Regular readers will know that my mother and I were lucky enough to take a last minute break to New York last weekend. Neither of us had been to New York before and it was somewhere that we had both wanted to visit for a long time.
New York is a train ride away from Boston, and taking the Acela Express train meant that we were in New York around three and half hours after leaving Boston. It takes longer than that to get from Edinburgh to London!
We arrived at lunchtime on Friday, checked into our hotel (which was only a couple of blocks away from Penn Station in central Manhattan) and headed straight back out to make the most of our afternoon.
We had 48 hours to see as much of New York as possible!
Our plan, such as it was, was to head south on Friday, north on Saturday, and do the bit in the middle on Sunday; taking in as much of Manhattan along the way as we could.
So, Friday afternoon saw us negotiate the subway for the first time… Once I worked out that you needed the number/letter of the line as well as the colour (and that some train lines were express!), I was sorted and we hopped on and off for the rest of the weekend quite successfully.
Our first stop was the World Trade Center site and the 9/11 Memorial. I wrote about my thoughts on this here, but suffice to say that it was a powerful, sad and overwhelming place.
The new buildings that now circle the Memorial seem to look forward in hope in the same way as the Memorial looks back in rememberance.
After leaving the Memorial we found our way down to Battery Park via the Bull of Wall Street. This was virtually impossible to take a photo of, as people crowded around to touch the bull, hoping for luck to rub off on them. It was in stark contrast to the Memorial we had just left.
With only 48 hours in the city we had decided early on that we didn’t have time to take the ferry out to the Statue of Liberty, but we had to at least look out towards her and the dramatic sky was a fabulous backdrop to our view.
With the sun going down, and rain starting to threaten, we made our way back to the hotel. No late nights for us, a hotel room and no children was an opportunity not to be missed and the long lie the following morning was bliss!
We awoke to another grey but warm day (perfect for sight seeing) and this was the view from our hotel window. We could see all the way to the WTC site where we had been the previous afternoon.
The focus of Saturday was a trip to The Guggenheim. On the way there we took in 42nd Street, failed to find Times Square, and walked across Central Park!
The Guggenheim is a stunning building and I published one of the internal shots I took here; commenting that the building is a sculptural art work itself and that it was far more spectacular than the current exhibition!
On the way back from the Museum we had a walk down Park Avenue, lots of very swish apartments with doormen, and then took in Grand Central Station; the scene of many a classic movie moment. It is a stunning space, and my photos really do not do it justice.
Staying in a hotel near Madison Square Garden we failed to find a bar that wasn’t an Irish Sports Bar (!) but we did have a very nice glass of wine and some food in one of said Sports Bars :)
Another early night was very welcome, although the hotel had BBC America so I was able to watch the premier of Dr Who, a nice little bonus!
Sunday was all about MoMA (the Museum of Modern Art). This was fabulous, with incredible art work in a wonderfully light and airy space. From Monet to Mondrian, Picasso to Pollock, Gauguin to Giacometti; architecture and design, photography and sculpture; it was simply stunning. My kind of gallery.
Our journey back to the hotel to pick up our bags took us down Fifth Avenue, past St Patricks Cathedral, and we managed to find Times Square!
Over the weekend there were many other wonderful moments and sights to see.
The pedestrian subway tunnels full of the most wonderful mosaics.
Macy’s on 34th Street (of Miracle on… fame) – it stretches for a full block, proclaiming itself the largest department store in the world. It certainly felt like it, and I don’t think I would have been able to find anything in it!
Finally catching a glimpse of the Empire State Building, which was only two blocks from our hotel, but impossible to see from street level!
And, the Flat Iron building, which really is a sight to see :)
It was an amazing trip, and we did manage to fit a lot in! There is still so much to see though, so I will just have to go back!
There is always a danger when you visit somewhere with such high expectations, but I was not disappointed. Yes, it is noisy and busy. Yes, looking up from the very narrow streets towards the sky through very tall buildings initially brings on a strange sense of vertigo mixed with claustrophobia!
But, it is vibrant, interesting and exciting. Seeing so many iconic locations; walking streets that I have seen on TV and in films; visiting galleries that have been on my must-see list forever… Just about as good as it gets!
I must thank my wonderful husband for suggesting, and organising, this trip for us. We never would have gone if it hadn’t been for him.