Posts Tagged With: New York

New York, New York – Day 4 – Welcoming Fleet Week!

Wednesday 21st May

Hibiscus donut @ The Hungry Ghost, Brooklyn

Hibiscus donut @ The Hungry Ghost, Brooklyn

 

My last day in NYC was all about Fleet Week (and the Hungry Ghost’s giant donuts – I braved the Hibiscus one, which tasted really sweet…I am not sure what hibiscus is supposed to taste like though).

 

I walked up and done the harbor shore watching the big warship pull in the Hudson River. Quite a sight. I wanted to catch a glimpse of the wave of sailors taking over the city but I think this was mostly happening from the evening or the following day. I was too early basically.

Still I went to visit The Intrepid Air and Sea Museum, an WWII aircraft carrier which is permanently docked near Pier 83. It was interesting and as the day was a little overcast, not a bad place to finish my time in NYC. I was meeting a friend in the West Village in the late afternoon for some drinks and ended up having a very late lunch at a place called Bubby’s on Gansevoort St (start or finish of the High Line depending if you are going South to North or the other way around). I had the most amazing pulled pork sandwich (did I tell you I love pulled pork?!) and just chilled there for a couple hours, resting my feet, reading my Kindle, taking my time. I probably could have squeezed in  a trip on the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty during the day but I just couldn’t get the strength to rush anywhere…I have to leave some stuff for a future visit right? I definitely want to go back and this time, I will definitely take a near empty suitcase!

Here is the final NYC gallery…so long Big Apple, it’s been real!

 

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New York, New York – Day 3

Tuesday 20th May

Dolce de Leche @ The Hungry Ghost, Brooklyn

Dolce de Leche @ The Hungry Ghost, Brooklyn

I didn’t have to be at the Rockfeller Center until 11am so I took it easy that morning. Enjoying another magnificent donut, this time Dolce de Leche with roasted almonds…yum!

Still I was in town with time to spare so I took that opportunity to pop round to Sketchers and buy myself some Go Walk trainers…OMG, how have I lived without a pair of these before, I have no idea…they are so comfy I could have cried from the relief my feet felt! I spent a bit of time trying to decide what colour to go for: conservative navy or in your face turquoise? I chickened out and went for the navy (only to regret my decision by the following day…and honestly if I had been cleverer and had come with an almost empty suitcase as I had been advised, I would have bought 2 pairs)…

Now to the Top of the Rock…once you have your timed ticket it goes a lot quicker…although you get sent through a middle ground and get to wait watching a couple videos (which I found interesting personally but most people didn’t bother with).

And to the piece de resistance… oh my, the view from up there is amazing. I was also quite lucky to have a beautiful day! The only other iconic building you can’t see properly is the Chrysler building as it is hidden by another – apparently the best view for this building is on top of the Empire State building.

After that, I just walked down 5th Avenue and enjoyed the sites…Went to Grand Central Station, although it wasn’t at rush hour so it was quite tame. I did see some video shot for Dancing with the Stars thing though (but none of the Russian hotties), then walked through Little Italy where I ate a Spicy Pulled Pork (I love pulled pork!) pizza, then walked through Chinatown – quite disappointing actually, passed the Courthouse, completely by accident. Walked across to the river and down to WTC (World Trade Center site) to see the 9/11 Memorial and the new Tower One. I was knackered as you can imagine but it was such a gorgeous day that I couldn’t imagine doing it underground.

Once I had done all that, I just had the time to hop on the subway to get back to Pier 83 to go on my Circle Line – Harbor Lights evening cruise…The clouds suddenly appeared by then although it was still warm enough…we didn’t get a proper sunset unfortunately but the Skyline at twilight and night is amazing.

 

 

 

 

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The Fantastic Mr Piggy

2 more sleeps and Mr Piggy and I are off to our next adventure…Can I get a “hell yeah!!”? No? Never mind.

For those of you who have followed my past endeavours, you will have noticed that where ever I go, I take Mr Piggy with me and ensure he gets his screen time. He has travelled a bit already and you can see his photographic adventures on Mr Piggy’s World Adventures.

MrPiggy

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East Coast USA * The planning

It has been a long time since I have been on a proper holiday (June 2012 to be precise) as I don’t count the time I spend in my home town as “proper holiday”.

This year I was meant to be the year of being cancer free and back to my meanderings. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be so…Having suffered a major blow in the “remission road”, I fortunately still get to travel.

