spring adventures: new york (i)


It’s hard to believe that I was in New York a whole month ago. Time has run away with me since then; I’ve wanted so much to share my adventures with everyone but exams and the like have come calling and I just haven’t got round to it. But here we are!
So, I went to New York City! It’s another one of those things that I still can’t quite believe. I have wanted to visit for so long, and so to finally have the chance was incredible. And I also got to see my sister and brother-in-law for the first time since their wedding two years ago, which was kind of the whole purpose of the trip and what made it ten million times more special. You do get used to having your only sibling living 5000 miles away, but that doesn’t necessarily make it easy and it doesn’t mean you don’t miss them. It does, however, make you appreciate the time that you do spend together far more. After a long day of travelling (still not a fan of flying), we found our way from Newark into the city itself and met them in Penn station. I now understand what it feels like to be a full on tourist staying in London – when you’re exhausted from a day of travelling it’s actually quite a scary and disorientating thing. The moment I stepped foot outside the station the biggest smile spread across my face. I couldn’t get over the fact I was actually in New York City. It was so big, and busy, and really quite beautiful. After lugging our cases across town to our apartment on the Lower East Side (we were basically two blocks over from the Bowery Ballroom which excited my music loving heart just a little), we settled in and ordered Chinese for dinner. My sister has the whole ‘no jetlag’ situation down because she’s spent so much time between England and America, so we are always under strict orders not to even close our eyes before 9pm. It really works, though, and we were well rested and awake the next morning ready for the busy day ahead.

Day one was centred around going to a Jimmy Fallon taping that afternoon. It’s about the only thing Zoe and Nolan religiously watch, so they were super excited for it, and I’m not opposed to a little Lip Sync Battle or Pup Quiz every now and then! We headed over to Rockefeller Centre and got tickets for Top Of The Rock later in the day, and then wandered down 5th Ave to Central Park. I didn’t realise just how much I would fall in love with that place, and my mum was exactly the same - I could spend all day, every day there (although I’m sure there are many New Yorkers who’d tell you that I really wouldn’t want to spend all day, every day there). It is just this incredibly peaceful space that makes you forget where you are until you look up and see all the skyscrapers that surround you. Spring was showing its face when we were there; the flowers were just appearing, as was the beautiful blossom on the trees. After absorbing the beauty of the place for a little while, and probably taking far too many photos, we found somewhere for lunch before heading back to 30 Rock. As a family, we’re not that keen on heights, so the prospect of heading to Top Of The Rock was a mildly daunting one, but the thought of the view that awaited us spurred us on, I think. We left Nolan with his feet planted firmly on the earth and the remaining four of us made our way up. The lift was really nice and smooth and over very quickly, and the view that meets you when you get to the top makes it more than worthwhile. We spent a fair amount of time up there, again taking far too many photos, only making our way back down because we had to get to Fallon on time.

The queue for Jimmy Fallon was already starting to form, so we joined it, only to be told that we couldn’t take backpacks in – it did say this on the ticket, but we had missed it. A bit of a palaver ensued where we tried (and, understandably, failed) to find somewhere to store them, before my mum and dad kindly offered to take them as they were not so bothered to see the show. We left them to roam central park (again) while we rejoined the queue and made our way through security and whatnot. The studio itself is very different to any I have been to in England – it’s far smaller, and much more permanent. It’s more like being in a theatre than anything. I’m a massive nerd and find watching the filming of telly programmes just as enjoyable as the actual programme itself, and the thing that baffled me most about American television is that they use cue cards rather than an autocue. I’m still not over it. The show itself was the kind of funny which leaves you with an aching face from all the smiling you do, and I actually ended up being on it. It is the best and yet worst thing that has ever happened to me – I hate anything like that, but it was so ridiculously funny I can’t not laugh about it. My embarrassingly terrified face was broadcast nationwide on one of America’s most popular television shows. Genuinely didn’t think I’d ever say that. The clip has been deleted from YouTube, but we’ve all screenshotted it for posterity (of course), and I’ve now shared it with the entire internet, naturally. You’re welcome. Anyway, we had the best time, I bought a Jimmy Fallon mug so I never forget (like I ever will – it’s one for the grandkids, that’s for sure), and we reunited with mum and dad before heading to the apartment and on to Little Italy for a really lovely dinner.

On Thursday we went to a cute little café called Bercli Park for breakfast (something which is a real novelty to my parents – they can’t get their head around eating breakfast outside of your own home) and then jumped on the subway back to Central Park. We overshot because of engineering (“ooh, it’s just like London”, said my parents), but the park is that big that we still weren’t halfway up it, I don’t think! I know it sounds a really odd thing to say, but we loved the fact that it’s not flat. There are bridges and rocky bits and hills and lakes. It’s like its own little world. We wandered in the direction of the zoo, only properly stopping to each lunch – I chose a pretzel, and it was good! Central Park Zoo is the sweetest place; it’s exactly like the rest of the park in that you’ll see the tall buildings and all of a sudden remember you’re in the middle of New York City. We love a good zoo, and this definitely didn’t disappoint. The fact it had Red Pandas meant it was going to be a winner whatever happened. Once we were done we caught the subway to Times Square - the 59th and 5th (did I do that right?!) subway station has the cutest zoo-oriented tiles - where we did the standard tourist photo (obviously) and then did the standard tourist dinner at the Hard Rock Café (again, obviously). I did not appreciate how the menus told me that my dinner was basically death on a plate. It tasted good, though, so whatever! Myself and my mum are pretty big fans of the theatre, and we knew that we couldn’t visit New York without seeing a show on Broadway. We got tickets to Something Rotten! at St James’ Theatre, which was so clever and a whole lot of fun – I’d definitely recommend it if you’re going and want to see a show without bankrupting yourself. One thing I did notice about seeing a show on Broadway is that it is so much louder than in the West End. It’s where I realised that the British stereotype of politeness is actually quite accurate; here, people clapped and whooped when certain actors came onstage – if you were to do that in London you’d get disapproving looks from the majority of the audience. It made the show a lot more fun, I think, but I’m not sure it’d have that effect for all of them. I’ll stick to being a grumpy Brit, I think!

Halfway through the holiday already! Congratulations on making it this far. I’ll let you rest and tell you about the other half in due course.

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