Friday, October 12, 2018

Our trip to New York - October 2018

Last year Finn and I decided to book a trip to New York together, just the two of us.
 It was a goal to work towards for him and a great lesson in saving.  I thought it was a great idea to celebrate him turning 16, working hard at school and a chance to spend some time with him just one on one. I'm now going to do it with all of the boys when they're older. 

I've been to New York a couple of times before so I kind of knew what he would want to see and he had his own list of places he wanted to visit. It was fun to put our lists together and plan out our days.

We ended up choosing to stay in a hotel in Midtown Manhattan so we would be central to everything and it would be easier to get around. We stayed at The Warwick and really loved the location and the staff there. The hotel has a boutique feel and a true "old" New York style. I would definitely recommend it. We chose a suite with 2 double beds and a separate lounge area. 
We had a great city view too!

We were within walking distance of all the great attractions such as Times Square, Radio City Music Hall, the Rockefeller Plaza, Central Park, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), Broadway theaters and the classic 5th avenue shopping.

Our first day we decided to have breakfast at a diner around the corner (Astro's diner) and then walk down to Central Park to stretch our legs after the long flight. It was the perfect day to wander around and take in this beautiful patch of green amongst the skyscrapers.

There is so much to see in Central Park and some of the places to see are  Sheep Meadow, Central Park Zoo, The Boathouse, Bethesda Fountain and Terrace, Strawberry Fields and the Imagine mosaic, Belvedere Castle and The Mall and Literary Walk just to name a few.  You can hire a bike to road, rent a boat just take your time and get lost in the park!

Afterwards we walked back towards 5th Avenue and past The Plaza 
(the kids love the Home Alone movies so had to take a photo) 

We then strolled down 5th Avenue for a while for a browse and some shopping. You've got all the high end shops plus the chain stores like Uniqlo, Forever 21, Topshop plus the department stores Barneys and Saks 5th Avenue. You'll also walk past St Paul's Cathedral which is beautiful.

After a full first day we headed back to the hotel for a rest and then went out for pizza. 
The jet lag caught up with us and I think we were in bed by about 8.30pm!

Our 2nd day we headed towards Rockefeller Center. 
We saw them prepping the ice for skating later in the month.... 

Then we bought tickets for the Top of the Rock and had an amazing view of the city.

Make sure you check the weather and visibility before you purchase your tickets so you are not disappointed. We had a great view on the day we went but I've heard if it's too smoggy or cloudy the view is terrible and not worth a visit.

We didn't pre book or schedule our tickets. We just walked in and purchased them on the spot and were at the top of the building within 10 minutes. We were there mid week though, the lines are a lot longer on the weekends.

Rockefeller Center also has lots of shops and restaurants to check out. 
Finn loved the chicken wings at Billy's Bar + Burgers. I loved browsing Anthropologie for homewares and came home with some gorgeous quartz coasters.

Next stop was Times Square and to check out those bright lights and soak up the crazy energy.

We visited the 3 storey M+M shop to pick up some treats to take home for the boys. We also grabbed some  I heart NY tshirs for them too. It's pretty hectic here, the crowds are huge and it's pretty grubby and noisy but definitely worth a visit to this iconic spot.

We then headed to a couple of sneaker shops Finn had on his list. 
We did lots of walking over the week. Our average step count each day was about 15k. 
Comfortable shoes are a must!

The next couple of days we decided to do one of the Hop on, Hop off Bus Tours to see more of the city and give our feet a bit of a rest. We bought our tickets through our concierge at the hotel and then picked our tickets up from their office near Times Square. We went with the Grayline Tours.

This gave us access to Uptown, Downtown, Brooklyn, a night tour and a cruise to see the Statue of Liberty over 2 days. We couldn't fit it all in but we did our best and saw a lot!

It goes without saying but try to get a seat up top!

Central Park, Upper West side, Museum Mile, Harlem just to name a few....
It gives you a sense of the streets, the shops and the real lives going on away from the heart of the touristy sites.

The Flatiron district, Times Square, Chinatown, Soho, Greenwich Village, Battery Park, Wall St and the 9/11 Memorial + Museum. I found Ground Zero to be such an eerie space. 
It was quite an emotional experience to be standing there and to think of all those lives lost. 
The white rose next to a victim's name symbolises that it's their birthday. 
It's quite a poignant reminder.


The day we did the Brooklyn tour it was very grey and getting a little drizzly so we chose to stay on the bus. But if it was a little nicer we would have gotten off to walk around as there is so much to see. I've also heard of people doing pizza tours around Brooklyn. Sounds fun!

It was such an experience driving over the bridge and looking back at Manhattan. Amazing!

Afterwards we stopped by Grand Central Station for a look and a coffee before heading back to the hotel.

By coincidence one of Finn's school friends and his mum were in New York at the same time as us so we arranged to meet up for dinner and to take the boys to see a basketball game at Madison Square Garden. We went to Eataly for dinner before the game. Delicious food and so many choices.
The Knicks lost to the Wizards but it was a great experience and a wonderful last night of the trip.

One last breakfast in NYC before we began the long journey home. 

We flew Virgin Australia with a stop over in LAX with a connecting Delta flight to New York. All up I think it was about 20 hours flight time!

We found 7 nights in New York a great amount of time to see everything that we wanted but still have down time if you needed it. Obviously I tailored this trip to suit our needs but you can do so much more with museum visits, the High Line, food tours, a Broadway show etc. 

A few other New York itineraries I found useful in my planning were.....

BabyMac's post here and here and here

And my old New York posts here and here way back from my last visit in 2011 and my photos were unedited! ;)

Have you been to New York lately or have a trip coming up? Any tips to share?

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