I had had plans a couple years to make Costa Rica my next holiday but again, I have had to change the plans. Not due to my health, mind you but because some of my lovely friends have decided to get married this year and as the bride-to-be is from Pennsylvania, the wedding will be held there…Yay…

My first time to the US was only a couple years ago, a mere few months before I got diagnosed actually and was the last time I had a proper holiday, so I think it is only fitting that my first holiday since I am able to travel again is to go there again…this time to the East Coast.

NYC Skyline, courtesy of Google Images

NYC Skyline, courtesy of Google Images

Since being invited, I have struggled and toyed with many itineraries in order to make the most of my time there whilst trying to keep the cost to a reasonable budget. I am not doing it on a shoestring but I don’t want to be chucking pounds out either.

After a lot of research (and as many itinerary advice as people asked) and a little worry that I wouldn’t get my passport renewed in time, I have finally settled for the following travel plans:

Sunday 18th May (pm) to Thursday 22nd May (am) – NYC – can I get a “hell yeah!”?

 

Thursday 22nd (pm) to Friday 23rd May (am) – Washington DC – Sir, yes, sir!

(Courtesy: Google images)

(Courtesy: Google images)

Friday 23rd (pm) to Monday 26th May (pm) – Pittsburgh/Mill Run – Dumdumdada Dumdumdada…

Action packed schedule. I fly in NYC and fly back out from Pittsburgh to avoid having to waste half a day transferring back there. And I am taking a bus between NYC and DC where I am going to meet up with another of the wedding guests and we are going to share a car to drive up to Pittsburgh.

 

 

 

 

 

(Courtesy: Google images)

(Courtesy: Google images)

The wedding venue is about 1h30 south east of Pittsburgh but we are going all the way up as a large portion of the wedding party (including yours truly) will be attending a baseball game on the Friday evening.

The wedding will be held on the Sunday but again, some serious action plans for the Saturday: white water rafting and a motorcycle ride on the back of CousinJeff’s Harley…I can already feel my inner biker chick nodding her head, tongue out and fingers making the devil’s horn gesture! Rock on baby, rock on!

Anyway, back to the planning…most of it concerning NYC to be honest as it is where I am staying the longest and by myself.
Now, I have never been to New York and like many, I have grown up with 70s, 80s movies where the city is the backdrop so I have an image of a gritty city where the Bronx and Brooklyn are not places you want to hang out…I was never a huge fan of SATC, unlike my friends. However, I was pleased to discover that the city is much safer than it used to be and thanks to a friend’s recommendation, I found accommodation using Airbnb.
If you don’t know this service, you have to check it out…it’s pretty awesome. People all over the world, who have spare rooms or even whole apartments can rent them out like a B&B. Although, you have to send a few enquiries before you get a successful booking, it allowed me to get 4 nights in a brown stone in Brooklyn (apparently it’s Hipster central there now) for a third less than if I had booked a hotel. And I get to experience NYC like a New Yorker. I hate hotels when I am on my own, they always feel soulless and it’s always very noisy.

Here is a list of the things I am planning to go see, visit, check out:

The Top of the Rock Deck – this one I have pre-booked for Monday 19th via Viator as it appeared to be cheaper and saved the queuing. I am told if you have to do an observation deck, this is the best as you can see the Empire States building and the Chrysler building from it (whereas you’d miss seeing those if you were on top of them…doh!).

Walk along the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset – I am going to try to do that on the day I arrive as I don’t think after a 6 hours flight in cattle class I’ll have much more energy for more…but you never know. The plan is to walk across it all the way to One Police Plaza (1PP). It might not be a huge touristy place but I am a huge fan of cop shows and that’s my little homage – as a side bar, I still have to go and check out Scotland Yard in London and I live there!

Circle Line Cruise – Night lights: that is another tour that I have already pre-booked with Viator. Again it appeared to be cheaper and you can hop the queues…I am still too French to enjoy queuing the way Brits seem to.

