My New York Diary
**FYI There will be seperate reviews of the hotels, attractions, transport, etc in posts.
Wednesday 1st of January
Got up and finished packing my bag, I think I have everything but I am sure there is something that I've forgotten haha.
Went to breakfast with my husband, Sean, and my parents in All Day Cafe to get me set up for the day. When we got back to my parent's house, we loaded our stuff into the car and said goodbye. He left at about 11am as we didn't want to leave it too late for Sean to get home.
Only took us about an hour to get from Crawley to Premier Inn in Bath Close but what we didn't know was that there are 2 Premier Inns on that road and we had gone to the wrong one. So you can imagine, me walking into reception and crying my eyes out because I had just said goodbye to Sean and Sunny only to find out that I was in the wrong hotel. Lucky enough, Sean had stayed outside to make sure everything was ok so I put my stuff back in the car and we set off again. The lady on reception said that they get a lot of people going to the wrong hotel so at least I'm not the only one to have done it haha.
Got to the right hotel, got my key and went up to the room. My sister, Fran was out for the day with her friend Adrian so I got to have an afternoon of chilling out watching TV and had a shower. When they got back we went for something to eat in the hotel restaurant and then chilled by having drinks in the bar.
We tried checking in online, me and Fran got our boarding passes fine but for some reason we could only get a PDF version of Adrian's boarding pass instead of it coming up on our apps. I think that we will be fine anyway, might be able to print the boarding pass at the airport.
We had to get up at 4am so headed up to bed for an early night.
Thursday 2nd of January
So much for an early night, went to bed at about 10pm last night but then woke up just after after midnight and couldn't get back to sleep. Fran woke up and we chatted for an hour before deciding that we better get back to sleep. Believe me when I say that my 4am alarm going off was not good and I had trouble waking up for a long time. Lucky enough, Fran is more of a morning person than me so she was up and getting ready.
Once we were both dressed, Fran took her bags down to her car and messaged Adrian to make sure he was awake.
I got all of my stuff together and headed down to the car as well, meeting Adrian and then Fran at the car.
We dropped the car in Purple Parking and got on their free shuttle bus to Terminal 5. It only took about 10 minutes so that was really good.
We went straight to the check-in stations which are called Step 1 of check-in, and got our boarding passes. They are just a screen, they are not manned by people but there are a few members of BA staff wondering around if you have any problems but they are so easy to use and super quick, I love them!! We then went to Step 2 which is the hold luggage drop off. Some of these are manned by people but some aren't, we went to the ones are weren't and they were once again, really easy to use and super quick. The screens tell you exactly what you need to do and you are done in minutes.
Getting through security was quite quick, well, it was for me haha. Fran and Adrian had to go through the body scanner and I had no problem at all.
We went straight to the Wetherspoons which is called The Crown River and used their app to order breakfasts. It's an unwritten rule for me that if I am going on holiday, I have to start the day with a Wetherspoons breakfast haha.
We noticed that the flights to New York before ours were in the B gate area so once we had finished eating and charged our phones up on the charging point in the booth that we were sitting in, we started heading towards the gates.
We had a bit of a wait before we boarded the plane but we were soon actually on the plane and in our seats ready to take off.
The flight was really good, the seats were comfy but I was about an inch out on the seat belt so had to ask for a belt extender. The entertainment screen was really good, I had loads to choose from so I watched Downton Abbey, Zombieland : Double Tap and It Chapter 2. The food was lovely, we were given so much food and they came round quite a few time with the drinks trolly.
As it was my sister's birthday, I made her wear a big badge that said "It's my birthday". One of the cabin crew asked her if she would like a little bottle of bubbly as it was her birthday but she said no and a little while later, he came back with a birthday card from all the crew and a first class spa pack. How lovely was that!! Talk about making her feel special.
