I booked a few days in New York as a surprise for my husband's 40th birthday. We left the UK on Monday 17th Sept which was his actual birthday, and up until the Friday he thought we were going to Scotland so he only had the weekend to let it sink in! I got so much advice from reading trip reports, especially as due to the surprise I couldn't ask or discuss anything with my husband! So I thought I'd write my own and hopefully it will provide some ideas for others!
We stayed at the Washington Square Hotel in Greenwich Village, arriving around 3pm on Monday. Such a great hotel in a fantastic location next to Washington Square Park. I felt pretty rubbish when we arrived (I'd been ill over the weekend and was still pretty drained) so I had a nap while my husband went out to explore the neighbourhood, finding a pub that did cask ales. It was his birthday after all! He returned to the hotel later with warm sandwiches and cookies from a shop he'd found, and by Tuesday I was fit and ready to go!
Enjoyed a great breakfast at the hotel which is included in the room rate. Gorgeous blueberry Greek yoghurt, granola, cinnamon bagels and orange juice. There was a small breakfast area just off the lobby but we went downstairs to the hotel restaurant which was much nicer and still included (North Square Restaurant).
We set off walking down Broadway on a warm but drizzly day and got down to the financial district. We spent some time at the 9/11 Memorial which we both found incredibly emotional. Especially the flowers that were placed on individual names on their birthdays. It was important to us to go and show our respects but we didn't stay too long. To be honest I found the smiling people taking selfies a little uncomfortable but maybe that's just me.
After leaving we went past the charging bull. Lots of people crowded round for photos. Hardly anyone by the fearless girl though! Almost as many getting photos at the back end of the bull as the front, mostly of them kneeled down grabbing a testicle!
From there we walked to Battery Park where we had a great view of the Statue of Liberty, before walking towards Brooklyn Bridge, stopping to buy an umbrella on the way as the rain was getting heavier but it was too warm for jackets! Made it to the bridge and walked over just as an awesome thunder storm hit! Quite an experience walking the bridge in that!!
Over in Brooklyn we explored DUMBO for a while before stopping for pizza at Juliana's. Amazing pizza, which we ate outside the front of the restaurant in the storm with rain dripping off the canopy above us.
Our plan was to walk back over the bridge but as it was still raining heavily we got the subway back to the hotel. Although the trains were air conditioned the stations were incredibly hot, like stepping into an oven! Although convenient we decided to try and walk as much as possible to avoid that heat again.
Had a bit of a rest when we got back to the hotel while my husband went back out to spend some birthday money in a Converse shop he had seen earlier in the day. Then freshened up to go out for his treat meal at Keen's Chophouse. Wow - this place was amazing. They squeeze a lot of people in so you're very close to the people on the next table, but there was a fantastic atmosphere and the steak was out of this world. Pretty expensive - we only had one course, a sirloin each, shared two sides (fries and mushrooms) and my husband had two beers and I had water, and the bill came to $175 before tip. Worth it for a special treat though.
We left the restaurant before 10pm so wandered over to Times Square which was absolutely buzzing with street entertainers, lights and music. Just amazing.
Walked for around 40 minutes back to our hotel and fell into bed exhausted but happy!
More to follow!