On my last day (Wednesday) it’s the start of Fleet Week and apparently the ships are pulling in the harbour that morning and from what I gather, the streets are filled with sailors (weyhey!) and you can go check out the boats…Sir, yes, sir!! 🙂

Other things on my list are: the American National History Museum, Central Park, the High Line, a bit of shopping (can’t really miss that opportunity), Time Square and Broadway – hopefully get cheap on the day ticket for a show, the cafe where Harry Met Sally did “that” scene, apparently Magnolia Bakery is a must too…everyone I talk to about this trip comes back with their “must do” or favourite and I’ll try to cram as much as I can without missing out on enjoying where I am at. One thing I won’t do is art galleries and art museums even though The Met and MoMa are well recommended…I can’t stand that type of museums…history, architecture and anthropology: big YES! Art: not so much…

I have very little plans for the evenings apart from the twilight cruise on Tuesday. I am not a big night person and my clubbing days are well behind me (if they ever were in front) but I don’t mind.

On Thursday morning, I take a Megabus (apparently the Greyhound buses aren’t that reliable) to Washington DC. I found a hotel near Capital Hill without breaking the bank thanks to Trivago. There I will meet with J and see the most obvious sights: Capital Hill, the White House etc. I don’t think I will get time for the Smithsonian which is a shame but that’s what you get for a half day.

Friday we drive to Pittsburgh – we are supposed to catch up with another friend of mine, Mr C, who is coming via Baltimore but we haven’t agreed yet where we are meeting. Now Mr C is a funny one as he intends to cycle back from the wedding to Baltimore…Yes, peeps, cycle as in push bike! So we have to make sure the hire car can take the bike.

As you can imagine, I am well excited about this trip! Of course updates and photos will follow once I am there.

To complete my prep, I also got myself a US sim card which I bought on Ebay for £10 (and it came with $10 credit). I am not planning on spending loads of time on the phone but in areas where there is no wifi, being able to get a bit of data should be nice. I have also made sure I snapped pictures of all the maps I needed and even printed some…Did I hear some snigger “OCD”? Yes, I know but I feel happier when I have a bit of control, thank you very much!

5 more sleeps….

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Itchy feet

This year, thanks to dealing with breast cancer, isn’t supposed to be a travelling year. I have set myself to plan for a holiday next year so as to celebrate being clear and free of the cancer (one can hope) and to celebrate the fact that I will turn 40 (I can hardly believe it). Strangely enough, it is not daunting me that I will hit that big milestone. As a single woman without kids I should be terrified as it will mark a big scary jump on my biological clock but somehow, because of aforementioned cancer, it has lost its scariness. I suppose being faced with a life threatening illness (even if it hadn’t reach the heavy stage) makes you appreciate all the potential birthdays you will get.

Any how, this was not meant to be the subject of this post. I am not here to talk about my boobies or my ticking clock but about my itchy feet!

I am not sure I will be able to wait until next year to go on a trip somewhere I haven’t been. First I have been invited to spend the weekend in a plush hotel in Barcelona early June. That’s one of the privileges of my job. It’s what called a FAM trip – don’t ask me what FAM means, I don’t actually know; what I do know is that it means a free weekend away flights and accommodation included, thank you very much! I have already been to Barcelona so I have done all the touristy things to do there.

NYC Skyline, courtesy of Google Images

NYC Skyline, courtesy of Google Images

Yesterday, one of my colleague was talking about trying to find a destination in Europe for a 5 days trip and I was giving her ideas of where to go and that made me long for a break away. I then went onto lastminute.com to see where I could go for 4/5 days myself (so I don’t take too many days off) and by myself (so I don’t have to rely on anyone else to be free) but without actually doing a group tour holiday and my eyes settled on New York. A city break would be ideal and I have never been to the Big Apple.

As you may have read before, I have a tendency to obsess a little when I start thinking about something like a holiday so of course, I went straight to Amazon and bought myself the Lonely Planet New York City guide so I can start looking at what I can do over 4 days and where would be best for me to stay without having to spend my time in the transport and be safe if I travel alone.

NYC Skyline, courtesy of Google Images

NYC Skyline, courtesy of Google Images

I am thinking I could go in Sept/Oct this year considering I will have been done with all the active treatments relating to my breast cancer (I have finished chemo end of March and I am about to have the operation on 21st May, so I should be finished with it before summer starts…well if summer ever starts here). It will be the opportunity for me to check out the city that is the background for many of my favourite tv shows, such as CSI:NY.

NYC, courtesy of Google Images

NYC, courtesy of Google Images

Considering the operation I am going to have and the fact that following removal of lymph nodes you have increased risks of infection, it might not be possible for me to so my African safari next year or even go anywhere which requires shots so I might have to go back to the drawing board for my grand holiday.

NYC Skyline, courtesy of Google Images

NYC Skyline, courtesy of Google Images

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