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Wedding anniversary trip report! Sep 18 - 24

Plymouth
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Wedding anniversary trip report! Sep 18 - 24

Have finally got round to writing a trip report! My husband and I visited for a week in September as a belated honeymoon / first wedding anniversary trip. Want to say a big thank you to all the TA experts who give such good advice - we picked up lots of tips and recommendations on here which really helped make our holiday.

This is a long one I'm afraid...!

Plymouth
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1. Re: Wedding anniversary trip report! Sep 18 - 24

Day 1

Landed at Newark after what felt like an extremely long flight from Heathrow. Catching a glimpse of Manhattan for the first time as we flew over was amazing – couldn’t believe we were finally there and I have to admit I felt a bit teary!

I’d read about lengthy waits at immigration and we were prepared for a long wait – but in actual fact we literally sailed through, and the total time between the plane landing and leaving the airport altogether was an incredible 35 minutes! We got the airtrain/NJ Transit into Manhattan which was quick, straightforward and cheap. Once at Penn Station we bought our 7 day Metrocards, which are such a bargain for $30. We ended up using the subway loads and it was far easier than I’d imagined.

We made our way to our hotel in Long Island City – the Country Inn & Suites, as recommended to us here on TA – thank you! I’ve reviewed that separately but in short we were very pleased – clean, spacious, cheap and very close to the subway. After unpacking and freshening up we headed back out, and where to go first on your very first time in New York – Times Square.

It was pretty much how I’d envisaged it to be – busy, noisy, colourful. Like Leicester Square on acid. We loved and disliked it in equal measure, if that makes sense? Great fun to see, but we were glad we weren’t staying in the midst of it all. After a wander around, feeling thoroughly surreal that we were actually in NYC, we went for an early dinner at John’s Pizzeria – lovely building inside and nice food. We were feeling pretty tired by this point (neither of us had managed to sleep the night before our flight, so we’d been awake for about 40 hours by this point!) but we still managed to go for a quick drink at the Sky Room – fab views. Just the one though, and we were back tucked up in bed by 9pm.

Plymouth
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2. Re: Wedding anniversary trip report! Sep 18 - 24

Day 2 - Thursday

Wide awake at 3am – thanks, jet lag. Early starts were to be a feature of our holiday, but that was no bad thing. We started the day off at Top of The Rock. It was a beautiful morning (we were lucky with the weather all week) and the views were amazing. I had no idea that Central Park was quite so huge! Next we walked to Grand Central – again it felt quite surreal to be somewhere so iconic. We had an early lunch at Junior’s there – thought I’d be like a real New Yorker and ordered pastrami on rye, which was the largest sandwich I’ve ever seen in my life. I had to take half the meat out and it was still too big to eat! Then of course the obligatory NY cheesecake, which was delicious.

After lunch we got the subway down to the Financial District and walked around the Wall Street area, the Stone St historic district etc. Carried on to Battery Park for our first proper glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. Battery Park was lovely, especially in the sunshine, and we stopped for a drink at an outside bar. We then made our way to the Staten Island Ferry & did a round trip. It was packed, as I guess it always is, but you can’t complain when something is free! We both agreed that the Statue of Liberty didn’t seem as big as we thought it was – I know you don’t get up close on the SI Ferry, but we thought it was bigger somehow. So cool seeing it though.

Late afternoon by this point, so we decided to head back to our hotel for a rest for a couple of hours. For dinner, we headed to Astoria, just a couple of subway stops. That was really interesting as it felt like a taste of “Real New York” being out in Queens rather than Manhattan. Loads of restaurant choice but as my husband isn’t massively adventurous with food, we settled on the Omonia Café as it had an extensive menu and outdoor seating. Loved sitting there watching the world go by…afterwards we had a look round a couple of supermarkets (I love supermarkets abroad and seeing all the differences) and then we popped into a bar for a drink. There was nothing outside advertising live music but suddenly a jazz band started to play – we felt like we were in a movie, sat at a bar in Queens listening to jazz. Great end to our first full day!

