New York is a city that I, like many before me, fell in love with it from the moment I first arrived.
My fourth visit to the city that never sleeps, at one point felt like it was never going to happen. Generally one leaves Heathrow airport with the feeling that better advantage could have been taken of the shopping. I can however vouch that seven and a half hours is more than enough time to explore every nook and cranny as well as being responsible for my credit card getting rather a battering. Even my husband who is usually reluctant to part with more than £15 for a shirt, treated himself to a blue checked one from Pink.
A free Pimms, a couple of glasses of champagne and many purchases later – we finally boarded the plane. We arrived at JFK in the early hours and finally rocked up at my Mums friend’s house on Long Island just in time for an early breakfast. The garden and my Mum’s friend’s hangover suggested her granddaughters graduation party the previous evening had gone off with a bang; what a shame we missed it – damn you American Airlines!
Not about to waste anymore time – sleep was abandoned for, would you believe, more shopping at Deer Park outlet mall. I couldn’t resist this Coach bag. Coach was founded in 1941 and began as a workshop in a Manhattan loft. I loved the bags long before their first flagship store was opened in London in 2011 and what a year to purchase one, as this year marks Coach’s 75th anniversary.
My husband must have had some sort of lobotomy on the flight over as he even purchased a number of labelled shirts! Following the shopping, refreshments were sort at, get this, a drive through Starbucks!
Leaving my Mum to catch up with her friend, my husband and I met some friends for a drink on one of Long Island’s many beaches. Later we finished our first day at a typical American diner.
The following morning, my Mum, my husband and I all boarded the train heading for Manhattan.
Being a die-hard Sex and the City fan; I was desperate to visit Carrie’s apartment on Perry Street. On a previous trip to New York, I had done the Sex and the City movie tour with a friend, but Carrie’s apartment is omitted from the tour due to complaints by residents.
After posing for the all important Instagram picture outside the apartment, we walked to the High Line garden. This is an urban regeneration project completed in 2014 which has made a raised linear park out of a disused rail line which served the industrial Meatpacking District and Chelsea. We did it because it was listed as one of the top sites in my guide-book and was one we hadn’t seen on previous trips. I don’t think we had been missing much! It was rather a let down and appeared as though it had been neglected of late.
It was a baking hot day so we paused for refreshments at the Bus Stop Cafe in Greenwich Village. I indulged in American pancakes.
Everyone was then dragged by me on a pilgrimage to the Manolo Blahnik store, which, eventually, I had to admit defeat on after Google maps sent us on some what of a wild goose chase. I’m sure my credit card was breathing a sigh of relief!
The subway took us down to Tribeca district and we went up One World Trade Centre which stands close to the site of the original twin towers that were. It is the tallest building in the Western hemisphere with the observatory standing at 1254 feet. What a fabulous view of the city and well worth a visit.
Afterwards we reflected on the horror of 9/11, the terrorist attack of 2001, as we looked at the many names of the victims around two waterfalls which stand on the sites of the original north and south towers.
Dinner was in another diner and then we saw Mum back on her train to Long Island from Penn station.
My husband and I walked from our hotel near Madison Square Gardens down to the East River. It was raining on and off but that didn’t put off the hoards of people going to see the 40th Macy’s Independence Day fireworks display. I got into the party spirit with a celebratory headband.
American’s celebrate 4th July as Independence Day as it is the anniversary of their independence from the UK which was obtained in 1776; not to be confused with what Nigel Farage dubbed our Independence Day on 23rd June with the Brexit vote. Incidentally everyone we met was keen to discuss Brexit and how we felt about it.
The fireworks were absolutely amazing and despite the number of people, it was a great party atmosphere. Even the Empire State Building was lit up in red white and blue.
We retired to a bar where I had a Cosmo – after all what else would I order in New York City?! A cab then took us back to our hotel.
I left the city that’s ‘so good they named it twice’, wanting more. I would have loved to have experienced the boating lake in Central Park had we had the time as well as exploring the shops of 5th Avenue. Perhaps next time I’ll visit during Thanksgiving. It certainly is a city I will never tire of.
Look out for part two of my holiday blog where we join the Maple Leaf train.