Updated: Jul 18
Seize the day!
It's my new motto.
Take the opportunity when it comes - don't wait.
Life is short.
We have no idea what the future holds so let's make the most of it while we can.
I feel this now more than ever.
Say yes more, say no less.
I've been extremely lucky to be able to travel as of late.
After a two year lock down it's felt incredible to be out in the world again!
We finally went on our New York trip that was originally planned for 2 years ago.
It was fantastic! I looooove New York!
New York continues to be a gritty fast paced energy filled city.
Everyone has been asking what do you prefer London or New York?
It's hard to say, there are similarities but they're also very different.
Fast pace, go go go, the song New York New York truly captures the spirit of NYC.
I always find the social classes more apparent in the US, it seems all service workers are immigrants with a heavy accent and they work very hard.
Enormous mammoth buildings that boggle the mind.
So many people everywhere!
People seem pretty easy going, live and let live.
New York doesn't have alleys so it's a bit dirty. There's always a bit of litter on the streets. On garbage days, which seems to be every day in some part of the city, garbage is pilled high on the sidewalks, rats darting about. But then a torrential rain comes along and gives the city a shower and it sparkles.
People are very friendly.
More avant garde fashion! I think there's a real Sex in the City fashion influence.
Women dress up more to eat out.
Surrounded by rivers.
Beautiful city views.
More Broadway shows.
In general, I would say food was better in New York than London.
I have to say I just love the energy in NYC, it's an electric life force.
New York felt a bit more expensive than London, both are $$$$$! I would say restaurants cost double than in Vancouver, although it depends on the restaurant of course.
Full of beautiful buildings, even apartment buildings, every where you look beauty abounds.
Feels more contained and orderly than NYC.
Subway system seems cleaner and more updated.
A river runs through it.
Love that all museums are free!
So much history going back a thousand years.
People not as dressy as expected.
People are easy going, live and let live.
The whole Royal thing has a lot to offer and permeates everything.
Service staff are very friendly and everyone seems very helpful.
We often saw men in tuxedos and women in gowns heading out on the town.
So it's a toss up, I love them both!
Both cities are enormous, so much to do.
I try to research and plan my trips as much as possible so we can hit the ground running and make the most of our time. We can catch up on sleep when we're home!
Inevitably not all can be planned out which can lead to happy accidents or frustrations. I do find trips go much better with a plan. We did get to most of the things on my list, but not all, and you always discover more. There never seems to be enough time! Next time.
The best way to not waste time is to see everything you can in one area before moving to the next. Traveling across these huge cities takes time! So I'll organize my blog by area.
If you haven't been, I hope you'll have the opportunity to go to this amazing city one day!
TIMES SQUARE AREA
Probably the most photographed and well-known spot in NYC. Times Square is the convergence of several streets that come together to create a V-shaped square. It runs for five blocks and is covered in enormous billboards, packed with people, honking cars and street performers. It's the worlds most popular attraction with 50 million visitors a year, anywhere from 330,000 to 450,000 people a day!
It's nutty and a sight to see! It has to be seen at least once in your life, there's no other place like it. Take a look around, take it in and then get out because it doesn't take long to get a sensory overload!
For me, Broadway shows are one of the highlights of NYC.
Broadway theatres are interspersed all around Times Square.
Along with the West End in London, Broadway is the pinnacle of theatre in the world and therefore crafts people that work on these shows are the best, from set design, acting, costumes, singers, dancers, it doesn't get any better than this!
If you're lucky there comes a moment during a show when magic happens. The performers are giving it their all, the audience is completely entranced and there's a moment when this connection between everyone in the theatre fills the air with electricity. I get tingles just thinking about it. It's pure magic! You may find that your eyes tear up at these moments, as mine do. There are very few moments like this in life, I hope you'll experience it someday!
Some of the Broadway theatres are small and intimate historical theatres with beautiful flourishes and are beautiful ambience to be in. Other theatres are larger and more modern, usually the big Disney type shows like The Lion King play in the larger theatres.
The best thing about Broadway is the TKTS half-price ticket booth. The main booth is right in the centre of Times Square. It usually opens at 11am daily and people start lining up about an hour before. You can buy tickets for that days shows and the matinee for the next day. For less popular shows you can get good seats right up to show time, I got 5th row centre half an hour before a show!
Secret: If you want to go to a few shows go to the ticket booth on your first day, you can then use your ticket stub to skip the line for the next 7 days.
A few things to make note of, but double-check to be sure:
Much better seat selection on weekdays.
Usually no shows on Mondays.
Usually no matinees on Fridays so ticket booth opens at 3pm.
Shows sometimes do not send tickets to the booth on weekends but tickets can be purchased, at full price, at the theatre.
I recommend getting seats in the front orchestra up to row 10 so you can see the performers facial expressions. You get so much more out of the show when you can see their faces. Personally I don't think it's worth going unless you get great seats.
You can check on website or APP to see what shows are available that day before you go to booth.
PS. There's also a ticket booth at Lincoln Centre that used to open an hour before Times Square, but it's closed at the moment, check if it may have reopened. There also used to be a ticket booth in Brooklyn. Due to Covid not everything has reopened yet.
Just a couple of blocks from Times Square is the cutest little pizza place that was recommended by Jerry Seinfeld. He says it's his favourite in NYC and I see why. It's in the oddest ugliest place on a very busy street and so small we almost couldn't find it. But when you step inside it's quiet and quaint and the pizza was indeed delicious, right out of a wood burning oven! I called on our way there and they kindly held a table for us.
Just a block from Times Square is beautiful Bryant Park. Strangely it's a privately owned public park. It has all sorts of things to offer like a reading corner with magazines and newspapers, games area with board games, outdoor movie nights, free yoga classes, lots of food vendors, restaurants and lots of ongoing events. Definitely worth a visit and a nice reprieve from the craziness of Times Square. Make sure to check their website for event listings.
New York Public Library
Right at Bryant Park is the very famous Main NYC Public Library. You will recognize it from many movies and TV shows. It's where Carrie got left at the altar in the Sex in the City movie and the famous library scene in Indiana Jones (make sure you go see this room, it's stunning!). Also, you can view the real stuffed animals from Winnie the Pooh! Worth a look around.
Grand Central Terminal
West 42nd Street and Park Avenue
Just a couple of blocks from Bryant Park is Grand Central Terminal. Another famous location you'll instantly recognize. Make sure to check-out their website and read all about the history of the points of interest before you go. Looks like there's a beautiful historic bar that may be worth a visit The Campbell Bar, I'm putting it on my list for next time!
@ West 50th Street between 5th & 6th Avenue
Just a ten minute walk from Grand Central Terminal or Bryant Park is Rockefeller Centre, yet another famous spot. A beautiful plaza with ice skating in the winter and roller skating in the summer surrounded by lots of shops. You can pay big bucks to go view the city from the 70th floor at "The Top of the Rock" but I say it's better to spend that money to see the same view with some food and a drink at The Rainbow Room on the 65th floor. Best to reserve a table out on the veranda or you can just go to the bar and there