I was so excited to write this post! I wanted a reason to show you all how much and why i love this city so much, and i finally get the chance.
It’ll be 4 years since i last visited NY and this would have been my third time visiting. A lot of people question why you would take holiday off of work, leave a city and fly to another, even busier and colder city. But something always drives me to New York. The city made me feel comfortable in my own skin, confident, no one was looking at me or judging what i was wearing. They say there is always somewhere in the world that steals your heart, and NY definitely did that to me.
This trip we decided to stay in New Jersey.
STAYING IN NEW JERSEY
A lot of people visiting New York will want to get the full experience of staying in a hotel right in the centre on Times Square or near Central Park. But if you have been to New York a few times like myself or you’re a person that would prefer to live their holiday like it was their home and would rather save a little money then staying over the river is a great idea.
A ten minute ferry ride over from New York is Jersey City. Now I am a huge “housewives of New Jersey” and “mob wives” fan! So to be able to get a real feel of how the locals live and commute over to work or lunch or to shop in the big city was really fun. It’s filled with great pizzerias and local bakeries such as Carloś Bakery which is the base of a show on tv called Cake Boss.
Now I know people that are New Jersey born and bred hate to be called New Yorkers. They are two different states and hold two different pieces of history but I love them both! They’re both so close that it’s great that we got to see both in one holiday.
We flew into Newark, which we usually do even if we’re staying in New York City as the traffic is less and journey isn’t as stressful and we found a great hotel almost touching the riverside so the views of the skyline are breathtaking, day and night. We stayed in the Residence Inn by Marriott which provided a full kitchenette with microwave (for those reheating of Popeyes after a night out), a full fridge freezer (to keep all the Cheesecake Factory deliciousness we were bringing back with us), a sofa area, comfy bed and beautiful bathroom. We felt like we were living in an apartment together which was great and for such a good price.
We bought a weekly pass for the metro which we could use on the “PATH” line which crosses over from NY to NJ. Now you will still have to top up a little at your New Jersey station as they obviously have different rates but this train will take you all the way from Grove street to Hoboken, under the river from 9th street to 33rd street in NY. It was a brilliant way to get around, especially if you’ve already done the open top bus it’s a cheaper way for the whole week, and we all know that the taxis can start to rack up after a few rides.
Sometimes at the weekends, the train won’t always stop at the world trade centre which is one of the best connection stops for if you’re going a little further out of the city like Brooklyn. So if this is the case, you might have to get off at Newport and take the ferry, for free might I add, over to NY.
Again if it’s something you have done already then let me reiterate that it’s a free ride and a stunning skyline view! But if you haven’t done it before then it’s a real treat.
You get a full complete, undisturbed skyline view of New York City from the boat ride and the pictures are phenomenal. So a little detour sometimes works out for the best.
Before getting fancy for our first nights dinner, we had some time to have a look around Jersey City and then jump on the subway and have a stroll around Hoboken. Both areas have their own their own quirky traits. Jersey City has a younger energy to it, with outdoor bars and restaurants and brightly painted pieces of artwork on sides of buildings. Hoboken holds a more family lifestyle, quaint local shops and restaurants, small boutiques and family run stalls. Its right on the river overlooking NY so i can imagine in the summer it would be such a lovely place to spend a quiet weekend.
This trip we were determined to try and enjoy as much of the nightlife as possible even with full days out. The last time we both went together it was summertime, so we were able to be out and about and find some of the hidden gems in NY like…
The High Line..
See the best views of the city at Top Of The Rock.
Go and pay your respects at the beautiful 9/11 memorial.
Or lock your love on the Brooklyn Bridge just like you would in Paris.
Lucky thing with NY and most of the states is that clubs won’t usually open until 11pm, and aren’t fully “popping” until around 1am. This is great for if you’ve had a chilled day at home lounging. Not so great when you’ve been cruising the metro from upper east side to midtown to Brooklyn and back to NJ again.
I definitely suffered the consequences of this mid trip with stories that I think might haunt me forever HAHA.
