NYC

F is for FAO Schwarz & Flatiron

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MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE

FAO Schwarz is probably the best toy store that I have ever set foot in. In fact so much so that I do believe that we ended up going in there three times whilst we visited the Big Apple last summer.IMG_4752

My son who was twelve at the time thought he had died and gone to toy heaven when we walked through those doors. We made sure that he scaled every nook and cranny and saw every toy that was on offer in there.

For me, I just wanted to dance on the Big piano. For any of you who are not familiar with the movie Big starring Tom Hanks, well that film is set around FAO Schwarz and there is a scene where Tom Hanks plays the piano by jumping from key to key.

Even though my son hadn’t seen Big, I told him that he had to join in with me in jumping onto the keys and when we got back home to Manchester I would ensure that he saw the movie. Which he did, and think he was pretty pleased that he’d done that.

No trip to NYC with kids could go without a few hours spent in this fantastic toy shop. We had a blast trying on the various masks, and taking silly photographs with giants lego pieces.

The other F for this blog post is for the Flatiron Building. It’s the most extraordinary building to view as it is very tall, but also really thin. It looks quite odd in fact.

The first time we viewed it was from the Empire State Building, so we decided to visit it properly at a later date where we could take a couple of photographs. Mainly the geeks in us knew it from the Spider man films, but anyway it was worth a snap.

 

 

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E is for Empire State Building

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MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE

One of the most famous images in the New York City skyline is that of the Empire State Building and of course I wasn’t going to visit the great city without a trip up to the top of the building to view the spectacular views.IMG_5015

The state of New York is nicknamed the “Empire State” which is where the building got its name from.

One thing to note when you stand out like a tourist in the area of the building which sits between 350 Fifth Avenue, between 33rd and 34th Streets, is firstly don’t stand out like a tourist.

We did and ended up buying tickets from a vendor who promised us an avoid the crowds ticket, plus and this is the main thing, a trip to the Statue of Liberty. We snapped these up as we were still to do the boat trip to Liberty Island. Our nice young vendor informed us that the boat would stop and allow us to walk around Lady Liberty ( no it didn’t – it drove straight past it) – Oh darn!

We did however get a fast pass entrance to the lifts and scaled the eighty floors up to the viewing platform.

I could have stayed there all afternoon as the views from the platform were immense. It literally took my breath away as having a great view of all of the buildings in the same visual picture.

The building has played a part in  so many famous films. Not only does it feature greatly in King Kong, Sleepless in Seattle and Elf but also in The Amazing Spiderman, Shaft, Friends with Benefits and Percy Jackson to name but a few.

 

 

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D is for Diners

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MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z

The back street diners in New York are the absolute dogs. In British terms that means that they are very delightful, the food is plentiful with very generous portions and they don’t dig into the spending money too much.

During our five days in NYC we dined out for breakfast and lunch at typical New York diners.

Our first morning in the Big Apple we arose at 4am, showered and headed out for breakfast at 6am.

The City that never sleeps, does indeed never sleep and our first diner was Café Edison which was close to our hotel at the back of Times Square.

Firstly, the first thing you should know about diners in New York City is that coffee is unlimited. UNLIMITED. Not only that but when you get to the final dregs of a cup, the waiting on staff come round with the coffee jug and give you refills without you having to ask for it. I had died and gone to coffee heaven.

Secondly, when you ask for pancakes and bacon for breakfast. You get pancakes fit for a King and plenty of them.

I’m not saying that the other American cities that we visited didn’t have the same portions or amazing food, but New York was our first leg of a trip which took us to Connecticut, Boston, Toronto, Seattle and Vancouver so everything after this we compared to NYC.

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C is for carriage ride around Central Park

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MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z

good central parkAny huge fan of Sex and the City such as me, has romanticised many times about riding in a carriage drawn by a horse through Central Park just as Carrie did with Mr Big.

Doing it with your son in tow isn’t quite the romantic scene that I’d envisaged, but nevertheless it was on my list of things I wanted to do while visiting the fabulous city of New York.

I won’t lie, it’s quite a luxury viewing the park in this manner costing us $90 for the hour but we got a detailed tour by the gentleman who was our host. We also got to stop at the fountain which features in the opening scenes of Friends and he took our photographs next to the fountain, and next to the horse and carriage.IMG_4728

A couple of days later we visited the park again and decided to spend half of the day there. This time we hired bicycles and managed to cycle around the park twice drinking in the fresh air, racing the people who were either jogging or on rollerblades and taking lots of photographs.

