This fortnight, I dedicate my blog post to my favourite city in the world, New York, just because.
There was something so magical to me about NYC. I don’t know if it’s because of what I have seen in the movies or on my favourite TV shows, but I always had somewhat of a love affair with the city. Our love truly blossomed in September of 2007... I decided to take a spontaneous holiday with my god-brother Tony. He was living in Ireland at the time, and as we are both NY obsessed, we thought why not meet there for a holiday? So we hit up NY, San Fran and LA.
The minute I got on the subway from the airport, I was in love. I know what you're thinking... the subway? Really? But it’s true... it was just like in the movies! Tony had arrived a few hours earlier, so he told me to catch the subway from JFK to Penn station, then catch a cab to the hotel. I got off at Penn station, and dragged my suitcase up about 4 flights of stairs (HEAPS of stairs too, I’m not talking 3 or 4!). What struck me most, was that no one bothered to ask if I needed help with my bags - not even these two cops I saw! Clearly I was struggling... but I found it amusing... my first impression of New Yorkers was exactly as I imagined - they don’t give a - !
So, I finally made it out of the station, and the first thing I see? Madison Square Garden! How cool!!! It was all lit up (I arrived at night time) and there were yellow cabs flying around from all over. It was the strangest feeling, but I felt like I was home. Hailed my first cab like a pro, and headed down to our hotel which was mid-town. NY showed us a good time that first night!
We met up with some friends Tony had made on his travels, Christine and her sister Jennifer who are Brooklyn-ites. The highlight of my first night was meeting Peppermint...
It’s safe to say that my first trip to NY was just a teaser... we were only there for 5 days and no WAY was it enough time.
We filled our days with TV show tours (Sex and the City and The Sopranos), shopping down 5th Ave, walks in Central Park, catching the ferry to Hoboken, a visit to Ground Zero and climbing to the top of the Empire State Building. By evening, we would hit up all the local bars with our local tour guides (Chris and Jenn), shows in Times Square, and heading over to Brooklyn to watch the baseball at the girls local hangout, The Salty Dog.
The minute I left NY I knew I just HAD to be back... and i was, the following year with one of my best friends, Olga. But this time, we were there for 3 weeks! And just for the official record, that still wasn’t enough time for me.
This time around, we were determined to live like locals. We hired a studio apartment in the West Village and spent out days shopping, drinking coffee, and pretty much just walking around the village. It was amazing! There is so much to do in New York, I don’t think any amount of time there would ever satisfy my need for the streets, sirens, cabs and electrifying atmosphere.
After 3 glorious weeks we left the city that never sleeps, and headed off to another city that never sleeps, Las Vegas - but that’s for another day (not really... whatever happens in Vegas STAYS in Vegas!).
Sure enough, the following year, Olga and i headed back over for 2 weeks. But this time we managed to score complimentary flights from our friend David. We also crashed at his place (IE: kicked him out of his bed and onto the couch) in New Jersey for 2 weeks, so it was a pretty cheap holiday! This time we mastered catching the subway - which is not an easy achievement - and we would also catch the ferry to and from Manhattan. Since we had both basically done most things NY had to offer on previous trips, it was all about going back to our favourite places.
It would be a while before I would head back again - but that time came in September of 2012, on my honeymoon. My hubby had been to NY before, so we spent our time pretty much just walking around the streets, finding new places to eat, shop and drink! Once again, we rented an apartment, this time in Chelsea, and spent 2 wonderful weeks living like New Yorkers.
I honestly can’t explain the buzz that New York gives me. And no way can you explain it to someone that hasn’t been there. It the most wonderful city I have ever had the privilege of visiting, and I am so grateful to have made lifelong friends there.
MY TOP 10 FOOD SPOTS IN NYC
Pasticceria Rocco- 243 Bleecker St - For the most amazing peanut butter cheesecake you have ever had in your life!
Bagels on the Square- 7 Carmine St - Open 24 hours and they deliver! Yummy bagels made fresh daily.
Caliente Cab Co- 61 & 7th Ave South - If you like Mexican you need to go here! Best guacamole I have ever had in my life!
Sushi Samba- 87 & 7th Ave South - Hands down the best Japanese food I have ever had. Make sure you get the 7 course menu - it sounds like a lot, but you will want more!
The Counter- 7 Times square - Build your own burger here! And make sure you don’t skimp on the parmesan fries!
Grimaldi's- 1 Front St, Brooklyn - The lightest pizza you will ever eat! Grimaldi's is world famous, most times you need to line up out the front for an available table.
Carlo's Bakery- 95 Washington St, Hoboken - You need to go to the original shop. The best red velvet cake i have ever eaten. I have no idea why I only bought one!
John's of Bleeker Street- 278 Bleecker St - keep your eye out for celebrities if you go here! Shia LaBeouf and Vanilla Ice have been known to frequent John's for his pizza.
Chipotle Mexican Grill- all over NY and the USA - think of this like Salsa's - but BETTER.
Buddakan- Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave - if you are a Sex and the City fan you would have seen this in the first movie - it was where Carrie and Big had their rehearsal dinner - the most amazing Asian Fusion menu... get ready to pay a little more, but it’s so worth it.
MY TOP THINGS TO DO IN NYC
Empire State Building- the most breath taking views of the city. Do yourself a favour and go just before the sun sets... you won’t regret it.
Central Park- Whether you decide to walk the whole length of the park, or just check out the Children's Zoo it’s a really beautiful place to see.
West Village- Catch a cab to Bleeker Street and take a walk around on of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. Lots of cute cafes and shops to check out.
Sue-Ellen's Sex and the City Tour- Want to see Carries house? Her address is 64 Perry St... hint: it’s the house with the "no trespassing" sign on the steps!
Sue-Ellen's Friends Tour- Want to see where Monica, Rachel, Joey and Chandler live? Head to the corner of Bedford and Grove Streets (just off 7th avenue). You can’t miss it.
Madame Tussauds Times Square- if you have never been, it’s a good laugh! And it’s about 5 levels tall so you can make an afternoon out of it. You could also check out Ripleys Believe it or Not which is next door.
Broadway- While we are in the area - check out a show on Broadway! You can get cheap tickets from the TKTS booth near the big red stairs right in the middle of Times Square.
Seinfeld Diner - Fan of the show about nothing? Then you need to go to Tom's Restaurant. Catch a cab, or the subway because it is waaaay up town (2880 Broadway). I will warn you the food leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s worth a look if you are a fan of the show.
Fifth Avenue- Get your credit card and get ready to give it a good bashing! You want to head to around about 50th street and 5th ave for all the best shops.
Yankee Stadium- If its baseball season I highly recommend a trip to see the Yankees play! Catch the subway to the Bronx and make sure you go a bit earlier so you can have a drink at Stan's Bar before the game. Once you’re done, head across the road to the stadium, grab yourself a dirty Philly Cheesesteak and wait for the 7th inning :)