Monday, 20 July 2015

Travel | 24 Hours In New York City | Trek America Diary #1


New York, New York; so good they named it twice!
Before I left on my adventure with Trek America I had a full 24 hours to explore the city that never sleeps and where dreams are made of.

New York has always been number one on my wanderlust list of places to go and I had never been so excited to squeeze everything I wanted to do, in just one day! A challenge I know, but one I gladly accepted. Waking up early with jet lag was a blessing, that meant an early breakfast and to meet some of my new trek buddies who also wanted to go exploring. As we were staying in Newark, New Jersey, the concierge advised us that it would be quicker to get a taxi straight into the city as there was 6 of us; instead of faffing around with trains and subways.

As the taxi got nearer to NYC, I could feel my heart racing and my eyes getting a bit watery; this is what I had been dreaming of the last 9 months! To be here in this city, to start an amazing journey and close the door finally on what had been a crazy two years.

To say we got our fill of New York would be an understatement. I still can't believe how much we managed to fit in and see, in just one day. When we arrived at Times Square around 10am it was raining (weather we soon got used to whilst on Trek) but this didn't put any dampeners on us. From what I remember everything seemed so big and overwhelming; and for me to say that coming from spending the majority of my days in London is something.

As none of us really knew our way round New York and we wanted to maximise our time, we decided to get tickets for The Big Bus Company. Yeah I know, such a cliche tourist right here; but we honestly were just standing around staring with our mouths open for around half an hour in Times Square whilst trying to decide where to go next & how to get there! All whilst it's still chucking it down, UK style!

The Big Bus worked a treat for us, we headed up to Macy's and us girls had a butchers around the handbags, make up and jewellery. I also headed for a caffeine boost by the way of Starbucks (well got to fit in round here you know!) We then wandered over to Madison Square Gardens, I wasn't really enthralled by this but the guy, Patrick, that was with us wanted to look at getting a tour of the stadium. Whilst he waited for his tour time, it was time for food!! And the first place we saw close by was a Hooters! Wings and cocktails all round to celebrate the start of the trip!
Patrick headed off for his tour and us girls went to Victoria's Secret for a wander round the flagship store! (FYI it was beautiful)

Once we had all met back up we jumped back on the bus to head towards One World Trade Center, to see the 9/11 memorial. This was such a poetic moment as we turned the corner and saw the memorial; beside us was a man dressed in his army uniform with what I assumed his wife; he was sobbing and covering his face. This began to hit home how much devastation that day has caused for so many, even till now. We all stood for what seemed a while discussing September 11th, where we were and what we remember.

We then headed towards the Staten Island Ferry, so we could get a glimpse of Lady Liberty herself. This was where I felt a little let down, maybe because it was a grey and gloomy day but I just didn't feel that impressed by her. But that was fine, because at least I saw her and she got ticked off my list.

By now it was approaching 6pm and we still had to get the bus all the way back to Times Square; which in New York rush hour traffic on a Friday. Let's just say we made it to the Rockefeller Centre for our allotted time of 8.10pm by the skin of our teeth.
The Top of the Rock experience was unforgettable, to see all the lights start to switch on across the city as well as night fall was amazing! I constantly remembering saying "This all looks fake and like a pop up book" and I think it was because I never thought I'd actually be there! We took billions of photos and selfies with the Empire State Building in the background before heading back down to the sidewalks.

It was around 9.30pm by now and safe to say our stomachs were grumbling like crazy. We headed to an Applebees for some dinner and then hunted down a taxi big enough to take us back to New Jersey. I think our heads finally hit a pillow around 12am and with jetlag I passed out straight away.

Have you been to New York? What was your favourite thing there?
Let me know in the comments.

Until Next Time...

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