Monday, 22 December 2014

Christmas in NYC | Central Park, Top of the Rock and festive shopping at Macy’s

I few weeks ago I heading on trip of a lifetime to New York City with my mum, dad, brother and boyfriend for five days. After a very stressful trip we arrived on the Tuesday evening (minus four suitcases) to our beautiful hotel, The Strand in Midtown. Although we were exhausted (and lacking clothes) we headed to Times Square the first night and took in the amazing lights of the big apple. We grabbed some food nearby and after being awake for over twenty four hours thought it best to head to bed and start a fresh tomorrow morning.

 Day One 

We woke up to find our suitcases had finally arrived so with fresh clothes we headed out to celebrate and grab some breakfast. We found a traditional dinner just round the corner from Times Square called Brooklyn Diner. It was just what we needed. My mum and I had a huge bagel with fruit and some tea, the boys had omelettes and coffee. After that we were ready for a full day exploring.  


We headed up through the busy streets towards Central Park. One thing that struck me on my first trip to this amazing city was the enormity and scale of the buildings, I loved looking up and seeing the tops of the buildings disappear into the clouds. 

Central park was beautiful. The trees were bare and it was a little frosty but it was so peaceful to say the park surrounded by the towering sky scrapers. We stopped at a café  to warm up with a cup of tea before heading to the John Lennon memorial a bit further up the park. The memorial was a tribute to the Beatles singer who lived next to the park and was murdered on his doorstep. 

It started pouring down with rain soon after so we took shelter in the department store Century 21 a few blocks away. And who said memorising where all the best shopping centers were wouldn’t come in handy…? 
Century 21 was a bit like TKMaxx in the UK, lots of bargains to be found on brands like Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. 

When the rain finally stopped we walked to Grand Central Station to have a look around and grab a selfie in the spot Serena van der Woodsen stood in the opening scene of Gossip Girl. xoxo

For dinner we headed to a restaurant a few blocks down from our hotel, called Liberty NYC. It was a cool bar/restaurant that had a great atmosphere and sold American style food. I went for the sliders and Tom went for Liberty Burger which came with loads of fries. After that we headed back to our hotel for a drink at ‘the top of the Strand’ on the top floor of our hotel to finish off an amazing first day in New York City.

Day Two

Jet lag meant I woke up early and although I was tired I couldn’t sleep in so we set out the next day to find some breakfast before another packed day of exploring. First on our list this day was the Empire State Building as it was a bright sunny day so the view would be clear. 
I would recommend giving yourself plenty of time to go up the Empire state building if you are thinking of visiting. We found that there was a long queue and it took about an hour to get up to the top so bare this in mind and maybe avoid peak times. I think you can book a time slot, and although we booked tickets online we didn’t book a time as it was more expensive but due to the long wait this might have been more sensible. Never the less once at the top the view was amazing and it was a great way to start the day.

Then we headed for the Highline on the west side of Manhattan, an old abandoned rail road elevated above the city which has been converted to a public area and long walk way full of beautiful gardens, benches and surrounded by amazing views of the city. This was definitely a highlight for me, it gave amazing views of the city streets as well as a chance to enjoy the glorious sunshine.

A quick stop at the Brass Monkey at the end of the high line for a hot mulled cidre in the sunshine was great way to warm up. I really liked the meat packing area too as it was full of small boutique shops and cobbled streets. By this time we were starving so grabbed some lunch at Lucy’s Cantina Royale near Pen station on our walk back up. 

We had bought tickets the day before for the ‘top of the Rock’ with a time slot so when we headed there it was a lot quicker to the top than earlier at the Empire State building. We reached the top of the building just in time to see the sun setting over Manhattan. It was magical. There were three levels to the top of the rock so it felt a lot less crowed than the Empire and you could see all the way around with little barriers. 

The view was incredible and I really felt like I was on top of the world.

By the time we got back down it had gone dark and the lights on the giant Christmas tree outside had come on as they had the big switch on the night before. They do say the Americans do things bigger and better. It was so pretty and festive.

 We detoured to Macy’s department store before dinner for a spot of Christmas shopping. It really felt like Christmas here. With big sparkly signs saying ‘Believe’ and the top floor converted to Santa’s grotto I definitely got in the spirit here. They were offering 25% off for visitors the week we were there so I couldn’t resist picking up some presents for friends as well as treating myself. The beauty floor was just so amazing I could have bought so much with Kiehls, Benefit, MAC and urban decay, all so much cheaper than in the UK. I paid a visit to the Calvin Klein boutique upstairs, as I really wanted the bralet and boxer combo Kylie Jenner rocks on Instagram so much. I was so happy with my bargain purchase I got another pair for my friend as a Christmas present  
Day 3 & 4 
Statue of Liberty, Wall street and the best places to go shopping in NYC - Watch this space  BLOG POST COMING SOON!


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