Long weekend in New York City

Statue of Liberty

Date visited: February 2009

Post written by Laura

Throwback Thursday!

Happy Thursday 🙂 after the recent flurry recreating long lost memories, this will be my last TBT post for a while as Chris and I have some new content coming up!

This time I re-wind back to 2009 to my first and only visit to the bustle and bright lights of NYC. I’ve been unable to find any trip notes so will rely on photographs and memories this time. This is a shame as recently with the aid of the trip notes I’ve been able to fill in quite a few gaps with random things that I had forgotten all about and don’t necessarily have a photograph as a reminder.

The post has been produced in the itinerary order which may be helpful if planning a visit.

Times Square

My companion and I had arrived at JFK International Airport during late afternoon, and being February it was almost dark as we took a cab to our pre-booked hotel. The hotel had a great location just off Times Square and while pretty basic it was fine just for 4 nights.

As soon as we off-loaded our main bags we set off to explore! We literally turned a corner from the hotel and there in all its neon glory was the famous Times Square right in the heart of Manhattan.

Times Square

Times Square is at the hub of Broadway, the theatre district of New York and as such is lined with long running and well known plays. For our first evening we stayed near to Times Square and had burger and chips in an Irish pub before heading back to our hotel.

Empire State Building

The following morning we were awake early due to the time difference. We made the most of this by making a beeline for the Empire State Building which was a 15 minute walk away. We were there for opening time which was great as it meant we didn’t have to queue and were able to make our way straight to the top!

View from the top of the Empire State Building

The 102 storey Empire State Building was constructed between 1930 – 1931 in art deco style. It was built in record time with the intention of it being the first skyscraper to be over 100 floors high and remained the tallest building in the world until 1971.

View from the top of the Empire State Building

Despite the weather being a little hazy the view from all sides was incredible.

View from the top of the Empire State Building
Aerial view of Macy’s

Macy’s was established in 1858 and is one of the biggest and best known department stores in the world. Macy’s is so large it covers a whole block to itself! A little more on this later…

Statue of Liberty

Next we took the subway to Whitehall St-South Ferry station, walked to Battery Park and took the free ferry towards Staten Island. We didn’t set foot on the Statue of Liberty island however the ferry gave us iconic views! The Statue of Liberty was given by the French as a gift in 1886.

Me on the Staten Island ferry

We didn’t stay in Staten Island but got the next ferry back in order to make our way towards Brooklyn Bridge.

New York skyline from the Staten Island ferry

Back in Battery Park we walked for about 20 minutes through Wall Street to Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge was constructed in 1883 and connects the districts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Wall Street Financial District from Brooklyn Bridge

Located in Lower Manhattan, Wall Street is the financial district of New York and home to the New York Stock Exchange.

Walking across Brooklyn Bridge

After an early start and a busy morning it was lunchtime as we walked into Brooklyn. In the above cafe we had a super tasty pastrami sandwich which is a famous New York delicacy made with rye bread, pastrami, Swiss cheese and mustard.

Grand Central Station

Assuming there was more to see in Manhattan we took the metro back and arrived at Grand Central Station.

The main concourse inside Grand Central Station

The camera I had in 2009 didn’t do too well indoors however the above photograph is a dark version of what is the spectacular interior of Grand Central Station which is the largest train station in the world.

Waldorf Astoria

A short 10 minute walk from Grand Central Station is the luxury Waldorf Astoria hotel which was where the Waldorf salad, an apple, celery and walnut salad was first invented. And is known for being one of the funniest sketches in Fawlty Towers!

Inside the Waldorf Astoria

Being a bit nosy we thought we would have a look inside the Waldorf Astoria with the primary motive to go to the top to have another aerial view of the city. At the time, I hadn’t seen the film ‘Serendipity’ starring Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack but a year later, when watching with Chris, I recognised the lifts in the famous elevator scene the two main characters try to pick the same floor!

A function room of the Waldorf Astoria

Completed in 1931, the Waldorf Astoria has 47 storeys and was the tallest hotel in the world until 1963. One of the hotel workers asked if he could assist us so we explained we wanted to look at the view. Thankfully rather than throwing us out he showed us inside one of the function rooms.

View from the Waldorf Astoria
Sak’s of Fifth Avenue

Nearby Fifth Avenue is the famous high end shopping street of New York and many major brands have their flagship stores here. One such store is Sak’s, known for its designer goods.

Rockefeller Centre

A couple of minutes walk and we soon came to the Rockefeller Centre which is a large complex of shops, restaurants and an ice-rink!

