Saturday, 26 January 2019

New York Diaries: Day 1 & 2

Plane wing at sunset

Dudes, I did it: I went to New York! If you've been here since what I call the Golden Days of Blogging (cough, 2013) you'll know that I have always had an interest in the city and always dreamt of experiencing it for myself rather than through books and films. But there was a problem; well, several. 1) No one wanted to go with me, and I wasn't old enough to go alone. 2) Money. 3) Hello, fear of flying!

Yes, a fear of flying despite having never flown before. That'll be down to watching movies about plane crashes as well as an abundance of 9/11 documentaries when I was a kid. Thanks, past Amber.

But, come the end of 2017, the first two problems became less of an issue, and so... I did it. I booked it all. And on 14th October 2018, I got on that plane and I flew - horrifically, traumatically - to the Big Apple!

Keeping it on a budget as much as possible (I'll write another post about that at some point), we got cheap flights with Norwegian Air, a budget airline with roughly a 3.5 star rating. Pretty average. But then our flight to the US was replaced by an airline called Wamos... which comes with a 2-star rating, broken seats, and is generally complete shite. If it wasn't enough that my first flight was going to be eight entire hours, it would now be even worse - yay!

For the first hour of the flight I refused to open my eyes. I didn't want to see the plane interior. I didn't want to see the airport rushing past the window. I didn't want to see the clouds that followed. My earphones were in, music full volume, but that didn't drown out the deafening (and alarming, to me) noise of the engines. Also, lots of turbulence! 'Don't worry, it's just like being on a roller coaster,' Alex said. I DO NOT LIKE ROLLER COASTERS.

Anyway, we landed, I didn't die, I only had a mild panic attack, all was well. It was not an enjoyable flight but I felt much better with it behind me, and I could finally enjoy the six days ahead! We made our way through Immigration, got our bags, and made our way to the apartment we were renting in Jersey City, a 20-minute train journey from New York.

Our first stop after that was the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, seeing as it was close to the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson, the main way of getting from NJ to NY). It was amazing to finally see the memorial and to learn more about it in the museum. They had lots of items from the incident, such as a window which somehow survived the impact. It was brilliantly done.

9/11 Memorial in daytime
American flag at 9/11 memorial
Survivors' Staircase at 9/11 Museum
The main stairs used by the majority of 9/11 survivors, named the 'Survivors' Staircase'.

We were there for a couple of hours, and we easily could have stayed longer, but by this point it was 6pm and jet lag hit. I had been awake for approximately 40 hours, 8 of those being a shift at work. We stopped at Eataly for pizza and went back to the apartment ready to conk out and hit the ground running with day 2, Monday...

Empire State Building in the fog
Birds-eye view of a New York street
Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center

A few months ago, we booked the Sun & Stars ticket at Rockefeller Center's 'Top of the Rock' attraction, aka where all of those iconic photos of the Empire State Building are taken. The Sun & Stars ticket meant we could go up there during the day, and return again within 24 hours - the perfect opportunity to see the city lit up at night.

As you can see, it was wet and foggy, but I didn't particularly mind and I quite like that the Empire State is so tall that it appeared on that day to be right up in the clouds.

After that, we went to our next booking: Color Factory! Color Factory is an immersive and interactive art gallery centered around the fun of colour. It was created for the Instagram generation (though it can be enjoyed by people of any age) and every room is a photo op and experience. I LOVED it. A treat for the eyes and the mind! My favourite bit was definitely the blue ball pit where we were also served balls of blue gelato...

Macarons on a conveyor belt at Color Factory
Macarons on a conveyor belt at Color Factory
Amber Kirk-Ford in a ball pit

When we came out of Color Factory, the sun was setting and we headed off to dinner at The Meatball Shop. Alex is obsessed with meatballs, but I'm vegetarian - however, the veggie balls in tomato sauce were delicious! If only it was on this side of the Atlantic...

By this point I just wanted to be in bed, but we still had to see the city all lit up and sparkly, and it didn't disappoint.

Empire State at night
New York at night

And then I got some much-needed sleep. Check back soon to see what we got up to on Tuesday and Wednesday - spoiler, it was a lot.

Have you ever been to NYC?

1 comment :

  1. Amber thanks so much for sharing your trip! It's my dream to go to New York too. The photos are amazing by the way!