This is quite a sparse day doing things-wise. We were both exhausted after an eight hour flight and all we wanted to do was eat and sleep. BUT WE WERE IN NEW YORK. So after a yellow cab ride to the hotel to drop off our suitcases, off we went for a wander round Times Square.
We stayed at the Manhattan Affinia Hotel, which was perfect for our stay. Situated right opposite Madison Square Gardens and Penn Station, and about a ten minute walk up the road to Times Square - we really were right in the middle of it all. Despite being one of the original grand hotels of New York, it has obviously been renovated quite recently as our 28th floor(!!) room was so modern and immaculately clean. Also, after scouting out a few of the other hotels we had looked at beforehand and realising how far out they were in terms of walking, we definitely made the right decision with The Affinia!
After a super early night, we got up bright and early and made our way to the Empire State building. It was the most beautiful blue skied day, and because we were out so early, there really wasn't that many people around. (Definitely prime time to go!) I wasn't expecting to be as blown away by the views, but I could have stayed up there for hours just looking at everything. We bought a city pass before travelling, which included tickets to the Empire State, Rockefeller, Natural History Museum and a Liberty Island cruise. This cost all of £60 and saved us SO MUCH MONEY, and I couldn't recommend anything more. It's also pretty cool that you can pick and choose, rather than being sold a set package.
After the brunch that dreams are made of at a proper New Yorkian diner, we decided to brave the subway and made our way down to Chelsea market - a labyrinth of food and maker's market stalls. A bit like Camden but posh. We then wandered down the High Line, a disused overground railway that weaves through all the high rise buildings, which has been turned into a gardens full of art installations.
After making our way back uptown, we decided to rent bikes and spend the rest of the afternoon cycling around Central Park in the sunshine. The weather was absolutely ridiculous - you'd have never know there had been serious blizzards and snowstorms the week before! I think it was about 15 degrees on Saturday afternoon! We didn't realise how huge Central Park is (800 acres, fyi) but after an hour and a half of cycling, with legs like jelly, we made our way back to the hotel.
When we first booked to go to New York we both knew for definite that we wanted to go to a gig or at least go and see live music of some sort. We found out about Jazz at the Lincoln Centre, and were utterly sold by the incredible photos of the glass walled rooms overlooking the city! We booked to go to Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola on the Saturday night and it was so amazing I can't even describe it. We were seated at a table right in front of the band, in front of the windows overlooking New York and it couldn't have been more magical. There's something so spine-chillingly beautiful about smooth jazz, and it really was just the most fun evening away from the typical tourist spots.
So that was far more photo-heavy than I intended, but I got a little bit carried away looking through the hundreds of photos we took... I'm going to work on another post with our photo diary for the next couple of days - for my own sake at least! I'm so horribly sad to be home and I will definitely, 100% be going back to New York as sooooon as I possibly can. It really is unlike any other place I've ever travelled. And I just get why so many people fall in love with the city. There's so much going on, all the time, and there's so many people and cultures and languages and comings and goings. It's so vibrant and so exciting and I feel like you could never run out of things to do there.