Welcome to New York!
The level of excitement I felt the first time I flew into New York City was indescribable. I had been dreaming of this moment my entire life and was determined to feel that way again about this city so I had no choice but to plan another trip back as soon as I could.
My first visit was in June, 2013 so it meant warm days and a lot of people around. I stayed close to Times Square at Hotel Mela, which I soon realised, was way too close to the hustle and bustle. Being our first time, I was unsure on what to expect which is part of the reason why travelling is so magical.
As much as I love New York, in the summer, it smells, there are people trying to sell you things everywhere you walk and long lines no matter what tourist attraction you go to. After a long day of exploring, the last thing you want to do is look for somewhere to eat so you do what I did, go to the closest place to where you are staying but try figure out places out of Times Square before you go out as I guarantee it will taste great and cheaper.
My first look at a New York City Winter was in February 2015 and as much as I loved New York before, it was nothing to how I felt being there in Winter. Being in Central Park when it snows was something I have never experienced and it was thrilling for a girl from Western Australia.
As many would know, snow looks magical but in the city and side of the road, there is grey slush and hard ice so you have to be careful walking especially if you don’t have waterproof shoes! If you don’t have a warm enough jacket or pockets to put your hands in, you will struggle!
All of that doesn’t matter when you go to your first Broadway show, I definitely recommend The Lion King or Wicked ( I haven’t been to in NYC but have seen it in Australia twice). I have been to 2 shows in NYC, The Lion King (2013) and If Then (2015), and I only booked one in advance. It was surprising to just walk in to the Box Office and be able to buy tickets right then and there for the next show coming up so keep that in mind!
It doesn’t matter when you get to see the iconic Statue of Liberty up close and see what all the fuss was about. I went to see this on my first visit in 2013 – before I realised you couldn’t just point and click with a camera and it was unreal. As wonderful as it was to see the Statue of Liberty, the view of NYC is the crowd stopper. I would go back over and over again if I could just to get another glimpse of the NYC skyline.
The first time we visited, we did not go to The Brooklyn Bridge and I regretted it everyday so when we went in 2015, I was not leaving until I was able to see it at every angle and it did not disappoint. Getting there was easy as long as you read the train timetable carefully and get off at the right stations so why I didn’t go the first time doesn’t make sense. Make sure you take the time to walk at least halfway across.
Then there is the iconic photo in Times Square I had to get and this was a lot harder then I thought it would be. With so many people running around, I was never able to get the perfect one but I did just stand and stare at what was around me and, to be honest, I didn’t care what else was happening. No matter what kind of mood you are in, it will make you feel like you have made it. Like the great Alicia Keys sings ‘New York! Concrete jungle where dreams are made of’.
Central Park is without a doubt, one of the most magical beautiful places I have ever seen. I thought in Summer it was gorgeous but then I went in Winter and that was an out of this world experience. There isn’t much I can say other then, explore as much as you possibly can as you will look back and dream about how you were once in a place where you could be in the middle of a city but wouldn’t be able to hear a thing.
I had wanted to go to the Rockefeller Centre and see the sunset all over the city. Luckily, I got there just in time but next time I will make sure I book tickets earlier so I can really see the beauty. It was freezing as I went in the winter but seeing all the lights in the dark made me realise what it meant by the city that never sleeps. Try and go up at sunset and try during the day but book earlier so you won’t be disappointed.
Where I Stayed: Wellington Hotel – this would be the most perfect place for a first time visit as has a starbucks across the road, only a 10 minute walk from both Times Square and train station and an even shorter walk from Central Park.