New York 9-15 April 2005-04-17
Well, what can I say ��� I���m gobsmacked. No other person, place or thing has made me feel as fantastic as New York city did. It was another world, a world in which I could completely let myself go and absorb all the beautiful and stunning visions that went before my eyes. Seriously, this city is hot, and I don���t think any other city in the world can make you feel as great as NYC did. Pictures are all in order of what we did each day, so enjoy������..
Friday 8th April 2005 ��� Stayed in the Radisson SAS hotel, Manchester Airport. Thought it was overly priced for what you got.
Saturday 9th April 2005 ���
Woke up 06:00am full of excitement. The moment was finally here after waiting 6 months. Got to gate at 09:40 ready to take off on BA flight at 10:00am. Flight was great ��� nice and smooth, no bumps. Now, when the Pilot announced we were 25 minutes from JFK, well, I couldn���t get my head quick enough stuck upto the window, awaiting the Manhattan skyline in anticipation. My neck was knackered after a while, but there she finally was ��� the land of the amazing. About 100 feet from touchdown we could see how grand the SOL stood amongst all the other sky scrapers. Anyway, got through Customs no probs in 20 mins. Did feel slightly intimidated, but I understood why they were so strict. Had finger print scans and then rushed outside the Terminal to a line of bright yellow Taxi Cabs (this is where the Camcorder came in too���). In the cab, and on the way to the city, we were so appreciative of how glorious the weather was (sunny, bright blue sky and 58degrees). Soon as we saw the horizon that little closer coming upto the tunnel, we sat there open mouthed. So many times we had seen this epic skyline in movies all our lives and now, we were there ourselves.
Got to Hotel 41, Times Square 41st W at 14:00pm.
Hotel was excellent, and everything we expected. Door staff friendly, reliable and polite, and the d��cor presentation of the hotel was excellent. We were an hour early, so had to disappear for an hour before we checked in at 15:00pm. So, that���s when we headed to Times Square.
Picture this, sun beating down, bright blue sky and the magical sound and sights of taxi cabs, bill boards, tourists along with the sweet smell of Pretzels. And all of a sudden I shouted t my partner ���There he is!!��� ��� yes, that���s right, the famous Naked Cowboy! Crowds gathered to take pictures in all different positions (I wasn���t a participant, as felt slightly shy!) as we stood there with the camcorder and camera in tow. We stood in the middle of TSq, amongst the amazing sights of Times Square, Marriot Marquis, TGI Fridays (where the famous Earthcam Webcam is), Virgin, Hersheys, TKTS, and the sunny reflections on all buildings that surrounded us.
After checking in at 15:00pm, we headed into the Subway and purchased a weeks METRO ticket (an absolute BARGAIN if I must say!) and we found the subway system quite easy to adapt to and it was all very exciting! So, we then headed straight down to Battery Park were we went to Wall Street with the intriguing NYSE, Ground Zero, slight peeks of the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building, Bryant Park and a quick walk down to Fifth Avenue���. and my favourite ���Century 21��� hahah. After a long and successful day, we went back to hotel to freshen up and get back into the sights and sounds of Times Square. We did have a fix itinery of which restaurants we were going to, but, we were that knackered from the flight, walk and time difference that we tried TGI Fridays. No luck ��� rammed. So, very tiringly, we headed around this side street to go to Rosie O���Grady���s. Looked nice enough and anyway, we were starving, so just went in there! To be honest, thought it was slightly overpriced and we weren���t that impressed with the food. Plus service was a bit slow too���.. We decided to head back to hotel after the meal for 22:00 as we were shattered. However, we wanted to get some sleep in to look forward going to see the YANKEES!!!!!
