…CONCRETE JUNGLE WHERE DREAMS ARE MADEEE OFFFF!
I can’t believe people actually live there and its not just a huge movie set! So surreal seeing this city in real life and I definitely wasn’t ready for how magic it is. By the end of this blog I would’ve run through what we did in our week but you actually need to go and discover it yourself! Wandering around New York is cool as its so diverse. As well as American twang heard and many locals there’s also different languages being spoken, doggo after doggo and everyone being very unapologetically themselves. Nothing in NY got old during the week, every yellow school bus and taxi, every time we passed smoke coming up from the street, the skyscrapers and brick buildings *claps*.
We hit the ground running arriving at the Rockefeller Center by 8am which is opening time. There were only a couple of people lining up to get in and when we were at the top there was lots of space to move around and get photos without others in it. It was a cloudy day but we were lucky with the timing as the clouds were still high and what Top of the Rock has over the Empire State is that the ‘”fencing” at the top is glass so its an un-interrupted full 360 view. Its epic up there, throughly enjoyed it and its definitely worth going at 8am as it was getting really busy when we left around 9am. We then caught a taxi to Chelsea to have breakfast at Jacks Wife Freda and had an ok breakfast of avocado, tomato and halloumi on toast with a hot chocolate. Just around the corner was Chelsea Markets which we got too around 10.30am and it was pretty dead, we walked through a bit but didn’t buy anything. Lots of halloween decorations that were cool to look at but very quiet and not all the stalls were open either. By midday we were back at the hotel having a cheeky nap after waking up at 6am that morning. When we left the hotel again in the afternoon, it was raining so we decided to look at the shops around SoHo and caught the subway there. We spent a few hours wandering around the shops and having some snacks. We went to Milk, famous for their “cereal milk” ice cream with corn flakes on top which blew our mind as it actually tasted like the milk at the bottom of your cereal bowl but so so good! I also went to ChaCha Matcha a cool little drinks bar thats all pink, palm trees and matcha and ordered the Pink Drink that was delicious. Before we got back to our hotel, we stopped for a famous slice of Joe’s Pizza in Times Square… had to be done! $3 a slice, Ihaia got plain cheese and I got pepperoni. That night we headed to a speakeasy bar called “Please Don’t Tell” which is a hidden bar in a hotdog place called Crif Dogs. You have to find the phone booth and get let in to the bar through dialling 1, however there was an hour wait to get in so we just caught an Uber straight to dinner instead… hangry! I did get a peak inside the bar and did the fun bit of finding the hidden entrance but would love to actually go in for a drink next time. For dinner we went to a cheap eats Mexican place called Tacombi which had a full combi van inside! The food was nice but spicy, we got guac and corn chips to start, 4 tacos and a quesadilla to share and some cocktails, its a cool little place! What an awesome first day *sans rain* sooo looking forward to the rest of the week!
