you keep coming back and checking from the same computer, so maybe use a completely different machine when you finally commit to the purchase.
Also, although I did not follow this rule myself, I heard a trick where if you don't pre-select your flights; you have a chance of being upgraded to business class. Makes sense I guess, but I have yet to prove the theory.
Once booked; get damn excited, because this is one of the hardest parts over.
Now, for most trips, my family is a little different. We generally either book Air BnB or we use various 'last minute sites'. Which I am sure are still very effective, even though I have not tried them in American circumstances.
We however went with the very typical 'Irish" choice of Fitzgerald's Hotel Grand Central, and we were completely delighted with it. So, of course, I recommend it. The location is right in the center of the city, and suited us perfectly; so from that perspective, it gets another plus.
Accommodation is expensive and choosing where you want to base yourself for the entirety of your trip can be hard, so choose wisely. (No pressure or anything)
For us, the timing couldn't have been worse. Apparently, the exchange rates had never been so bad. But thankfully, they are on the up once again. So hopefully it shouldn't affect you.
Once You Get There
Above is a list of the main tourist attractions in New York City. I hold the personal belief that sometimes the things that are not in the guidebooks are almost more fun... But, I will give you my account of what we did, and you can decide for yourself.
*This is my account of what I did, day by day. But obviously you can do what you wish...
After you get off the flight, and get the cab from the airport; the city is yours. We arrived in the evening, so after we got to the hotel; we just went for a wander around the place.
We headed to Times Square, and even though it was far from my favorite place in the city. It was really amazing to see a place that is referenced so often. The energy really was my favorite part; but the people in costumes coming up all the time did get a tad annoying.
The following day, our first port of call was Tribeca. Now, this is something that is more personal to my interests, as Taylor Swift's apartment happens to be located there. It also happens to be quite close to Brandy Melville, and we also made a pit stop to Bloomingdale's.
Two shops which I super recommend, especially if teens are involved.
After Tribeca, we made a pit stop just around the corner before ploughing on to our next location. We went to probably the most well known landmark of the United States - the Statue Of Liberty. We decided not to take the trip to Staten Island, but viewed it from a distance. It's quite expensive and we still really enjoyed this.
If you are on a shorter trip especially, it is quite a time-saver if you want to fit a lot in.
Then, here is an example of how amazing New York is. While taking the Subway (which is the BEST way to get around) we met a woman from Mexico, and we got so engrossed in the conversation that we actually ended up missing our stop. Then, we walked out and found ourselves at Central Park.
That was hands down one of the best moments ever. I can't even explain why. But I promise that you will have your own magical moments. (I also got to try the famous New York pretzel, which is something checked off my list).
If you enjoy shopping, then it's obvious that you will enjoy New York. Fifth Avenue has EVERYTHING, and I took full advantage of that fact.
We aimed to get all shopping done in the morning so that we could spend the rest of the day sight seeing and enjoying every moment that the city provided.
So after a well spent morning in Urban Outfitters; we headed for a bit more exploring around the city. Then it was time for the Upper East Side!! (Alert to all Gossip Girl fans, this is for you) We visited Kate Spade; and we basically just soaked up the atmosphere. We actually ended up walking all the way home, because when they say places are just a few blocks away, they really mean it.
Everything is in a straight line so getting places really is that easy. (We still had to use the GPS but it's better than Ireland!) However, traffic lights will be your Everest trust me.
We walked all the way to the Met, which just happens to be another Gossip Girl reference. We didn't go in (that's for next time) but the buzz around there was enough to keep me satisfied.
Day 3, we had to pay a quick visit to Grand Central station (our hotel was right next to it after all)! I know at this point this may seem like more of a travel diary than anything else, so I hope that this just giving you the jist of all that can be done in a day!
After Grand Central, meeting up with relatives and a little shopping; we headed back to Bryant Park. Very famous little park (Karlie Kloss' favorite), and full of buzz and atmosphere.
Next up was Brooklyn (this was prior to the movie being such a hit) and I'm honestly going to say that we didn't spend a whole pile of time there. We got off the subway, walked half the bridge and walked back! But we did it and sometimes that what counts. Truly, on all these expeditions the little moments are bigger than the trips themselves. On the bright side though, my outfit matched the sky.... Talk about prep.
(Also the final pic in the slide is just opposite from our hotel if you were wondering... and the yellow taxi shot is completely mandatory)
This had to be one of my favorite days, and sadly it was the last.
I have neglected to tell you about our usual breakfast routine, so here goes. Less than one block from our hotel was a Starbucks; which actually isn't that much to boast about because normally there are at least two on every block. It's actually a little nuts.
Every morning I went and got breakfast all by my lonesome. Which is completely safe. If you do decide to go with a teenager, and you are worried about their safety in the city; you shouldn't be. It is renowned as one of the safest places, as in recent years, the crime rate has reduced so dramatically. There is literally police on every street. So, I felt perfectly content getting a Grande Flat White, the preferred muffin selection, Grande Strawberry Frape and a chocolate brownie. There was only one morning that we went against this tradition, and we had pancakes... (they were yummy too)
We decided that after our first magical adventure to Central Park, we would have to spend some more time there. So we did, and the simplicity of it is astounding; but my heart actually swells up with happiness when I think about it. It was the best day.
After a hot dog in the park (AMAZING BTW), we headed to the Natural History Museum, which is just outside one of the entrances to the Park. We spent most of the time on a rabid hunt for the dinosaurs, thanks to Mom's obsession with them. (NOTE: there are two sides to the Map they give you in the Museum... Check the second side.)
The weather was gorgeous that day too (questioning my jumper choice), and sunshine does help every situation.
Now, unfortunately you can't quite participate in our evening activities. Let's just say we got to play dress up in a designer's studio... But after that we went to the Meatpacking district, which is now a famous fashion district and had dinner. (Café Grainne) Then that's when the magic really happened.
We went up on the Highline, and NO ONE was there. Normally this place is completely packed. I know it probably had something to do with the drizzle, but honestly that added to it. If you can get up there at night, I can HIGHLY recommend it. Honestly wow.
So that was my trip. I know that it could be hard to imagine the atmosphere but don't worry I vlogged the entire thing - so if you want a more visual interpretation watch below.
I can't even tell if this will be super helpful to anyone but I hope that it will make you want to go to New York; because it is AMAZING.
That is all.