It didn't take us long to get through customs and get our bags. Fran had pre-booked our transfers to the hotel with Carmel's Car Hire so we went through to the information centre where there was a phone for us to call them and then wait for them to pick up us from the pick-up point.
I was a complete plonker and forgot that the driver side was on the left of the car so when I tried to get in the front of the car, I opened the driver side. We all laughed about it thank goodness haha.
I loved that we got to drive into New York in a car as we got to see so much of the city before we got to the hotel and the driver was telling us about some of the buildings.
Our home for the week is the Wellington Hotel which is 4 streets away from Central Park and 6 streets away from Time Square. Fran had emailed before we'd arrived asking if it was possible to have a room on a high floor and we were told when we went to check in that we could have a higher room but it wasn't ready so we left our bags with the gentleman on the bell desk who said he would take the bags up to the room for us so we said it was all fine and headed off out for a little explore. We went straight to Time Square and I'm not going to lie, I thought it would be bigger haha. It was amazing to be there, see all the screens and the big red steps but for some reason I thought it would be more.
We had a walk around the streets to see what was around and found ourselves outside the Empire State Building which had a huge queue of people coming out of it. Now when I say a huge queue, I mean a huge queue, it was winding down the sidewalk so that it folded round on itself. I seriously think it was a good 2 hour wait in that queue. We started heading back towards the hotel and found Bryant Park where we sat down to have a hot chocolate.
When we got to the hotel, the room still wasn't ready so we were given breakfast vouchers for the Park Cafe which I thought was a nice touch. Once the room was ready, we went up to the room to find that instead of our one bedroom suite, we'd been given the key to a twin room. Fran went straight downstairs to reception and got it all straightened out so that we were soon in our amazing one bedroom suite.
We were meant to go for dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe but we were tired, jetlag was starting to kick our arses and getting something to eat and then going to bed sounded like an awesome idea. We found a little Pizza Hut, ordered some pizzas and then went back to the hotel to enjoy them before heading to bed.
Friday 3rd January
Woke up very confused about where I was and why my bed was so high, but then I remembered that I'm in NEW YORK CITY! I looked out the window, I could see Time Square to the left and Central Park to the right, I was so excited!
We all got up, got dressed and went downstairs to Park Cafe for a lovely breakfast of bacon, ham, fried eggs and home fries all washing down with fresh orange juice and a cup of tea.
We walked down to the Intrepid, we got there at about 10 am so there wasn't a huge queue to get in. We had brought a multi attraction pass so we went into the express line and got through quite quickly. The lady on the desk suggested that we go and look around the Submarine Growler if it wasn't busy so we headed there first.
Before you get to go on the Growler, you first go through the little museum where you learn all about the submarine and then men that worked on it. They were sometimes in the submarine in the sea for 100 days! Can you imagine being in such a tight space with loads of other people and you can't go outside?? They are amazing for staying sane all that time. It was great to walk around though, you aren't allowed to touch anything as it's all still how it was left but you still get up close to everything to have a good look.
Next we walked along to look the Concorde plane, we was going to try and get on the tour but then found out that it wasn't part of our pass and had to pay extra so we got a good look at it from the outside.
We got the lift up to the top deck of the Intrepid to check out the planes and helicopters. There was a F-16A Fighting Falcon, Lockheed A-12, Grumman F-14D Super Tomcat, Grumman A-GE Intruder, a Blue Angel, Grumman F11F Tiger, McDonnell F3H-2N Demon and so many more, all very impressive.
My favourite part was seeing the Enterprise Space Shuttle which was seriously super cool. It's strange but I thought it would be bigger haha. I love that you can walk up to a platform that is right at the front of the shuttle to have selfies. Only problem is that the lighting is really low so it took a few tried before I got a picture I liked. Did you know that the cast of Star Trek : Next Generation were at the unveiling of the shuttle, obviously because of the name, but how cool is that!
