Culture and Travel, General

A-Z OF NYC!

Hi lovely readers,

I was thinking about how to best express the wonderful time I had in New York and how to give you the best tips and tricks for when I hope you get the chance to visit. I have decided to give you the alphabet of top moments and places from New York so you have a great variety.

A- Atmosphere

When I first arrived I was in complete and utter awe. It is really as magical as they say. My first tip is to take it all in! You take a few days to adjust especially if jet lag affects you worse than others. So once you have adjusted just soak everything in, use your senses, don’t miss a thing. TOP TIP: Look at the pavements some of them have sayings and plaques upon them that you’d miss if you didn’t look at it all. Smell all the smells, taste all you can and listen to the sounds – especially the sirens they are very strange!

B- Brooklyn Bridge 

Brooklyn Bridge was so wonderful. It was definitely one of my highlights. TOP TIP: Walk over from Brooklyn to Manhattan that way you get to see the beautiful view of the city and you get to walk into Manhattan which was fab.

Here I am wrapped up in multiple layers because it was v v cold!

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C- Christmas Spectacular ft. The Rockettes

Without a doubt this was the best show we saw. It was amazing. It was so festive and had so many aspects that you would need to go a couple times to catch them all! I would 1000% recommend this if you are looking for some Christmas magic and its perfect for families too. TOP TIP: Take your photos inside and buy your souvenirs on the day as we weren’t sure what we wanted so went back but it was very very awkward, we had to be escorted by security so it was hard to take pictures!

D- Dylan’s Candy Bar 

Apparently this is the sweet shop with the largest variety in the world! I went in by accident after we needed a sugar rush after a rather rainy day. It was very big and there were so many sweets. It was great to try so many American sweets, I love Mike and Ike’s and Sour Patch Kid’s but Twizzlers aren’t as good as the British version!

E-  Ellen’s Stardust Diner

Another massive highlight of the trip, this was the most fabulous restaurant I have ever been to! So if you don’t know the waitstaff are singing servers, they get up mid service and belt out a Disney song. It is so fun! The food is so yummy too, you get biiiiggg portions but I still managed three courses! TOP TIP: They don’t take reservations and their queues are out the door for dinner so we went for lunch and only had to wait ten-fifteen minutes.

F-  Friends building 

So many people are in love with Friends and I am included! I love Friends so much, it is one of my favourite TV shows. Which is why I had to go to the West Village and see the Friends building. It was so amazing, I was slightly disappointed Central Perk wasn’t really underneath but luckily I knew that before going so I was able to avoid complete and utter disappointment! IMG_0009

G- Grand Central Station 

Grand Central Station is one of New York’s oldest buildings and it feels so new. When you are there its like stepping back in time. It is so busy yet the sound is so muffled it really is beautiful, I think this should be near the top of your list! Luckily our hotel was only a minutes walk away so we got to explore it quite well but even a quick visit is worth it.

H- Harlem Gospel Choir 

The Harlem Gospel Choir was absolutely incredible! The singers were out of this world, they managed to reach levels of talent I didn’t even know were possible. If you can’t get to see this particular choir there are a few gospel choirs around if you do your research. TOP TIP: Stick around afterwards and they will sell and sign merchandise and they even took a selfie with me!

I- Itinerary

I am a complete and utter organisational freak when it comes to holidays so I had to have one for NYC! I planned everyday pretty much down to the tee with some room for switching about incase of weather and it was so worth it. I booked all the shows and restaurants before we went so that we could make sure we got in. Its so lucky we did this as the restaurants we really wanted to go to were all fully booked and had at least a two hour wait.

J- Jewellery shopping 

NYC is the perfect place to go jewellery shopping or have someone go shopping for you (if you’re that lucky!) The conversion rate really cheapens things and gives you some extra money to spend doing other fun things in New York. For instance, we went to Pandora and managed to get our charms for £25 each once you converted it!

K- Knicks! 

Another highlight! We went to see the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Christmas day and it was such a good decision! It was brilliant, the atmosphere was incredible and the slice of pizza was a lot less stressful than a full Christmas dinner. We got pretty good seats and we could see everything go on rather than just the court which was good.We don’t know the rules of basketball but once we were a quarter through we were cheering like no tomorrow! Plus foam fingers were only six bucks and if thats not a bargain I don’t know what is! TOP TIP:  Get your snacks during game play, there are hardly any queues and you only miss a few minutes of the game!

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L- Locations, Locations, Locations!

NYC is full of set locations for so many of my favourite TV shows including Brooklyn 99, Friends and Gossip Girl (I will do a separate post on the best ones!) It was so amazing to stand where they stood and channel my inner Blair Waldorf, chequered skirt and all whilst sitting on the MET steps.

M- Markets 

Make sure you hit up Bryant Park for the most beautiful Christmas market and ice skating rink. It was really magical and is definitely up there with the Rockefeller Centre when thinking about festive displays. Plus hands down best Mocha in the city. TOP TIP: You can get some great earmuffs from here that are so warming and it helps a local business rather than the big companies!

N- New York Public Library

Bryant Park is just behind this library so you can make a day of it! This library is a thing of dreams for book nerds like me and is very reminiscent of Trafalgar Square, after all they both have giant lions. The gift shop has every book related product you can think of and the most beautiful Christmas tree.

