A few weeks ago my sister and I took a trip of our childhood dreams, after endlessly lusting for the city on our travel bucket list, we put down a payment and headed to New York City for a week and boy was it a trip to remember ( and thats not even discussing the 35 degree heat in tow.
Some things to know before heading out to New York…
You need an ESTA.
If you saw the relentless panic my sister and I had the day before we flew out in regards to short stay permits, we were calling Thomas Cook, ESTA office and even as far as the Embassy all for our entry for a week. If you are visiting America for under 3 months then they recommend an ESTA rather than a VISA - but boy what a stress.
2. Buy your City Pass online.
Again for any first time visitors like we were, you want to see all the famous sites that everyone boasts about - the top of the rock, the empire state building and the MET museums, but to save some coins city passes online before you go cost £90. Paying for each attraction whilst your there costs $20 per person on average.
3. Stack up on your amusements.
This is recommended for any long haul flight but if you are a fidgety flier than branch out with pre-downloaded Netflix series - my current vice being “Person of Interest” whilst my sister caught up on Suits. In addition to series, I shuttled my way through 3 novels, a sheet mask and finishing my city break starting on the beautiful “Slay in your Lane: The Black Girls Bible” - a must on any black woman’s shelves.
Whilst your there and where to stroll …
We stayed in a cute little hotel by Times Square, which if we were to go back I wouldn't do again, it was so chaotic at all times - you think London is bad? Nothing in comparison and with a mix of commuters and tourists the pace was unmatchable. I would definitely stay in Chelsea or the Meatpacking district or anywhere along the highland in Greenwich in fact. The space is fantastic, its clean, chilled and they have the best Wholefoods and restaurants not to far a walk.
If your tackling all of the main attractions get them done as early as possible as the queues are insane, we decided to walk to the Statue of Liberty from Times Square ( although a beautiful 2 hour stroll with stunning views ), we were over the attraction by the time we reached it in the midday sun and 2/3 hour queues - city pass already bought or not, we had to wait. In New York over the weekend? Embrace the slightly slower pace of the city with street markets and riding bikes through central park for 2 hours … a scene you cannot miss out on.
A Museum enthusiast like myself? Spending hours trawling around The Met and Natural History Museum was a delight … watching The Met Gala documentaries and finally getting to see the ‘Heavenly Bodies’ exhibition in person was honestly a dream come true - as if Anna Winter had walked the same hallways. Spending time in the Natural History Museum was an insightful experience with a 3D exhibition on space and beyond - even though we almost KO from all the walking and lack of food that day.
Take in every sight and every street corner because their is a lot of beautiful pieces of New York that you would miss by transport ( nobody was enjoying sitting in the New York traffic with 30 degrees beating through your window). Strolling through Soho was probably one of my favourite moments and hopping in and out of stores with bags in tow was a true Sex in the City moment - Carrie Bradshaw eat your heart out.
What I Wore …
Think smart but casual, think city chic - honestly with all the walking a heel was not in sight apart from the evenings when we were dining for dinner. Cortez, shorts and as many simple tees as possible, we were good to go from morning until night with a quick gym session mixed in there. Day dresses for long strolls - courtesy of Topshop, hair scraped back and iced coffee in hand ( honestly, Dunkin Doughnuts is the spot for great iced latte’s and cheap prices to go with).
Where to Eat …
The food in New York is divine, we carved out little Italy, China Town and the main spots on our map on the first day - planning days around food of course. Our favourite spot would have of been Carmine’s, known for its huge family portions and incredibly delicious food - food coma doesn't cover the old Italian joint near Times Square.
Until Next Time NYC.