We arrived in Manhattan after flying Aberdeen-Heathrow then Heathrow-New York JFK. The flight left Aberdeen at 6.30am & in total was about 10hrs travelling, but we arrived in NY at 1.30pm local time. We flew into JKF as we were staying mid-town. If you're staying the down-town, you might want to consider flying into Newark. Our hotel was the Affinia Manhattan, on 31st/7th, right opposite Madison Square Garden. It was gorgeous, clean and the room was a good size.
I wasn't sure how bad we'd be feeling when we arrived, so I had booked tickets to the 10pm show at the Comedy Cellar down in Greenwich Village. We'd intended on heading down about 8pm for a bite, but by about 6pm we were still feeling stuffed from all the salty plane food, so we had showers, got dressed, hopped in a cab & headed down to the Comedy Cellar about 7.30pm to see if we could swap for the 8pm show, which we could. Was absolutely hilarious and very glad we decided to stick with the plan. I had a mojito which was so strong the room was spinning, so I quickly switched to coffee! The place was packed out. If you're thinking of going, definitely make reservations & get there at least 1/2hr before the show starts as there will be a queue & if you aren't sharp, they give your seats away. You don't pay for the reservations until the end of the night, so if you do miss your booking, you don't lose your money. By 10pm we were tucked up for a well deserved sleep, looking forward to the next day (my birthday dun dun dunnnnn!)
I had done a lot of research into breakfast as last time we were there it was a nightmare trying to pick somewhere good and you do so much walking that a good feed first thing is essential. On the Thursday we went to the Tasty Cafe, on Madison Avenue (about 10 minute walk from the hotel). I had banana pancakes, which were delicious!
As the day was my birthday & we had plans for the evening, we decided to take it easy during the day. We started off walking up to Bryant Park & The New York Public Library to moon over where Big & Carrie nearly did the deed. When we were there as part of our honeymoon, we had dinner in the Bryant Park Grill which is highly recommended!
The New York Public Library
View from the Library steps
Ice Skating in Bryant Park & Bloomingdales. Cupcake from Sprinkles Bakery
After the Library, we trekked on down to Lexington to sample the wares from the Sprinkles Bakery, which were definitely worth the detour! Then, it was on up to 90th/5th for the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art and the Gugenheim.
The view down Park Ave, MoMA and The Gugenheim
By about 2pm, we were ready to start heading back down to the hotel, so we detoured through Central Park, past the Jackie O Reservoir. We picked up a cab at 72nd, which dropped us at Macy's on 58th, where we had a 'pre shopping day' browse, before walking back through Times Square. Neil sat & worked out how far we walked that day & it was just under 7 miles!!
At 7.30pm, after a much needed red-hot shower, we were dressed to the nines, ready to hit the town. I had booked a table at Buddakan, which is famed for being featured in the first SATC movie; where Big & Carrie had their wedding reherasal dinner. I was really nervous that they might have fluffed our table or we wouldn't be cool enough to get in, but the experience was brilliant. When we arrived, they asked us to wait in the bar for 5 minutes whilst they got the table ready (it was packed). Neil ordered a couple of Mojitos which we took to the table & honest to god, it is without a doubt, the best mojito I have ever had. There were dozens of waitresses & hosts so you didn't need to wait on a thing - water was topped up regularly & they were on-hand to explain the menu. We ordered the BoBo plate to start and I could have eaten 15 of the carrot dumplings! Mains were also delicious and I even squeezed in a portion of pumpkin cheesecake for dessert (what can I say, I was all spanxed up!). The cocktail bar was gorgeous & we could have stayed for a few more, but we were both mega tired so headed back to the hotel & crashed.
On the Friday, we'd planned on starting the day right down in SoHo, but after seeing the Meat Packing District on the Thursday night, decided to head down there for breakfast at the Chelsea Market. Buddakan is in Chelsea Market, although the entrance is next door, so had a quick snap whilst we were there. After the market, we just headed east and joined Bleecker Street which runs the whole way through SoHo. A quick stop off at the Magnolia Bakery for more cupcakes and headed off to Michael Kors to buy my watch and then Kate Spade for my bag. All in all, a good shopping day!
Following the shopping, we walked on up to MAC Pro store in the Flatiron district, which is an absolute haven & I stocked up on some stuff for my kit. Then we headed to the Blue Smoke for sticky BBQ ribs, which were absolutely delicious and very reasonably priced.
That evening, we had Knicks tickets (purchased from StubHub) at Madison Square Gardens (literally a skip from the hotel). The atmosphere was incredible & there were so many people. I have to say, everything is so well organised & runs seamlessly in America. We sailed through the tickets, security & were directed to our seats in the space of about 5 mins. The highlight of the game had to be after the ref had made a particularly bad decision was a guy behind us shouting 'Sir, you're not very good sir' !! How super polite!! There was no swearing, no fighting, no bottle throwing or racist insults songs & was a breath of fresh air. After the game, we headed home to eat our cupcakes!
Saturday was our last full day & when we woke up, it had been snowing! The way the snow was dealt with puts the UK to shame. All along the streets were guys out with giant squeedgees (sp?) pushing the snow off the pavements and the roads were heavily salted. By the Saturday night, all that remained was some slush around the drains. Unbelievable.
Anyway! Breakfast was had at the Europa Cafe just round from the hotel as we were heading to Macy's next, which is just 3 streets up from the hotel on 34th street. At Macy's, we had to wait 1/2hr to get in as shops don't open anywhere in NY until 10am, which is a bit annoying. The day was going to be spent in the main shopping areas, namely 5th Avenue & Herald Square. We got some good bargains in Bloomingdales using the 10% visitor discount and spent a good couple of hours in cabs going back & forth to Steve Madden stores trying to track down various sizes of shoes.
Earlier in the week, we had picked up some tickets from a street vendor for the Comic Strip, the setting for Seinfeld. Even though we'd already been to a comedy show, we didn't have plans for the Saturday evening, so decided to cash them in and I'm so glad we did. We got seated right up at the front & the dramatic highlight of the evening was 2 hecklers getting thrown out. They were sat right next to us at the same table; she looked exactly like Tulisa from N-Dubz and he looked like Spencer from The Hills which was weird! I'm fairly certain they were on something and they were being total pains in the ass, so the atmosphere was much more relaxed after they left. My 2 favourites were Chuck Nice & Marina Franklin and the club is definitely worth checking out. We ended up at the 10pm show this time so were exhausted by bedtime about 1am!
After packing & checking out of the hotel (where we were able to store our luggage til later) we only had about 4 hours to spend before the flight home. We just dawdled about up 5th Avenue. We went to Nike Town as they have a brilliant selection of women's gear. I picked up a few bits n bobs, including my leather jacket from GAP. The day ended with a frantic rush to a Duane Read pharmacy for a few things to bring home, including about 5lbs of peanut butter M&Ms!
The trip has been incredible & such a good way to celebrate my birthday. If you're debating about going, I can't recommend it enough! And, if you've already got a trip planned - I'm very jealous!
Hope this was interesting! I'd also like to know if you're interested in a 'how-to' guide for short stays, so leave me a comment if you are!