MY FIRST VISIT TO NEW YORK

Hello beautiful people!

I have been to NYC!!!!OMGGG  Ok. I am fine.

As I have mentioned in my previous post, we went to visit New Orleans first at the end of March this year and then took a plane from there to NYC for 4 days.

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Day 1

After our 3 hour flight from NOLA to NYC, we took a cab from John F Kennedy Airport in Queens to our hotel – the Best Western Herald Hotel in NYC. We each paid about $22 with tip for the taxi. Our hotel was modern and really close to major attractions such as Times Square, Empire State Building, 5th Avenue and Chrysler Building. New York felt immediately like home. It was busy, a lot colder, more colourful and not everyone was as super friendly as in New Orleans… New York City also seemed very compact, the size of our hotel in NYC for example was a lot smaller than in NOLA for the same number of people.

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Anyway, I just couldn’t believe that finally after all these years I had made it to New York!!! As a tea/coffee addict I also loved the free refreshments provided in our hotel. They had a little area in the lobby with tea bags, coffee and water and trust me after a day out in cold NYC it was nice to come back to the hotel and make a quick tea to take up to your room. And the staff was really helpful too. So I would definitely recommend this hotel!

The first thing we did after a quick shower was to meet a friend at a dessert lounge. After some Google mapping on how to get there we went to our nearest Subway station to purchase tickets. This was a lot trickier than we imagined a) because the maximum change the ticket machine could give you was $9. So if you just wanted to buy a single one way ticket for $ 3 with a $20 you would have made a loss of $8. And its not like they gave you the option to buy e.g. multiple tickets…And most of the subway stations don’t have staff working at ticket counters. But what you can do is to buy a metro card for $9 + $1 fee for card= $10 altogether which is valid for a year and you can then top it up whenever you need to. This I guess is equilivant to the oyster card in good old London.

TIPP: If you are in NYC for more than 3 or 4 days and plan to take the subway more than 4 times a day its probably worth getting the 7 day Unlimited Metro card for $31. 

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We met our friend at Max Brenner which essentially is a Chocolate Bar and omg they have the best desserts. If you love chocolate you have to go there-so basically most of you! I had the Hazelnut hot chocolate and it was creamy and chocolatey. Just like heaven. They also serve food and I had a quesadilla which was delicious too! I think with tip we each paid just under $30 which is not cheap but definitely worth it.

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As it was already around 6 pm when we left Max Brenner, we just went to see the Grand Central Terminal because it was close by. On the way we saw and of course stopped at Whole Foods Market and picked up a drink. I had the Naked blue machine Blueberry Smoothie. Yummy! Grand Central Terminal was spectacular to see with its zodiac ceiling and ornate chandeliers. I was also fascinated to see people arriving and leaving the station on an adventure- a bit like Kings Cross Station in London.

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Inside the terminal there was also an Apple Store and we found Magnolia Bakery which has the best cupcakes. Like always I tried the red velvet because in my opinion you can always tell how good a bakery is by the way their red velvet tastes. And of course it was amazing. So be sure to check it out when you are in NYC!

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On the way back to the hotel, we walked past New York Public Library which was guarded by two lions at the entrance. This magnificent building is a treasure for anyone who loves books. I am not ashamed to say that I am a book nerd.

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After exploring the library, we went back to the hotel to rest and plan the next few days in NYC.

Day 2

The next day after a quick breakfast at our hotel, we left to visit the Statue of Liberty. We took the subway to South Ferry station from where it was a short walk to the ticket boxes selling the ferry tickets for Liberty Island ( the home of Lady Liberty) and Ellis Island. We each paid around $18 for the ferry. Apparently there is also a free Staten Island Ferry which takes you to the Statue of Liberty but skips Ellis Island. Unfortunately it was a foggy day, so we didn’t plan to go up to the crown of Lady Liberty or the pedestal but we found out that you have to book well in advance for that anyway ( in the summer up to 6 months in  advance apparently!). Before you board the ferry you go through security and they search your bag.. a bit like at the airport. The views from the ferry were amazing and then to finally stand in front of Lady Liberty was surreal! She is the symbol of New York and its history and to finally stand in front her made me realise..OMG I AM IN NEW YORK. We were also given audio guides before we started exploring Liberty Island, and so were able to learn about Lady Liberty’s beautiful history.

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DID YOU KNOW?

  1. The statue of Liberty hasn’t always been green. Because of its copper exterior, the statue in the 1880s used to be a copper brown colour and far more shiny. But over time the copper naturally oxidised and gave Lady Liberty the well known green colour.
  2. The statue represents the Roman goddess, Libertas, who holds a torch on her right hand and a tablet on her left hand bearing the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.  The broken chain at her feet symbolises the end of slavery and her crown has seven rays each representing one of the seven continents.
  3. Lady Liberty is a symbol of freedom and of the United States. The statue is a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad to the New World, as she would be the first thing that they would see when arriving by ship.
  4. Lady  Liberty was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
  5. The statue was designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, a French sculptor and was a gift to the United States from the French for the 100 year anniversary of the American Declaration of Independence. However it was opened on Liberty Island in 1886, 10 years later than anticipated.
  6. French law professor and politician Édouard René de Laboulaye is believed to have said that any monument raised to American independence would properly be a joint project of the French and Americans and so inspired Bartholdi to build the statue.
  7. French Engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel ( best known for the Eiffel Tower in Paris)  designed the interior structure of the statue.

