Travel - New York Part 2

November 04, 2014

Following on from Part One, this is the second part of our long weekend in New York a couple of weekends ago.

We woke up early again on Sunday morning and realised that nothing would be open until around 10 or 11. It may be the city that never sleeps but on a Sunday nobody is in a rush, apart from Starbucks and the 24 hour pharmacies. That didn't worry us though as we hadn't been into Central Park yet this trip and couldn't wait for a walk around one of America's most iconic green spaces.

 It was a good time for a stroll as it was so quiet, a few dog walkers out but in some places we felt like we had the whole park to ourselves.

I kept thinking of all the movies that have been filmed in the park over the years, Home Alone, Serendipity, Sex and the City, it's so fun to look around and see such recognisable landmarks.

We entered the park by Fifth Avenue and did a loop walking past The Pond and bridge, then heading up past the Wollman Ice Rink, past the Dairy, down the Mall and to the Boathouse. I love the juxtaposition of the city towering above the trees but it's so peaceful in the park.

Love The Mall and it's long line of benches, it looks so gorgeous in every season. Imagine if it was dark and snowing, you'd see the flakes coming down in front of the lamp posts! 

The trees and leaves were beautiful and so autumnal. 

We decided to come back to Central Park tomorrow, on our last day, and as it was our last full day got the subway down to SoHo {the area south of Houghton Street} for the rest of the morning. The shops were open now and the sun came out, it was freezing that day though super sunny but a really cold wind. SoHo and neighbouring Nolita are areas that I've never really explored properly before, but have some really cool shops, brunch places and restaurants there now.  It's all be regenerated recently and has become a trendy fashion area. I guess it's similar to London's version of Soho without the seediness. I loved all the buildings with cast-iron facades that line the streets. It's great for shopping with your J Crew, a huge American Eagle, all your typical high street favourites in trendy buildings as well as the more designer stores. 

We spent a couple of hours browsing the shops and different streets, stopping in Dean and Deluca {Photo below}, a shop rivalling Selfridges Food Hall or Wholefoods. 

We had lunch on Spring Street followed by a... you guessed it Pinkberry! 

I love independent shops and craft/stationery boutiques to browse around. If I lived in New York I'd definitely send these Christmas cards to people back home.

We'd said that we weren't going to do the Staten Island Ferry again this trip but it seemed like too much of a sunny afternoon not to. It's a commuter ferry that's free and runs seven days a week, roughly every half an hour to Staten Island and back. The views of the lower Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty are amazing so it's well worth spending an hour for a return trip with such iconic views. The Freedom Tower was new to the view this time compared to the last time I was there and it stands proudly where the Twin Towers once were. It really is a striking feature recognisable across most of the city and beyond. 

You can take trips to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty but the view from the Ferry is good enough for me. 

It was super windy and {shush..} Ben was too scared to stand by the railings. but lovely to be out on the water on such a sunny afternoon.

The ferry docks at the Southern tip of Manhattan, next to Battery Park and just down the street from the financial district. Battery Park is beautiful and well worth a walk around if you're in the area. It's right next to the water too. 

We decided that we'd better start getting packed up for flying home the next day and headed back to our hotel, via Wholefoods to pick up some sushi and snacks for an in room picnic whilst getting sorted so we could maximise our time on Monday.

I could live in Wholefoods, such amazing food and fresh produce. Most of the time I'm super health conscious and love their range of alternative nutritious foods. Health rant over, we were in America so it would be silly not to eat a few of these too..

With full tummies it was time to pack up our new purchases. Ben practically bought a new wardrobe and I got a few new bits for the Autumm/Winter as well as some new Nike running clothes and beauty treats as well as some Christmas presents. A lot of things are much cheaper in the States, not everything but American brands tend to be almost half price.

We watched the sunset down Lexington Avenue out of our window on our last night in NYC. 

We made the most of our last day, Monday with delicious apple cinnamon oatmeal from Jamba Juice of all places and the sky was super blue again. We walked up the Avenue of Americas watching all the New Yorkers on their commute and headed into the park again for a longer walk, this time in the sunshine. 

We walked for nearly three hours, deciding that we were practically shopped out with full suitcases and we'd done a lot already in our first three full days so it was nice to really explore the park and get some more photos. We went up to the Jackie Kennedy Reservoir which has a one way walking/running track around it, we figured we might as well do a full loop to get the views from the other side.

It was well worth the walk, so peaceful and seemed a world away from America's most populated city and beeping horns. 

We headed back down towards the skyline through the Ramble, who knew that Central Park could be so wild and full of birds? 

After a slightly longer walk than expected, we were ready for a sit down and some lunch! It was back to an old favourite, The Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien Hotel near the park on 6th Avenue for a final American burger before going home. The burger joint was recommended to me, my Mum and Grandma on our first trip back in 2006 by a concierge and we fell in love, since then we've seen it crop up in all the top New York lists and newspapers, probably twice a year at least I see it mentioned in the Sunday Times Travel. If you didn't know it was there you wouldn't even notice it, just a neon burger sign at the end of a corridor behind a velvet curtain in the corner of the hotel lobby. If you're there around lunchtime you'll probably notice a huge queue of people with those in the know getting their fix. It's a tiny shack like room with every inch of wall written on by visitors and cardboard signs advertising the menu. You choose if you want your burger rare, medium rare, medium, well done etc. and your toppings. If you take too long you have to go to the back of the queue. It's hard to compare it to Shake Shack, if you're in New York try both. I think Shake Shack may just have the edge but it's still definitely worth a visit here. 

Just to complete the trip, we shared our fourth and final Pinkberry pumpkin fro-yo. So addicted! This branch at Columbus Circle had the best halloween decorations. 

It was then time to visit the MoMa, the Museum of Modern Art near the Rockefeller Centre. Every time I've visited New York I kept meaning to go to an Art Gallery but always ran out of time. Finally we made a conscious effort to go and were so pleased we did. We used to be members of the Tate Modern in London, Modern Art is the only kind of art I find interesting and this was really impressed me. We stopped en route for a photo of my favourite sculpture, LOVE by Robert Indiana. Ben made me a model of this for our first Valentines Day and I've got a miniature cast metal version. 

Admission is fairly pricey for the MoMa but if you're going to Top of the Rock or thinking of doing a few attractions in New York you can get a combined ticket that reduces the cost. We saw Matisse' Cut Out special exhibition included in the price and a few other impressive, super modern artists but no photos were allowed in most of the galleries. 

MoMa houses some iconic pop art which I love, Warhol's soup cans and some Lichtenstein which was cool. 

We spent a good couple of hours in the gallery before walking back to our hotel past the Rockefeller Centre and one last stroll on Fifth Avenue before heading to the airport {and picking up a Chipotle burrito en route to eat once we checked in! JFK doesn't have great food options so a burrito was heaven]. 

Bye bye New York, we had the best time! I would definitely recommend October as a lovely time to visit too, it's not too busy, generally has good weather and Fall is so beautiful.  

All these photos are making me miss it already! NYC will always be a favourite.

R <3 xx

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