In February 2019, I was lucky enough to travel to New York for my Birthday. It was a mixture of feelings, but I love to look back on that trip with happiness.
I tried to find the exact itinerary we got given, but couldn’t seem to find it (I looked so hard 🙁 ) BUT I’ve written a travel journal that details almost everything I did on the trip; I may have missed some things out though, so sorry if it’s not very coherent.
We took the bus from JFK airport to our hotel (The Row) and got settled in. My friends and I then went to Times Square and McDonald’s to get some food. We explored the shops, like the Nintendo shop and M&M store. I then dragged my friends to see The Chelsea Hotel at 12 am because I thought the lights would look so pretty in the dark…unfortunately when we got there, there were renovations going on, and it was completely in the dark! Luckily there was a Chinese place near that we stopped in and ate tasty food from!
We then went to Grand Central Station, which was such a big train station – I also couldn’t help but get Madagascar flashbacks! After that, we went on a tour bus called The Ride. On this tour, all the seats faced one window, so everyone got the same view. It stopped at sights such as where John Lennon got Assassinated and where Maralyn Monroe sang for JFK. After this, we then did some more exploring around the shops.
On day 3, we took the subway to the 9 11 memorial, which was a very sad but very peaceful, beautifully designed tribute. We then went up to the One World Trade Centre, which had an amazing view. Following this, we then walked to the boat for Liberty Island to see The Statue of Liberty. I believe the boat for this is free, or at least a very small fee. There was quite a long queue though, so bring warm clothes if going in wintertime.
In the evening, we went to a Knicks game and then went up to The Empire State Building at 11:30 pm. It was such an amazing experience. There were hardly any people, and New York looked so pretty at night with all the lights.
This day was my birthday, so I went shopping/sightseeing with my friends. After walking out of the shop, it started snowing and was so magical! We then had to go back at the end of the day and pack to travel in the evening. We flew both ways with Virgin Atlantic, which was a decent airline, although I didn’t like the food options very much – they gave us sweets at the end of the flight, though!
Things to be aware of:
To be completely honest, my overall view of New York is that it’s an ‘Americanised London’. What I mean by this is that if you’ve ever been to London, just think of it ‘Americanised. For instance, the food portions are bigger, the government is more powerful, so people are more opinionated, the shops are more expensive etc. There are, of course, some things to be aware of in particular.
- People are more talkative. This isn’t a bad thing but if it was a bit of a culture shock, as I’m not used to talking to strangers so often. For instance, people came up to me and called me pretty, asked if I wanted a boyfriend, asked to give me a hug, and someone even started listing all the motorways in the UK to me! It was very fun, though, and these memories really make me happy.
- People can be crazy! Likewise, I did see some ‘questionable’ things over the 5 days I was there. Such as someone walking between open subway cars travelling fast! Just be aware of your surroundings a bit more.
- Carry some cash. Sadly, I saw lots of homeless people. I remember walking through a 7-11 door, and I thought they employed someone to hold them open for people, but walking out, I realised the man was holding a cup in his hands for coins. Therefore, if you do have any cash to spare, it may be worth giving it to someone in need.
Have you ever been to New York? What did you do? What did you like or dislike? Did you see anything random?