Cycling through the park was one of my highlights of my visit to the City. I don’t think I’ll experience such diverse sights, sounds and smells as in that two and half mile circuit on that beautiful August day in 2013.IMG_5230

Central Park is a must see destination for every visitor to NYC.

The part I find so surreal is that there is this huge green space within the city and surrounding it are sky scrapers. Where else in the world would you see that?

Central Park has it all, spaces for picnics, iconic images from films and TV shows, a track for running, a lake, Strawberry Fields, monuments and statues, a zoo, an ice skating rink in winter, adventure playground and much much more.IMG_5264 IMG_5250

B is for Bagels, Blisters and Brooklyn Bridge

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MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z

One of the best things about New York is the bagels that are on sale at most street vendors that are scattered around on most corners within the city.photo

Prior to visiting last summer, I had never ate a bagel…..ever.

On my third day there I visited a typical New York diner and ordered yourself a bagel with cream cheese and grape flavoured jam. Wow, I had died and gone to bagel heaven. Anybody visiting NYC has to experience the New York bagel, and I guarantee that you’ll never east anything that comes to close to it once you leave the city. The Tesco “New York Bagels” failed in comparison.

Spending five days sightseeing each day with a 6:00am start and finishing some fifteen hours later meant that I was not prepared for the blisters that surfaced after the first day.

I cannot stress the importance to anybody reading this who will be visiting NYC for the first time to make sure that you invest in some decent footwear.

I ended up with my feet in bits, and purchasing expensive trainers at the Nike shop not minding how much I paid to feel like I was walking on air, instead of hard concrete. One thing you can guarantee when visiting the Big Apple is that you will walk……a lot. Look after your feet and bring comfortable trainers with you, or be prepared to buy some when you are there like I did. The price of them wasn’t too bad and the staff at the Nike shop were ever so friendly, and very knowledgable about their products.

Finally, a must do when visiting the city that never sleeps is to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

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We got the subway into Brooklyn and therefore walked across it from Brooklyn into Manhattan. I was advised by a friend who had lived in NYC that this was the best way to view the city. Boy was she right!  IMG_4861

 

 

The Bridge connects two great New York City boroughs: Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Whether you walk it, bike it, drive across it or like me just admire it at a very slow pace. One things for sure, the Brooklyn Bridge soaring over the East River is one of New York City’s most famous routes, both for tourists and New Yorkers.

 

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A is for Airways

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MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z CHALLENGE 2014

Or to be more precise British Airways, who were my airline of choice when booking the flights to New York City last year.

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I have already blogged about just how scared I used to be about flying – resulting in never holidaying abroad and getting off two aeroplanes a number of years ago and spoiling family holidays.

Thanks to British Airways and their life-changing Fear of Flying course I was able to cross the Atlantic Ocean last summer and finally visit the one place in the world that I wanted to see more than anything.

New York City.

It was a no-brainer when booking the flights. Although slightly more expensive than other airlines, this didn’t matter to me as I knew that flying with BA meant that I would be looked after throughout the whole flight. If I got nervous I could just tell them that I’d done their course and felt confident that they would look after me.

I flew the eight hours on a Boeing 747 which was my first experience of not only flying long-haul, but also flying on a jumbo. Wow! What a bird.2013-08-03 10.40.28

The eight-hour flight flew by (literally) and I spent a lot of the time walking up and down the plane stretching my back, and looking quite scary to my fellow passengers as I just had the biggest grin on my face for the entire time.

Spoilt for choice with the entertainment system, I had the choice of watching movies, TV shows or listening to music. I watched Les Miserables, Song for Marion and a couple of episodes of Girls. It was impossible to sleep as I was too excited about my destination.

Every few hours we were served snacks, then a main meal following by another hot sandwich. Drinks were available whenever we wanted, and this was in the cheap seats too.

The best part ever for me was as soon as the plane was on the ground and the flight attendant came on the radio to say the words I had longed to hear “Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to New York’s John.F.Kennedy Airport”. The adventure was about to begin.

Thank you British Airways.

If I never travel anywhere again I will always treasure my adventures in the USA and Canada last summer.

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