SUNDAY 10th APRIL 2005 ���
Man, were we excited! Slept like a log and awoke at 07:00am to get ready and all set up for the NY Yankees game at 13:10 against the Orioles. Weather again was BEAUTIFUL! Sunny, blue and warm, perfect for the game. Before there, we decided to pay another trip to 5th, 6th Avenue. There we saw all the lovely shops of Gucci, SAKS, Louis Vuitton, Armani, Bergdorf Goodman, FAO Schwarz, Tiffanys and Rockefella Centre. We saw the corner of Central Park on 59th St, 5th Avenue and the amazing Plaza Hotel on the corner too. We by passed Central Park as we had saved this till Thursday. So headed down 6th Avenue where I saw a glimpse of the Rainbow Room (SOOOO wanted to go in there after hearing about it!), Radio City Music Hall, the ���Love��� Symbol (what���s all that about?) and just in general took in the sight and sounds of 5th and 6th Av. Then it was time we headed to Yankee Stadium around 10:15 am. Best to get there early to avoid the crowds! You could tell the Yankees were playing as nearly everyone on the tube we got on was wearing Yankees caps/jackets! Was slightly nervous going there to be honest as I had a camcorder in my bag (I know it���s forbidden to take in Camcorders, but it was for the rest of our day out), so was absolutely cra**ping myself when I got to security where he asked to see inside peoples bags. Good enough, I got through but nearly had a heart attack at the same time (camcorder was pretty small, so he didn���t see it hidden at bottom of bag���phew!!!!). Anyway, got a program for 7 bux, and headed to Tier 16 row X. Bloomin ell, we were right at the top!! Amazing views and I was slightly nervous of the height we were at. I loved the little saying that the yanks came out with ���LET���s GO YANKEES���.���, and the little quizzes in between games/rounds etc. Beer was mega expensive so made it last 2 hours! Game was excellent (for me, just being there was amazing!!), but they lost���big surprise!? We didn���t stay till the end, so got off around 15:30pm (and so did half the stadium because of how poor the Yankees were playing). Another thing which amused me. When the blokes who throw packets of nuts into the crowds like they���re throwing a baseball, and also how trustworthy people are passing 5/10 dollars along the rows to each person to pay for the nuts. Mad, but very exciting! (Thought they were free at first, so put my hands down after I realised they weren���t!!).
Next, headed to Lexington Av, to go and get the Roosevelt Island Tram ��� you MUST do this!!! Amazing views and just an experience in itself. I could use my METRO card to pay for it, so it saved us a couple of dollars! Views were amazing, but it was the weather that really set it off (and the pictures as you can see!). Once we got to Roosevelt Island, chilled out on the grass verge just taking it all in, and basking in the warm Spring sun. After 45 mins, back over to Manhattan and paid a visit to the lovely ���SUBWAY INN��� just next to Bloomingdales. I really liked this bar, as it was cheap, cosy, welcoming and a dark place with fluorescent lights next to each table.
We then headed to Grand Central station ��� amazing, and then grabbed a Pretzel outside on Madison (I think). Didn���t really like pretzels, thought the large grains of salt was a bit too much, but the bread was ok!! Since we were in the Empire State Building vicinity, we thought we���d go up there at sunrise (it was around 18:00pm). There was no line atall when we got to the main entrance, so headed inside, up the escalators and into this queue ��� and that was the start of it. The queue���s just seem to bend around every corner ��� it was like a Labrynth! When we thought we actually got somewhere, there was another queue! Passed through security, and got the lift to the 80/86th? Floor. Then, another queue. :o(
Got to the top eventually about 1 hour later, but the sun had already set, so we only got to see it at night time! But, it was breathtaking, and really hard to convince myself at times that I was actually there. Breathtaking. Went in the little tourist shop (wow, what a place to work, how lucky having that view!), and then after an hour, headed back down feeling very tired. That night we got room service at the hotel as we were too tired to go anywhere else!
MONDAY 11th APRIL 2005 ���
Today was the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Helicopter Trip, Soho, Tribecca, Washington Sq Park, Christopher Street.
