Friday, 11 November 2016

New York New York

On the Highline

The City of Dreams ....

This city is by far my favourite place in the world, I've been three times and it never gets old or boring. My most recent trip was with Mr EmmaEats, he had never been to good ole NYC and was dying to see it (probably because I never stop saying how amazing it is). We decided to go for a week towards the end of September as neither one of us are great in extremely warm weather.

For me one of the most exciting parts of planning a journey is getting the Lonely Planet Guide - I know, I know, with information so freely available on my phone now why do I need the guide, but I just do. I think it stems from when I went backpacking around Australia for a year. The Internet was not the same back then, there was no wifi, it was all dial up and I couldn't even send text messages from my Oz phone to people at home (you'd swear I was talking about 50 years ago or something like that but it was only 15 years ago). So I got the lonely planet and it affectionately become known as 'the bible'. I did a lot of travelling around in the year and on the inside cover I wrote each address that I stayed at, it became very sentimental to me and I still have it to this day. So I think this is where my need for the lonely planet stems from. Anyway I handed Mr EmmaEats the lonely planet and told him to look through it and let me know where he wanted to visit. As I had done most of the major attractions I only had a few must haves which were: the Highline, cycling around Central Park and exploring the neighbourhoods on foot. 

Central Park

Central Park

With regard to accommodation I must admit we didn't do much research - accommodation in Manhattan is not cheap and you don't get much bang for your buck so I knew not to get overly excited. To go slightly off topic, we thought we would have to do an overnighter in Glasgow and had a look through hotels, one that caught my attention was the CitizenM - it just looked great, anyhow it turned out that we didn't have to stay overnight but whilst I was on the website I did notice that they had a hotel in NYC. So that was it, once we decided we were going to NYC we checked the cost of the CitizenM and it was in our price range so without looking at any other hotel we booked in here. 

View from Top of the Rock

View from Top of the Rock

I just love the build up to a holiday, I love doing the stupid things like going into boots and getting all the necessities, mind you this time around I was in Ireland until the Wednesday and had to come back and sort everything for the holiday in two days. So the holiday eventually came around and we set off to Glasgow airport for our flight with United Airlines. I'm not going to rate United or get into too much detail but it's safe to say I won't be flying with them again (unless I really have to). There was nothing wrong with the flight itself but I have had better facilities and service from other airlines. We only flew with them as they were the only airline who did a direct flight from Glasgow. Both myself & Mr EE do an awful lot of travelling and spend a lot of time in airports so we were trying to limit our exposure to them - I would reconsider this position if I was flying Stateside again. 

View from the Empire State Building

Times Square

Anyway onto the exciting part - NYC itself. The check-in process to the CitizenM was seamless - it was by far the quickest check in process EVER. We were up in our room in less than 5 minutes from entering the hotel. The room was small and compact (which is what I've come to expect in NYC) but it was very tastefully done and it looked all new and clean (which is not what I'm used to in NYC). The room itself reminds me of a flat pack room - or a room from IKEA - the bathroom was just fitted into the bedroom and was tiny with just a toilet and a decent sized shower. The sink was in the main room. There was a superking bed which was super comfortable. Everything in the room is controlled by an iPad- which is why Mr EE loved the concept of CitizenM. So whilst the room is small (and a lot of people have complained about no where for their suitcases on tripadvisor) there is loads of storage. We didn't travel light as we were travelling for a week and we were able to unpack everything and store the suitcase out of our way. House keeping was great, the room was always left lovely and clean. There is a roof top terrace and bar, a bar downstairs, loads of relaxing areas, a canteen and an area with a number of mac's and a printer. This hotel has it all. If you asked the staff for something they sorted it there and then for you. I would say that this hotel is just a city break hotel though - it is not somewhere you would go for a nice romantic luxury break away. Towards the end of the stay I was feeling a little claustrophobic but we didn't really spend much time in our room to be fair, it is perfect for a city break. 

Walking the Hudson River Park

Walking the Hudson River Park

I'm not going to go day by day as to what we did and saw but I'll just list them out:- cycling around Central Park, walking around Times Squares, walking through all the neighbourhoods, walked the Brooklyn Bridge, battery park, the Hudson River park and the Highline, went up the Empire State Building, Trump Tower (just to set the record straight this was not on my list), Rockerfellor/Top of the Rock, Bryant Park, National Library, Grand Central Station, used the subway, Ellis Island, Statue of LIberty, 9/11 memorial, the memorial pools, St Paul's Chapel (it was closed for renovation so could only see the outside), St Patrick's Catherdal, the uptown and downtown hop on hop off bus tour, went to Madisson Square Gardens to see an impromptu UFC press conference with Conor McGregor (a fellow Irish man), Macy's, a boat trip on the Hudson at night, Interprid and just generally eating my way around the city.

I've had three very different experiences each time I have been in NYC, the first time I was on my own (I had been there to attend a conference with work and stayed on for a week) so I didn't really venture out at night too much. The next time I was there with my mum and aunt (who were both in the 70's) so again we didn't venture too far at night either. So this trip with Mr EE allowed me to experience a whole different side of NYC. 

NYC Skyline on a dark day

Lady Liberty

High Points:-
  • Being there with Mr EE (you don't often find me being all sentimental about stuff like this but I loved sharing my favourite city with him)
  • Cycling around Central Park - it was the first time I got the opportunity to explore the entire park - it was great.
  • The weather in general was perfect for us. Sunny and warm during the day for the most part and just a day that was overcast. It only rained on the day we were leaving. 
  • Catching up with my cousin and some friends who live in Manhattan (I'm so envious of them).
  • Just being there, walking through the streets. I found that I didn't take so many photos this time around as I have loads and Mr EE was snap happy with his new GoPro so I didn't really need to. This was actually really enjoyable and I felt I was able to live in the moment and enjoy the experience. 
  • Seeing celebrities such as Liev Schiebner and Conor MacGregor
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

Low Points:-
  • I put on a least a stone ;-) - only kidding (about it being a low point - I did actually put on a stone)
  • The 9/11 memorial - don't get me wrong I liked it (well I liked some of it) but I just wasn't too comfortable with all the crowds walking around the site. I do find the whole site very emotional so I wanted to do the 9/11 memorial - it is underground and the first part of the tour is fine - it's all open and airy but then we went into a particular exhibit - that showed all the media coverage from the day and some artefacts - this place was like a bloody cattle mart and I didn't really like that aspect of it. I don't suffer panic attacks but I literally had to just get out - it really unsettled me.
Ticket for UFC Press Conference

I really didn't do much research on where to eat as I didn't want to be tied to any place. We didn't have an itinerary of what we were going to do we just kinda decided the night before and each day was pretty fluid, we chopped and changed our minds - so I didn't want to lose the relaxed vibe by dictating where we needed to be for food. We were trying to see as much of the city as possible and in that regard I didn't focus too much on where to eat. In saying that there were a few really nice random finds and one of them even had a celebrity in it. 

Walking the Highline

I really do love this city and I will definitely be back. I have yet to see it at Christmas time so I think that is the season I will go for my next visit but that won't be for a few years. I'm done with long haul flights for a while.

Drunk on the North Shore Lobster Company Boat

Thanks a mil for reading.

Emma mai xx

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