We had booked a dinner reservation at TAO in advance for our first night. I had heard about this restaurant before but never looked into it. Sabrina suggested we did a nice dinner for our first evening and then enjoy the club that they also own right around the corner.
As much as I knew that this city was always busy and bustling, I didn’t realise that the partying does NOT stop. Sunday’s, Monday’s.. the days of rest for us, are just another day of the week for them to celebrate something.
It is probably always best to try and book tables and reservations in NY in advance as there is never a quiet day or night and you may end up queuing for hours or it’ll be eating a slice of pepperoni pizza for you on the sidewalk instead. Doesn’t actually sound that bad to me. But if that’s not your idea of a great meal then try and find a website for places of your choice and book. That way you can plan your days around these bookings and you’re not missing out.
We were escorted through a dimmed, aromatic hallway that oozed mystery and into the grand ballroom that was TAO. Music to create an amazing vibe, beautifully chilled out people sipping on cocktails and socialising as they wait for their tables and the grandest gold buddha i have ever seen outside of Asia itself was stood at the back overlooking the diners.
Placed in a velvet clad booth for two, we indulged on beautifully made pan asian food and strong, rum filled cocktails.
After stuffing our faces, we headed out and up to the rooftop bar/club to enjoy the music and end our first night on a high!
Like i said earlier, if it is your first time in New York then my best suggestion in seeing the full city is the open top bus. Last time we paid for a two day pass where we could hop on and hop off where we liked in different areas and still hear all the information and see things we may have not seen in a cab or walking. It also helps you to gauge where things are in certain places if you wanted to go back. We would have breakfast in a little gem of a diner we found off the back streets of Times Square called “The Brooklyn Diner” and then find the closest bus stop to jump on and start our day.
If you’re a bit more adventurous like us then jump on the subway like a proper New buddha and find yourself engulfed in the culture and heritage of Harlem, Brooklyn or even Jersey City. Our first full day was all about finding some places that we hadn’t been too before but first… We had to visit our spot on the bridge!
The Brooklyn Bridge! Infamous for being the first ever steel-wire suspension bridge made and has been filmed in some of the most well known moments in film and television history. From being smashed down by Godzilla, The moment the John Travolta scared us all half to death in Saturday Night Fever, and not to mention the amount of times the most romantic moments have been filmed in Sex And The City.
The last time we came, we walked all the way over from Grand Central Station to Brooklyn, some cycle, others get a cab but it’s to try and get over there to say you’ve done it. Most people that first visit the bridge will leave their mark with initials or writing a message somewhere on it so that when they visit again, their memory remains. While i won’t condone it in writing on here i may have done the same thing with my best friend to mark a moment in our life that we can come back too. And four years later we did!
It’s so nice to be able to look back on pictures and compare how we’ve come along in four year, whats changed, how we’ve changed and this time we left our mark again, as well as take some epic pictures.
Before heading to Little Italy, we took a moment to spend some time admiring Grand Central Station which i don’t think we fully appreciated four years ago. The architecture, the beauty of a building that is used so much yet stands stunningly proud in the mist of it all. It reminded us of Londons Kings Cross St.Pancras. So much history to it, and still so much importance to every individual in there. If you get a chance to go there, stand in the main gallery in front of the famous clock and just let the world go past you. Look up and around, not at the people or the fast pace business stores and see if you can find the beauty in it as much as i did.
Streets away from the shopping district Soho, is now a hub of pop up vintage stores, uniques desert stores and of course its original, authentic italian restaurants.
We popped into “Milk & Cream”, a small cereal bar that offers tasty ice cream or milkshake treats that are topped with your favourite american cereal plus a whole load of other terribly bad for your teeth but great the sole treats! Fun desert makes everyone happy right?
Some other great eateries around Soho for a little bit of fun with your food if you want a quick snack are…
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer..
Or enjoy boozy ice cream at Tipsy Scoop..
