So I can finally say that I have set foot on American soil! This whole experience was so surreal and I am very grateful being able to experience this. As a kid, I have always imagined myself in the Big Apple and when I finally touched down at JFK Airport, part of me had problems believing that I was finally here.
To get to Manhattan from JFK Airport, we took the airport shuttle train to Jamaica station and took the brown line downtown. We booked ourselves a room at DoubleTree Hilton in the financial district so we figured our way out and checked in. I gotta say, as I was dragging my luggage from the subway station to the hotel, the sights of the tall buildings and the array of foodtrucks was too cool.
No visit to NYC would be complete without pizza and our first stop was a random pizza joint near the fulton street for lunch. The pizza there was so huge and that made me happy. We got ourselves some garlic knots too, as why not?
Then, of course, we stumbled upon Dwayne Read (it is everywhere, but we did not know that then, so we ran in like little girls). The amount of makeup available is amazing and man, what I would do to bring all these back to Singapore.
To be honest, my memory isn’t the best and I cannot remember exactly what we did day to day, but I wanted to jot down some memorable experiences here. Just so when I’m old and all forgetful, I can scroll through and remember my experiences. Scratch that, I’ll need to do so in a few months or so, as my memory is utter sh*t.
Staying in the financial district was really nice, as we were extremely close to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal as well as Battery Park. The sunset in Battery Park was so beautiful and you do get a lovely view of the Statue of Liberty from there. Also, I heard that the Shake Shack outlet in Battery Park is the least crowded as compared to that in Madison Square Garden and Grand Central Terminal.
We wanted to see the Statue of Liberty both in the day and at night so we took the Staten Island Ferry twice. It is free, so why not! You do get a pretty good view and good snaps of it. Also, when I got on, it reminded me of the movie The Dark Night. Y’know what I’m talking about. One trip to Staten Island is about 20 minutes and there is always another ferry back real quick (they are usually in 30 minute intervals). Of course, if you want to stay and explore Staten Island, go ahead! You do you boo.
Our hotel was pretty close to the National 9/11 Memorial as well as the One World Trade Center. So many feels.
We bought the 3 Attractions New York Explorer Pass (USD 77) where we can choose 3 attractions to go to (duh, I know, but I’d thought I’ll just mention it). There is a pretty substantial list, but we decided to go for Top Of The Rock Observatory Deck, a round trip to Woodsbury Common and a Twilight Cruise.
The Twilight Cruise was extremely worth it as we got to see the Manhattan skyline both in the evening and at night. There is a tour guide sharing interesting facts as well, which is always great. Somehow the only fact I remember is that the penthouse of the really tall and skinny residential building went for 90 over million. My brain remembers useless facts, I cannot help it.
|The view of the Statue of Liberty from the cruise! This was not zoomed in at all – we were close!|
The Top Of The Rock Observatory was definitely an amazing one as well. To see the Empire State and the whole of Central Park from above was cool. This was the time that I really felt that I was actually in New York, while 5% was still too surreal to believe.
|Photobombed by a French!|
Of course, we had to drop by Woodsbury Commons to get ourselves some goodies! The discounts were tremendous, and I remember Coach having an additional 50% off on top of their discounts! Kate Spade was 60% off, with an additional 20% off on top. This was the first time I walked into a branded shop and could actually purchase things without me losing an arm and a leg. In fact, I got too excited and got myself 2 Kate Spade bags! There are many other brands as well.
One of my favourite memories has to be rowing a boat in Central Park. I think it was USD 12 an hour and we got to row ourselves in the second largest water body in the park. The view was really nice and it was really peaceful (except for the times we were trying to figure out how to row or when we bumped into another boat, but in our defense, it wasn’t our fault). Wear tons of sunscreen if you’re planning to do so in summer – I got sunburnt despite wearing sunscreen. You know what, get yourself a big ass hat to protect yourself while looking all fancy while rowing.
High Line Park was lovely as well! Walking the entire stretch took us about 55 mins to an hour, but it worth it! Seeing views from slightly above and the greenery made it all worthwhile.
Of course, Times Square was the main highlight! I stood there, admiring the lights and that was truly surreal. The hustle and bustle as well as all the mascots made the experience even more fulfilling.
|I had to.|
One place that was real high on my itinerary was the American Museum of Natural History! I loved the one in London ( I went 4 times to complete it!) and I know that this one would be amazing as well. Was not let down one bit.
