Arrived mid afternoon from London Heathrow on the 18th after a nice flight. We were staying with friends in their apartment in East 38th Street and took a cab from the airport. Amazed when we arrived at the view from their dining room window of the Empire State Building. Went out to explore and visited Grand Central Terminal which was fantastic, could have stayed there all night. Had a beer and a burger and walked down to the Empire State at about 5pm where there were no queues so we went in and got straight up to the top - fantastic views in the evening sunshine. Went back to see our friends and managed to stay awake until 10pm (3pm UK time) and went up on their rooftop terrace to see the Empire State all lit up in blue - fantastic!
Next day we walked to Broadway/Times Square and bought 48 hour tickets for the Grayline open-top tour bus - did the Downtown Loop, Uptown Loop and Night Tour all in that one day! Very good value for money.
Next day woke up and it was raining so we went shopping in Macy's, what a great store, got lots of CK jeans and a couple of handbags for a very good price, also went to FootLocker to get some trainers for our son. When we came out the rain had stopped so we got the tour bus and got off at Greenwich Village and walked back to the apartment. We had tickets for the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert at Westbury that night so went to Penn Station and got tickets for the train to Hicksville. Got chatting to a guy and his wife on the train who were very friendly and they booked our cab at Hicksville to take us to the Westbury Music Fair to ensure that we weren't ripped off. The concert was really good, although LS only played for 1½ hours. Then we called a cab back to Hicksville and got a train back to NYC by which time we were hungry so stopped in Gemini Diner on 2nd Ave at about 12.30am to stuff our faces once again.
Next day we got the tour bus to Battery Park and got the Staten Island Ferry for a view of the Statue of Liberty - great views and it was free! Then we walked down to South Street Seaport and Brooklyn Bridge (walked halfway over the bridge, great view of Manhattan skyline looking back) and walked back to the apartment as by now our tour bus tickets had expired.
Took our friends out to a restaurant called Aquamarine that night, great meal then went for drinks to a bar called The Bravest in 2nd Ave.
On our last day we walked to Central Park, visited the John Lennon Memorial at Strawberry Fields (not the easiest place to find!) before coming back to Grand Central and having Manhattan Clam Chowder in the Oyster Bar. Bought a couple of pressies for our friends then I went for a manicure and pedicure in a nail bar called Serenity - bliss! Had a great steak in a restaurant called Banc on 3rd Ave before meeting our friends for a final drink before we flew to San Francisco the following morning.
We loved New York, it exceeded our expectations and the people were so friendly, we were sad to leave.