Things We Did in New York

New York in February

Stayed at the Distrikt Hotel W40th St   8th/9th Ave      GMT Plus 5 hours

We flew with Continental at 9.00 am to Newark Liberty taking 8 hours. We arrived at 5.00 pm but only12.00 midday in New York.

Our room wasn’t ready so we dumped our cases and walked to Times Square WOW what a buzz place…hundreds of Yellow cabs and so many cops.

We went into Hard Rock café for a snack and drink which was very interesting as there were loads of memorabilia and instruments everywhere and different Bands playing on big screens.We then walked along 50th St. to Rockefeller Centre to get the tickets for the “Hop on and Hop off” bus. While we were there we decided to go up to Top of the Rock which is ten floors short of Empire State. It was a fantastic view down to the Brooklyn Bridge and Liberty Statue in the South and Central Park in the North. It was so sunny with blue skies that we just sat up there sunbathing and dangling our poor tired feet. We came down and watched the ice skating for a while. This rink is the one often in films with a giant Christmas tree and flags and waterfalls round it.

The next day we left our at 9.00 to get the uptown loop bus round Central Park which passes the Lincoln Centre, Metropolitan Opera House, Dakota Apartments where John Lennon was shot and Strawberry Fields .The Imagine Memorial is here in Central Park. St John Cathedral, and Guggenheim Museum, and Museums of Art, Natural History, Design, etc. Not enough time to go in any. We got off the bus and went in the Palm Court in the New York Plaza Hotel for Brunch. More food than tea at the Ritz in the UK!! It is a marvelous elegant hotel and one of Americas most celebrated .For over a 100 years it has been the hotel to stay in New York. Many films were made here from Home Alone to The Way We Were and Bride Wars. I would love to stay here if I returned. We then went for a ride on the horse and carriage round Central Park.In the afternoon we got on the Downtown Loop bus to get our bearings. We passed Times Square, Broadway theatres, Macys, Madison Square Garden (an eyesore and no gardens) the Empire State Building, Flatiron Building, Union Square, Ground Zero Museum, Greenwich Village and Soho. We came back to all these several times and really loved Greenwich and Soho…  lots of small shops and restaurants, and not such high buildings. Continued through Chinatown, Little Italy and down passed the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges passed the new World Trade Centre site which is nearly completed. They are now hexagon shaped. Then at last we saw Liberty and Ellis Island (you really know you are in New York now) and Pier 17 which is a buzz place. We came back on the loop passed the United Nations Building on the East River where our Queen made her speech last year.  

As it was getting dark, we got off at the Empire State Building, had a coffee and went up to Floor 102. What a Wow factor, really fantastic with thousands of lights all around. The best is the Chrysler Building. There are twice as many sky scrapers in Hong Kong…..why do we bother with low watt bulbs?We walked the length of 5th Ave to Bryant Park where there is an ice rink and restaurant. The rink side tables have heaters on them, and it is all black marble and white leather settees. We love watching the skaters and also when they clear the ice and the plough comes round.We called in at Madame Tussauds where we could buy tickets for tomorrow to go on Liberty Cruise. We then walked home along 42nd Street and had drinks.

On our third day decided to try the subway so at 9.00 am we set off to Battery Park where you get the Liberty ferry. The rush hour people were coming into Midtown so only a few of us were going down town. We had a lovely ferry ride to Liberty Island and then on to Ellis Island where all the immigrants first arrived. It was so interesting to learn why they came from all over the world and how they coped. We then walked to Ground Zero where the two new hexagon Trade Centers are about halfway built. There are also the 9/11 memorial pools which are square and have 30 foot waterfalls going down into further pools. The memorabilia and film of survivors and their stories is very moving.We had a snack and then got on the “hop on” bus to go over the East River on the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn .This is a really big island and very popular with the rich people as it is much flatter with more of a village feeling. We then got the uptown bus to go home but stopped off at the Waldorf Astoria which is marble with a beautiful staircase and bar in mahogany. We got a cab back to the Rockefeller Centre and had tea and cakes by the ice rink then back to the Hotel .We went to the Marriott Marquis Hotel and had a drink at the top in a revolving bar and restaurant. It was so pretty looking at all the lights.

Today is the most important day of the year as it is the Super bowl and the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots so there was so much excitement. It is televised to more than 100 million and Madonna was the star attraction. There will be a Ticker Tape parade on Tuesday to welcome the Giants. 

