Sunday, 10 February 2013

New York, New York

Central Park.
The Mall in Central Park.
A view from Belvedere Castle.

Times Square.

Last week, I was lucky enough to find myself in New York for four days. One of the most beautiful cities in the world, the skyscrapers were dizzying and with our hotel room on the 31st floor, I never tired of the overwhelming view of the Manhattan skyline. It was also absolutely freezing. Still, the Big Apple in January was an amazing experience.

We flew out to JFK on the Wednesday and took the subway through to 50th street where we would be staying in a hotel opposite Times Square. A large pizza delivered to our room accompanied by the experience of American television was all we could manage before falling asleep.

The next day was mostly spent in Central Park, taking in the sights and climbing our way up the spiral staircase at Belvedere castle to see the views. Possibly my favourite thing in NYC, the contrast of the cityscape behind the trees was the only sign that we were in the midst of a busy city. In the heart of Central Park, there is a peacefulness that cannot be matched anywhere else in the city. Strawberry Fields, a memorial garden for John Lennon, really is one of the most tranquil places I have ever visited and reading the memorial plaques on the benches was eerie yet lovely.

That night, we had a quick burger and head off to nearby Broadway where we were lucky enough to see the musical of Once. Featuring the music of Glen Hansard and a cast of wonderful musicians, the production was brilliant to see on Broadway and is a wonderfully simple but feel-good story of love.

After another long sleep, we ended up the next day at the MOMA. Visiting here had been one of the main things I wanted to do in the city and I wasn't disappointed. The building itself was very impressive and had a wonderful collection of artwork and photography. My favourite part was being introduced to more of Munch's work. I  remember studying The Scream at school but there were some brilliantly haunting paintings that I had never seen before.

We also spent part of the day making our way around Grand Central Station. Having never set foot in there, it was very impressive and a lot bigger than expected. We were also lucky enough to see it on the day of it's centenary celebrations, crammed full with people. That night we decided to venture up the Empire State Building. Arriving around 7pm, there were no queues and we were shown straight up to the lifts and swiftly to the top. The view was breathtaking- at night, the city skyline just becomes a mass of lights. The heights were dizzying and although it was beautiful, I was happy when eventually back on the ground.

The following day, we had a delicious breakfast at a little place on 71st street called Alice's Teacup. A lovely little cafe, it had murals of Alice in Wonderland on the wall and sold homebaked cupcakes as well as every flavour tea you could imagine. As it was early on a Saturday morning, Liam chose eggs benedict and I went for the famous granola. I was served a large helping, topped with fresh berries and cinnamon. We then spent a morning wandering around The Met and The Gugenheim and taking in all the art followed by a brisk walk through the cold to see the Rockerfeller Centre. The tour guide was brilliant and showed us a lot of the art deco architecture that was created when the centre was first built, giving us a history of each piece. After a quick Starbucks, we also made our way up to the top of the rockerfeller to see the city from a birdseye view. It was good to see the skyline in the daytime as well as seeing the Empire State Building.

The next day was our last day and was spent hanging around the Museum of Natural History as well as having a long walk through the city. We also had a peek in some of the big department stores. The evening was the day of the Superbowl and we experienced it in an all-American restaurant eating fried chicken, drinking homemade lemonade and taking up the challenge of a delicious peanut butter pie. We fit so much into four days that our feet hardly touched the ground, but it was so worth it to be in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.