The ferry trip on the Circle Line cruise was amazing. Another glorious day, but slightly chilly. I was so eager to capture a picture where you can see the person on the boat, but with the Financial Skyscrapers in the background ���and I got it! Statue of Liberty was amazing, however, thought she���d be a lot bigger? (Don���t know whether anyone else thought the same?). I couldn���t get over the security. Oh my god. Lockers could only be opened by Finger print id, and the you go into this machine which feels like you are on the Star Trek ship where they blast you with quick cold air to detect for explosives. I had to take my shoes off and my belt. Very tight indeed. The tour guide in there was absolutely boring. He kept on saying numerous times ��� The statue was a gift from the French ���., over and over again. So after 5 mins out of the 15 he talked, we just slipped away up to the little museum bit. Then we got in this little glass lift, and upto the balcony. THEY HAVE STOPPED TRIPS TO THE CROWN since 9/11, so now you can only go as far as the base which was a little disappointing. Got loads of pics, and boarded the ferry next to Ellis Island. I knew a little of the history, and I mean a little, so It was really interesting to pay a trip here and learn about the 12 million immigrants that passed through this tiny island.
After getting back on the ferry to go back to Battery Park, we headed straight to Downtown Manhattan Heliport for our Helicopter trip. It was amazing! I was slightly disappointed that they didn���t actually go ���over��� Manhattan, rather than up the Hudson River (they say in their leaflet you are that close to the SOL you can almost touch her, wasn���t quite like that���). But it was probably due to security���.again. Trip lasted 12 mins and was called ���The Big Apple��� with Liberty Helicopters. Id definitely recommend doing the trip, but wasn���t happy with their service. Waited an hour to get on the helicopter even though we booked it for exactly 12:30pm, and they never kept you informed about what was going on. However, id do it again, but the longer trip!
Next, tried to call my mum back in the UK for about an hour after shouting at the phonebox, turns out I didn���t put enough dollars in (put 3 in , but you are mean to put at leat 5), so was slightly annoyed at that, lol. We then headed uptowards City Hall and passed J&R which was really good, but I heard that B&H was better. Went to this lovely little bar/eatery (sorry forgot name!), but it was english themed and just located in a side street.After that we walked ��� couldn���t believe it ��� all the way to Greenwich village!! It was another gorgeous day, but feet were killing! Saw Canal Street which we were going back to the day after to get them lovely Louis Vuitton/Gucci bags!!!! We decided to have a good few drinks around the Washington Square Park area (didn���t realise Christopher Street was gay orientated!, lol). Went to this lovely bar called ���Boxers��� were the staff were really hospitable and friendly. It was buy one get one free, so we were in our element! Left there around 20:30pm from 17:00(ready this local newspaper where there was a column on ���Advice���. This bloke wrote in (gay) and said he had experienced drugs and had a mad session with this guy while drugged up���.��� Anyway, it was pretty graphic than what we normally get in the UK (realised that we are quite prude..), and swear words aswell, which all gets blocked out of the UK papers). Cut through Washington square park where we encountered this rapping, dancing homeless black guy, singing to us at our videocamcorder! It was hilarious at first, but after 3-4 minutes, we felt a little nervous, so quickly made our exit! Went to this restaurant next to the NY Uni (cant remember name, arrgh!), but it had a life sized yellow cab inside, and mostly served Burgers, etc. Nice :��� enjoyed that. Got cab back to hotel (8 dollars, very cheap!), and got some ZZZZZ���s in.
TUESDAY 12TH APRIL 2005 ���
Today we decided to pay a trip to B&H, Madison Square Garden, Penn Station, Union Square back to Washington Sq Park in the day time, and Canal Street to get them bags!
B&H was another world, ive never seen anything like it. I firstly noticed all the Jewish people, and how many there were (can anyone tell me why they have curly pieces of hair as their sideburns, im very intrigued!). This is the best place to go for electrics ��� my boyfriend bought an Apple Ipod for 199 dollars, which is about 125 quid, for a 4GB one which is cheaper than in the UK. You have to have at least Windows 2000/XP to use it back at home by the way! Left there and headed passed what I think looks like the biggest Post office in the world! Its enormous!! I hear that in 4/5 years time this is going to be the new Penn Station??? We also passed Madison Square garden which was pretty visually good. The most exciting thing I was looking forward to was CANAL ST! Seriously,its really difficult getting fake designer goods back in the UK that actually look real. So when I go there, I was like a kid in a sweet shop. The first 6-10 shops I was a little disappointed as didn���t see NO Louis Vuitton bags or Gucci, just ���Bucci��� or ���LX��� bags instead of LV ��� get it? Lol. This one shop had loads of fake designer sunglasses though!! So I got a pair of Gucci and Armani ones for ��18 the pair! Bargained the Chinese lady down 2 dollars, although wish it was a bit more now! They look so real though with ���made in Italy ��� Emporio Armani written on the side of the lense, and so on. Walked a few more yards and noticed something a bit suspicious (I remember someone saying that the fake LV, and Gucci bags are normally hidden because of the cops), so I saw a few English women excitingly gathering around this pull down shutter of a shop and there I saw the bags I was after ! (pics of bags are at the end of this day���s report). Louis Vuitton bag cost me 32 dollars from 45, so bargained him down well. Gucci one was also 32 dollars from 45. Also got a Louis Vuitton purse ��� lovely !!!