It is day 4 and time is getting short so we got a cab to some obscure little office to get tickets for the Sex in the City Tour bus tomorrow. We got another cab to the Rockefeller Centre and had breakfast in a lovely restaurant, white table cloths and napkins, sitting watching the Ice skaters. I love the atmosphere at the Rockefeller. We went around the NBC Universal Studios. They picked someone to read the news and someone to do the weather. Some of the studios were very small and had about 300 overhead lights. There are a lot of fake audiences and windows with views but everything was is so exciting.We then walked to Radio City which is the biggest theatre in the world. It holds 6000 people. It is famous for its Christmas Show with the Rockettes (similar to our Tiller girls).We went on a tour and were very impressed with the enormous stage which had a revolving centre which dropped 60 feet. Big enough for a double deck bus to appear on the Christmas show. We met a Rockette in one of the dressing rooms. I remember the Theatre appearing in the film Annie. 

We got on a downtown bus to have a look round Century 21 which we had seen near Ground Zero. It is a cut price designer store but we didn’t last long in there. There were miles of clothes and we were weary and thought we’d give it a miss.

It was getting dark so we got a bus to Pier 17 where there were boats and shops and restaurants. We found a lovely restaurant called Harbour Lights and it was beautiful sitting watching the sun set on the Statue of Liberty and all the lights reflecting in the water from the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. 

It is our last full day so we walked up 8th Avenue to our meeting point on 50th Street Broadway. We had a typical American breakfast in Ellen’s Stardust Diner but the surprise was that all the waitresses were pretty and got up on the back of the seats and sang to us. They all had great voices and a lot of them were “discovered” and went on to appear in shows. We had the most entertaining breakfast. It was time to get our tour bus on the New York TV and Movies tour. They have a screen on the bus which shows you a part of a film or TV program and then you go to it. We saw “I am Legend, Ghost Busters, Crosby’s, Friends, and many more .The guide was funny and told you funny stories and games. After 2.5 hours we got off the bus and walked to the Plaza to use the restrooms again, grabbed a coffee and got on the Sex and the City tour. We went to the bar where the girls used to meet. We had a Cosmopolitan and stayed there about 30 minutes.

When we got back to the New York Plaza and went to the basement to the Todd English Food Hall. This was fabulous as you sit around different food station and choose gourmet food that is freshly prepared. We had a lovely Lobster salad and drinks.

Off home today but before we leave let’s check out Macys which is one acre on ten floors. After this we headed to Central Station ,which is a fabulous building over 100 years old to look around . It’s great to see where all the trains go to and there is lots of shops and restaurants of course .

We left Newark Liberty airport New Jersey at 7.00 pm after the plane was deiced and after 7 hour flight plus 5 hours landed at 7.00 am..

What an interesting and exciting 6 days and how very lucky we were to have had blue skies and sunshine every day while at home there has been snow and minus degrees.

 Maggie’s New York tips

I love New York and have travelled there several times, a great City so much to do and never enough time to do it all…

See New York from the Water, buy a day ticket for one of the many water taxis that you can hop on and off, so you get to see the sites. You can get off have a little explore then get back on again. What a great photo opportunity to snap the Statue of Liberty from the water. We had a great day and ended our day getting off by the Aircraft carrier the Intrepid a fabulous Sea, Air & Space museum, there are all types of aircraft on the top deck including Concorde, Helicopters and even a Space Shuttle! Below decks so much more to see, even the little pod that the astronauts arrive from space in – really tiny ! There was a submarine parked alongside so we had the opportunity to investigate that too – bit claustrophobic but fascinating just the same. You really could spend hours on board.

Try Bike rental, cycle around New York,  we cycled around Central Park, nice and easy as quite flat, you can even do an All City Tour, Brooklyn Tour, Harlem Tour and New York at night – bit different and fun too.

Book in advance to visit 9/11 Memorial Museum, as Jane has said, very moving and terribly sad, when you see the names around the Memorial Pools some have a ladies name and unborn child – heartbreaking. I suggest going early, which is what we did, then walk down to Battery Park to get the hop on hop off water taxi.

We walked through Washington Park Square and there was a busker playing a Grand Piano – only in New York!! (it was on wheels so I imagine he lived quite close by !!)

Go to Joseph Leonard in West Village for very yummy brunch with an amazing Bloody Mary and beer chaser. You really feel like you are in New York here as it is used by a lot of locals, so it is great to hear them chattering away.There are great interesting small museums to visit too.We went to the Tenement Museum all about the immigrant history of New York. So interesting, they have some of the original houses so you see how people actually lived.

Some great bars, we went to PDT – Please Don’t Tell, it is an amazing quirky Cocktail bar, a throw back to the prohibition times. We had to book a table after 1400hrs on the day we wanted to go there. Our table was midnight , you then go to Crifs Hot Dogs a hot dog café, there is a wooden door to a phone booth, you go in and pick the phone up to tell them you are there. The next thing is the wall inside the booth opens and you are inside PDT, great cocktails, my husband had a Gin&P a Gin and Pea cocktail of some sorts. It is like going back in time, a really great place to try. Another one that was recommended that we didn’t manage to get to is Raines Law Room, better save that for my next visit !

Pop in and or email us and we can tailor make a great break to New York for you too and make more suggestions.