Friday, 20 May 2016

New York State of Mind - Part 1

We have just got back from the most amazing trip in New York. I originally booked the flights on a gloomy January night when the beginning of May seemed like such a long time to wait. But sure enough with a mental work schedule the weeks ticked by and we were off! This was the fourth time that I have been to NY and the first time for James. As a result I started playing tour guide straight away.
We had a full week there so lots of time for seeing everything as well as some time for a lie in and to relax. As James hadn't been before I wanted to make sure that he saw all the main sights as well as cool stuff that is a little off the beaten track. He does know by now to let my planner/control freak nature take over hence the day-by-day planner below (in pencil I might add so that it can be changed if needed, I am not a monster).
It is true that I do take planning a trip quite serious, totally not a "let's just see what happens" kind of girl. I think that it is important to make sure you make the most of the experience and the time that you have in a new city. I am not an hour by hour psycho but just put a plan together. I needed to write everything down that I have done in the past as well as some new stuff that had been recommended. Two things to do a day in roughly the same (or easy to get to) areas then figure out where to have dinner that night. Simples.
Flighting with BA from Gatwick, we also booked the airport lounge to relax in. I booked the flights in the BA January sale and managed to get two return flights for less than £800. If you do some shopping around and don't mind when you go you can get these for cheaper. Around the £800 is a pretty good deal for spring time in NY. I have been in November, too cold for me and August WAY too hot. Walking around in May is like an average British summer time. Perfect.
We booked to go in the No.1 Traveller lounge before our flight. Very comfy seats, free food and unlimited drinks. At £25 each, this seemed like a good idea but we didn't have that long enough in there to enjoy it so I think that it was a bit of a waste. I'll only do it again if we know that we will definitely be in there long enough. 
After our 7 hour flight we finally arrived at our hotel, Hudson New York. Beautiful boutique hotel around the corner from Central Park. It was indeed beautiful, I would say the best hotel that I have ever stayed in, very unique. There was a garden terrace off the main reception, it was magical to see so much green in the city without being in the park. The view form the 15th Floor terrace was too die for. We were certainly impressed after such a long journey.

First day (according to the plan) was all about Central Park and the Zoo. There is was so much to see near the hotel and we were still so sleepy that not straying that far was a good idea. Central park is HUGE. Much bigger than any London park or if I am wrong it certainly feels alot bigger. Most of the important stuff to see is in the middle and at the bottom of the park (or south). You have Strawberry Fields, the boating lake, the Zoo and most of the statues and foundations in the south. Belvedere Castle and the Reservoir are roughly in the middle.
Strawberry Fields is a very peaceful area of the park 
We had to have a go rowing a boat on the boating lake, it is very romantic and if you are lucky you can see the little turtles in the water. James seemed to have a good handle on rowing the boat. Me on the other hand, not so much! The beauty of Central Park always takes my breath away, I don't know if it because it is so well maintained or the contrast between the green and the skyscrapers in the background. There is so much to see and take in. You could easily spend a whole day walking around but I don't think that your feet would thank you. After some wandering around we went to the zoo. It isn't the biggest zoo in the world but still very cute and worth a look. Mainly Sea-loins, Penguins as well as a Petting Zoo. 
As the weather was so lovely, we kept walking after the zoo. I do think that we were getting a little bit tired by now however. Started wandering into Midtown. Something that I heard about from other blogs was the Cupcake ATM. So cool, we need these in the UK. This one is on Lexington Ave, NY. Now, of course it is really just a man on the other side popping the cupcake into the little hatch but let's all pretend right.
By this time, we were getting pretty hungry sans my lovely ice cream from Sprinkles. A friend at work had mentioned the Stardust Diner not far from Times St. This is not normally my kind of thing at all. It too touristy and cheesy BUT it was so so much fun. Very American, you are sung to by all of the waiting staff while you eat. All staff have to audition, very much waiters by day, Broadway by night. I get really embarrassed really easily to the point where I can't watch X Factor etc but I decided to just go with it and get involved. 
After filling up on a burger each, we could hardly keep our eyes open. It was time to head back to the hotel after our first day. We had wanted to go for a few drinks but a short nap turned into a 3 hour sleep and it was too late. We gave into the jet lag and crashed out for the rest of the night. First in NY, nailed! 


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