Day 1 in New York City
My obsessive, compulsive nature meant that as soon as I booked up the trip to New York I was meticulously planning where I wanted to go, when I would go and how I would get there. Luckily Lily was willing to put up with my crazy organising so I had a partner in my escapades.
After an arduous coach journey we arrived at the Pennsylvania Hotel only to be told our room would not be ready till the afternoon. Grabbing a few toiletries from our bags to freshen up somewhere, we headed off. First on the list was Grand Central Station. Although impressive, it wasn’t quite how I expected. I forgot that it would be in the middle of a very dense city and found it a shame that this beautiful building is dwarfed by its neighbours. Inside is beautiful, it is such a shame that so many commuters just forget what surrounds them. The celestial design on the ceiling was my favourite part, I wish that it had been more lit up to appreciate it more. We quickly located the toilets and awkwardly brushed our teeth to some very peculiar looks from everyone.
After this we made possibly the greatest discovery of the trip – Shake Shack. Someone recommended it to me before I left but I had no idea that it would make such an impact on my life. I don’t know whether it was the lack of sleep from our journey but it was phenomenal. The menu states how they use frozen custard, now usually I really don’t like custard but you can’t tell that they use it at all. I ordered a Fair Shake which is fair-trade coffee flavoured and Lily and I shared Cheese Fries. After ordering you are handed a strange device that buzz’s when your food is ready which I think is a clever idea. The Shake was so creamy and refreshing, the coffee flavour was really strong too which I think is often lost when you have Frappe Lattes or other similar drinks. The chips were sensational – so crispy and covered in American cheese sauce. I have never really had this sauce before but I really need to find some back in England because it revolutionised my life, have been craving more ever since! The franchise has recently crossed the pond and has set up
shop Shack in Covent Garden, London and I am eager to see if they can keep up with their New York counterpart.
Once our stomach’s were satisfied we continued to the New York Public Library which I was keen to see after its role in many films like the Day after Tomorrow. The building is really impressive and the three huge windows illuminate the entrance hall beautifully. We had a quick wander around and I was amazed that this could be someone’s local library. I would never be able to study somewhere like that, I would just get too distracted exploring!
It was getting close to when we had to meet back at the hotel to move our cases into our rooms that were now cleaned so we headed back via the Empire State Building. It is so dominating on the landscape that is was truly impressive to see. We quickly nipped in to see its glamorous lobby but chose not to go to the top after reading so many reviews that recommended the Rockerfeller Building as a better alternative.
After meeting all the boys back at the hotel we headed out to find something to eat. Foolishly we thought perhaps we would be lucky in getting a table at the Hard Rock Cafe but the waiting time was ridiculous – instead we went to T.G.I Fridays. Lily and I had pre-booked our ticket to the Rockerfeller and so we were in quite a rush, we explained this and the waiter said this would be fine, quickly taking our orders. I understand restaurants being busy and I do not mind waiting I just can’t stand being lied to. Repeatedly we would ask when our food would be after hanging about for ages, and each time he would say a couple of minutes which was a blatant lie. When our food did arrive it was delicious and the portion was huge, I just wish I could have had time to savour it rather than demolishing it in 5 minutes. Leaving our money with the boys to sort out Lily and I literally ran to the Rockerfeller.
It was strange arriving at the building as it really wasn’t obvious where we were supposed to go, so we carried on running round like lunatics with increasing pains of indigestion. We arrived just in time and were ushered through. You have your picture taken and then have to watch a few short films about the building so that they can stagger the number of people going up in the lifts. We had timed it perfectly, arriving at the top as the sun was setting which was beautiful. We sat back and watched the city slowly illuminate. The Top of the Rock do sell ‘sun and stars’ packages where you can get a discounted rate to go up twice in one day but why bother when you can do it in just one go? I think this was my favourite part of the trip and it should be top of anyone’s list if you’re going to New York. The reviews were right too, it wasn’t too busy and was great being able to see the iconic Empire State in the skyline. Seeing the city in its entirety, you really do realise quite how magnificent it is, and why so many people fall in love with the City that Never Sleeps.
I found the journey home strange after going to the Top of the Rock, walking past all the buildings you spotted earlier but now you were in their shadow. Unfortunately our day did not end brilliantly. I have never felt unsafe in any city that I have been to and this had been the same for New York during the day, yet this soon changed. Close to our hotel a man asked us for directions which, in retrospect were ridiculously easy and so in not knowing the answer it was obvious we were tourists. The man quickly determined we were British and chatted to us whilst we waited with many others for the traffic lights to let us across the road. Once walking for whatever reason I pulled Lily aside, suddenly concerned he was following us but deep down I thought that I was just being silly. We carried on walking yet there he was, hanging about, a few metres down the street so we quickly nipped into a shop. We waited for about five minutes yet he was still there and saw us come out. So we casually walked further down the street and this time walked into McDonalds with him now also walking down the street. Here we waited longer and by this point the creepy guy had given up so we quickly walked to our hotel which luckily was very close by this point. Later on when Lily went outside to smoke, she again was approached by a random guy, asking her to go to a party with him. It was all very unnerving. I had never experienced something like this and had never felt unsafe like this before so it wasn’t the most pleasant way to end our first night in New York.