Who: me and my daughter (her 19th birthday present!)
When: Thursday 2nd April - Wednesday 8th April
Where: NYC and a day in Washington DC. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Times Square for 5 nights.
Flights: Delta from Heathrow Terminal 3 to JFK (in the borough of Queens) and back with Virgin Atlantic JFK to Heathrow. Both excellent though Virgin get a massive shout out for amazing leg room and entertainment!
Sights seen: you name it we saw it!!!!!
Travel agent: Heather from Trailfinders (best travel agents around in my opinion!)
Excursions/Transport: hop-on/hop- off bus booked through Viator and tickets to the Top of the Rock and the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, day trip to Washington DC and the Sex and the City Tour of NYC - all booked through Viator
Transfers from airport and back- once arrived and after passport and baggage claim go through into the airport where you can book a shared shuttle bus to your hotel. Highly recommended cost $50 including the obligatory tip. Waited about 20 mins then shared a minibus with some French/Dutch and Belgian tourists into NYC. On the way back I ordered a taxi from the hotel a few days before. This was more expensive at $93 but was worth it for peace of mind getting to the airport during a busy rush hour!!! Plus the driver was excellent pointing out places of interest in Queens on the way!
Weather: cool (10 degrees) to warm (21 degrees)with some rain on the Friday morning. Typical for the first week of April apparently (though i will confess the 21 degrees was in Washington!!!)
The 72 hour hop on hop off bus came with a complimentary night tour so our plan was to get the tickets, go on the tour then find somewhere to eat!
Big tip here!!! Don't just assume you know where Madame Tussauds is from your previous visit.....Anyhoo....If you have bought tickets off Viator for the bus you need to swop your bit of paper for your tickets...so after a quick shower and change of clothes we exited the hotel into the noise, crowds and general busy mahem of Times Square!!! And wow how amazing is the place!!! Your senses are bombarded with sights, noises, smells and.....leaflets being shoved at you outside the many theatres on Broadway.
So Madame Tussauds! Its on 42nd Street so from Times Square walk south on Broadway or 7th Avenue and you will see Madame Tussauds on your right. There is a desk at the entrance and you can swop your paper for tickets there!
We decided to get onto the next night tour which left at 6.45 at the corner of 42nd/7th.
Crossing Brooklyn Bridge
Skyline with big pole in the middle of the photo?!?
I have to say we thoroughly enjoyed the tour though there was a moment whilst crossing on the Brooklyn Bridge when we both thought we may freeze to death!!! Soooo if its not 30 degrees plus i suggest you take a cardigan/fleece/hotwater bottle!!
The tour ended by driving through Times Square...it was dark...all the billboards were flashing...there was at least a million people milling around and horns blowing etc etc...the atmosphere is unlike anywhere on earth!!
After the night tour we decided to get some food...what we didn't know at that point was there was an amazing pizza take away/eat in across the road from the hotel or that 8th Avenue has loads of places to get food.... So we went to TGI Fridays..which was ....shall we say...interesting!!!! Mainly due to a few staff running around like headless chickens! Nevertheless the burger, sweet potato fries and large Coke hit the spot so we retired to our hotel full, knackered and looking forward to exploring more the next day!
FRIDAY 3rd APRIL
This was the weather forecast!!!!
First of all we decided to head out and find somewhere for breakfast. We headed north towards Central Park on 7th Avenue and that's where we found Cafe Oliviero!!
I cannot recommend this place higly enough for breakfast and we ate here 3 mornings....check out those pancakes!!! I cannot describe the deliciousness that is a breakfast of fresh pancakes, bacon and breakfast syrup!!
Place your order and wait while your pancakes are cooked for you!!
After this hearty breakfast we decided to walk up to Central Park and catch one of the hop-on hop-off bus tours. The rain at this point was holding off so we decided to do the tour around Central Park taking in Upper West side, Mornington Heights Harlem, East Harlem and the Upper East Side. So after half an hour on the open top bus...yes...the heavens opened....So we sat there with our raincoats on and the plastic coats provided by the tour guide and saw nothing!!!! Eventually by the time we arrived outside the Guggenheim Museum the rain had stopped and we had had enough! The sun came out and off we hopped!
We decided to walk down 5th Avenue and hit the shops! After a good hour in Hollister where Dominique tried on most of the clothes then an hour or two in a shop selling trainers (hundreds of trainers)we headed back to the hotel for a rest!!
As we had discovered on our travels that day 8th Avenue has a lot of great places to eat so off we went! Shake Shack was the destination! With hot dogs, burgers, cheesy chips and milk shakes (we LOVE milk shakes) on offer it was a must! We had to queue outside it is that popular...but check out the milkshake menu!!!! Peanut butter milk shake like yessssss!
In my next blog entry I will be detailing our adventures on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th April! Highlights include the Statue of Liberty, a trek around Soho looking for the Vans shop, and a lovely birthday meal with Dominique at Ruby Tuesdays!!