Rockefeller Ice Rink

We walked through the Rockefeller complex and discovered you can go to an observatory at the top called ‘Top of the Rock’ which we decided would be something for the following day.

Chrysler Building

Art Deco buildings are aplenty in this part of Manhattan and one of the most famous is the Chrysler Building. This skyscraper was also built in the early 1930’s and for a short time also held the crown for being the tallest building in the world.

United Nations Building

Headquarters of the United Nations building also in midtown Manhattan.

New York Library
Entrance to Trump Towers

Close to Central Park we came across Trump Towers before making our way back toward’s Macy’s.

Inside Macy’s

We had walked back to Macy’s and decided to stop in there for a snack.

Macy’s wooden escalator

Macy’s had the oldest wooden escalator in the world and it was still in use when I visited in 2009.

Snack in Macy’s
Entrance to Central Park

The following day was bright and sunny and a good time to visit Central Park. This was walking distance from Times Square, near to our hotel and it took less than 15 minutes to walk there.

Entrance to Central Park
Central Park

Central Park is located in Manhattan and at 2.5 miles long and 0.5 miles wide, it takes about an hour or two to walk round.

The Solomon Museum

We didn’t go inside but the Solomon Museum is also known as the Guggenheim as it is named after Solomon R Guggenheim, an American businessman and art collector. He began collecting art in the 1890’s and set up this museum to stimulate the appreciation of art. This is located along Fifth Avenue, opposite Central Park.

The Lake Central Park

The Lake is over 20 acres in size and is used in the summer for boating activities.

Central Park Ice Rink

Another famous scene from ‘Serendipity’ was shot at the ice rink. In fact, hundreds of films have featured Central Park including Men in Black, Fatal Attraction and Ghostbusters.

Central Park
Central Park

After a sunny morning exploring Central Park the weather clouded over and we decided to make our way to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

HMS Intrepid

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is located next to the Hudson River and contains a collection of ships and aircraft.

Concorde on HMS Intrepid

A Concorde could be found on HMS Intrepid and it was really interesting to be able to go inside and see how small this aircraft actually was and to imagine being able to fly to New York from London in 3 hours! Sadly Concorde was retired by British Airways in 2003.

Inside Concorde
Concorde cockpit
On HMS Intrepid
On HMS Intrepid
China Town
China Town

From the Intrepid maritime and military history museum we took the metro to China Town where I remember having a drink in a small bar where we got chatting to a weird local. NY China Town was much larger than the London China Town I was familiar with.

Empire State Building from Top of the Rock

Back to the Rockefeller Centre – I can’t remember why we did these things in this order… maybe not such a good idea to follow this itinerary… but this was the order of the digital photographs!

Central Park from the Rock
Central Park from the Rock

We purchased tickets for the ‘Top of the Rock’ and found they included a second night time visit! Yay! The Rockefeller Building was close to our hotel so it wasn’t an issue to make a return visit back there to see NY glittering at night time!

As I don’t have any trip notes or photos I can’t remember where we had our dinners or on which nights but I do remember one evening we took the metro to Little Italy and enjoyed a lovely Italian meal 🙂 I also remember it was pouring with rain and getting a bus back to our hotel afterwards.

Taking photos of restaurants and food has become more popular over recent years and with a mobile phone always at hand I am no exception. Sometimes I feel a bit weird taking pictures of food but it is times like now that I wish I had done more of while in New York! A wonderful meal is sometimes worth capturing to savour a wonderful memory that soon gets forgotten!


The final morning to our complete surprise we woke up to SNOW! We had no idea this was part of the weather forecast and were amazed to find that it was snowing. During the 3 full days we were in New York we had experienced a complete range of weather conditions with haze, warm sunshine, heavy rain, cloud, strong winds and now snow!

Wintery Times Square

Times Square was fairly deserted as we walked around still in a bit of a shock at the sudden change in weather!

We took shelter in Times Square M & M’s World, the largest sweet shop in the city! And then after a snack it was time to get a taxi back to JFK for our flight home.

Inside JFK

With the weather conditions I had anticipated a delay. Thankfully we were only delayed for a short time and I remember sitting on the plane in a window seat watching the super efficient snow clearing crews at work.


What an amazing experience! Having been featured on so many films and TV series, New York felt quite familiar and I really enjoyed my 4 nights and 3 full days there. There is masses of things to do but I was pleased to have visited many of the highlights. A second visit isn’t on my agenda as there are still many places in the world I have yet to see but this is one city that is well worth a few days if you’ve never been.

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