You can’t have failed to miss the New York posts on my Instagram and Twitter accounts. A couple of weeks ago, I visited NYC for 5 days with my Mum for a girly break. I wasn’t keen on doing the major touristy stuff – Empire State Building or Statue of Liberty, as I’ve been to the city before when I was younger. My plan (I genuinely wrote out an itinerary before we travelled) was to eat lots, shop beauty products and enjoy some sun. I never got any sun, but I did eat a heap of goodies and visit a lot of drugstores and Sephoras. I wanted to share with you, in a couple of relaxed posts, what I got up to each day, and highlight things I think you would like to experience if you visited the city, and things I think that you might want to avoid. If you are visiting with kids, there’s useful tips in this blogger’s post.
Day OneOn the day that I arrived in New York, I was on the ground and in my hotel by around 3PM. I had my New York itinerary all mapped out too. We stayed at the Sheraton New York Times Square, which was a great hotel, with a touch of elegance, that’s ideally located. It has a conference centre attached to it, so the lobby can be very busy with business types; but other than that, it’s a super place. This was my first time in New York as an adult and this was a great base to have. I’d done a lot of research on how to spend a weekend in New York and a week in New York, and tried to create an itinerary for 5 days.We had a little rest in the room and then headed out to Times Square which was just a block or two away. I think Times Square was the best introduction to New York, as it set me up for just how busy this city is and just how crazy the traffic is. We popped into the Disney Store (but it wasn’t as big or as good as I was expecting) and Sephora. I also met the famous Naked Cowboy! By around 5PM, I was really getting tired and I just wanted to get some dinner and then head back to the hotel for some sleep to prepare me for my first full day in New York the next morning.
We made a mistake in our dinner choice, but I saw a huge sign for the Olive Garden in Times Square, and I’d heard so many people (for years) talking about their famous breadsticks, so I wanted to try it. It’s OK, but it’s not great. The food is Italian and it’s very average, and has very much of a chain-restaurant look and feel. The breadsticks were pretty awful, so I won’t be heading back to an Olive Garden again anytime soon.
Day TwoOh my god, my breakfast on my first morning in New York was the best breakfast that I have ever had. I had chosen a place called Big Daddy’s in the Flatiron District (FYI we got everywhere via Ubers) as it is a traditional retro US diner that’s famous for its over-the-top pancakes and breakfasts.I ordered their Cookie Dough pancakes and they were the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten; but boy did I feel sick afterwards. It was a stack of huge pancakes that had runny cookie dough in the batter mix, as well as big dollops of cookie dough on top of the pancakes. Add in the syrup and it could literally put you in a sugar coma. Heaven!We then went to see the Flatiron Building and took some photos for my social media. The building, which comes to a point like an iron, looks really amazing to see in real life. I can’t imagine how small and weirdly shaped some of the rooms inside are! Around the Flatiron District there are a lot of drugstores and a Sephora, so we went and trawled through all of the makeup in there to find some new US beauty items to purchase. There will be a haul post of this soon, but I didn’t end up purchasing as much as I’d thought, as you can get so many US brands in the UK now.By lunchtime, I was still quite full from that amazing pancake breakfast, so I just grabbed a slice of pizza from the famous chain Ray’s Pizza, as we went on a massive walk to find the only Sprinkles cupcake store in New York City. I love Sprinkles, and I think they are the best cupcakes. You’ll find out about my disappointment with the cult Magnolia Bakery later on.
Day ThreeDay three was my favourite day, and I think it’s the day that we packed the most in. We started off in the morning by heading to the Glossier Showroom. Unfortunately, it didn’t open until 12, so we spent a lot of time wandering around and finding cool murals and graffiti to take photos at. I was wearing the yellow top that day, so that’s why there’s so many Instagram photos of me wearing it. I had a great, relaxing time.Finally, the Glossier Showroom was open and we got inside. It’s a great penthouse space that lays out all of Glossier’s products for you to try. You then place an order and the staff go and pack it up for you with some stickers. I got another balm.com in the coconut flavour as it smelt amazing. I also ordered a Glossier sweatshirt. The size XL fits me just fine. I just love this brand and I think it’s such a great fit for me.Something I found very disappointing, and was right next to Glossier was the Flour Shop bakery. I had seen so many people talking about this online, so I was excited to visit. Do not make a pilgrimage here – it’s such a waste of time. They have hardly anything on sale, and they only take cards and not cash (?! what’s that all about?), and a single cake pushpop costs a whopping $8 plus tax. It’s such an Instagrammable shop, but I can’t believe many people buy anything. Imagine how much the cake pop would have cost me once you’d added on my US to UK bank transfer charges!We then headed to the Rockefeller Center, one of the most beautiful and best utilised buildings in New York. We had arranged a tour of NBC Studios there. In the Rockefeller Center is where they film TV hits such as Saturday Night Live and Tonight with Jimmy Fallon. It’s amazing to see how they have managed to turn a skyscraper into great, working TV studios. There are also lots of amazing shops in and around the Rockefeller Center and Plaza – such as Kate Spade and cute little stationery shops. The NBC gift shop is great too, if you are a fan of their TV shows. We also went up to the top of the Rockefeller Center – Top of the Rock. You get a time slot to come back once you buy your tickets, but there is still and incredibly long wait to get up in the lift (and to get down again when you are finished). The views, however, are the best in New York, so it’s well worth the wait and the ticket price (it’s not cheap). The Rockefeller Center is one of the great things to do in New York at night too!We also visited the Magnolia Bakery (famous from Sex & The City) , which was such a disappointment. It was packed out inside, so you couldn’t really see anything. Also, the cupcakes weren’t all that nice. I tried two just to make sure.For dinner we went to one of my favourite US restaurants – Red Lobster. It’s a chain that specialises in seafood (mainly lobster), and they give you baskets of free cheddar biscuits (biscuits in the US are like our scones crossed with bread). They are absolutely heavenly (we had two baskets), and it makes having dinner there worth it, as the biscuits really make the meal. To eat, we shared some Mozzarella Sticks and then I had Lobster Truffle Mac & Cheese – rich, luxurious and delicious – and fries. I also had a ginormous Frozen Strawberry Daquiri, which cost just $10.
I’ll be talking all about days 4 and 5 of my trip in the next blog post coming up, so stay tuned! If you’d like to do a lot more of the tourist attractions, you can save money with the NYC Sightseeing Pass – there’s a good blogger review of that on E&T Abroad. I’ve been doing fairly standard tourist stuff in New York, but if you are looking for more unusual NYC activities, Travel For Your Life blog has some great suggestions.
You can see more of what I’m loving, and what I’m doing, over on Instagram.