NYC. Been there – bought the T-Shirt!

5

Miceal's 'I heart NY' T-shirt Well I went on my trip to New York and just got back a few days ago. My travel there and back was much less stressful than I had anticipated thanks to the great advice I received from some of you. So thank you all for that.

Having never been to New York before I wasn’t sure what to expect really. I thought big and brash would be the order of the day, and though there is an element of that there, it isn’t all like that.

As you may know, I was travelling with my mum and sister to visit my nephew who is living and working there at the moment. Unfortunately my sister caught a bug on the plane over and spent the entire week ill in bed with a high fever. She literally did not see a single New York site the whole time we were there. It was such a shame. Still my mum, my nephew and I managed to get out a few days to have a look around.

We wanted to do all the touristy things of course.


The lobby of the Empire State Building First thing we decided to do was the Empire State Building. For any of you familiar with the Deborah Kerr/Cary Grant Movie – 'An affair to remember' or even the Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks movie – 'Sleepless in Seattle', you’ll know that this particular venue is a Mecca for romantics around the world. Unfortunately the reality of the place is not quite so coochy-coo.

Don’t get me wrong, the building itself is beautiful, and as a fan of architecture I really appreciated the Art Deco stylings. But once you set foot inside the building, it's a slick, streamlined conveyor belt of tourists from every nationality on the planet, moving to the beat of a never-ending line of ushers bellowing out commands for tickets and elevators.

All this combined with the fact that all of these tourists are all trying to get to the top as quickly as possible to get the best view. It felt, at times, like a bit of a scrum, which detracted a little from the experience.

Grand Central Station Next stop, Grand Central Station. Yet another iconic building from the movies. What I started to notice about New York was that almost every building or street seemed iconic, mostly I think because we've seen so much of the city in the movies. Still it was great to experience it all first hand.

What I noticed at Grand Central Station was something I don’t think I've ever seen in the movies, namely the roof of the main hall. It's beautifully painted with an astral theme. All the stars of the constellations are there with each constellation in its place relative to the next and all beautifully and finely outlined on a concave roof that's painted an ethereal turquoise/aquamarine colour. Simply stunning.

New York City Public Library The New York City Public library was a must as well. Well it's right on 5th Avenue – so why not! For those of you who are 'Sex and The City' fans, the New York City Public library is where Carrie Bradshaw planned to marry Big in the first of the movies. It's also the venue where Jake Gyllenhall’s character stays during the big freeze in the movie, 'The Day after Tomorrow'.

More importantly though, it is yet another beautiful building with painted ceilings reminiscent of the works of Michelangelo and is a repository for not only some of the greatest books ever written, but some of the greatest minds in America. Definitely worth a visit.

(By the way – please excuse the movie references, those of you who know me will know that I live my films so sometimes I can't help myself!)

Stained glass windows at St.Patrick's CathedralAs I was with my mum on this trip, who is in her 70s and my nephew, who is in his 20s, what sights we saw were very much dictated by everyone's tastes.

So mum got to go to Tiffanys were we strolled around for about half an hour pretending we were really looking for something very expensive but turning our noses up because they didn’t have anything quite expensive enough! I doubt anyone would have believed us if we had actually shared this fantasy with any of the staff but we had fun!

St. Patricks Cathedral is definitely worth a visit, and I always make a point of visiting old churches wherever I'm travelling. You can tell a lot about a country or city’s past as well as its present just by looking at their churches. Also, it appeals to my interest in artchitecture as well as stained glass. Plus, it's a great chance for a quiet moment in what can be a hectic day of sightseeing and shopping.

The Plaza in New York We ended one of our days out in the city by having tea at The Plaza. Once a hotel but now a luxury apartment block, it still retains a lot of its former splendour as well as its Tea Room! Treat yourself if you are ever there.

We were lucky enough to get tickets for a broadway show, thanks to friends of my nephew who are native New Yorkers and very much in the know. It was a matinee and as it turned out a rainy wet Wednesday afternoon, so perfect timing to sit inside a theatre and escape from the horrible weather outside.