O- One World Trade Centre and the 9/11 memorial 

One World Trade Centre is so tall and magnificent, it is a real pride of the Manhattan sky line. The 9/11 memorial sits next to the Centre and it really makes you think about the buildings that are missing. The emptiness of the space that used to hold two powerful buildings really gets to you as you walk around the corner. The names as part of the memorial is such a lovely way to remember the people that are gone. They place flowers in the peoples names when it is their birthday which was really touching. I would definitely say visit and take in the memorial as it really puts your life into perspective and inspires you to live on for those who suffered in the attack.

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P- Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel

So we went for afternoon tea at the Plaza and it was so fantastic. The food was scrumptious and you got so much for your money (you pay quite a sum) and you can take some back with you which we did not know so we squeezed it all in so we didn’t waste any money! It made us feel so elegant and classy which was the perfect mood for the New Year, I would definitely say go!

Q- Quarters and Cents 

So this is more of a tip by itself than a place but you definitely need to save up to go! We managed to save up quite a lot but we had been saving for about 13 months and we had just enough to do everything we wanted.

Also tipping is a big thing in the US, so much so that when we didn’t tip enough they came back and asked for more at the Plaza! So when thinking about saving take that into consideration.

R- Russian Tea Room 

This was just as beautiful as expected so make sure you visit here! Its decoration is so ornate and detailed that you can’t do it justice with words you just have to see it! The food is excellent you can get a whole mixed basket full of many pastries and breads and then get some pancakes which are heavenly!

S- Statues and Monuments 

Central Park is full of magical statues and monuments that will take you right back to bedtime stories! You can sit with Alice in Wonderland and have a story read to you by Hans Christian Anderson. You can see NYC’s version of Cleopatra’s Needle and look at the wonderful giant Christmas baubles near Radio City Hall. There are so many wonderful and different monuments in the city that you can easily miss them so keep your eyes peeled!

T- Times Square 

This was top of my list when we made the itinerary, the wonderful bright lights of Times Square are something I have wanted to see since a very young age! I finally got there and got to take it in! It was so inspiring to the actress within me and I loved seeing the hustle and bustle of the city amongst the wonderful theatres.

U- Underground (Subway) 

Yes, its slightly dirty and slightly smelly but its so much fun! Its so funny seeing the difference between the underground and the subway, the underground is so much more modern which is something I thought I’d never say! The subway doesn’t have escalators and the trains look they are made of tin. However the subway is so simplistic which was very convenient for tourists! I would definitely recommend getting a couple trips and seeing real New York with the buskers and performers. TOP TIP: Get a metro card so you can go on multiple journeys without worrying about paying.

V- Views (Top of the Rock/Empire) 

You can see whole of Manhattan and a lot of New York from these observation decks and its so wonderful. Out of the two I would say that Top of the Rock is best because you can see the Empire State Building and get some awesome pictures (such as the one below.) I would definitely try and fit one in but both gives you optimal views and opportunities to see the sky line. TOP TIP: Invest in going VIP as you can skip the queues which means you can get to the top and back a lot quicker, without it some have been known to wait five hours!

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W- Walk with Wildlife!

Make sure you keep your eyes open for all the wonderful wildlife you can see! It was so unexpected to see such a variety in such a big city but because of Central Park and the other smaller parks you can see so much! I even saw a wild racoon which was a brand new experience! TOP TIP: Get a horse carriage ride around Central Park to see some beautiful scenes and see the nature in all its glory.

X- todaytiX 

This is a ticket buying service for shows all over the world! It was so good as you booked your ticket online for a discounted price and would then meet somebody at the theatre to collect your tickets. It was so reliable and convenient and really helped us feel relaxed on the trip! You can get to their website here!

Y- Yummy food 

So after all the yummy food I put on a little bit of weight and it was so worth it! The food was excellent and there is such a variety. Make sure you can try as many places as possible and get a true taste of NYC. The Irish pubs are so scrumptious as are the famous places such as Sardi’s and Russian Tea Room but also the little places you find. I found the best pizza in a small place on a side street so make sure you go exploring but book in the ones you really want to go to. Also if you love Cake Boss head to Carlos Bakery in Hoboken, you can get a train which takes about twenty minutes and its so worth it for these Tiramisu’s!

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Z-  catch some ZZZZ’s book the right hotel! 

Last but not least make sure you book a hotel that isn’t too far from the activities you want to do! It was so convenient being so close to Fifth Avenue and having Grand Central station next door and being able to get the subway to everywhere. We got a really good deal on booking.com so check that out. Also it was good to have it close as when we got tired we were able to go back, have a nap and then be reenergised for the evening! Top Tip: Give yourself some time to relax! You get so busy and manic that you need some time to chill otherwise you won’t be able to fit it all in you’ll be that tired! We got room service and had a bath and made sure we had some good NYC TV on on the nights we had nothing planned.

So that is my 26 places, tips and tricks for NYC. I hope you enjoyed them let me know! Hopefully I have given you some food for thought and ideas for your trip! I hope you have the most wonderful time and enjoy one of the best cities in the world!

Much Love,

Hannah Jayne Artis ❤

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