Travel - New York Part One

October 28, 2014

New York is my favourite city in the world and I was very spoiled by my super generous parents for a 21st Birthday present this year to go back there. I've been a few times before but the last time was in 2009, five years ago already so I couldn't wait to go back and see some old favourite places but equally explore some new ones and of course do lots of shopping! New York is one of those places made world famous by so many movies and TV shows, Friends, Sex and The City, Home Alone, Serendipity, You've Got Mail are some of my favourites and some of my most-loved bloggers are based in New York, the city of dreams. Are you prepared for a super long post? I thought about cutting it down but figured it's New York and full of pumpkins so what's not to love...


Originally, it was going to be a trip for all of us, my parents, brother and Ben but dates didn't work out for us all with my brother starting uni so in the end it was just Ben and I that booked to go for four nights last week. I normally always book trips though Dial A Flight who are always super competitive and give the best prices for any hotel and flights of your choice but this time they couldn't match Expedia's quote so we went with Expedia.

It's so hard to choose a city hotel, most of them are very similar and unlike a beach resort or somewhere that you're going to spend a lot of time in a hotel, city hotels are just a base for collapsing in at the end of a busy day sightseeing and shopping! Location is a big factor to consider as well as reviews on a site like Tripadvisor.We had stayed at this hotel, The Benjamin five years previously and really liked the location and style of the hotel, it's a good base and has a subway station right outside. It's next to the Waldorf Astoria hotel and also has a mini kitchen unlike most hotels. It served us well!

Our room was on the top floor, the 26th and it looked right down Lexington Avenue. Watching the yellow taxis and buses down below looked like toy town. 

The hotel focuses on sleep and provides a pillow menu for you to order a different set each night if you want, they were so heavenly. 

We arrived three hours late, thanks to BA,{although I've put a claim in for EU compensation so should get £250 each back which will pay for some of our shopping} on Thursday evening at Newark airport and took the train into Manhattan watching the sunset over the skyline while in the queue for immigration. We went straight to our hotel to drop off our bags, not even going up to our room we went straight for a Chipotle Burrito and Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt just a couple of blocks from the hotel. Priorities! We were starving and so happy to be in America again with such great food available on every corner. At this point we'd been up for about 21 hours so were grateful to get into bed! We'd start our trip properly in the morning.

We woke up early to blue skies and warm weather, we actually got really lucky with the weather out there with dry sunny weather each day. The first two days were 21 degrees, it felt like summer again! But then it dropped right down for the last two days. Top of the Rock, the view from the Rockefeller Centre opens at 8am so we thought we'd get there when it opened to save queueing and it would be a good start to the trip to see the whole city from above.

The Rockefeller Centre has it's famous ice rink already surrounded by flags, I'd love to go for Christmas one year and see their huge tree!

I'd been up the top of the rock a couple of times before but I much prefer it to the Empire State building, the view is much better as you can see the park and see the Empire State from it and it's generally a lot less crowded and a better experience overall. The top of the empire state is surrounded by wire whereas you get a clear view from the Top of the Rock. If it's your first time maybe do both for the experience but we were happy just to go to the TOTR again, such a cool city to see from above with it's grid system, interesting buildings and Central Park so perfectly designed.

The sky was so blue and the sun so bright, it was a lovely way to begin our long weekend looking out at the city we were about to explore again.

There were lots of things on my list that I hadn't done in New York before, the farmers market at Union Square was one of them. It was a Friday and one of the best days for the greenmarket so we took the subway down to Union Square from the Rockefeller after admiring the views and taking lots of photos.

I love Union Square, the farmers market was amazing with stalls full of flowers, pumpkins and fresh produce grown from farmers in up state New York. The stalls go around the outside of the park with the greenery in the middle and shops around the outside. Definitely worth a visit, it's got a real buzz and nice to see the less touristy side of Manhattan.

It was nice to wander around for half an hour or so, I love how crazy American's are for Halloween and I'm a sucker for pumpkins and all things autumnal.

After a look around the market, park and shops {hello shopping in Forever 21 and American Eagle} we walked down University Plaza to Greenwich Village, admiring the halloween decorations en route..

Even Ralph Lauren had got on board for the fall...

