“I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.” – Nora Ephron
I landed in JFK on Thursday night after a nightmare travel day. My flight was delayed by 7 hours and then again when we landed, we had to sit on the tarmacadam for an hour. I got off the flight and hopped in a yellow taxi and headed straight to my new apartment. I was supposed to be arriving at 2PM but instead, I got in at 10PM and I couldn’t have planned it better, in the cab on the way to Harlem I could see the New York City skyline all lit up and I was absolutely astounded. I didn’t think I would be so impressed (considering everyone has seen the NYC skyline one thousand times before in every movie and TV show ever) but in real life it’s breathtaking.
I got to my apartment, absolutely wrecked and I met my new housemate – they are both so lovely and a seasoned New Yorkers so they’ve been giving me advice on where to go and what to see. They’ve been very helpful. I got showed around and my room is lovely, exactly what was advertised and it is small but it’s great because firstly, I quite like small spaces and secondly, it fits all of my stuff – so that’s the most important thing. And what I was most blown away by is that I can see the Empire State building from the window! I was in awe when I woke up on the first morning. Actually, I still am!
So, since I arrived, I have just been exploring. I want to get to know the city and fall in love with it (not hard) before I put my head down and start job hunting. I think in 5 days of being here and wandering, I have gotten to see a hell of a lot – so I thought I’d put it all together in a blog post in case anyone else only has 5 days in the city and wants to squeeze in as much as possible.
On Friday morning, I went to a lovely coffee shop just one block up from me called The Chipped Cup and it’s so pretty. There’s an outdoor garden and it’s covered in fairy lights. I love it. I’ll definitely be spending a lot of time there. Then I headed straight for the Subway and bought a 7-day unlimited metro card ($32) and so far it’s been worth every penny. I decided, I was going to be overwhelmed on my first day in Manhattan anyway, so I thought I’d go straight to 42nd Street and see Times Square. I got there and it is unbelievable. Literally, I couldn’t believe I was actually there. I saw the Naked Cowboy and looked at the lights. Then I decided, once I had that out of the way, everything else would be fine! I headed straight to Central Park. One thing about moving to New York that I was most excited about was going to Central Park and just wandering, and having access to it for an entire year. And, it lived up to every expectation. It’s beyond beautiful and there are so many things to see and do. When I arrived, the first thing I stumbled upon was the John Lennon ‘Imagine’ memorial. And from there on out, everything I saw was famous. I can’t believe just how much there is to see in New York. Every corner you turn, you see something else you’ve wanted to go and see and you didn’t even realise.
Later than evening, I met a friend at a rooftop bar looking out at the Empire State. It couldn’t have gotten any more surreal. The bar was called Rock & Reillys and I would definitely recommend it.
On Saturday, I went for a walk along the Hudson River – I want to really get to know my neighbourhood, so I walked for about an hour and headed home before getting ready and heading out for brunch! We went to Ruby’s on 3rd Avenue. The food in there is to die for. I got Avocado toast and eggs – and you’d think, how good could that be? Well it was divine! We also got froyo at 16 handles, it was delicious. One of the things I’m most excited about in NYC is trying all of the deliciousness it has to offer!
On Saturday afternoon, I walked from 3rd Avenue past The Flatiron, Madison Square Park, Union Square, Washington Square Park and through Greenwich village. The village is stunning and it’s quiet and everyone there is just beautiful! I walked until I found the Friends building. Anyone that knows me knows that Friends is genuinely one of my favourite shows ever and I laugh way too hard at every single joke, especially considering I’ve seen every episode 20 times. In seeing the building, I was genuinely fan-girling! It’s not actually where it was filmed because it was shot in Hollywood but it’s the scene they show at the beginning of each episode. If you follow me on Snapchat (IFtravels) you’ll know I was sorely disappointed that there’s a coffee shop downstairs and they didn’t call it Central Perk. SUCH a missed opportunity!
After that, I walked as far as the Brooklyn Bridge and I walked across. It was truly outstanding. Then I sat in Dumbo and watched the sunset behind the New York skyline. Such a great way to spend my second day in NY. I also stumbled upon the scene from Gossip Girl that they show whenever they’re about to show the Humphrey’s loft. So that was unexpected and exciting!
On Sunday, I got up and headed straight back to Central Park. It was very busy so I decided to rent a New York Citibike and cycle around the city. Now I’m not too sure if I’d recommend that because it can be dangerous – but the cycle through the park was stunning. And once I found a bicycle lane on 2nd Avenue – the cycle became less frightening. I cycled all the way from 90th Street to Houston Street (below 1st Street) which was a trek but such a cool way to experience NY. I cycled past the MET, the Guggenheim, and loads of other landmarks (no photos to show for it as I was focusing on not getting killed!). Then I met a friend of a friend and we had brunch in a place called The Egg Shop on Elizabeth Street. The food there was out of this world too. I’m lucky in so far as I have been able to go to restaurants that have been tried and tested by people that have lived here a lot longer than I have (approx. 2 days!). After brunch, we strolled through China Town, Little Italy and Soho, which was so cool. You genuinely feel like you’re in China and then Italy within the space of 5 minutes.
After that, I took off on a CitiBike again as far as the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and I hopped on the free ferry. It’s incredible, it’s a free service that runs half-hourly from Manhattan to Staten Island and on the way you get spectacular views of the city’s skyline and of The Statue of Liberty. I went over before sunset and came back on the next ferry just at sunset. It was so pretty and apart from the fact that the boat was crowded, I felt just like Kate Hudson in How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days – “it feels like hooooomeee to me, it feels like homeeee to me!”
When I got back to the city, I went out for drinks in BUA (St. Marks Place). It’s a really trendy bar and it was so much fun.
On Monday, I decided it was the perfect time and place for some New York City pizza. So I headed to the Upper East Side to try some Gotham Pizza. It was divine. I ate it down by the East River. Then I walked along part of Park Avenue, Madison Avenue and 5th Avenue – all of which are stunning. Then I went exploring The Upper East side – I saw so many things, without even really trying. I got to see The Plaza, The New York Palace Hotel, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, The Chrysler Building (up close, I had seen it from a distance), Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, New York City Library and loads more.
Then on Tuesday, I headed to Chelsea and went to Chelsea Market – which is gorgeous, but remind me never to go into Anthropologie again because it’s all so pretty and all so far out of my budget! After that, I went in search of the Highline and I walked it uptown from start to finish. It’s so cool – it’s a long elevated park over the city and you can see straight down every street from it – it’s so cool.
Afterwards, I cycled along the Hudson all the way home. In the evening, I hopped back on the Subway towards Downtown and went for dinner and drinks with some wonderful Galway mates on Grand St. We went to a place called The Lucky Strike and it was so tasty.
Today, I’m going straight to the Freedom Tower and to visit the memorial there. It’s the week of the 15 year anniversary – so I’m expecting huge crowds. I can’t wait – I have heard it’s very sombre but eye opening too. So I am looking forward to it.
There you have it – how I spent 5 days in New York. To see all of my adventures, follow me on Snapchat (IFtravels) where I’ve been mumbling about my musings of NYC. There are so many things I didn’t know about this city. It’s shocking but also pleasantly surprising! I’ll also be updating my instagram and facebook very regularly, so be sure to follow me there too!