Travel Diary | NYC 2017 | Day 1 – Travelling to New York

26th September 2017

I’ve returned from my holiday, which can only mean one thing: another Travel Diary series!! ✈️✈️✈️

Last time I went to New York I managed to write a post for everyday we were there. I’d like to do this again but I may end up combining the last few days into one post as we took those days a lot slower. We’ll just have to wait and see!

Also, I don’t think this series will be as photo heavy as the last one New York one was. I don’t know why but neither of us felt like taking many pictures. We were just too busy living in the moment, and being present, as cheesy as that sounds. It made a lovely change.

Anyway, here is day 1: Flying to New York, the hotel, Times Square, Bryant Park and Grand Central Station. 

Chrysler Building, New York

Travelling to New York

On Bank Holiday Monday, we woke up at 4:30am and headed to Manchester Airport.

I learned a lot from my last trip to New York which helped me to plan for this holiday. For instance, we discovered that the service on British Airways flights is terrible, so although we booked the holiday through British Airways (it was easier and cheaper) we chose to fly with American Airlines. Plus, this meant we could fly directly from Manchester. 😉

I’m not saying American Airlines are perfect. Especially after we were first in line for an upgrade on the way home and they gave it to someone else instead, but they’re better than BA. Just saying.

I was also disappointed to discover that American Airlines use smaller, older planes to fly out of Manchester which don’t have individual TV screens. This made for a very boring flight! However, I’d rather sacrifice the screens than have to fly from London. Swings and roundabouts.

Anyway, the food on the flight was good and we ended up having a free seat next to us which meant we had so much extra space. I tried to sleep but sadly I didn’t; partly because I have to be really comfortable before I fall asleep, partly because I was too excited.

The highlight of the flight was a guy on our flight who looked like Heisenberg from Breaking Bad. Like, he dressed the same and everything. It was funny watching the American Airlines staff do the security checks with him, asking questions like “What do you do for a living?”. 😂

Once we landed at JFK, it took about an hour to get through immigration, but at least this meant our bags were waiting for us when we got through. We’d booked a transfer to the hotel as a part of the package which made life easier.

I love the journey into New York. I remember how amazed I was by everything the first time I went because, you know, America! I think Tyrone felt the same way as it was his first time in the USA. Once again, I got excited driving past the site of the 1964 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows. Tyrone thought it looked a bit of a dump.

Rockefeller Center, New York

The Hotel

We stayed at the Omni Berkshire Place which is close to the Rockefeller Center. Honestly, I cannot recommend this hotel enough. It was probably the best hotel I’ve ever stayed in.

The location was perfect. As I say, it was close to the Rockefeller, and also about a 15 minute walk from Times Square and Central Park. There was a terrace on the 17th floor with views over St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The bed was insanely comfortable. The only problem with this is that it made getting up in a morning so much more difficult. 🙈 Our room was at the back of the hotel, so the view wasn’t much, but it meant it was so quite at night. I very much appreciated this!

In an effort to beat the jet lag, as soon as we arrived at the hotel we showered and then went out to explore. We aimed to stay up until 9pm and we did it. The struggle was worth it in the end as we immediately got into a normal sleep routine.

Times Square

First stop: Times Square. I wouldn’t recommend you go to Times Square if you’ve been awake for like 20 hours, because it’s hard work. But fortunately for us it wasn’t too busy.

🗽 Top tip: Don’t have your photo taken with the people dressed up as characters (see Pauline’s post) and don’t take the “free” CDs from the guys trying to hand them out.

I took Tyrone to the Hersey’s World shop so he could witness the massive Reese’s peanut butter cups that are like over 1,000 calories each. We ended up buying a pack! (“F*ck it! We’re in America!“)

Midtown Comics and Toys R Us, New York

I was disappointed to discover the famous Toys R Us store, which had a Ferris Wheel in the entrance, had closed down and moved to a smaller store. We went in the new store, but it just wasn’t the same. We also checked out the Midtown Comics just off Times Square which is always a pleasure to visit.

Feeling hungry, we hunted down some dollar pizza. We went to a place just off Times Square than seemed really popular with the locals. Honestly, don’t knock dollar pizza until you’ve tried it. It was actually really tasty!

Bryant Park

Bryant Park, New York

We continued to walk while eating out pizza, and we ended up in Bryant Park. Bryant Park is definitely my favourite park in New York. It’s right next to the New York Public Library, which is where Carrie Bradshaw didn’t get married. We did go in the library later in the week, so I’ll tell you about that in a different post.

We bought some overpriced pretzels and sat in the park. I was sleep deprived but I was so, so happy.

🗽 Top tip: The further you get away from Times Square, the cheaper the street food vendors get. Or so it seems.

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station, New York

After resting our legs it was on to Grand Central Station, which is close to Bryant Park. Of course, we found the Whispering Gallery (Whispering Wall, Whispering Arch, what ever it’s called) and tried it out. Here’s a video that shows you what it is if you’ve never heard of it before.

I’m pleased to say it worked!

Grand Central Station, New York

Then we headed back to the hotel and were in bed for 9pm.

We’d made it! We’d survived the journey to America, and we were ready for a week of exploring!

Stay tuned for day 2 when I’ll be showing you the views from the tallest building in New York.

Here are the posts from my last trip to New York if you are interest:

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  1. Liv

    Wooooot! Welcome to my home. 😛 I’ve only taken American Airlines once, and it was a partnership with Cathay Pacific (from New York to Hong Kong). I didn’t realize the line at JFK would be so long! I know they have a separate line for Americans and immigration. The American one always get me through in less than 5 minutes so I every time I end up waiting 2 hours for my parents who don’t seem to get it, haha.

