I genuinely had the most wonderful trip and I’m so glad we got to do everything we set out to do. In fact, I don’t think we could have planned our time better, we managed to squish everything in! And funnily enough, I didn’t feel too rushed or exhausted while we were there! We’re already day dreaming of the next time we can go back, especially now we’ve done all the obvious, touristy parts of New York, it would be lovely to explore the City and appreciate some of the smaller attractions. To be honest, I think since we visited America for the first time last year, we’ve just fallen in love with the place in general! Anyway, now on to the trip!
One of the things that Matt booked beforehand was a trip up ‘the top of the rock.’ He chose this over the Empire State because the views are much better, you can see all of Central Park and the Empire State itself which I much preferred. The building itself as you make your way up is very grand and beautiful. There’s also an ice skating rink directly outside beneath lots of international flags. There’s not too much I can say about when we got to the top, other than we were both totally awed by the 360 view of New York City. I ended up having to drag Matt away as he found it so relaxing to just stand and stare. It’s a weird experience to just let all of the thoughts in your head evaporate and be completely taken over by your surroundings but it’s also really peaceful and quite humbling to look down upon everything and remember how small you are in relation to the world you live in.
Matt was determined that we would see a show on Broadway for my birthday and told me to pick whichever I fancied seeing. That was the hard part! There was so many choices that I had to spend some time searching around before coming up with a top two. I was really intrigued about Aladdin but Lion King was a classic that I just hadn’t seen and where better than New York? Matt was thrilled, he’s seen the Lion King twice in London and loved it, so was more than happy to go a third time which surprised me, as personally I’m someone who doesn’t really like to repeat an experience. We booked the tickets – which are eye watering priced, I won’t lie – and on my birthday, the 16th of January, we made our way to the Minskoff theatre.
The theatre sat in the heart of Times Square. While a lot calmer during the day time, during the evening the place seriously comes alive. It’s a hub of noise, entertainment and flashing lights. Advertisement screens are stretched high above you, flipping through a series of adverts sporadically. Times Square is like nowhere I’ve been before. A mass of stores, theatres, venues and restaurants. While it’s all very exciting, when it’s at its busiest point it can make you feel very overwhelmed and anxious as there are so many throngs of people you really get swept up in it all. Naturally, I don’t need to tell you that the Lion King was truly magical. I was totally mesmerised by the costumes of all the animals and kept trying to work out how the mechanics of it all works. You couldn’t help but sing along to the classic songs like ‘Hakuna Matata’ and the show left you with such a feel good vibe. If you are able to part with the cash, seeing any Broadway show in New York is one heck of an experience.
I’d expected we would never be able to do all of central park as it’s so vast, 843 acres in fact which is crazy! We were also lucky enough that we chose to visit on a day where snow littered the ground, making the place even more magical than it already was. It’s a truly beautiful space, buzzing with activity that you could feel in the air. After walking around a little, we decided to get a Tuk Tuk whereby a very friendly man drove us around by bicycle while we sat back in a little cart, a blanket tucked around us, gazing at the park as we rode by. I’d definitely recommend this option as he was able to take us to so many places quickly and fill us in on facts and history.
We saw settings for Home Alone, Strawberry Fields close to where John Lennon was shot, the Friends foundation among so much more. He also offered to take our photo at several places which is really nice when there are just two of you and selfies sometimes just don’t cut it! While a horse and carriage seems much more romantic, you move at a much slower pace and aren’t able to access as much of the park because of the restrictions of the horse. Additionally, it’s a lot of money for a very short amount of time which is necessary for the safety of the horse.
STATUE OF LIBERTY
Because we purchased a hop on hop off bus, included in this was a boat to the Statue of Liberty. On reflection, I wish we had gotten a taxi to the boat as naturally the bus stopped off at quite a lot of places and I would personally have liked to get there quicker! Still it was fairly fast to board the boat and it was nice to see New York by water. It’s very strange seeing the Statue of Liberty as she’s such a symbol for New York and you see her in so many films and images. It was nice to walk around and take a few photos (including selfies, naturally!) You can choose to go up several levels including the crown of the Statue of Liberty but we were happy enough from the outside as we had already seen some spectacular views from Top of the Rock and the Empire State. There is also a gift shop on site for anyone who feels like bringing home some mementos.
New York was such a incredible short break and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank Matt enough for taking me to the place I’ve always wanted to go. Have you ever been to New York? What would you love to do? I’d love to hear your thoughts!