After having a mooch around the shops we jumped back on the subway and headed to Harlem.
When my mum first took me to NY when i was 21, we both fell in love with the originality of Harlem, the real life, real music, real soul that has come out of Harlem. If you do use the hop on hop off bus then you’ll be able to visit this district and see for yourself.
The infamous Apollo Theatre still stands there where the likes of James Brown, Patti LaBelle, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder have all performed there. It became a landmark for it becoming open to black patrons after previously being a whites-only venue.
It’s said that it is still an honour for artists to perform there after decades of its changing depiction.
The smell of caribbean food, kids dance battling in the street, stalls selling insence and groups of locals conversing and haggling for the newest goods on the market. Even their own radio station airs straight from the street corner so that locals can get involved and it is a community vibe. There is always something going on in Harlem streets and that’s what i love about it.
Mannas restaurant in Harlem has become a well known spot to grab amazing caribbean food while you’re there.
No fancy decor or waiters at tables, you pick how much you want, pay at the till and either sit in and enjoy your food or take it away. A company that can rely solely on the taste of their food for revenue is clearly confident in it. And so they should be! the food is delicious. If you’re in Harlem make sure you pop in for some holesome food.
You can find entertainment anywhere in NY. You can be travelling on the Subway and through the platforms and there will always be someone dancing, singing or magic tricking you for extra dollar. One thing i find with New Yorkers is that they will do everything in their power to make it to where they need to be. Their determination to be great is insane and very inspiring.
You may even get the chance if it’s not too busy to get a cheesy comical portrait of yourself draw in public like I did.
If you want a more casual evening to end a long day of sightseeing or stuffing your face with great food then try a comedy club. We decided to try one 5 years ago when myself and Sabrina first went together and wasn’t sure what to expect as British humour and a lot different to American but we were pleasantly surprised!
Hidden away on the back streets of the East Village is The New York Comedy Club. A cosy club and bar that holds weekly professional stand-up comedy evenings for a small audience.
They involve the audience and talk about real life that we can all relate too but bare in mind if you have a soft temperament and can’t handle a little roasting then i wouldn’t say this is an evening for you as you never know what they might pull out of the bag, i know i received a bit of a battering! But they were hilarious and very welcoming, to the point where we ended up staying behind and getting to know all the comedians and having a great laugh with them.
Now i never knew this but apparently bottomless brunches on a Sunday is a huge thing in New York! So Sabrina had booked us in for our last full day to enjoy a hearty American breakfast with limitless and very strong mimosa’s or margaritas for two whole hours. Excited much?!
We headed to Agave House in Greenwich Village which by 12pm was already heaving with groups enjoying their pancakes, eggs and waffles, great music and socialising.
It’s a great vibe and such a good way to socialise and get a feel for the way that New Yorkers live out their weekends.
I’m hoping like many others when you’re told you can enjoy as many alcoholic beverages within a space of time that we all seem to fit in as many as you can in. Well we certainly tried!
Now kids, please be safe when drinking and don’t over do it but somehow i managed to forget this little memo after my 7th margarita.
We giggled and ate and drank and soon came to the decision that we wern’t ready to go home at 2 in the afternoon, but to head to a rooftop day party happening in Manhatten.
Situated on the top of their modern hotel, Moxy NYC Times Square has placed a beautiful rooftop bar, which you can pop up there just for a quick beverage, with indoor and outdoor seating area, plus the cutest mini golf set for the summer.
We danced the day away into the night with Hawaiian lays around our necks and cocktails in our hands until we could no longer stand.
It was honestly such a great way to end our full day and night in the big apple! Other than the terrible hangover I received the next day and some embarrassing stories if you love music and a good dance then I highly recommend trying one of New Yorks day parties. This was a Sunday! Can you imagine what Friday’s and Saturday’s are like.
Whether you’re going for the shopping, the nightlife, the sightseeing or just to experience what every other person that has visited New York has to say for it￼, take it all in, embrace the busyness, the bright lights, and everything about this very big city￼.