We stayed at the Broadway Hotel and Hostel in one of their rooms with a private bathroom. The room was reasonably priced especially as we were only 10 minutes walk from Central Park. After dropping our bags in the hotel we headed straight for the park, had a quick wander round and then decided to find somewhere to eat as it was getting dark and we were both in need of an early night.
The next day was a long one! I don’t know how people can go to New York for a week and not run out of things to do?! Obviously, there was loads we didn’t see – museums, art galleries, shops etc but we did all the main sites in one day. Here’s a quick overview of where we went:
1 - Central Park (again) – I’m not sure if it looked dead just because of the time of year that we visited but the park was nowhere near as pretty as I had imagined. It also didn’t feel much like a park with roads going through it everywhere and traffic and crossings etc. It was nice to walk through for a change from walking on the pavement, but to me it was nothing special.
3 – Macy’s Store – We didn’t go inside the famous department store but it was interesting enough from the outside, all done up in a circus carnival style with weird and wonderful window displays!
4- Empire State Building – We only saw this from the ground, we didn’t go up it or up the Rockafella Centre. Neither of us really knew what the Empire State looked like and were expecting some beautiful, fascinating building but we actually struggled to find it! Eventually we worked out it was the tall boring building opposite Macy’s – plenty of nicer looking buildings to see in my opinion. We stopped for a quick photo and then moved on.
6 – Ground Zero Memorial – Really interesting but very sad. It was incredible to stand where the Twin Towers used to stand and just remember the all the lives lost on that horrible day.
7 – Wall Street & The Charging Bull – Nice walk down the iconic Wall Street to the statue of the Bull. The statue itself was way too crowded with people climbing and posing on it for photos, ruining the view for everyone else.
8 – Statue of Liberty – We only saw this from the land but it was a lot smaller than I expected! I knew it was away from the shore and I’d read about boat trips out to the island it stands on, but I thought it would still look huge like it does on the films. Very disappointing – the Vegas version was better!
Our next stop was Chicago – we flew there from JFK and picked up the car. After the salesman tried to make us buy various insurance (which we didn’t need) and then tried to make us upgrade to a Mustang (like we could afford that?!) we eventually drove away with a Hyundai Sonata. Nothing fancy but a nice, comfortable car.
We spent 2 nights in Chicago staying in Pilsen Road House – a lovely boho style apartment on the outskirts of the city. Chicago was great – we saw Buckingham fountain (but it had no water in), the start of Historic Route 66, the giant Bean statue, had a trip to the Cheesecake Factory, and also went up the 360 Tower for amazing views! The weather was also fantastic so we had some time in the afternoon to sit on the beach, which isn’t actually next to the sea, it’s the shore of huge Lake Michigan! I’d definitely recommend Chicago and I feel like there’s quite a bit to explore there, with some lovely places to eat and have a drink in the evening. If you ever visit you have to go to Giordano’s and try one of their pizzas – it’s what Chicago is famous for! SO MUCH CHEESE!
To be continued…