Anyway, once I'd finished drooling over the shuttle, we went round the navigation and flag bridge of the Intrepid. We had a great time seeing all the equipment, I got to pretend that I was steering the ship, I wanted to sit in the captain's chair but that was a big no no and I didn't fancy getting arrested so didn't push my luck haha.
We worked our way down and round to the hangar which was frigging huge!! Loved everything here, the Intrepid cake, the simulations, the lego Intrepid, everything. There was a big section that had the simulators in it and you can sit in models of planes, a ship bridge, submarine bunks and helicopters.
There was a blow up planetarium doing a show on planets and moons that humans might be able to live on. It was great because it was this cosy little dome and we were all told that we could lay on the floor to see the show better.....and I did. I fell asleep for about 30 seconds where I was so comfy but it was a really good show.
Me and my sister went into the 4D Experience :Stories of Intrepid where you have a big 3D screen and have to sit on a chair and get to feel a tiny bit of what some of the pilots felt flying planes.
We had a slow walk up to the Rockefeller Centre to see the Christmas tree which was amazing! There wasn't many people so we got to get a good look at it before checking out the Prometheus statue and the ice rick. I'm too accident prone to have a go at ice skating so I just watched.
Dinner was KFC tonight, can't beat a lovely bit of spicy chicken after a long day of sightseeing haha.
Saturday 4th of January
OMG my feet are screaming in pain today. I feel like I have walked a thousand miles.
We started off by having a walk around Central Park, it was quite early so there wasn't much open but it was just so amazing to be in a big open space.
We managed to find Belvedere Castle, yeah, Central Park has a castle! It's a miniature castle but it is a lovely looking building and it has a lovely view over the Great Lawn. We had to ask quite a few people where it was and it wasn't surprising that a lot of them had no idea of what I was talking about and they live in New York. We did get some very nice people who looked it up on Google for us as we can't use out data in America.
We somehow went past Strawberry Fields twice before finally finding it. For some reason, I thought it was an actual statue of John Lennon but it was a big mosaek and then there was a little plague. They were in a quiet zone so that people can go there just to relax and chill out.
We walked further up the street beside Central Park to the American Natural History Museum about 10 minutes before it opened but when we got to go in I WAS IN HEAVEN!!! I love museums and this place is just so amazing. The exhibits that they have and what you can see are just out of this world. I think that to see absolutely everything, you need at least 2 days because it is so huge.
My favourite bit of all was the big blue whale, I was just so shocked at it's size and the details that I sat looking at it for about 10 minutes. I love all things to do with the ocean so this section of the museum was just amazing to me. I could of stayed in there all day.
Once we were able to drag ourselves away from the awesomeness of the museum, we jumped in a taxi to the National Geographic Ocean Odyssey Encounter. Now this was amazing, the only way I can describe it properly is if you went scuba diving but stayed dry. They have huge screens, interactive screens and floors, a 3D experience being a sardine, you get in the middle of a giant squid fight, listen to the sounds from the bottom of the ocean and so much more. I loved every second!
We then went for a wonder in the direction of the Empire State Building looking for somewhere quick to eat and came across a Burger King that we would of missed if I hadn't been sitting on a chair opposite it because it was one little door leading down to a basement where they had the Burger King.
We walked round to the Empire State Building, this was getting on for 6pm, when we noticed that there was no queue outside it. I thought it was closed at first but then a group of people walked up and went in so we took full advantage of there being no queue and went in. We honestly couldn't believe it, we walked round and other about 20 other people, we were the only ones there.
I like the fact that you go through a museum on the way telling you all about how the building was built, it's story and films that it has appeared in before coming to your first proper view of New York from up high. You are inside at this point but you get a brilliant view and then you get to get in the lift to go a few floors up to to the observation floor. This is where you get to actually go outside to see the view and wow, just wow. The view of New York at night is just amazing.
We could stay out there as long as we wanted to but I'm thinking there would be if it was at a really busy time. They have these big heaters on at night to keep you warm but if it's windy, it's still quite cold. The view though, wow.