Up at 6am to catch an Uber at 8am to FlyNYON. This is probably the thing we’re most looking forward too but most nervous about this trip! We’d booked a 30 minute doors off helicopter over New York, the first helicopter ride for both of us. We needed to be there 1hr 15mins before our 10am flight and got there just on time. Luckily we had a perfect flying day of blue sky and no clouds. The hanger is a really nice open, modern space with a full helicopter inside to look at too. We were taken through a safety briefing and harnessed up before catching a shuttle to the helipad. While we were getting harnessed, one of the staff members asked another person if they were nervous. She replied that she was a little and he said “whats there to be nervous about, you’re going to fly over New York in a doorless helicopter!” I’m a nervous airplane flyer and didn’t know how I’d go with this but after hearing that something clicked and I thought thats so true, I’m about to do something so epic, let go of the fear and enjoy it. We met our pilot who talked us through how the flight would go and safety things then we walked to the helicopter and we were off! The helicopter was smaller than I imagined and there were 4 of us in the back and 1 in the front plus the pilot. It was different going straight up into the sky and not nose first like an airplane, I was scared and covered my eyes for about 10 seconds but after that when I realised this isn’t bad at all, I was absolutely fine! When we were cruising in the air, all my worries and fears went away, seriously the coolest experience and the best way to see the whole of NYC! I felt totally safe, relaxed and calm. We were taken over all the main bits of the city, Statue of Liberty, Empire State, Rockefeller Center, Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge, the World Trade Centre site etc and the 30 minutes flew by. We were allowed to get pictures outside the helicopter when we landed and then we were taken back to the hanger to be un-harnessed and we were free to go, we were on such a high for so long after! The coolest activity we’ve ever done. We caught an Uber back into the city and went to The Butchers Daughter in lower Manhattan for brunch which is known for celebrity spotting but unfortunately we didn’t see any. Its plant-based and the food and coffee was delicious, Ihaia got a BLT and I got a pesto quesadilla with eggs and we both enjoyed our meals. After brunch we hit the pavement and wandered around the SoHo area again, took in the sights, did some shopping and talked to all the dogs I passed lol, soooo many doggos in New York and I am loving it! Then we caught the subway back to our hotel for our *getting too regular* afternoon chill. Once we were up again, we headed to a cool looking convenience store I had found on Instagram that happened to be just around the corner from our hotel and took some photos outside it [after buying from the store first]. We headed around the corner to Times Square to have a proper walk down the street as the weather was bad yesterday and we just rushed through it. Times Square is ok, lots of weird characters, tourist filled and over priced street food. Once we’d done our time there, we walked to the Empire State building and after it taking a looong time to get up to the top with how busy it was, we unintentionally made it up for sunset. Although it was stupid packed, the sunset we caught up there was stunning! We then walked the 10 blocks back to our hotel stopping at shops and food places along the way before getting Shake Shack below our hotel and having take out in bed for dinner.
Our third and final early morning in NYC. Although I naturally woke up at 5am, I got out of bed and ready for the day at 6am to leave the hotel just after 7am to head to Dumbo. We caught the subway then walked to corner of Washington and Water St to get a picture with the Manhattan bridge in the background that you see all over the Gram [is cool though]. We got there just after 8am and there were already a few people there taking photos although no where near as many as there looks like in other peoples photos later in the day. Getting up and arriving early to locations you want to see with lesser people, than say at midday, is definitely worth it. A short walk away is Brooklyn Bridge where we walked from Dumbo towards the city, it was a surreal feeling actually being on that bridge! Its not a long walk over and we stopped often to take pictures along the way. The sun wasn’t being our friend with it rising behind us and our shadow always getting in the frame, we had to be creative with how we shot there. Again, Brooklyn Bridge was sooo quiet people-wise, just locals running, biking and walking to work early in the morning. We got off the bridge and turned left to walk towards Wall Street, stopping for a breakfast donut along the way *:)*, however when we got to Wall Street it was totally underwhelming and we were questioning ourselves if we were in the right place. We continued down to the well known Charging Bull sculpture which was also underwhelming, it was cornered off in the middle of the street and surrounded by tourists getting photos in front of it. We then walked to the 9/11 Memorial and I wasn’t expecting the way I’d feel there, I was only 8 when it happened but I remember the morning it was all over the news at home. At the actual site I felt a lot of emotion and sadness, the whole place has an airy, somber feeling and to even begin to comprehend what happened those years ago is unexplainable. We walked through the museum which holds a lot of information, facts and personal details of the victims and volunteers. On our way out we popped into the Westfield mall across the road that also has a subway attached know as the Oculus building that has amazing white ribbed architecture and is really pretty to look at inside and out. Jumping in a taxi, we headed off towards The Butchers Daughter [again] for lunch but this time at another location on Hudson St around Greenwich Village. Although the service and vibe wasn’t as good, the food was still delicious [still no celeb spotted]! A few minutes walk up the road we walked past a Magnolia Bakery, I didn’t get anything as we’d just eaten but cool to see one in real life. Later in the afternoon we caught the subway to Central Park but we only did a tiny bit of the downtown end before walking to Barneys which is a big department store. We did want to spend more time in Central Park but we got off the subway at a place far away from the Great Lawn and lake so decided to come back another day and get closer to the places we actually wanted to see within the park. We got the subway to the Flatiron District to try and catch the sunset at a rooftop bar called 230 Fifth but Ihaia didn’t have the correct pants on so we didn’t get let up. We went off and got our first Dough Doughnut instead lol *just as good as a sunset, right* and had a look in Eataly which is a well known Italian foodcourt/market style eatery but we couldn’t decide on anything so we headed back to our hotel. Ihaia spotted a foodcourt called City Kitchen across the road from our hotel and grabbed a quick bite to eat there before settling in for the night.
