It was by a huge stroke of unexpected good fortune that we acquired the funds to go to New York City. This trip has been an absolute dream come true for me. I was semi-obsessed with New York when I was growing up and I hoped to live there when I grew up. My love of the Big Apple stemmed from TV shows like Fame and Rhoda. I was 19 years old by the time I finally made it there. I jumped at the opportunity to go via the British Universities North America Club (BUNAC) a sister organisation to Camp America. I spent 3 months living in Manhattan and working in the Statue of Liberty gift shop. Every single moment of that summer was awesome and I cried on the plane coming home. I returned for short holidays a few times after that and then my husband and I married there in 2005. After that visit I knew that it would be a long time until we could return. The cost and effort of travelling with our young family was too much of a hurdle. When I received my unexpected pot of gold a few months ago, I did consider spending it on the house.... but I quickly came to the decision to blow it on a trip of a lifetime to NY.
I am not kidding when I say that I often dream of being back in New York. I love those dreams because I get a chance to return to places that I yearn to see again. During this holiday I had to keep asking myself if I was dreaming and now that I am home I still cannot believe that it actually happened. Luckily I have the photo to prove that we made it there. It was amazing and I feel so lucky to have experienced it with the kids.
Day 319 - This was a busy day as we sorted the house and made our way to the airport. I only managed one photo. It was taken at the airport as we waited for the bus to take us from Long Stay Parking to the terminal. The flight was long and hard for the kids, especially Roo who didn't manage to sleep. Immigration in the U.S. is an absolute horror show and even worse with exhausted kids. We survived though and it was worth it.
Day 320 - Times Square, National Hockey League Store, Lego Store, Top of the Rock and the American Girl Store.
Our days were full on busy! We never fully adjusted to American time and just woke early and went to bed early every day. This made the jet lag easier when we returned. We were all wide awake by 5am on this first day and Roo and I decided to head out in search of breakfast. We found ourselves in Times Square just as the sun was coming up. To stand there with my boy with the horrible journey behind us and the whole holiday ahead of us was one of the best moments of my life. I reflect upon that moment now and I think that life is pretty much perfect for me at this point in time.
Day 321 - American Museum of Natural History and Central Park
Day 322 - Museum of the Moving Image. This was our only rainy day and it made for the perfect excuse to take the Subway over to Queens for a visit to this wonderful little museum. The main reason we went was to see their classic arcade games exhibition. We were SO lucky because this was due to end the day before we arrived, but they extended it by one more week. As it turns out, this was the highlight of the whole trip for the boys.
It was really dark in there so I had to use a massive ISO. Although the images do suffer a lot of grain, I am so grateful to have them.
Rexy barely even looked at another game once he discovered Space Invaders! I noticed the lovely security guard slipping him tokens for a few extra runs on the house.
Once we spent a small fortune on tokens we found a few other cool things to do there such as adding sound effects, stop motion animation and voice overs.
Day 323 - Central Park carousel, Flat Iron Building, Staten Island Ferry and super cool ice cream.
Oh the delight at finding a whole chain of candy stores named after you. Happy days.
Bear loves carousels and this one was closed on our first visit to Central Park. We had to go back and it was worth it.
My husband loves this statue of Atlas.
The Flat Iron Building on 23rd street is my favourite building in the world. I was blown away the first time I saw it and that feeling of awe is still there every time we meet again.
Roo was very excited about the Staten Island Ferry. It turns out that the Statue of Liberty was pretty much the only landmark he associated with NY before he got there and he was very keen to set eyes on it. He also said that he loves ferries.
I had my eye on this ice cream place weeks before we travelled and it was high on my list of must do's. We were exhausted by the time we arrived but the ice cream served with a cute warm freshly made fish shaped waffle was delicious. This place is newly opened and a huge hit on Instagram. It made me giggle that no one touched their ice cream without taking a photo of it first. Me included. Between us, we tried all of the flavours. I really wish that I could visit this place whenever I wanted.
Day 324 - Madison Square Gardens, the High Line and enjoying a walk up 6th Avenue. This was our last day before flying home in the evening. We had planned to drop by Maddison Square Gardens but then realised that there was a tour that you could go on. It was brilliant and we were lucky again because a big game was on that night. There was lots of activity as the dancers practiced their routine.
This was the view from our hotel room. My husband didn't like heights and it made him nervous. The boys and I enjoyed looking for parkour routes. The boys are obsessed with parkour.
It would have been so cool to have seen a game but it would have cost a fortune and we were on a plane by the time it happened anyway. We missed out on this bucket list experience this time.
The High Line is a new attraction in NY and on every suggested itinerary that I came across. It is a park build on an old disused rail line. I am glad that we managed to see it but it was very busy.
We spend the last couple of hours walking around trying to find a book store so that Bear could buy Shopkins. She was tired and pretty fed up to be honest. We never did find that book store but the disappointment was momentarily forgotten when she stumbled upon the gusts of air coming from the vents in the sidewalk. Our own little Marilyn Monroe.
It was nice to see the building I lived in all those years ago.
Back to our hotel to collect our bags and a scary ride to the airport and we were done. No tears as I boarded the plane this time but still a question mark over when we can possibly return. I really do [heart] NY.
Day 325 - Home.