The area around Greenwich Village is so lovely with cobbled streets and Washington Square Park. We spent a lot more time here on this trip, enjoying all the independent shops and local feel despite being in the city. It reminded me of Friends and Sex and the City so much. 

I love the architecture around Greenwich Village and that afternoon was so sunny, it was lovely just to walk without much agenda. We went all down Bleecker Street, stopping for lunch {At Keste, the best pizza you'll find outside of Naples} and admiring the brownstones. Carrie Bradshaw eat your heart out.

Halloween is just a one night even in the UK but for the Yank's it's more of a month long celebration. I wish our houses were decorated like the ones we saw off of Bleecker Street, it's so fun to see.

After walking the length of Bleecker Street we came to the Meatpacking District and Chelsea, where conveniently there was a Pinkberry for some delicious pumpkin spiced flavoured fro-yo {that tasted like carrot cake} before a walk along the High Line.

The High Line is a park built on a disused railway line, I love how it's been transformed and you can walk along it surrounded by flowers and trees yet look down at the streets below. 

There's cool artists and food stalls on it too and you get a view of the Hudson River to your left. We walked most of it and then got off and headed back to our hotel after doing so much walking our feet needed a rest!

That evening we took a visit to Bloomingdales to tick a few more bits off of our shopping list, friends and family had given us requests too. Bloomingdales had their Christmas shop open already, we didn't buy anything its all a bit tacky but fun to see.

You've got to love America for shopping. And cupcake ATMs..

The next morning was a Saturday and we wanted to have a proper American style breakfast so I'd read about Penelope's a cute sounding New-England style cafe in the Murray Hill District. {also a note on the subways, buy a 7 day unlimited pass, we still walked for miles but the subways really are great and easy to use going up and down the city}

The cafe was cute, the food was amazing {Pumpkin spiced waffles with apples and cranberries, so yummy} but the service was not up to scratch. The waiter's were so rude and arrogant, I couldn't believe it for such a charming cafe. For this reason I don't know whether I'd recommend it.

We got back on the subway and headed over to Brooklyn for the Brooklyn Flea, somewhere I've wanted to visit for ages now after seeing it on various blogs and Instagram. I wish we could have bought lots home, but our suitcases wouldn't allow it! Vintage maps, rusty letters, interesting furniture. Like Kempton but American style! Definitely worth a visit and nice to explore Brooklyn. 


How cool are these succulents in bricks? I want to try and make something similar.

From the Flea Market at Forte Greene we walked to the Brooklyn Bridge, past the most beautiful properties. Can I move to Brooklyn please?? Again, the streets were full of Halloween decorations and on a Saturday walking down Smith and Court Street through Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights was so buzzy with couples and families out at independent shops and cafes.

We got to Brooklyn Heights Promenade, amazed with the view.

Lunch was the best burger we've ever had. Shake Shack <3 under the Brooklyn Bridge in Dumbo. Their original location in Madison Square Park is closed for refurbishment this winter but this location suited us better anyway and there was no queue! 

Weirdly I don't like fries but Ben said they were good and I can vouch for the burgers and caramel shake. Mmn too good. The branch in London just doesn't taste the same, they've messed up by trying to use local ingredients but English cheese is too strong for a burger I think.

The sun came out when we came out of Shake Shack just in time for walking back to Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge and looking at the skyline.

That night was time for some more shopping in Macy's and around Herald Square stopping at Grand Central Station and Bryant Park en route. So much to see in NYC, I love it.

We got the subway back to our hotel from Times Square just to see all the madness again, on a Saturday night it was heaving! 

So that was Part 1, what a crazy fun couple of amazing days! Part Two next week with Central Park, Soho, The Staten Island Ferry and the MoMa. I love NYC. Have you been?

R <3 xx

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  1. A pillow menu!! As if!

    All looks wonderful, I'm drooling over those Pinkberrys. Although I have to disagree with you about the English cheese on a burger - the stronger the better for me. Can't wait for the next one xxx

    1. I'll happily try shake shack in London again we should go! Xx

  2. I looks like you both had a great trip in NYC! I love this city. I was there last year and I want to go again! I was there at Z hotel that I booked with The hotel has a great view of Manhattan. However, The Benjamin is way more better then what I was at. But the view made it worth it.


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