After exploring Liberty Island a quick lunch and souvenir shopping, we took the ferry to Ellis Island. I would recommend to give more time to explore Ellis Island than Liberty Island, because there is not much to do there except taken pics of the Statue of Liberty and walking around her listening to the audio guide. On Ellis Island is a must for history lovers! The now Immigration Museum used to be the immigration centre through which incoming immigrant had to walk through to gain access to the USA. It is truly magical and the fascinating. I have to say it is the best museum I have ever been to! Again you were given audio guides, which you don’t have to use really because there were signs and boards everywhere. I learnt so much about the heartbreaking and fascinating history of the USA. To add to the chill this place gives you, if you have ancestors who came through here at one point you can even look them up! You just need names, dates of arrival and city destination.

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After exploring Ellis Island we took the ferry back to NYC and went straight to Broadway. The day before we heard about this lottery game they were playing where you can win cheap “Aladdin The Musical” tickets. All you had to do was to turn up for a specific time and fill out a card with you name and the number of tickets you want ( the maximum amount of tickets you could win was 2 per person). Although we didn’t win any tickets:( it was still fun and exciting to play the lottery.

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After that we went to Times Square and took in the amazing views. It really reminded me of Piccadilly Circus and the Broadway was like Leicester Square. New York really is like London just bigger!

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We also explored Bryant Park, and admired Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building in the evening when they were glowing. I have to admit I couldn’t distinguish between the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building in the day the first day because they look so similar but in the evening the Empire State Building turned a nice pink blue colour.

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After a little rest at our hotel and googling the best pizza place in NYC, we took the subway to East Village. We went to this little cosy Italian pizzeria called Motorino, where I ordered the “Cremini Mushroom” pizza, which was so good! Because we were feeling crazy and wanted dessert on the way back to the hotel, we stopped at the Bean Cafe and I had a free strawberry cake slice! Yay me;) I think I only got it for free because they were closing and the waiter was nice. But isn’t free dessert the best thing in the world?

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Day 3

We left early that morning to visit the 9/11 Memorial. Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to visit New York when the Twin Towers were still standing, but seeing its footprints was still breathtaking. The memorial park is free to visit  and contains two pools with beautiful waterfalls.  Even more touching, the names of the victims of the attacks are inscribed on the parapets surrounding the waterfalls. I was touched and amazed on how they were able to create something so beautiful out of a tragic place. The museum which tells the events of that tragic day was close by and is free to visit on Tuesdays from 5 -7 pm.

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We then took the subway to Brooklyn Bridge. We went through a little park before approaching Brooklyn Bridge and we saw a black chipmunk!! Do you guys remember the Chip’N’Dale? I loved that cartoon when I was a kid…

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I really enjoyed walking on Brooklyn Bridge and the views were amazing! Its always interesting to think about how many people have walked this bridge before and the history of the bridge. There were also little stands selling bargain souvenirs such as key rings and magnets.

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After a little lunch at a Cafe in Brooklyn we headed back to NYC to visit Central Park.  After some subway confusion we finally got there and I have to say its more beautiful than Hyde Park! Sorry Hyde Park I still love you! We saw a castle, bridge and a turtle pond! It really is the most picturesque place in New York. I can’t even imagine how it can look more beautiful in the summer! and its so big! We only saw Central Park West…It probably is difficult to see the whole park in on day but make sure to see Bethesda Fountain!.

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Because we were on a roll, we then heading to the Rockefeller Center, which was on our way back to the hotel. It was so surreal to visit the places where they filmed Home Alone, one of my favourite christmas movies. As we went in the evening, everything was lit up making it truly magical.

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For dinner we made a stop at Chipotle Mexican Grill, and I big burrito. Yum.

Day 4

Our last day was a shopping day, not that we didn’t shop before but that day we just wanted to concentrate on shopping. We went to Century 21, Macy’s and shops like Sephora and H&M on Fifth Avenue. I also got 40% off at the till in Forever 21 because I gave them my email address. So always be nice lol. After some hardcore shopping we also went on the hunt for the LOVE sign on 6th Avenue. Funnily we found the HOPE sign before the LOVE sign, which I interpreted to be hopeful to find love. I am deep:D

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For lunch/dinner on  our last day we met our friend again and we decided to go to a french restaurant in West Village. “Buvette” was a really nice but small place with small portions. Unfortunately we also had to queue for around 40 minutes to get a table because we were a bigger group and they don’t take reservations, but the food was delicious which made up for the long wait. I tried the “Coq au vin” ( Chicken in wine) for the first time. Do you remember reading about coq au vin in your french lessons? I always wanted to try it so I was happy I could and it was really nice. I also had a hot chocolate and the warm apple tarte tatin for dessert. It was so good!

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So make sure to check it out when you are in New York!

http://www.ilovebuvette.com

I loved my time in New York! I really was a dream come true and although we packed a lot of stuff to do during our short trip, I truly feel like I saw and experienced everything I had to for my first time there. NYC to me is like home because it reminded me so much of good old London. I hope to visit soon.

Thanks for reading!

Jeny x

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