WOW, What a place. It’s easy to see why Frank Sinatra sang about wanting to be a part of it. We’ve been back home less than a week and already I want to go back. Our time there wasn’t long enough, we were there just over a week and only scratched the surface but I think we could’ve stayed a month and still not seen everything the city has to offer.
Our trip started just over a fortnight ago. We boarded the plane in Manchester Aiport with two of our closest friends and Matthew’s brother and his partner (who had proposed the night before) for a now double wedding in New York. Matt’s brother and his partner already had a civil partnership but wanted to make it official. They asked if we minded sharing our day with them and immediately said, of course, we didn’t – it would just make the occasion more special.
After an uneventful flight, we landed at JFK. I wasn’t prepared for the heat that hit me as I left the plane or the queues that awaited me in arrivals. As we were first-time visitors we had to go through a different queue to my friend and we were waiting for about an hour before seeing the border officers whereas she was only waiting for 15 minutes. The officer we saw was really pleasant and told us that our wait wasn’t even bad and some people had waited 6 hours before now. Once we told him of our holiday plans we were quickly on our way to collect our bags.
Getting a yellow cab from inside the airport was a much easier ordeal and we waited less than 5 minutes – we had been told that the wait could be as much as an hour before we left the UK and that we should sort the transfer before getting to the airport but personally, this was unnecessary and when we go back again we’ll do exactly the same again.
Having never been to America before the journey from the airport to our hotel was one I will never forget. The roads were busy and everyone just seems to zip in and out of space we had been told to expect this so it wasn’t too much of a surprise, but I was too busy looking at everything to take much notice of the journey but our fare including tips and tolls cost us $70. We were lucky that our hotel was located Downtown and we had a lot less traffic than our other travel companions who were all staying close to Times Square – unbeknown to us World Pride was coming to an end and most of Times Square and the surrounding streets were closed off for a parade. Whereas our journey took an hour, theirs took close to two.
For the duration of our holiday, we had booked to stay at the Hotel Mulberry. I chose the hotel as it was close to the City Clerk office building where we would have to go to get our wedding license and then get married. If I’m honest although further out I’m so pleased we decided to stay here as it meant that we were away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city. I’m already planning our next trip and although I’m thinking of staying closer to Central Park (our next trip will be at Christmas time) I wouldn’t rule out staying here again. All the staff were so helpful, polite and even came to my rescue when I lost my apple pencil (it has been left on the bed without realising and the bedding had been changed).
The first couple of days of our stay were taken up with wedding preparation and getting married. We arrived at the City Clerks office for opening at 8.45. It was already busy and people were already queuing both for licenses and to get married. We were told that Monday and Fridays are the days to avoid as they were always the busiest days, but as we were planning to get married the next day we had to just wait for our turn. In all, we were probably waiting an hour and that included two lots of us getting our applications processed and a delay with some details on ours. As we had to wait 24 hours and a minute before we could get married we decided to explore the local area.
Our hotel was located in Chinatown which is close to Soho, Little Italy and the Financial District but within easy reach of most areas via subway, taxi or bus. We found department stores close by and had a walk to the world trade centres. Whilst there we had a walk around the ground zero memorial gardens and found the whole area to be quite emotional. After our dinner, we had a walk to a park which we thought was Battery Park – it wasn’t but we still managed to get a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty.
The easiest way to get around New York is by subway. We didn’t use them until the middle of our stay but everyone else was using it from day 1. We walked over 75 miles during the week – one day we walked from our hotel to Central Park, another to the Rockefeller Center. Each trip was about 3 miles and took us about two hours but this included us stopping to eat, drink and take in the sights. I’m actually glad we walked as we would have missed so much along the way including the Empire State Building, Flatiron Building, New York Public Library and so much more. We often found ourselves going a little off track (google maps was hard to navigate at times) but that just added to the adventure.
We visited Central Park twice and we barely saw any of what it had to offer. This is definitely something that I plan to rectify when we next go. I also plan to see a show on Broadway as we just didn’t have the time to fit it in on this trip. We did visit the Friends apartment building and Ghostbusters Headquarters and one of the places where we ate was in Men in Black II.
A highlight of our trip was definitely seeing the 4th of July fireworks from our balcony. We had always planned to see them this way as I knew my anxiety would be sky-high due to the number of people and all the waiting around that we would have to do. We had a great view and didn’t feel like we had missed out on any of the action from the display.
I have absolutely fallen in love with New York and feel as though I have left a little piece of my heart behind. I can see why people go back often and it is definitely something we plan to do as there were so many things we wanted to do but just didn’t have the time to fit them in. Even the five hour time difference and a 25-hour delay couldn’t dampen our spirits.
This post is a summary of the week we spent in New York. Over the next few weeks I plan to write about arranging a wedding in New York, the best things to do in Central Park, free things to do in New York, the places we visited, the places we ate and so much more.