A liiiiiiittle sleep in this morning, woohoo! We had plans to meet up with our friends from France, Zach and Sian for brunch so we headed into Lower East Side/SoHo for a catch up with them at Dudley’s. It was so cool to catch up in NYC! We visited Supermoon Bakehouse that was close to the brunch place too, its a really flash “bakery” with the most beautiful set up and I took away the most extravagant croissant I’d ever seen! After a quick re-fresh at the hotel, we caught the subway to Grand Central and had a little look around the huge station before we headed out to Brooklyn for the night as we had tickets to the Knicks vs Nets basketball game at Barclays Centre. Before the basketball we headed to Sweet Chick in Brooklyn for an early dinner. Ihaia had been wanting to eat at this place for awhile but I wasn’t thaaaat interested/we hadn’t been close to one yet but WOW I think I loved it more than him haha! Its known for its fried chicken and waffles and I ordered fried chicken with apple and cinnamon waffles and a purple unicorn cocktail. It was the best meal I’ve had hahaha, fried chicken and maple syrup = 100/10. Am I behind on this hype?! Or maybe no-one does it as good. Afterwards we checked out the Biggie Smalls mural and then realised how many there actually are in Brooklyn! We walked down his street and visited outside his old house which was freakin cool and the street is now named after him. Basketball time! We got a free singlet on entry but then paid $37 for one Corona and vodka sprite [!!!]. Our seats were right next to the “BK Block” which was a massive hype block for the Brooklyn Nets and that was entertaining to be close too with their cheering and chanting! Obviously America does their sport well and it was an awesome experience, lots of entertainment and it was a good close game.
Ahhhh, our last day 😦 we checked out at 10.30am and caught the subway to an Australian owned cafe chain called Bluestone Lane in the Upper Westside *can I just say in here, there are sooo many cute dogs on the subway all the time, I was the weirdo taking photos of them*. After waiting for a table, we had a delicious breakfast, juice and coffee then walked a few blocks heading towards another area of Central Park and found really cute streets and houses along the way. At Central Park we visited Turtle Pond that did indeed have lots of turtles, the Great Lawn that was a good vibe with lots of people hanging out having picnics and playing sports and the big lake that had a nice view of the city behind it. We then caught an uber to The High Line and took a 15 minute walk towards the Vessel sculpture. The High Line is an old train line made into a walk way over the city, a little greenery get-away just a stair case up. It was Saturday and it was paaaacked, I found it a bit underwhelming but maybe because we’ve been so spoilt with views already this trip. We didn’t end up going into the Vessel because we got there around 2pm and the next time up was 5pm so instead we had a look around the Hudson Yard shopping centre and then caught the subway to East Village/SoHo. Ihaia had a vintage shop called Round Two that he wanted to visit and we wanted to have our last American meal at Sweet Chick again [oh how I wish we’d gone there earlier in the week so we could’ve eaten there more often]. While we were eating at 4pm, I got a notification from Air France that our 10.30pm flight was delayed and then another one not long after that it was cancelled! We tried not to stress to much, even though we needed to be on a flight back to France that night, to get to La Rochelle Sunday night for Ihaia to be back at training on Monday morning. We went to collect our suitcases from the hotel and then caught a taxi to JFK to sort out what was happening. Turns out that it wasn’t cancelled and in fact just delayed, we were just a casual 5 hours early to the airport lol oh well it could’ve be worse. Well NYC, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit and we’re leaving with something I say very rarely… we’ll be back!