Plymouth
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3. Re: Wedding anniversary trip report! Sep 18 - 24

Day 3 - Friday

Started Friday at the NY Public Library – what a beautiful building. Then wandered up 5th Avenue to window shop…loved going in Tiffany’s, although unfortunately our budget didn’t stretch to buying anything! FAO Schwarz was fun, especially the piano from Big. We had planned on going down into the Apple Store, but were soon put off when we saw the ridiculous queues to get in.

Lunch started off as a hot dog right outside Central Park – we had both been quite excited about trying a genuine NY hot dog. We were unfortunately a little underwhelmed! They were tiny and no different to a hot dog you get over here  My husband is diabetic and there’s no way that was going to sustain him, so we went on the hunt for some proper lunch. We chanced upon Europa café which we later discovered was a chain, and that was good – a great selection of sandwiches and salad.

Having had some proper sustenance, we headed back to Central Park. I loved, loved, LOVED Central Park. Hands down one of my favourite bits of our holiday. Again it was a beautiful sunny afternoon, and the park was simply stunning. We spent about 3 hours there and saw Bethesda Fountain, the boating lake, Belvedere Castle, Shakespeare’s Garden and Strawberry Fields. I’m aware that we only scratched the surface of it really. After our morning on 5th Avenue with all the people and traffic (which don’t get me wrong, I did love) it felt like a nice respite being in the park.

Once we’d seen the Imagine Memorial we exited the park (on the Upper West Side?) & got the subway up to the Yankee Stadium (4 boroughs out of 5 done now!) We’d booked tickets in advance to see the Yankees vs the San Fransisco Giants, which we picked up from the Will Call office and that was very easy. Had a wander around the stadium before having dinner – we decided upon Nathan’s, to give the NY hot dog another chance – but again, we were disappointed. No more hot dogs from then on!

Watching the game was great fun – it was like a show for the audience as much as a sporting event. Was quite excited when I first heard the organ! We didn’t stay quite until the end though, we wanted to avoid huge crowds leaving at the same time. It was massively busy on the subway back nonetheless. Some guys were doing breakdancing on the train, which was fantastic. Another cool & unexpected “NY moment”. Because it wasn’t too late, and we had to change trains at Columbus Circle anyway, we decided to walk down Broadway and see Times Square lit up at night. It was quite spectacular but even busier than it had been on our first evening, so we didn’t stay long.

Plymouth
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4. Re: Wedding anniversary trip report! Sep 18 - 24

Day 4 - Saturday

Our first wedding anniversary! We spent the morning in Greenwich Village. I was pleased to see no queue for the Magnolia Bakery (probably not as fashionable as it was) so had to try a cupcake and sample what started the worldwide trend! It was, admittedly, a very nice cupcake. Went to look at Carrie Bradshaw’s front door on Perry Street (sad, I know) and the Friends apartment building on Bedford & Grove (again, sad, I know.)

For the afternoon, we headed over to the East Village, via Washington Square Park. We both really liked the vibe in the East Village and agreed we preferred it to Greenwich Village, which I hadn’t been expecting really. Had a gorgeous lunch of savoury crepes at the Crooked Tree, followed by a leisurely walk around Tomkins Park, where the leaves were just beginning to fall. I can only imagine how beautiful NYC must be in the Autumn.

Late afternoon we decided to go and look at the Flatiron Building (I think we were probably zigzagging around a bit here on a whim) and then went for a drink at 230 Fifth. I had been hoping to fit in 230 Fifth, but apart from the incredible view of the Empire State Building, it was a bit disappointing. I’m not sure why…I think it’s the whole idea of VIP areas & bottle service etc and not being able to afford to do that, which we don’t have over here.