I was seriously tired out so got a taxi back to the hotel, there was no way that I was going to be able to walk that haha.
Sunday 5th of January
I needed a rest from all the walking so today I had a day on an open top bus with Top View while Fran and Adrian had a day exploring on foot.
I can't believe all the places I got to see, Flatiron Building, Wall Street and the bull, 9/11 memorial, the One World Observatory, we went through Soho, Battery Park, the pier where the Titanic was meant to dock and loads more, it was amazing to see it all from the top desk of the bus.
I got off at Battery Park for a look around and loved how peaceful it felt. I went into Castle Clinton for a look around but didn't take me long as it is a very small fort where people buy their tickets to get the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. I sat down on one of the benches near the water and watched the ferries coming in and going out, so peaceful.
I got back on the bus and before I knew it, it was lunch time so I got off at the next stop and found Soho Park where I sat at the bar and had a burger. Lovely little place if you are ever near there, my burger was delicious.
I got back on the bus but was only on there for a few stops when I got off and got on another bus on a different route which took me in a different direction. I went along the road next to Central Park and through Harlem so I saw the Dakota Building, American Natural History Museum, Cathedral of St John the Divine, Apollo Theatre, the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and got off at Central Park Zoo.
I have mixed thoughts about Central Park Zoo, I know that it is a small site and I'm sure that they do their utmost to look after the animals but I just felt like some of the enclosures looked on the small side. I had a good time walking around and seeing that animals that were awake, especially in the Tropical Zone where you are basically in the enclosure with the birds. They can just fly down to you and sit on the rail checking you out, I got close to so many birds, it was amazing.
My next stop was Trump Tower, had to be done haha. I only went in for a little walk around and then sat in the Trump Bar for a little while chilling out. I was only drinking coke but I was waiting for a huge bill because I had had 2 but it only came to $4, apparently they don't charge for refills after the first drink, so that was a pleasant surprise.
I tried to go up to the rooftop garden but it was closed, I think it was too cold, so I got my "from up high" photos and went back down.
The hotel was only 2 blocks away so I had a slow walk back. Fran and Adrian were already in the room when I got back so we chilled out for a little while before getting ready to go out for our first proper big meal out.
The destination of our meal out was the Hard Rock Cafe on Time Square. I love Hard Rock Cafes, they are always so fun, a great atmosphere, lots of fantastic memorabilia to check out, brilliant food and awesome cocktails.
I don't like going to a Hard Rock Cafe and not getting a souvenir so I got one of the mason jars that you can have cocktails in.
On the way back to the hotel we went into the Disney Store and wow, I don't know what their staff are on but they were super duper happy. Must be the Disney magic haha.
Monday 6th of January
Today was not a good day, I hardly slept as the slight couch that started on Saturday brought it's friend cold and flu with it. I nearly didn't go out but after a chat with my husband where he told me to "suck it up and stop being such a girl", so I dosed up on Ibuprofen, wrapped up warm and we set out.
I was quite excited as we got to ride on the subway, I know I sound like such a tourist but it really was exciting.
Our first stop was the Ghostbusters Fire Station, I am a huge fan of the film and just had to make sure that I took my picture outside. Although it obviously doesn't look exactly like it does in the films as it is an active fire station now but they had 2 painted on the floor at the front of the building that were of the Ghostbusters ghost. They have also named their wifi "ghostbusters Station", haha I loved that so much.
We got back on the subway and went round to check out The Vessal which is a piece of art that you can actually walk up. It was opened in March 2019 so it wasn't even a year old when we went up it. I didn't do much walking around though and I am scared of heights when I'm at a certain height because I'm fine looking out of plane windows and at the top of tall buildings like the Empire State Building but somewhere in between just makes me a nervous reck. I got the lift up to the top and then basically held on for dear life to the rail looking around without looking down before getting back into the lift and finding a bench to sit on at the bottom. Fran and Adrian decided to walk around The Vessal so I got to have a nice chill out waiting for them.