    Yeah, definitely don’t get your photo taken in Times Square, and in fact ignore everyone that comes up to you!!!!!

    Wow, I didn’t know that building in Bryant Park has been completed! I swear it was not there last time I was in Bryant Park, which was a few years ago when I worked in the area. I did briefly stop by once last year, but it was because it was a Pokemon goldmine. 😉

    I didn’t even know what Whispering Gallery is. Looks like I need to go home and explore sometime! I’m glad you enjoyed your time in NYC and I’m looking forward to your next posts!

    • Holly

      Immigration takes forever! Probably because a lot of people get to the front of the queue and then realise they haven’t got the paper work they need. It just slows everything down.

      I think it’s the Bank of America building, right? I’m sure it was still being built when I visited a few years ago. The top changes colour and apparently there is an app for the executives who work in the building so they can sit in the park and control the colour!!!

  2. I’m glad you a lovely time. I had to search what is a “dollar pizza”, I couldn’t imagine it’s an actual slice of pizza for $1. :)) Sounds like great value for money. Toys R Us went into bankruptcy, it was announced last week or so.
    I can’t wait to see your next posts.

    • Holly

      I’ll insert some pictures of the pizza we had in the next post but the slices are huge!

      Yes, when I saw they had gone bankrupt it all made sense. It’s a shame.

  3. Woo hoo!! It was so fun watching you traverse NYC when you were here. It’s always great to read/see reviews from a visitor’s perspective, because living here and seeing all those things on a daily basis makes you be desensitized to everything… Here I am, living in the “Capital of the World,” and I’m like eh. Let me go home and make myself spaghetti…
    I’m definitely looking forward to your whole set of posts, because I’m considering doing a “staycation” this fall (given my health’s not too great) and explore the city like I’m a tourist. Hehehe. I’ll keep an eye out for the recommendations 😉

    • Holly

      Hehe I loved sharing my trip on social media while I was there. With Instagram stories I tried to save each day as a video, although I forgot on the last few days!

      I totally know what you mean! I’ve been living in Liverpool for 5 years now and I’m still so unfamiliar with so many areas of the city.

  4. The Whispering wall was so cool. I tried that when I was in New York last year for my 30th Birthday and it was pretty awesome. I’m surprised that I haven’t been more often, because I’m only 2 hours away, so it’s literally my backyard.

    Sometimes, it’s good to live in the moment, even if you don’t take many photos. It’s hard to enjoy it, when you need to snap everything. It takes so much joy out of everything – although it is good to have photos to look back to.

  5. Yay! I love your travel diaries! That’s a fair point about taking fewer pictures – you spend so much time trying to get the best picture you sort of forget what you’re looking at! Your flight sounds like a pleasant one, especially with that spare seat next to you. I flew with American Airlines for my first ever flight and its still the best flight I’ve had! Your hotel looks amazing, very luxurious! It’s great that you got to fit so much into your first day, too. I’m sad to hear that Toys R Us has moved though, I loved it there! I’d love to visit Midtown Comics – did you buy anything there?
    I didn’t know there was a whispering wall in Grand Central Station! I remember my mum taking me to the one in the Anglican Cathedral when I was about 7, I didn’t know why it was so special and I was bored! The one in Grand Central looks much better! Was there lots of other people trying it out, too?

    • Holly

      Aww thank you Katy! That really means a lot to me.

      I was so excited to show Tyrone Toys R Us. I just had to Google some photos of the Ferris Wheel to prove I wasn’t making it up!

      I didn’t actually buy anything in Midtown Comics. I went in search of some Harley Quinn pants I saw last time I was there but sadly they’d gone!!!

      Yes, fortunately there were other people doing it because it made us feel less strange! If you don’t know what it is it must be so strange to see people standing in a corner talking to a wall!

  6. AHHHH I got super excited reading this post! I miss New York so much, I look at my photos from New York every day just to check that it actually happened because here I am months later still as shocked as ever. 😂

    I LOVE what you said about not taking many photos! Although I took loads (lol, it was my first time OK) I totally know what you mean about being so busy in the moment. There were so many times in NYC (despite what it looks like lmao) where I had to just put my phone away and camera away. I just sat there and cried. LOL. Matt got some of those moments on camera though xD

    WHEN I SAW YOUR HOTEL THO OMG I wish we booked it too! We stayed on 72nd street near central park which was just OK. Room was tiny which I didn’t mind but the bathroom was BLEH. I will definitely look into OMNI next time!

    Haha, I’m still so shocked by those people at Times Square. Whenever I share the story again, I’m shocked by how brave I was taking the phone back with assertiveness… because I was terrified! Haha, the first time Matt went to NY, one of his friends ended up paying those guys who were offering “free CDS/mixtapes” so much ££ and he didn’t understand why/how. xD Tourist trap!

    I can’t wait to read the rest of your posts!

    • Holly

      I took so many photos the first time I went to New York. I’d just take pictures of things because they looked “American” haha!!

      It was an amazing hotel! Our bathroom had even had a bath in, which I think is pretty rare in New York. And robes! So fancy!

      I always get so anxious about choosing hotels, but this one had really good TripAdvisor reviews so I just went with it. I think it’s quite expensive if you book it directly but we got a good deal booking it through BA.

      We saw someone take one of those CDs and then when he didn’t give the guy any money he got really nasty and started following him down the street hurling abuse at him. It was horrible!

  7. […] Anyway, if you missed day 1 of my New York Travel Diary series, I recommend you read it before reading this one. You can catch up here. […]

  8. […] enjoying this travel series so far! If you missed the previous two posts, you can catch up with day 1 here, and day 2 […]