Three weeks ago I was lucky enough to go on my dream trip; to New York City. It’s the one place I’ve wanted to go to for as long as I can remember so when it became the family holiday destination, excited is an understatement. There are countless reasons as to why New York was my dream destination. Firstly, I’m unashamedly a huge Gossip Girl fan, which speaks for itself. Secondly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is my favourite movie of all time so it was my dream to go to Tiffany and Co. on 5th Ave and see Holly Golightly’s apartment. It’s also my dream to do my post-graduate course in journalism at NYU and seeing the campus was on my to-do list. There are many many more reasons, but I won’t bore you with listing all of them.
The fastest way to get to New York from Christchurch still took a very long time. We flew, Christchurch – Auckland – Houston, Texas – Newark Airport in New Jersey. From there we caught a cab into Manhattan which is something I would highly recommend. Seeing the city slowly come into view is something I’ll never ever forget. We arrived in the evening and seeing all the lights come on was incredible.
We were in New York for 10 days in the middle of their Spring and the weather was unusually good for that time of year, not that any of us were complaining. Through Airbnb we were lucky enough to land an apartment on the Upper East Side (Gossip Girl anyone?), which was an incredible place to stay and only a 10 minute walk from the nearest subway station. Once we got to our apartment we went straight to bed and waking up the next morning to the honking of horns was the best feeling ever!
On the first day there we decided to go to the top of the Empire State building and the view from up there was incredible. Seeing the scale of the city and the endless amount of buildings made me feel pretty small I will admit.
One of my favourite places in NYC is Central Park. As soon as you enter the park, you feel like you’ve teleported to a completely different place. The sounds of the cars disappear and you’re surrounded by the most beautiful trees and buildings. We decided to bike around the park which was actually really fun, and that’s coming from someone who hasn’t ridden a bike in many years. We hired bikes from a shop near Columbus Circle which is at the South West corner of the Park and biked around the park from there, stopping at a few places along the way. My favourite spot in the park was Bethesda Terrace as it was so beautiful and if you’re a Gossip Girl fan then you’ll understand the significance of this place…
Another highlight, and my parents favourite part, was the High Line in Chelsea. The High Line is an old railway track that has been turned into a really nice walkway lined with plants and seating above the city. It begins in Chelsea and you end near the Meat Packing District. The walk took us about 2 hours, but we did stop for a lot of photo ops and went down to a cafe for coffee. This is must do in New York as the views are really great and it’s a relaxing thing to do in your morning or afternoon.
Times Square. I don’t even know how to describe this place. Lights everywhere, busy, busy and, well, very busy. Times Square is tourist central, locals don’t go near the place and I totally understand why. Personally, the endless crowds of tourists was a little much (even though I was one of them myself). However it is a must do while in the city; seeing the lights and where the ball drops on New Years Eve was overall a really cool experience.
Despite the amazing view at the top of the Empire State Building, the view from the top of the Rockefeller centre was even better. From up here you get views of the Empire State and Central Park, and on a clear blue day, the city looked stunning. If you only choose to go up one of the buildings, this is the one, trust me.
Another must-do in NYC is walking over the Brooklyn Bridge into Brooklyn. The bridge took about half an hour to walk across and the views of Manhattan that you get are incredible. We didn’t venture very far into Brooklyn; we spent the evening in DUMBO (Down Under the Brooklyn Bridge) then sat along the water front to see the skyline once it got dark and I’m telling you, those views might have been my favourite.
This post would not be complete without a comment on the shopping. 5th Avenue is truly the most beautiful place I have ever laid eyes upon. It’s literally designer store after designer store. My dreams did come true as I shopped at the same Tiffany and Co. that was in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, so I came home a happy girl. Clothing wise, there is a lot to choose from. Zara was by far my favourite shop as the pieces were both casual and sophisticated; I ended up picking up a leather jacket there which I’m really happy about. I personally think that Soho is the best area to shop in as all the good shops are really close to one another, plus the cast iron buildings in Soho give the area a really urban and almost grungy feel.
I could honestly go on and on about this trip, it was truly the trip of a lifetime and I would do anything to be back there. I did end up getting to see the journalism campus at NYU. I met with four members of staff who were extremely insightful, friendly and told me everything I needed to know about the course there. It’s only made me want to study there so much more. A few more places I highly recommend seeing if you’re in the big apple are the Metropolitan Museum and Guggenheim Museum; they are both incredible. The 9/11 memorial and museum was one of my favourite parts of the trip, it was so humbling and informative, it’s well worth going. Going to a show on broadway is also something I recommend, we went to Jersey Boys on our last night and it ended the trip on a really good note!
If New York is a place you want to go, don’t stop at anything to go there. The feeling you have when you’re there is indescribable. There is something in the air of New York; it’s called the city that never sleeps because you truly don’t want to!
New York, I love you
By Sophie K.