22 November 2013

Doing New York

When you tell people you are going to New York you get so inundated with suggestions that it's hard to know what you can actually achieve in the time that you've got, especially when there are three of you to make decisions and a 1 year old to consider. I think we did pretty well at deciding what to see and we all loved the city to much I hope we'll return so I wasn't too anxious about missing those bits we didn't make it to.

I would like to say that we found New York to be really baby friendly. Even the places we were told were not baby friendly that we accidentally poled up at, were really lovely and accommodating and mostly had high chairs. I've done a whole separate post on where and what we ate while we were there - I'm still struggling to shift the New York weight.

Manhattan Sky Line from the Circle Line Boat
One thing that was consistently recommended to us and was I think, all of our favourite part of the holiday was the Circle Line Tour which is a trip around the island on Manhattan. Due to the tides we weren't able to go the whole way around Manhattan but the tour guide (David) was so fantastic it really didn't matter at all - we more than got our monies worth. Informative, funny and absolutely stunning this tour not only gets you really involved with the history of New York but helps you get a real grip of the geography. I may live in London but I was really intimidated by the idea of New York and yet it is so manageable and easy to understand once you get to know the layout and this tour really makes you feel like you've seen most parts of a city that would take a long time to see every part of - you could spend a good three months in the Metropolitan Museum of Art alone. If you do one touristy thing while you are in New York let it be the Circle
Line Tour. I hope you get David as your guide.

My lovely friend from school, Vanessa who has lived in New York for the past five years, took us on a walking tour of Midtown, Times Square, Greenwich Village and China Town. We were exhausted and our feet hurt and thought she was a turbo New Yorker - til we saw her two days later when she said every time we weren't looking she wept for her feet (a slight exaggeration I'm sure) and had to wear flip flops into work the next day her blisters were so bad. If you don't have someone to do it for you I really think a walking tour of the city is a great idea - I think you'd be hard pressed to see a lot of areas without a constructed tour by someone who knows what they're doing. What we didn't cover with the walking tour was Central Park which we did a couple of days later although we could only manage a couple of hours (due to our sore feet... thanks Vanessa). Central Park is just beautiful - and without sounding cliched and cheesy it was everything I wanted it to be. Huge swathes of green with skyscrapers in the background. I could spend a lot of time there.

Central Park from the top of the Rockefeller Centre
Probably the most 'touristy' thing we did was go to the top of the Rockefeller Centre - Top of the Rock. Apparently better than the Empire State building the view is phenomenal but there is a big queue to get up to the top and a HUGE queue to get down to the bottom again so be prepared. Central Park, so huge when you are in it, looks like a piece of patchwork. Had I not had a 1 year old I would have spent hours up there (not queueing to get down).

We had a couple of false starts with the shopping. I had a few specific things that I wanted, and failed, to get which I think really set us on the wrong path. Once we got advice (again from the wonderful Vanessa)  we were on a roll - I really recommend Ann Taylor, Loft and White House, Black Market. Joe got some lovely shirts from Loehmann's and if you are in the area it's definitely worth checking it out for discount designer clothes.

We, of course, went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (huge and a lovely cafe for lunch) and my Mumma (and Ned) went to the Museum of Modern Art (she said better to spend more time in the Met) and we all went to the Frick Collection which is just down the road from the Met and definitely worth a visit. There are so many famous pictures and artists in there it's pretty incredible and surprisingly few people have heard of it.

I fell in love with this city. It's intense and expensive but mesmerising and addictive. There is so much to do and see and yet I feel that, for a huge city it is quite an easy place to be. We stayed at the Marriott East and could not have been better placed or looked after - I'd really recommend staying in Midtown if you can as you really are able to get everywhere relatively easily and check out where I recommend eating here.

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