I couldn't sleep last night, as like many of us, my routine is completely out of whack at the minute. So, I was scrolling through my camera roll, looking at travel pics from visiting New York last year and even though the current climate doesn't allow us to travel to our dream destinations any time soon, these pictures reminded me of my love for this city. This blog post will uncover some of my favourite aspects of the Big Apple.
What to see...
New York is home to some of the most popular landmarks in the world, including the Statue of Liberty, Central Park and the Rockefeller Centre. Whilst all mentioned are a must see when visiting, I must say that the following two would be at the top of my list.
1. The 9/11 memorial
A visit to the memorial will be one of the most touching and insightful experiences you will ever have. To begin with, the memorial pools outside of the museum are so humbling, in remembrance of 2,977 people killed it is a time to stand and be reflective about the past before entering the museum. The museum itself takes you through a guided tour of the disastrous events that happened, reporting so much more than just the facts and figures. There was one particular opportunity to listen to the last phone calls of the passengers on one of the planes, this was such an emotional moment. My family and I really felt this touch us, as you take the museum in, it is difficult to acknowledge the reality of this tragic real life event. It only became real for me listening to these phone calls, alongside viewing the beautiful gallery of images, showing the people who died, which really made me realise how real this tragedy actually was. I have visited New York three times and only on the last visit did we go to the memorial, however I would definitely put it at the top of your list.
2. Top of the Rock
I must say, I think this is one of the best ways to appreciate the city. Standing on the balcony at the top, provides the most spectacular view, giving you a holistic image of Manhattan you can view key landmarks such as the Empire State Building and Central Park. If you get the chance, I would recommend booking a viewing at at sunset, as the view is made even more spectacular.
Top places to eat...
You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to dining in this city, I vividly remember the urge to diet when we arrived home, but if you get an opportunity check out these dinner hotspots.
Virgils Real Barbecue $
Think an American version of TGI Friday's, but the food is 100% bigger and tastier in my opinion. The menu consists of a typical barbecue and grill venue, however the food is absolutely delicious and perfect if you're looking for a chilled and authentic food experience.
My dad ordered the full meat platter, which was definitely a sight to be seen ahah, but the meat was of a high quality and had a distinct smoky flavour.
Carmine's Italian $$
Centred in Times Square, this was a popular dining venue! This restaurant encompasses a classic Italian, executed American style. The concept being that you order 1 or 2 dishes (depending on how many of you are eating) for the table to share. We had the chicken parmigiana and the spaghetti meatballs and my mum definitely had a field day as these are her favourite. For dessert we ordered, what we renamed the "death by chocolate cake" slice and oh my, this may be your whole days calorific intake, but so worth it. The vibe of this restaurant is much more relaxed and does have an Italian feel, however the novelty of eating off large plates is an innovative aspect to eating great food.
If you're in the market for a high-end restaurant extravaganza then this one is for you. With an all open kitchen, the bar is a perfect viewing spot for the culinary mastery behind their dishes. Each meal is very refined and maybe targeted towards a more mature taste- my 13 year old brother found some of the dishes intriguing to say the least! On the whole, it offers a spectacular view, an expert dining experience and amazing food. But please note it is very pricey, so maybe one for a special occasion or anniversary ;)
Top travelling tips...
Don't pay the extra to be in/on Times Square. The nature and layout of the city means that everything you need is most likely within walking distance and so the significant price increase for hotels on the square are not always worth the money.
Shop, shop, shop until you drop. If you're travelling with a partner, then please be considerate ladies, but the shopping experience is on another level and even if department store products aren't on your shopping list, still take a trip down to Macy's.
Always book restaurants well in advance, with the city accommodating for many many tourists, you will struggle to get a good spot for dinner if you do not book beforehand. So get planning your restaurants of choice!
Generally, the city that never sleeps is just that. If you have never visited, I would pop it at the top of your bucket list as a destination that offers history, entertainment and the full American affair. Please check out the gallery below.