Birthday Weekend In The Big Apple | Tea & Post

Friday, 26 July 2013

Birthday Weekend In The Big Apple

Last year it turned out that my 21st birthday coincided with my Mums 50th. As the dates are within two weeks of each other we decided we would celebrate by having a girly trip away to New York for a few days. It's somewhere we've both always wanted to go, so off we went for a four day adventure with my aunt in tow to the city I'd always dreamed of visiting. I've travelled to America twice before, both when I was a lot younger. When I was two years old I was a bridesmaid at a family wedding in Washington D.C. and at the age of nine I went to Orlando, Florida. It seems I forgot just how big America is compared with little old England, everything is supersized! I was so excited driving from the airport to our hotel at the sight of the yellow cabs and the apartments with the red fire escapes. It just seemed so magical.

We stayed at the New York Hilton Midtown on Avenue of the Americas which we found placed us in an ideal location for sight seeing. Times Square, Fifth Avenue and Central Park were all just a short walk away. On our first night there, having unpacked everything we decided to take a walk to Times Square which is where it finally sank in that I was in New York City! We took a few photos and gazed at the bright neon lights and adverts flashing on every building in sight before finding a small diner to get some food before bed.

The following day having had some rest we went on a bus and riverboat tour in order to see as many sights as possible. We began in Times Square which is just as incredible in the daytime and headed for South Street Seaport where our boat was waiting for us. On the way we were told by our tour guide about the history of New York, how it was once full crimes involving murders, drugs and burglaries. Then the 90's saw a huge drop in crime rates as the police force and the politicians fought to make New York a safer place.
From the boat we sailed along Hudson River, going past Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge. Three suspension bridges that connect Manhattan to Brooklyn and Queens. From there we began to head to the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island where the boat went a lot closer to it than I thought it would. We passed Ellis Island on our way back to a harbour near Battery Park where we would begin the next part of our tour.

Within Battery Park we found a memorial for the 9/11 attacks within Hope Garden. An eternal flame burns next to a bronze sphere which once stood between the Twin Towers. It was created as a symbol of world peace through world trade by Fritz Koenig and was recovered from the attack still intact although clearly damaged.
We then took a walk up along Wall Street, the center of New Yorks Financial District. During this time we saw the American Stock Exchange, Federal Hall and World Financial Centre. In the midst of the bowling green on Wall Street was the Charging Bull, a piece of art by Arturo Di Modica that is now recognised as a symbol of prosperity. Wall Street led us to Trinity Church, where we heard how people took refuge there as the wreckage from the World Trade Centre fell.
This was leading up to the next part of the tour, the 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero. Our tour guide led us through security into the grounds where the two towers once were. The pools were a beautiful way to remember loved ones, with the names of the deceased marked on the sides. We took a few moments to pay our respects before moving further back where we were told of some of the horrific stories from that day. Also within sight from the memorial was the new World Trade Centre, still under construction at the time. It will eventually be 1776 feet tall, making it the tallest building in New York. The number also has some significance as that's the year America gained its independence.
Our next stop was Central Park, we didn't get to venture into the park though as we were walking up to Dakota Building. This is where John Lennon lived with Yoko Ono until he was murdered by crazed fan Mark Chapman who shot him several times. Yoko Ono still lives in the Dakota building to this day, which is just a short walk away from Strawberry Fields - John Lennons Memorial.
The memorial is called Strawberry Fields after The Beatles Song 'Strawberry Fields Forever', it's a 2.5 acre landscaped part of Central Park. Within it is a mosaic with the word 'Imagine' after one of Lennons most famous songs. There candles and roses strewn on the ground, left by fans of the former Beatle.
The Rockefeller Centre is a massive building that was situated between the street our hotel was on and Fifth Avenue. After the stock market crashed in 1929 John D. Rockefeller Jr. undertook funding the entire project, it took 9 years to complete and created 40, 000 jobs. We went round the outside with the tour guide hearing about how spectacular the Christmas tree is each year, it's really made me want to visit New York over Christmas time one year! As we'd heard that going to Top of the Rock (the Rockefeller Centres observation deck) was cheaper than the Empire State Building and just as amazing, we decided to leave the tour here and go do that instead. I'm absolutely gutted that my camera died before we went to the top as the view was incredible. As it was night time the lights were all shining and New York was lit up.
The following day, as it was a birthday visit, we obviously had to go shopping! Our first stop was Tiffanys, somewhere I'd been dying to go to due to one of my favourite films Breakfast at Tiffanys. As it was my 21st birthday and my grandparents had given me some money towards a present I bought a key shaped necklace which I can keep forever and will always remind me of my trip. We then headed over to Bergdorf Goodman to find my Mum a new handbag as her present. Instead I ended up leaving with a new pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses, I'd wanted a pair for ages and considering how much cheaper they were in America I couldn't resist. My Mum finally picked out her bag out Macys where I got some new MAC make up (Tempted Eyeshadow and Power Supply Plushglass).

Soho had been recommended to us by our tour guide from the day before so we headed there to browse some more shops, one of which was Bloomingdales where I bought my Rose Gold DKNY watch with the last of my birthday money. The service was wonderful and the lady who served us was very friendly and even suggested somewhere for us to go for a few drinks. Spring Street Natural was just around the corner from where we were and the cocktails heavenly. My favourite was the Hummingbird, will definitely try to make that at home at some point!

After lunch we caught the subway back to the hotel to pack our things which we were very sad about! The few days we had been there had gone by so quickly and there was so much more we hadn't seen. We went for dinner that night at Rue 57 which was a short walk from our hotel. We chose it because we'd eaten so many hamburgers and chips whilst we were there we were craving some proper food. I had the potato crusted salmon which was delicious and once again we had more cocktails! One titled 'The Aviator' was a tad strong though, tasted like rocket fuel! Once we'd finished our dinner we ventured into Times Square for the last time, we took a few more photos and went into the Disney store there. My time old tradition is that I cannot go into a Disney shop without buying something, even if it's a pen. This time I got a Vinylmation Mickey Mouse Statue of Liberty and a cup with I <3 NY on it. We bought some presents from other shops nearby for people back home and found a bar for some more drinks. Eventually we returned to the hotel for a good nights sleep before we had to go home the next day.
Feeling slightly worse for wear after the amount of cocktails from the night before we headed to a diner down the road from our hotel called Astro Diner. The staff were friendly and the food was lovely, I've never had waffles bacon and syrup for breakfast before. It was surprisingly tasty! We then grabbed our suitcases and got in the taxi that took us to the airport so we could go home. New York has been one of my favourite trips I've ever done and I really want to go back again, for even longer if possible. I felt like I crammed so much into the time we were there but I still hadn't see everything I wanted to. I'd love to visit again for a longer period of time!


  1. I absolutely love that first pic of the yellow taxi cabs stuck in traffic!
    Such a NYC shot
    x x x
    The Lobster & Me

    1. The first thing I looked out for was the yellow cabs, I so want to go back! xx


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