The flight from KEF to EWR turned out to be just over 5 hours, so we landed in America earlier than expected. It’s also the quickest I’ve ever got through US Customs, and we had our bags and were ready to be collected about 20 minutes after our scheduled arrival time!
Carmel was there a few minutes after, and the traffic into Manhatten was pretty quiet so we arrived at the Hilton Doubletree on 29th Street just after 8 pm. A pretty reasonable time, although adding in the time difference it was midnight and we were all feeling pretty tired, especially my daughter, so we called it a night and expected to be up for an early start the next day.
My visits to the Big Apple are in double figures now, so I’m pretty happy finding my way around. Our last visit was when
We were up and out just after 7 am and decided to take in the City with a walk up to Time Square, and breakfast at Ellens Stardust Diner. If you’ve never been, it’s well worth the short wait (even at that time in the morning!). From there, we hopped on the subway up to 72 Street and across to Central Park past the Dacota Building and into Strawberry Fields, which is always quite poignant a Brit and Beatles fan.
We pretty much just wandered around but ended up near the Boathouse, so hire a rowing boat for an hour and paddle around the lake. It’s thirsty work, so we grabbed a drink before meandering all the way back to the hotel to collect our bags and check into the Airbnb for the next 5 nights. Some serious walking which my daughter did remarkably well!
Our activities over the next few days were somewhat directed by the Sightseeing Pass we’d bought, and in hindsight, I probably wouldn’t get one of these again. It worked well on our last visit, as we were staying in Time Square and we almost always hopped on a bus to get us to our 1st destination of the day. That didn’t work as well from the Gridiron Building stop, as buses were usually full, so we only used that a couple of times preferring the subway. We also visited places we probably wouldn’t have if we didn’t have the pass, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but once is probably enough.
The World One Tower was a first for all of us, as it wasn’t open on our last visit. There was zero visibility reported when we arrived, but we took the gamble and by the time we’d made it up to top the view was pretty good. Not perfect, but certainly worth going up. After that, we visited the National Geographic Ocean Explorers and then went to Planet Holywood for a late lunch. It was then over to experience The Ride. This was one of the highlights, and certainly worth doing if you’ve not. It’s a side-seating bus tour/show which really needs to be experienced to fully understand.
We’d bought tickets for Aladdin on our first day, so today’s plans were based around that. First, we visited Spyscape, a pretty unique museum that we all enjoyed although it was probably a little too old for my daughter. From there we went to MoMA, specifically to see The Stary Night, and then it was onto Aladdin via McDonald’s for lunch! The Disney Broadway show didn’t disappoint, although for the money it really shouldn’t!
After that, my partner has arranged to meet an old work colleague who was living in NYC for a few years. We met them up at Pier Inn on the upper west side and had some drinks and food whilst our kids played as the sunset in the distance. A really nice evening in really balmy conditions for the time of year.
The next day we were leaving Manhattan and heading for the beach! We’d jumped on the Q train heading for Coney Island, with a visit to the Aquarium and then Luna Park and a couple of whitish knuckle rides (Soarin Eagle, Steeplechase and Coney Island Hand Glider) before heading back to Manhatten for dinner.
We’d planned to head back to Central Park to hire some bikes and do so cycling, although the weather wasn’t looking good for the next day. It was pouring with rain, so we resorted to plan B and a visit to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum before heading across to the Top of the Rock and down to Macy’s for some clothes shopping before a gentle walk back and some food on the way.
For our final day, we’d got the subway back to Brooklyn, although just over the river this time to Dumbo. I’d never been before and the view is something to behold! From there it’s a great walk back to Manhatten over the Brooklyn Bridge before we hopped in a taxi over to the west side and a short Hudson River Cruise talking us back up to 34 Street and a subway back to the apartment before a Carmel limo back to JFK.