7 Sights I Want To See in New York

We’re all guilty of making plans with friends that never seem to materialise or get mentioned in passing after a few too many glasses of wine when you’re putting the world to rights and have an imaginary unlimited bank balance. Whether those plans be a night dolled up to the nines and drinking until you’re proclaiming undying love for one another, quick catch ups over coffee or a zen spa day to recharge the batteries, they’re often plans that never manage to see the light of the day for one reason (and then of course there’s the plans you make that you never intend to keep).

I’ve always wanted to visit New York. I mean, who hasn’t wanted to immerse themselves in the city that never sleeps and has been the backdrop to many a movie or favoured TV show (mine is Sex & the City FYI). It’s been on my to visit list yet remained un-ticked and was looking likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future.  That was until I received a message out of the blue from Mikhila one June afternoon to say… “wanna go to New York?”  Of course I did, but I found myself uhhm’ing and ahh’ing because truth be told, I wasn’t in the market or have the budget for a spontaneous trip across the Atlantic and I was pretty sure than Dan would kill me for embarking on my first trip to the US of A without him.

But it’s New fricking York and with Khila being such a Big Apple aficionado, it would be foolish to pass up the opportunity.

City breaks just aren’t long enough, especially when you factor in the amount of time you’re going to spend travelling to and from your destination. 2-3 nights in a new city, soaking up the atmosphere and trying to see absolutely everything when you’re essentially going in blind is difficult.  I find you can waste half of your time trying to find yourself on the map and paying over the odds because you simply didn’t know better. Exactly the reason I tend to head back to destinations more than once.  What better way to experience NYC for the first time than to have your very own tour guide responsible for not getting you lost and advising on the best places to chow down and lay your head?  Khila has visited New York a number of times and has the same love affair with the place as I have for Venice so the prospect of a long weekend at the back end of autumn (November, to be precise) just made sense.

In order to cram in as much time pounding the pavements to the soundtrack of Welcome to New York by Taylor Swift (in my head, at least), we have a full itinerary underway so that we can check off all the must see and must dos as well as snap the obligatory pictures and vlog footage.  It’s all about the NYC timelapses after all.

With that in mind, I’ve included the 7 sights I want to see in NYC (take heed, Khi). Please note:  they’re not particularly groundbreaking OR original because as I say, with this being my first visit fully prepared and expecting to go all out tourist, take photographs of absolutely everything and walk around in absolute awe.

Top of the Rock

 We’re yet to agree on whether we’ll be heading up The Empire State Building but if not, Khila has assured me that the view from The Top of the Rock (the observation deck of Rockefeller Center ) is the place to deliver those breath taking New York skyline pictures AND its far less crowded than it’s more popular counterpart.   An open air 70 story high multi-level observation deck in the middle of Manhattan delivers 360 views including the sprawling Central Park and the aforementioned Empire State Building.  There’s apparently a “Sun & Stars” deal, meaning you can head up to the top twice in one day and take in the city by day and by night to catch the glittering lights of the city that never sleeps.
Top of the Rock is also one of the sights included in the handy and reasonably priced New York CityPass which gives you access to some of New York’s top sights.

Grand Central Terminal

 Often wrongly referred to as Grand Central Station,  this epic-ally beautiful station once described as “the world’s loveliest” has more than 750,000 visitors daily – wowzas.  Some that shop, some that dine, some there with the sole intention to travel but often, your average visitor to New York will take the opportunity to soak up the spectacular architecture that houses so much history.   I loved reading these fascinating secrets of Grand Central but I’m most looking forward to checking out the Whispering Gallery.   Located in front of the Oyster Bar & Restaurant, the archway possesses a mystifying acoustic property: when two people stand at diagonal arches and whisper, they can hear each other’s voices “telegraphed” from across the room.

9/11 Memorial

Like so many who watched in horror as the events of 9/11 unfurled on our TV’s and who have watched the countless documentaries surrounding the day, a visit to the National September 11 Memorial is high on my list of landmarks to visit.  I don’t feel as though you can have a full understanding of the magnitude (in size) of the terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 2983 victims in 2001 without standing where those towers once stood and so many lost their lives.  With two 1-acre waterfall pools inscribed with the names of the victims installed on the footprints themselves and the Survivor Tree being returned to it’s original home, this beautiful memorial is somewhere I’ve wanted to visit to show my respects and the area itself is somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a long time.  Definitely an emotive visit and somewhat sobering but for an event that changed the skyline of New York forever, it seems only fitting.

 

Staten Island Ferry

If there’s on tip I’ve picked up when it comes to sight seeing hacks in New York, it’s to avoid the pricey boat promising a glimpse of lady liberty and to instead, hope on the Staten Island ferry (made infamous to me in THAT scene in Sex and the City when the girls go to judge a fireman competition and Charlotte gets wasted on Long Island Ice Tea.  The ferry is effectively a commuter service, operates 24/7, is free and gives  fantastic views of the city, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty herself with the added option of bundling away inside weather dependent.

Sex and the City Tour 

 I absofuckinglutely could not go to New York and not indulge the Sex and the City fan in me.  After watching (and watching) the series countless times, laughing and sobbing whilst following the lives,  love and sex of these four fabulous fashionistas I simply couldn’t be in Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte’s city and not immerse myself in the iconic landmarks that made the city itself the fifth lead character.  Now I’m not sure if we’re going to pay for one of the bus tours OR due to time constraints and trying to do the trip on a little bit of a budget  we may add the likes of Carrie’s stoop, New York Public Library, Magnolia Bakery and Onieal’s (Scout) to our ever growing list of “while we’re in the area”.   Either way, you will see me posing up a storm (or fangirling somewhat) in front of the infamous brownstone, 66 Peel Street.

“Don’t call me ever again! Forget you know my number! In fact, forget you know my name! And you can drive up this street all you want – because I don’t live here anymore!”*

 *name that scene

 

Times Square 

I know, I know.  Despite the bright lights in a big city and a “once you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it” attitude towards this advertising real estate on the Seventh Avenue and Broadway intersection, I suppose it’s the Piccadilly Circus of the Big Apple:  you’re not quite sure why so many tourists make a bee line for it, but they do.  The majority of places in the direct vicinity are said to be overpriced restaurants and tacky souvenier stores so rest assured, it’ll probably be a fleeting visit but at least I’ll be able to say that I’ve seen it… and hopefully get my mum to catch me on the webcam whilst I’m there! 

 

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge is a must see not only because it’s where Miranda Hobbs and Steve Brady agreed to meet half way following their separation, but also because of how synonymous it is with city.  You’re guaranteed amazing views from not even half way across what was once the worlds longest suspension bridge (1.1miles, incase you were wondering) that spans the East River and has connected Manhattan and Brooklyn for 134 years.   I’ll be making the most of the athleisure trend and packing some seriously comfortable shoes to take the trip across the river with the aim to take in the skyline and enjoy a coffee (or a freaking cocktail after that walk) in the stunning 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge.

 

Keep your eyes peeled for a few more NYC themed posts coming up in the next few months. There’s 3 months to add more to the itinerary after all, some research into the best places to eat (leave your suggestions below guys) and of course, planning for my first ever long haul flight.