Travel Diary | NYC 2017 | Day 2 – One World Observatory

24th October 2017

So much for the whole “I’m going to publish a post about my trip to New York every Tuesday.” thing.

Yes, sorry for the delay in getting this post to you but I’ve been really busy recently, and my internet connection has been absolutely awful. Our street doesn’t have fibre at the moment, but they’re currently installing it and it’s so temperamental.

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 upΒ here.

Here is day 2. The downtown tour bus, 9/11 memorial, One World Observatory and a stupid amount of walking.

We were up at 7am on the Tuesday, ready for our first full day in the city. We’d beaten the jet lag by staying awake until 9pm the previous evening and I cannot explain how much of a difference this made. Also, not having a cold helped.

Downtown tour bus

The Flatiron Building, New York

I personally think the best way to get your bearings if you’ve never been to New York before (I had, Tyrone hadn’t) is to go on one of the tour buses and do a Downtown route. It’s gives you an idea of where everything is, and just how big Manhattan is.

So, after picking up breakfast at a Seven Eleven we headed to Times Square and got our tickets for the downtown hop-on hop-off tour bus.

πŸ—½ Top tip: If you’re going to go on a tour bus, use the Big Bus company. We used a different company last time we went and they were nowhere near as good as Big Bus. The commentary was fantastic and they even provided ponchos just in case it rained.

πŸ—½ Top tip: Before you go to New York, consider buying an Explorer Pass. They’ll save you time and money. We bought the 3 attraction cards which were Β£68 each. If we’d bought tickets for the three activities we did individually it would have cost over Β£100 each. Plus it saves you time queuing to buy tickets at some attractions.

The downtown tour bus takes you from Times Square (just outside of M&M World) all the way down to Battery Park, then back up to Times Square again via a different route. As I say, it’s a hop-on hop-off bus so you can get off and on again as much as you like.

9/11 memorial

9/11 Memorial, New York

We got off the bus close to the 9/11 memorial so we could visit it. Even though I’d been there before, I still found it emotional.

I learned that white roses are placed into the names when it is someone’s birthday.

9/11 Memorial, New York

9/11 Memorial, New York

One World Observatory

As we were close to World Trade One (the new World Trade tower), and as the queue was non-existent, we decided to go up to the observatory. Our Explore Passes weren’t valid for the One World Observatory so we had to pay $34, which I didn’t think was too bad.

I don’t want to spoil the experience for anyone who hasn’t been up yet, but I will say that there’s lots of surprises on the way up.

It was a little bit cloudy on the day we went up as it was raining (hence the grim photos). But we could still see for miles.

View from One World Observatory, New York

As the observatory is complete enclosed in glass, it’s hard to take photographs without getting a reflection.

View from One World Observatory, New York

View from One World Observatory, New York

View from One World Observatory, New York

I did a little Instagram live video when I was at the top. Did you manage to catch it? No? Well… it’s gone forever now!

I also did a little video on Instagram of a part of the floor which looks like a glass panel as you can see the traffic below. However, it’s just a video! Sorry for fooling some of you!

Exploring Downtown Manhattan

New York

I don’t know what came over us but we, rather madly, decided to walk back uptown, but following along side the tour bus route ready for when our legs gave up. While this may seem like a crazy decision, I’m glad we did it, because we discovered so many cool places along the way.

This included an amazing shop called the Poster Museum which, as you might have guessed, sold posters. I’d been looking for a James Bond poster for the new house and fortunately they had quite a few for sale. I bought a small Dr No one that I knew I’d be able to fit in the suitcase. I’m pleased to say it made it home in one piece.

We then popped into a popular looking pizza place to refuel and to use the Wifi. Two slices of pizza and a drink for $5.

πŸ—½ Top tip: Fellow Brits, don’t use your phone’s mobile data when you’re in New York (although O2 charged me just for having my phone on in America so I might as well have used it). There’s WiFi literally everywhere you go. Thanks to Hiro for the heads up about LinkNYC!

There were a few gaming and comic shops we wanted to visit in the Downtown area so we sort of planned out a route to include these shops along the way. At one point we ended up in this huge fancy dress shop and it was incredible. We easily spent an hour in there and I have no regrets!

We also found the Converse shop where you can design your own pair of shoes and they make them there and then in store for you.

We got to Union Square Park before we gave up on walking. Our legs were tired and we were soaking wet. We jumped back on the tour bus and headed uptown.

New York

Tired and damp, we headed back to the hotel to dry out and to research somewhere to go for dinner. I fancied Mexican food and Tyrone found a Dos Caminos relatively close to the hotel. It felt very fancy, yet it wasn’t too expensive. I had tacos and Tyrone had enchiladas. Thumbs up for being vegetarian friendly.

New York

πŸ—½ Top tip: If you are a vegetarian, you might want to double check if things on the menu are veggie friendly. Because the majority of the places we ate at didn’t mark on the menu if things were suitable for vegetarians or not. Is this an American thing?

Even though we had walked our legs off in the day, we headed back to Times Square so Tyrone could take some photos of New York in the rain. He got some really cool pictures with the lights reflecting in the puddles (he should start a blog just to showcase his photography!).

Then it was back to the hotel for a well earned sleep!

Keep your eyes peeled for my day 3 post, where we visit Central Park and do far too much walking again!

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  1. The views from the Observatory are amazing. And look at that pizza. πŸ™‚
    I hope the internet connection will be sorted out soon.

  2. Oooh enjoy your fibre when it arrives!
    I wish I’d have done a bus tour, they seem such good value for money! The view from the One World Observatory are stunning! It really puts the size of New York into perspective – and shows how far you walked back! That must have been quite the treck, but I’m glad you got a James Bond poster out of it! The tacos look delicious too!

    • Holly

      It’s been so difficult without fibre! Our last two places have had it, but for some reason our entire street doesn’t have it yet.

      It was definitely worth the trek for that poster! We could have taken the subway everywhere but we discovered so many places just walking everywhere.

  3. Amy

    Oh wow, Holly! The One World Observatory looks amazing! Those photos though! I bet I’d be terrified being so
    high up but it looks fantastic.

    I’d also plan a route with all the comic book shops in. When we were in London we did absolutely no research, but ended up just finding two amazing comic shops on our way to places. I was so happy, but next time I’m definitely planning to see if I can get more in.

    I can’t believe they don’t say whether it’d veggie on the menu. I’m not a vegetarian, but I don’t really eat meat (yes, I realise this sounds weird) so I always look out for the veggie symbol on menus. I’d definitely struggle somewhere if I wasn’t sure. Glad you found somewhere with good veggie options though!

    That pizza looks beautiful. I want some New York pizza right now!

  4. Cat

    I still need to make my way over to the 9/11 memorial some time. That’s so sad about the white roses πŸ™

    Even with the rain, it looks like you still got a lovely view at the One World Observatory! I love the photos you got! I also like that you planned a route with gaming and comic shops in mind. Manhattan has so many nifty places!

    Aahh yeah, it’s kind of annoying when restaurants don’t mark their menus. It’s not a requirement here, so it’s kind of up to the restaurant. The more hipster ones will be good about marking vegetarian and even gluten-free, but there’s also a lot that don’t =/