I hope you’re doing well? I logged back into my blog this morning and realised I’d never posted anything about the anniversary trip to New York! Haydn and I even managed to time the trip so we spent the actual day of our anniversary (6th April) in the USA – I have no idea how we’ll top that next year. Before we fly to Germany this weekend it seemed only fitting to have this travel blog up and published so let’s get into it!
Our flight from London Stansted left the gate at around 2:30pm meaning we didn’t land in New York until fairly late. As we like to do trips on a budget we never book Airport transfers and instead work out the public transport options – but this was incredibly stressful as the metro wouldn’t allow us to pay by card and we don’t travel with much cash – I did luckily have $20, a gift from my Auntie Katie (THANK GOD) so we were able to use this to load up a metro card which allowed us to then use the subway system into the city. We stayed in Hotel 91, a budget hotel in Chinatown, it was cheap so can’t complain too much but I really wouldn’t recommend this place…
On the walk to the Hotel, it was adorable watching Haydn’s amazement at all the skyscrapers and amazing architecture which is in abundance all around this city. Even for me, on my third visit to the city, found this to be an incredible sight.
To kick start the trip we decided to head to a part of the city neither of us had explored so that meant a morning stroll over Brooklyn Bridge to Brooklyn where we not only explored the streets of this district but also headed into the Botanical Gardens.
Walking over the bridge was amazing, looking back at the New York skyline was incredible, plus it was an absolutely gorgeous day which made it all the more enjoyable. After we crossed the bridge I wanted to go to a spot that is so Insta-worthy even Shark Tank legend Barbara Corcoran has a picture there. Of course, this is Water ST & Washington ST.
When we first headed into the Botanical Gardens we thought we had been ripped off since there wasn’t a whole lot to see and many areas were still undergoing maintenance ready for the new spring season. However the cool indoor bio-domes (I think that’s what you call them) made up for it as seeing plant life in tropical, rainforest and desert climates were more fun than I thought it could be. The blossoming flowers also made for some very pretty garden walks. Plus I saw a turtle which basically made my entire day.
My back was sore during this trip, which made getting around a lot more difficult. For that reason we weren’t able to cram days full of adventure as much as I would have liked; after spending most of the day navigating Brooklyn we went back to the hotel for a short rest. Our friend from Florida was flying in to meet us for a couple of nights so we waited in the hotel for his arrival and then all head for dinner in Times Square. Like true tourists we went to Planet Hollywood which was something I had been wanting to do since my first trip to New York back in 2014 so this was a really awesome meal for me. After the meal, we were able to get our first taste of Times Square for this visit. Haydn and I hadn’t really gone with the intent of shopping so we just browsed the stores for about an hour before heading back to the hotel for some much-needed rest. The busy city life is exhausting and on top of the time difference, we were trying to adjust to I was well ready for bed.
This was arguably our busiest day as we were wanting to get through quite a few tourist attractions. We started the day pretty early since we had booked our visit to the One World Observatory for 10am. This was an experience I was especially looking forward to as I knew standing in the spot where the happenings of 9/11 changed history would be something I’d never forget. For me seeing One World was about feeling the power of the people who had worked hard to make this new tower stand for so much.
After visiting the One World Observatory and paying respect to Ground Zero. Haydn, our friend (Andy) and I head over to the Museum of Natural History as we wanted to watch a show in the planetarium. This part was actually very frustrating as you had to buy a ticket for the Museum as well as one add-on to cover the planetarium show. However, regular admission to the Museum is “pay what you wish” but this isn’t an option if you want the show as well… You have to buy their preset package which is incredibly overpriced. Annoyed by the situation we decided to just spend some time wandering around the museum.
That evening Andy treated us to a fancy steak dinner at a proper posh restaurant before we headed to the theatre to watch Aladdin. This was by far my favourite part of the time – seeing a show on Broadway!? What an absolute dream. This was my Christmas gift from Haydn so I’d definitely been waiting patiently for this, and wow; the cast didn’t disappoint. The theatrical edition was amazing with some really catchy, well-placed new songs that had the same Disney feel as all the classics. I was more than chuffed!
Our third anniversary! We decided to take advantage of opening day discounts for Luna Park so headed to Coney Island for a very cute fun fair date day to celebrate our anniversary. We went on some cool rides, including the classic heritage-listed Great Scenic Railway and played a fun fairground game – which of course we didn’t win a giant teddy bear on, I’m not sure how we would have brought that home anyways.
We didn’t take any photos on this day as just decided to enjoy each other’s company!
This was the ultimate New York food day. Of course, we explored a lot but we also ate some absolute NYC classics.
To start the day we took advantage of the free Staten Island Ferry. From research, we knew this is one of the best ways to check out the Statue of Liberty and see the New York skyline. Reviews didn’t lie! This was an incredible way to take in the sights and snap some really great pics.
For lunch of course we had to get giant pizza slices! We went to the 99¢ pizza chain and I was so impressed by how yummy (and cheap) the cheese pizza was.
Of course, we couldn’t go to New York without exploring Central Park; so we headed there after lunch.
Seeing a park in a city space like this was such a weird juxtaposition but something that was really appropriate and you could tell locals loved it. We watched games of baseball, football and even volleyball as we wandered around the park. My favourite part was of course all the adorable, dogs who were so happy to be out on a walk. I would have loved to go on the little boats in the river but you needed to have cash which neither me nor Haydn were carrying.
Continuing with the theme of food we knew there was one place we had to visit before flying home: The Cheesecake Factory. Their massive slices of cheesecake are unbeatable and going without would have meant such regret. There aren’t any restaurants in the city so we had to travel about an hour out on the subway to reach one. Trust me it was worth it! We had dinner there and took cheesecake to go which we layer enjoyed as a bedtime snack whilst watching Shark Tank – a show we are now binge-watching on Netflix.
This was our last full day in New York before flying home on Day 7 we decided to do all the things we hadn’t had a chance to do previously on the trip. First, I had to see the Friends apartment building. As a huge Friends fan, there was no way I could have left without seeing this. It was actually so cool and there were plenty of other fans there admiring the exterior of the home of a timeless sitcom.
Next, I wanted to walk The High Line, each time I have been to New York I really enjoyed this experience as it’s a really unique way of exploring the city we started south and worked our way north so we were close to explore more of the city centre afterwards.
After The High Line walk, we went back into Times Square as we’d only experienced it at night and knew that during the day the atmosphere would be just as good. There were street performers, characters (some half naked!?) and so many great people-watching opportunities. We spent the rest of the afternoon mooching around before heading back to the hotel for our final night in the city.
Our final day in New York was about seeing and experiencing everything we wanted just one last time. For us, this meant embracing all the city had to offer on foot and exploring the different streets. It’s amazing how many new things you can find around every corner.
We headed into more residential areas to get a taste of real New York life. As with most places around NYC, it was endlessly busy regardless of the time. But this meant plenty of opportunities to sit back and watch the world go by.
Haydn’s friend had recommended that we go to Magnolia Bakery; this is a bakery seen in the TV series Sex and the City. I went for a chocolate cupcake with purple vanilla icing. OMG – I never knew cupcakes could taste so incredible!
Our anniversary trip was amazing and I totally recommend New York. There are loads to do and plenty of atmospheres to immerse into. Plus the food and desserts are incredible. Although this was a pretty big trip we still managed it on a fairly strict budget and I didn’t spend more than the allocated £30 per day.