When they had come down, we got back on the subway and went to the One World Observatory. When you have your tickets, you go through security and then you walk through and exhibit about the building and about 9/11.
Then you go into a lift that takes you to the 102nd floor in 47 seconds! The walls and the ceiling are screens so that show you how New York has changed over the years.
We got a little presentation on loads of screens and they they lifted up to reveal the view and OMG, it was amazing! I couldn't believe how far I could see and I got plenty of selfies haha.
You can walk all the way around the floor and see the view from everywhere. There is a restaurant and a shop as well but they are a bit expensive.
When we came out, we headed straight over to the 9/11 memorials. I walked around both the memorials reading the names and I went round and loved seeing the white roses and flags that people had stuck in the names. Just goes to show that their loved ones still travel there to remember them.
We went into the museum and I seriously didn't realise how much it was going to affect me. I was walking round and I was just completely overwhelmed, especially by the exhibit showing the pictures of everyone who had died. I sat in the middle room watching pictures and snippets about them and I will admit that I sat and had a cry. I also went and found my sister to get a hug.
One thing that did stick out to me as well is how quiet it was, no one seemed to be talking and if they did it was in whispers. It felt like everyone was silently paying their respects as they walked around.
Tuesday 7th of January
Today was a seriously long day. We got up at 4am, got dressed and walked down to Penn Station to get our train to Washington DC. We were very tired but we were really excited as well, we just hadn't woken up enough yet haha.
We were on an Amtrak train and oh wow, I was so comfy! The seats are nice and wide so plenty of room and just so comfy that I fell asleep. which also made the 3 hour journey go so much quicker haha.
Fran and Adrian wanted to walk around Washington but I knew that I wouldn't last long with my feet and my cough and cold was getting worse so I booked to go on an open top bus with Big Bus Tours so that I would be able to see everything.
When we got to Union Station, I quickly found the desk to get my ticket for the bus and went outside to get on the bus. We had all decided that we would meet at landmarks so our first stop was Capitol Building which only took a few minutes on the bus. I got off and went up to the back of the building as it was the closest part to me. I waited a while and got worried that it was actually so big that Fran and Adrian could be waiting for me at the front. So off I wondered up the footpath on the right to the front but couldn't see Fran and Adrian anywhere so walked round the other side, taking in the views of the Capitol Building of course, only to find them in the original place that I had been waiting haha. Typical.
Got back on the bus and headed to the Washington Monument. Fran and Adrian walked in a straight line to it but I got to see some of the Smithsonian buildings and the Wharf before getting off at my stop. I arrived at the same as Fran and Adrian so very good timing.
There was quite a big group around the Washington Monument so I opted to wait for the next bus to go round to the Lincoln Memorial. I got to see the Thomas Jefferson Memorial but it was being done up so I only really saw it through scaffolding.
Oh wow, the Lincoln Memorial was just so wow. You know when you see something in films, books and magazines and then when you are actually there in front of it, it just leaves you speechless. That was it for me. I will admit, I did think it was going to be bigger for some reason but it was still magnificent.
We decided to go to the White House next so I hopped back on the bus only to be met by a traffic jam that I later found out was caused by the White House going on lock down due to a possible treat. My bus was diverted, it had started raining and I was getting sicker and sicker as the day had gone on so I messaged Fran and said that I would stay on the bus. I was only going to slow them down so she eventually agreed to carry on without me.
So I stayed on the bus, I picked a seat at the back next tot he engine to stay warm and sat listening to the tour tape. I have to say, the bus driver was so awesome, when ever I had a coughing fit that sounded like I was bringing up a lung, he would turn round and call out to me making sure I was ok.
I got to see the old FBI Building, Natural History Museum, the Spy Museum, the White House (from afar haha), other memorials and everything I saw the first time round.