Times Square in midtown is a must. What can I say, it's big, it's brash, it's bright, and I loved it!

Miceal with the Statue of Liberty Finally, Chinatown is such a buzzing exciting place to visit. Its main street, Church Street, is teaming with tourists and locals, all looking for a bargain. You will get offered counterfeit watches and leather goods so be warned!

That said, there is such a vibe there that it would be hard not to enoy it. I have to confess, there were quite a few souvenirs bought here, but mostly on my sister's behalf as she couldn't leave the hotel.

I also felt that a visit to Ground Zero would be a good idea. What happened there has had such an impact on the whole world over the last few years that I felt I should go and see it for myself. Nothing really quite prepares you for the impact of it.

I remember standing at the corner of Ground Zero and suddenly thinking of the images we all saw on TV of the streets filling with billowing clouds of debris as the towers fell and people literally ran for their lives. An arresting moment. I'm glad I went.

The Freedom Tower at Ground Zero We were due to go on the Thursday of our trip but President Obama planned a trip there that day as well (do you think he knew I was in town?). So we postponed until the Friday, the day before we left, and that is one of my last memories of New York.

My first time in NY was short but so much fun. I can't believe it's been and gone already. As with all the best holidays, though, I have so many great memories.

If any of you have been as lucky as me to visit there, I would love to hear about your experiences.

Miceal. x

5 Comments

  1. deborah stubbs May 13, 2011 at 6:00 pm -  Reply

    Wow what a time you had, i have been lucky enough to go to New York twice,once with the hubbie and the second time with the kids.
    I always say if you haven’t been there its very hard to explain what its like.
    Did you go to the Rockafella Centre, you can go right to the top of the building they call it ‘top of the rock’ and you get a fabulous view over central park and the other way you get a great view of the cryslar building and the empire state right down to battery park, the first time we went we to went up the Empire State, i was really disappointed because we had to queue for about hour and half and when we got to the top it felt quite cramped but you had more space at the Rockafella centre.
    We also visited Ground Zero, very emotional you seem to go from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets to somewhere really quiet and when you visualise what happened that day it brings a lump to your throat
    Did you go on a carriage ride around central park, we did and the driver was pointing out buildings that had appeared in movies like Ghost Busters, the chess house in central park is a where a part of independance day was filmed.
    I hope to go back real soon
    Debi x

  2. Lesley May 14, 2011 at 10:08 pm -  Reply

    Sadly I’ve never been to NY, but I really enjoyed reading about your visit. I’m a fellow film fan and really loved the film references – thank you for including those! Hope your sister is fully recovered now, how disappointing for her to be so poorly for the whole visit! Looking forward to reading your future blogs. x

  3. Louise May 14, 2011 at 10:16 pm -  Reply

    It’s funny I felt the same way about the Empire State Building it left me feeling a little flat especially when the route to the top wasn’t anything like it was in Sleepless in Seattle – Ground Zero is such a strange place isn’t it – it’s so scary to think of what happened there – right where you are.. I have to say I love New York so much such an amazing place and soooo much to see and do – hope your sister is feeling better xx

  4. Miceal May 21, 2011 at 3:33 pm -  Reply

    Just to let you know, my sister is all better now after her somewhat disasterous trip with me to New York, it was just a bug she picked up on the plane on the way over and it seems to have worked itself out of her system now. Thanks Lesley, Louise and all of you for your best wishes to her.
    Debi, unfortunately I didn’t get a carriage ride around Central Park. In fact I didn’t even get to visit Central Park – so hopefully next time. I had such a great time that I know I will definitely be going back.
    Think next time I will do Top of The Rock instead of Empire State, everyone keeps telling me what lovely views you get from there and that it’s not as soulless as the Empire State tour.
    It’s nearly a long distant memory now but hopefully I will be back there soon. If any of you are going back do let me know, but I warn you I will be very jealous!!
    Regards,
    Miceal.

  5. Louise May 27, 2011 at 9:40 pm -  Reply

    Top of the Rock is amazing you can see the tops of the Empire State Building we went at dusk so we got the bests of both world
    Pleased your sister is feeling better

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