Anyway, feeling a little tipsy after a very expensive cocktail, we headed back to our hotel to get ready for our anniversary evening out. We treated ourselves to a yellow cab back into Manhattan, which was exciting! He dropped us at Columbus Circle and we went to the Lobby Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental for champagne cocktails (recommendation from here again – thanks!) It felt very decadent and glamourous and the ladies’ restroom there was the most amazing I’ve ever been to. If I ever win the lottery, I shall be staying at the Mandarin!

Dinner was nearby at Robert. We’d done a lot of research on where to eat on our anniversary, and I really think we got it right with Robert. It was exactly what we wanted. I had phoned a week in advance to try and get a window table, but unfortunately they didn’t have any available…we ended up sitting quite close to the window though, so still got the ambiance and atmosphere of the lights outside. The food was fabulous & the service great, so attentive. There was live piano and the whole thing just felt perfect. We had been planning on walking over to the Empire Hotel afterwards for drinks, but when we left the restaurant it was raining quite heavily, so we just called it quits and got a cab back to the hotel.

I don’t think I could have wished for a better first wedding anniversary!

Plymouth
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5. Re: Wedding anniversary trip report! Sep 18 - 24

Day 5 - Sunday

We had a bit of a later start on Sunday, before getting the subway late morning to Coney Island. It was just the one train straight from Queensboro Plaza, which took about an hour. We had a quick look at Coney Island before walking along the boardwalk to Brighton Beach. It was yet another beautiful day and felt a little strange being at the beach during a holiday to NYC, not what most people imagine! Brighton Beach was interesting with all the Russian shops…we had to pop into a chemists to get a few bits and the lady serving in there spoke to me in Russian – I guess they don’t have too many tourists in there maybe?! I wish I could say that we enjoyed Russian food for lunch but we didn’t, we ended up in <whispers> Subway. My husband was starting to feel a bit low, so we just needed to go in the next place we saw really. That feels like a shame to me now, but nevermind.

After lunch we walked back to Coney Island, where we went on the Wonder Wheel (and despite choosing a stationary white car, I still felt pretty terrified to begin with!). I doubt we’d go back to Coney Island on a future visit, but I did enjoy the tackiness and Americana of it all – it was good to go out of the City and see something different.

We got the subway back to Brooklyn Heights & had a wander around – such pretty streets – I think I could happily live there! Then it was onto the Brooklyn Bridge park and DUMBO. We found the Smorgasbord market (on Water Street I think) and had the most amazing passionfruit doughnut there. Next of course it was time to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, which I think was another highlight of our trip. It was late afternoon so the light was good and got some fab photos – next time I’d love to walk it at night.

Back in Manhattan we had to decide where to eat dinner – we’d been planning on going to the South Street seaport, but once we’d crossed the bridge we realised that it looked like a fair trek away. So boringly, but for ease, we opted for Grand Central again. We had pizza at Two Boots which was pretty good – better than John’s I think. Then we couldn’t leave Grand Central without some takeaway cheesecake from Junior’s  Went to have a quick look at the Chrysler Building all lit up – stunning – this was my favourite skyscraper in NYC.

Back to the hotel to get changed before heading back out again…it’s exhausting just thinking about this, I don’t know where we got our energy from really! We made our way to the Meatpacking District where we went to Cielo. This was also following a lot of research, as we’d both wanted to go proper clubbing in NYC (before we got too old haha.) I think it was a good choice…an unpretentious little club with music that we loved. We only stayed about 2 hours though, as it was more about the experience of having done it rather than raving until 4am!

Plymouth
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6. Re: Wedding anniversary trip report! Sep 18 - 24

Day 6 - Monday

We skipped the rather rubbish hotel breakfast this day in favour of the Court Square Diner, which was just one subway stop away. It was one of those stainless steel type authentic diners which felt quite exciting! After a massive breakfast which we thoroughly enjoyed, we crossed the road to look at 5Pointz graffiti. We’d seen it a lot from the 7 train & even my husband, who claimed not to like graffiti, took a lot of photos! It was quite something.