The thing that did shock me was that it went from raining to snowing so quickly. I was so glad that I was on the bus but felt so bad for Fran and Adrian being out in that weather. I was half way round the route when I had a message from Fran that they were making their way back to Union Station and I joined them about 40 minutes later.
We found a Johnny Rocket's in the food court on Union Station and had something to eat before getting on our train back home. I was in a very bad way so I took up 2 seats and slept as much as I could. I was still really tired when we got back about 10pm so I jumped into a taxi and went back to the hotel. Fran and Adrian wanted to go to a late night bakery on the way back to the hotel so that walked.
Wednesday 8th of January
Today was not a good day. In the night I kept waking up coughing and finding it hard to breathe so I decided to stay in bed for the bed. I wanted to rest up as much as possible and try to get better before flying home tomorrow.
I basically spent the day sleeping and watching episodes of Dexter on Netflix until Fran and Adrian got back.
Thursday 9th of January
We all finished packing our bags and then went out to the Brooklyn Diner for our last breakfast in New York as it was just over the road from our hotel.
I'm still not feeling 100% so we went back to the hotel and asked if we could extent our check out time as we weren't getting picked up until 4pm. The lady on the front desk extended our check out time from 12 noon to 1pm, she said she would have done for 4pm but they hotel was fully booked that night and they needed time to clean the room. I was just glad for the extra time I could spend in bed chilling out.
When it came to 12:30pm, I called down to the bellman desk to ask that someone come up and help me with my bags but no one arrived, I think they were very busy with lots of people checking out I didn't want to get charged for not checking out on time so I somehow got 3 wheelie cases and 2 hand luggage bags down to reception to the bellman desk where they stored them for me.
I'd had a message from Fran and Adrian that they were at Trump Tower so I had a wonder round there seeing as it is only 2 blocks away. We went into Starbucks for a drink and then ventured down to the bottom floor where we found a gift shop and got a novelty few bits like a Trump bottom opener haha got to be done.
We got picked up right outside the hotel and it took 45 minutes to get us to JFK.
We were flying back with American Airways but they had the same check-in terminals so we used those to get our boarding passes and check in our bags, well, Adrian and I did but Fran managed to give the terminal a melt down so she had to get help haha.
We had a walk around and then I found my new favourite fast food place, Auntie Annie's where I got a pepperoni pretzel with a melted cheese sauce and OMG!!!!! It was the most delicious concoction I have had in a long time. I know it doesn't sound like it would be nice but seriously, it was out of this world. Make me a promise right now that if you ever find an Auntie Annie's, you will try it, PROMISE ME!!
We walked to the gate but I spotted a Pandora shop and popped in to see if they had any of the Harry Potter charms. I have a charm bracelet that I have been collecting bead charms for and thought that I could spend the last of my cash on a little treat for myself. Oh what a treat it was because I got the Dobby charm! I was so happy that I put it on my bracelet straight away.
It didn't take long before we were boarding our flight and it was very evident that it wasn't a full flight so just before take off, I managed to score myself a row of 3 seats and made myself a bed. By this time as well, my coughing fits had got worse and it honestly felt like I was coughing up a lung while getting stabbed in my chest so I was decided that I was going to do my best to sleep for the whole flight home......this did not happen.
I did get some sleep but I either got woken up with a coughing fit or the little boy in front of me would start crying.
I was so happy when we landed because it meant that I would soon be home and in my own bed with my husband looking after me. This didn't happen either.
Fran drove me to Cobham services to meet my parents to take me home but I was such a bad way that they took me straight to my local A&E instead. Sean had been trying to call my doctors in the morning to get me an appointment but he'd had no luck to A&E was my only hope of getting antibiotics. 3 hours later, Sean turned up while I was waiting in the pharmacy to take me home.
Not a great ending to the trip but I'm glad I went because I saw some amazing things and still had a brilliant time. I would go again but maybe for longer and see more of what New York has to offer.