Sunday, 22 January 2017

New York Photo Diary // How to Spend a 4 Day Weekend in NYC



A couple of months ago I went to New York for the first time ever and since then I've been meaning to briefly share some highlights from the trip and a few recommendations for how to spend a long weekend there alongside some of the many, many, many photos I took. I can't just do a post full of pics, can I?

 I've decided against going all out and doing a full on New York 'guide' because I'm splitting my NYC posts in two with this one and another upcoming post with a Gossip Girl guide to New York so keep an eye out for that one on a coming Sunday to find out all the GG hotspots. Plus I filmed a haul when I got back that's still not gone up so there's a fair bit of New York content coming that's maybe a little (a lot) overdue considering I went when things were still Christmassy.






The Hotel

Hyatt Centric Times Square - I'd heard a bit about the Park Hyatt in New York from other bloggers, recommendations on Twitter and from when my favey favey Stan Wawrinka stayed there during the US Open and it looked amazing so we booked the Hyatt Centric in Times Square because I thought it was the Park Hyatt for some reason before realising my mistake about an hour later. No regrets though, the Hyatt Centric was wonderful and in an even better location. It's on West 45th Street between 6th and 7th Avenue, pretty much in the heart of Times Square and really close to the Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park and the Theater District - also v close to one of the Sephoras on Times Square which was ideal. The location would lead you to believe that it would be really noisy when it was the total opposite, so so quiet. The hotel itself was lovely, my favourite I've ever stayed in, and the views were beautiful. All the goals of waking up to a view of New York from above. We stayed on one of the higher floors because it's recommended and the views from the floor to ceiling windows didn't disappoint. If I go back to New York I'm gonna want to stay here again because it was so lovely.


Sightseeing

Empire State Building / Top of the Rock - With only a few days in NYC you may only want to choose one out of these two amazing viewpoints so you have time to fit in other stuff too. Whilst the Empire State Building is the most iconic of the two places, the Top of the Rock was our choice because it's meant to be quicker to queue and cheaper to go to but mostly because you can see the Empire State Building from up there, and having it in your photos makes them look even better. Going to the Top of the Rock really feels like you can see the entirety of Manhattan because you also have the Empire State in your view.

Statue of Liberty - Another v tourist-y thing that you just gotta do when you go to New York. We had a two hour boat ride that took us first past the Statue of Liberty then all the way around so we could see Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, the One World Trade Center and lots more of the city from a different perspective. Not to sound like a stereotypical millenial with the biggest first world probz going but I enjoyed the boat ride because it had free Wifi and, of course, being in another city in another country means you don't have 4G everywhere you go to stay up to date on tweets or instas or receive imessages and snaps. Obviously this is not my priority but we all know how much I love a bit of tennis and the day we did this boat ride was the day Murray and Djokovic played the final of the Tour Finals in London to determine who would be the new number one and I really wanted to know what was going on. I got on the boat as soon as Muzza won so had piece of mind before the trip started so I could probably enjoy it. My tennis priorities aside, it was nice that I could put pics from the trip straight onto Twitter and Snapchat as and when I took them going past each landmark and iconic sight. Plus, the boat was heated which was a dream considering I was ill for the duration of our trip and had been freezing cold all day running around New York in the Winter weather looking for the right Subway to take me to Brandy Melville - but that's another story. In short, taking a boat ride to see the Statue of Liberty is something everyone has to do when they visit NYC as a tourist so why not take a nice heated boat with Wifi? We went with Hudson River Cruises if this kinda ferry appeals to you.

Central Park - Central Park is what I think of when I think of that lovely New York lifestyle (probably because of Gossip Girl but that's a whole other upcoming blog post). If I lived in New York I imagine I'd spend my days wandering Central Park walking my non existent black French Bulldog Leonardo, sitting on a bench to read, walking through on a Sunday morning with a coffee in hand. Central Park was probably my favourite typical New York tourist thing to do because it's also so not a typical tourist thing - nothing against tourist things of course. It's mental that you're amongst one of the world's biggest and busiest cities but you're in a peaceful and beautiful park. If we'd been in New York longer I would've loved to spend a whole day just in Central Park doing as many of those imagined scenarios I have in my head. Even if you don't have the time to spend the day there, spend as much time as you can because it's beautiful. We also went iceskating in Central Park because it was November and Blair went iceskating there in Gossip Girl so duh.


Food

Cafe Bene - One of the things I wanted to do whilst in New York was have amazing, sweet breakfasts of waffles, french toast and pancakes with zero regrets and no cares about carbs or cals or whatever. On our first morning we went to Cafe Bene for waffles and they did not disappoint. I had a chocolate and raspberry waffle and it was one of the best things I've ever tasted. The waffle itself was beautiful and soft and warm, the ice cream went so nicely with it because it was so cold in comparison. We went to the 8th Ave location, there's not much in terms of seating but the waffle wouldn't be too hard to eat on the go or take somewhere, they all come in a handy lil cardboard box.

Starbucks - Ok, so I know Starbucks is literally everywhere. But I am one of those gyals who loves Starbucks a bit too much so going to a Starbucks in America where it ~all started~ was a very exciting prospect for me. It did not disappoint. First of all, Starbucks in America have cake pops that taste like heaven. They also have way more drink options than we do in the UK, their Christmas drink menu was just a bit impressive. There's also the matter of the Trenta size cups which let you have even more drink than a Venti. Oh, and their sweet iced teas are the best thing ever. I only drink coffee, not tea, but I spent the whole trip drinking iced peach teas. There's a Starbucks on pretty much every single corner of the street on New York, usually a fair few in a very close distance from each other. If you know me, you know that's my idea of heaven, so I kinda had to mention it.

Brooklyn Diner - You can't go to America and not go to a diner, so I lived the pancake breakfast dream here and I've never had better pancakes in my life. Not even these ones I had in the Gold Coast six years ago that were filled with Nutella that I always think about. There was no fancy presentation or toppings, just three proper buttermilk pancakes with strawberries and golden syrup, and they tasted better than anything I've ever had that's been more snazzy. I also had the best vanilla milkshake there, and I'm not at all a milkshake person (unless its the Oreo one at GBK).

Joanne Trattoria - Of course I had to go here. I owed it to 12 year old hardcore, delusional little monster me. I also love Italian food and still love Gaga. When you go out for pizza the restaurant can either really get it right or really get it wrong, and I'm always so deterred from ordering pizza out because of the times I've ordered it and it's really gone wrong. But Joanne's just got it right, so right. All of the food we ordered was proper Italian, done right and made right, and tasted unreal. The restaurant and its food have that homemade, traditional family vibe so you can totally trust that anything you order is going to be made the best it can be. Also the little monster mocktail was wonderful.

 
 



So that's how I spent my four days in New York. There's more coming in my Gossip Girl guide to New York which will be up asap rocky but for a more general overview with what to prioritise and where to eat when you don't have much time to explore I hope this helps you out if you're going to NYC for a bit.





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