It was then back to the Meatpacking District area (I think!) to walk the High Line. Again, this was one of the highlights of the holiday for me. It’s really clever what they’ve done there, and you get a different perspective on the city walking along. We walked its length north and then back again, exiting for Chelsea Market. We had been planning to have some lunch there, but were still full from breakfast so just shopped for some souvenirs instead.

It was then onto the Lower East Side for our planned afternoon there. We popped our heads into Katz’s Deli considering lunch, but it was crazily busy and we still weren’t that hungry, so gave it a miss! We were following a walk in our guidebook through the Lower East Side, but it only seemed to take about 20 mins before we were in Chinatown and I felt quite unsatisfied by it. I’m not sure whether we just walked the wrong way and missed it all, or whether it has been swallowed up by Chinatown expanding? I was expecting lots of Jewish delis and shops but just didn’t see any.

Anyway, we continued into Chinatown which was interesting, in terms of the sheer scale of it all…had some bubble tea which my husband enjoyed more than I did, strangely! Bought our daughter a lucky waving cat which she now adores. On into Little Italy where we had a very late lunch / early dinner. Totally aware that Little Italy is not supposed to be very authentic, but we enjoyed our pasta, canoli and wine very much nonetheless!

We were totally off itinerary now and decided to walk over into Soho to do some shopping…discovered Old Navy which was fab! On the way home we stopped off at Columbus Circle again to have a quick scoot round the shops and take some photos which we missed doing on Saturday night when it rained. Loved Columbus Circle at night, the fountains were so pretty.

Plymouth
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7. Re: Wedding anniversary trip report! Sep 18 - 24

Day 7 - Tuesday

Hometime  Our flight wasn’t until 10pm though, so still had another full day. We checked out early, headed to Penn Station and found our way with our suitcases to Schwarz Luggage Storage. It was upstairs in a very ordinary office block – not at all what we’d been expecting but at only $10 per bag, we were happy! From there we walked to the United Nations - what we’d forgotten however was that it was the week of the general assembly and we weren’t getting anywhere near the building! I think my husband was a little disappointed but we took some photos from afar and it was interesting seeing all the delegates and news crews around.

Lunch was at Europa Café again – husband was having a diabetic hypo (only one of the week thankfully) but a couple of their yummy cakes promptly brought his sugars back up! We then made our way downtown for the World Trade Center site. We’d failed to get memorial tickets online beforehand so picked them up from the Memorial shop nearby – what we didn’t realise though was that they would still be timed. Our slot was still over an hour away so we decided to be a bit naughty and just chance going in then, which wasn’t a problem.

Neither of us had expected to feel quite so emotional seeing the memorial. All those names…it really brought home the magnitude of what happened that day. What’s been done with the site is so sensitive and beautiful (I don’t know if that’s the right word really). I couldn’t help crying and had such an overwhelming feeling of wanting to get home to my daughter.

We then headed back towards Penn Station and had an hour or so in Macy’s. That wasn’t what I expected at all – it just seemed like a normal and quite shabby department store, albeit a very, very large one! I think we probably should have gone to Bloomingdales or somewhere during our week instead. Reluctantly we went and picked up our luggage and made our way back to Newark 

Plymouth
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8. Re: Wedding anniversary trip report! Sep 18 - 24

So, all in all, we had an AMAZING time. Like everybody says, NYC really does get under your skin and we're desperate to come back - hoping to bring our daughter in a couple of years when she's a bit older & maybe in the winter time to do all the Christmassy things. Very jealous of everybody still planning their trip!

Ilminster, United...
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9. Re: Wedding anniversary trip report! Sep 18 - 24

Sounds like you had a fantastic time!!

San Frantastic
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10. Re: Wedding anniversary trip report! Sep 18 - 24

One of the nicest TR's I've read. Thank you for sharing. You sure did a LOT. I don't do half this much on a long weekend, and I stay in Manhattan!