After my trip to Canal Street bypassed Little Italy, China Town and then headed back down towards Fiancial District ���down Wall Street and on to Ground Zero again. Headed back to our hotel for around 18:30pm to change and went for something to eat in ���Applebys��� is it, opposite the NY Yankees Official Shop inTimes Square?? Absolutely delicious food!! Serves burgers, steaks, breaded shrimps and everything else!! They don���t do things by halves in NY do they, the portions are massive!!! Had a final wonder in Times Square (Virgin store is MASSIVE!) and then back to hotel to look at my bags ���.hahah.
WEDNESDAY 13th APRIL 2005 ���
Well this was the day I had been waiting for ALL week! SHOPPING DAY!!! Me and my boyfriend decided to go our own way for 4 hours to do our own shopping (I don���t like it when partners accompany women in shopping as they don���t give opinions and they mon at the number of clothes we try on!!!hahha). So it was a mutual and exciting decision to do our own thing from 09:00 till 14:00. I went to Macy���s (got my 11percent discount!!), and bought MAC make-up ��� HAD TO! A bag, Clinique make-up, then headed down to the famous CENTURY 21!!! You have gotta go there girls!!! Shopping heaven! However, not as good as I thought it would be ��� why? Well, I thought the blokes had more choice of clothes than the women to be honest. Was expecting to see D&G, Gucci clothes somewhere, but I didn���t ��� it was mainly CK, Ralph Lauren, DKNY, Sean John (p diddy clothing label) and mostly American makes���..so only ended up buying 3pairs of shoes (only���haha). The shoes were good value and quality, but not that amazing to be honest. Bit of a letdown, but definitely worth a visit! Next, went to 5TH AV!!! That���s right folks, my first trip was to Tiffany���s were I bought a necklace with a pendant ���Please Return to..��� range. ���Tiffany & Co ��� New York���. I cant tell you how excited I was walking into one of the most famous jewellers in the world!! Felt a bit of a scruff even if I did have my fake Gucci glasses wearing trainers, but I didn���t care!!! 3rd floor was the silver jewellery section (couldn���t afford the 2nd floor!). I knew more or less what I was buying as I had looked at the Tiffany website before I came to NY. The necklace (which is similar to a Navy Officers ID chain) cost me 172 bux including tax. But the most exciting thing was seeing him gift wrap it in a special sky bluue pocket, which is then place inside the Tiffany & Co box, and tied with a bright white bow. AWWWWWW!! I cant tell you how happy I was just being there, on my own, in that store in NY! Walked out feeling like a MILLION dollars -okay- 172 dollars! Went into Armani next and bought a pair of flipflops!! Haha, I know you are all laughing BUT, 2 things! 1. My feet were full of blisters from my new trainers that I needed flip flops and 2. Sad to say but, the Armani bag was pretty nice!!hhaha. Felt a right muppet walking in and just buying a pair of 20 dollar flip flops (thought they were a bargain actually!), but the assistant looked at me like I had a banana on my head! ���Is this all you want madam���? Basically she was expecting me to buy more���not less. However, I proudly showed off my Tiffany bag to them in a way that said ���whatever������ and walked out. Next, SAKS. Bought YSL Touche Eclait (not that much price difference, WAIT TILL DUTY FREE IN AIRPORT!!!!), and the assistant thought I was loaded because of the Tiffany bag I was carrying, she said ���wow, I bet theres something expensive In there!��� ��� I had to laugh to myself, and replied ���well, im not saying���.���. LOL. From there walked into Lexington Avenue uptowards Bloomies (aka Bloomingdales) to meet my boyfriend in the ���Subway Inn��� once again! I walked in with half a dozen bags and he had 2!! Typical bloke. Paid a quick visit to Bloomingdales (wasn���t that impressed, though Macys was better, less snobby!), and over to the LEVI���s store to get a pair of reaaallllyy cheap jeans! How much of a rip-off country do the Brits live in !!! We were shattered (well I was), so headed back to hotel.