Just wandering around and admiring the sights was definitely something I enjoyed very much. The lovely mesh of modern and old fashioned architecture is fascinating! Not to mention that I am always in awe of the super tall buildings.
|The Morgan Library has free entry from 7pm on Fridays!|
The interior of the Morgan Library
|I also highly recommend walking the Brooklyn Bridge!|
|At the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. Super peaceful and there were many topless men running 😉|
Gotta see the Charging Bull, am I right?
Did not manage to touch them balls though.
You know we went in there.
Also, I definitely enjoyed dropping by Roosevelt Island and taking the tram! The view on the tram is really cool and it is free. Waiting time is a tad long but what’s a little waiting? There is also a free bus service on the island, so we did a lil exploration. The island was much more peaceful and calm as compared to the business of Manhattan.
|The view from the tram!|
|Roosevelt Island Smallpox hospital ruins|
Other great times involved getting samples from Sephora and eating, which let me share with you My Food List.
I have to say that these are the best bagels I’ve had so far. I’ve tried others, such as Murray’s Bagels, but I feel that the bagels here have the right amount of chewiness and the texture is just right. Side note, do not buy an everything bagel and put it in your bag (In typical me fashion, I was greedy and wanted more so I kept one in my bag). My Longchamp smelt like garlic the entire day.
Taco Mix Grill
The quesidilla here is amazing. I don’t know about you, but I love pork rind and they do an amazing Chicharron quesadilla perfectly. My pictures make it look not as appetising, but trust me, I went back twice. The tacos are great too, but I do find that tacos a tad expensive at USD 3.75. The quesadillas cost about USD 6-10, depending on your filling!
This requires no introduction. Head over to 53rd street (find Sheraton and you’re there!) and get yourself some Halal Guys. Being a greedy ass as per ush, I love ordering the gyro over rice with added falafel (you only pay 1 buck more, so why not). The chicken is great too, but I’d just rather all the gyro. Beware of the hot sauce though, that burneeeeeeddddddd. But it was so worth it.
|USD 7 for a combo over rice (chicken and gyro)|
They do have pretty decent burgers and milkshakes! Located in Chelsea Market, this place reminds me a tad of Shake Shack. Chealsea market had a lot of options, and it was a pity I didn’t manage to try anything else! Menu here.
|Had their cheeseburger (USD 8) along with their fresh potato chips (USD 3.50)|
Oozing swiss cheese over potatoes? Yes. I got the Suisse as I needed some meat to go along with it and boy, was it worth USD 18. Menu here.
This makes bomb burrito bowls. I really wish they would open up in Singapore! Their chorizo special is really good and I highly recommend it! It ain’t expensive either (less than USD 10 usually).
This diner does amazing pancakes. These were the fluffiest pancakes I have ever had so far (and I’ve had tons). They were also a tad chewy, which I am totally a fan of. We built our own Grand Slam and I got 2 buttermilk pancakes, sausage links, eggs and bacon. I think it was under USD 12!
I’ve heard so much about their cupcakes so I had to drop by. However, the cupcakes were dry and lacked flavour for me so that was a flop. But the banana pudding and their chocolate cake saved the day! S0 go for those, and give those beautifully frosted cupcakes a miss, in my opinion.
Of course, Kat’s Deli is famous for their pastrami sandwiches. They were good. So good. We added cheese and it was even more delicious. Despite so, I do find it on the pricier side (USD 19.90 for the pastrami) so we were unable to head back for second time. Oh by the way, the fries looked so good, but they were nothing special.
We’ve also tried some recommendations from online, but they didn’t blow my mind. If you’re short of time, perhaps give these a miss.
We heard this place does Dim Sum really well so we, being Asians, definitely got excited. Their pork buns are fantastic (USD 3.50) but the rest were pretty mediocre. As you order separate dishes to sample, the prices did add up and to me, it was not worth the price. I only recommend the pork buns though!
La Bella Ferrera
I heard many people praising their red velvet cannoli so as we were in Little Italy, we decided to give it a shot. Let’s just say it did’t blow my mind. In fact, I think their original cannoli was a tad better. Regardless, this was something that I would not go for again. One was about USD 3 I believe, and I got myself the mint chip cannoli (left) and the red velvet cannoli (right).
Overall, this trip was wonderful and part of me still cannot believe that I finally flew there (and now, I’m back). Of course, once is better than never. I will be back though, one day, fo’ sure!
|This was a failed jump shot. I tried.|
Just thought to share the photos and my list. Hope it helped some of you! If not, hope the pictures of the food made your day haha.