Went for something to eat which was literally 20ft from our hotel door called the ���Lobster Bar��� ��� Im SURE someone recommended this, so we went there. I was WELL impressed! Had lobster, Shrimp AND Crabs legs!! I really like this place and its on the corner of 41st W, with a massive (15ft) plastic lobster above the restaurants door!! You cant miss it! It serves steak too, so its handed if one of you just likes English food!
Next, we go the Subway to the Brookyln Bridge. OH. MY. GOD. The views of a night time were amazing!!!! As you can see from the photos, the camera wasn���t in focus much which we were annoyed about, however, you can get the general idea of how beautiful the scenery/lights were! Especially the sky and lights illuminating from the skyscrapers!! The walk across took about 15 mins and was spectacular! Back to hotel for 20:30pm to look at what we bought. :oD
THURSDAY 14th APRIL 2005
Well, this was our last day and I cant tell you how depressed I felt. It did feel like I had been there a long time, but, it was still 5/6 days we were there. Today was Central Park day ��� a day to reflect on our trip and chill out on the grass and talk about how much of a fantastic time we had. Yes ��� Central Parks is MASSIVE, not what I expected, but we got some beautiful photos of the day ��� and once again, the weather topped it all off���������. Got the famous Tavern on the Green photo shot and chilled out in the lovely warm weather on the Large Green. Passed Alice in Wonderland Statue, Wollman rink (which was closed, aswell as Rockefellers), and made friends with the squirrels!!!hahah. We also paid a visit to the Dakota Building were John Lennon was shot (I lived around the corner from were he was born, so it was sombre to see the place where he had died���), and also Strawberry Fields (the 2nd version, the 1st is in Liverpool���.). Then sadly, it was time to head back to our hotel���.NOOOOOOOO!!! God, I was really dreading going home!!! Eather was fabulous all week and I just knew the british weather was cra���..rubbish. Walk down 5th Av at the side of Central Park (seemed like an eternity of a walk!) and paid a visit to FAO Schwarz!! OH MY GOD ��� what a place!!! A kids fairytale dreamland! Soft toys as big as a house, and of course���.the famous Piano!!! Remember the film ���BIG��� with Tom Hanks?? Well, we were just in time for the hourly show were they replicate the dance on the piano like they did on the movie. I sware to god I was dumbstruck. Just���..dumbstruck at how I could be there! I bought a Muppetstoys of ���Animal��� and ���Rizzo��� the rat, as I just think they are hilarious muppets!!! At a cost of 18 dollars each and about 18 inches long, I thought It was a bargain!!! Walking out of that���s store with a MASSIVE ��� FAO Schwarz bag was amazing (ive kept the bag!!hah). Can anyone tell me the history of FAO Schwarz? Why did it shut down for a while and who is Schwarz?
Anyway, checked out of hotel (had to buy an extra suitcase!!) and the lovely doorman fetched us a yellow cab (of course we tipped him, and generously!) we were on our way to JFK for our 18:00 flight. I was sick. I mean emotionally at the thought of going back to Liverpool (yes, some of you brits know what its like, so you understand!!). I was exhausted on the flight, yet ecstatically happy that I had experienced probably the best city to go in the world ��� I don���t care what anyone else says. I felt wonderfully happy, content and excited at the idea of going back���������within the next 12 months.
LINK TO PITCURES -
To anyone who���s going, you will certainly experience the time of your life.Appreciate very moment you have, absorb all the sounds and feelings you can and just let yourself go in this wonderful city called NewYork.