Miles walked this trip: 245.9
We were originally booked onto a Greyhound bus for our journey from Vancouver to NYC. It was set to take a full 5 days, which we didn’t think anything of when we booked it. Despite the daunting length of the drive, it meant it’d be 5 days worth of accommodation we wouldn’t have to pay for, as we’d be sleeping on board.
However, after our nightmare Greyhound trip from Montreal to Banff (which took 3 days), we realised it’d be suicide to do it again, especially as this trip was 2 days longer! I sent a huge complaint to Greyhound about our last journey (mentioning the state of the bus, the fact there were no plugs/wifi/legroom, the fact that Jake had bruises on his back from the seats, and about how we were told they’d lost our luggage and did absolutely nothing to help us), and surprisingly, they happily cancelled and refunded our Vancouver>NYC trip, which paid for a flight instead (only 8 hours)!
We checked out of our Airbnb at 11am, and got to the airport by 12. Unfortunately, we had another 11 hours until our plane took off! Having a day in Vancouver was out of the question because we’d have had to carry all our heavy luggage around all day with us- not happening! We made ourselves comfy at the airport, got food, read our books, I entered well over 100 online competitions, and killed time by searching out all of the totem poles they had on display.
Typically, our flight ended up being pretty delayed (just our luck). The plane we were meant to get on had technical difficulties, and so did the replacement! The one we ended up boarding at about 12am was tiny- so small that they couldn’t fit all of the passengers on; they paid $800 compensation to those people.. crazy. I was so ready to sleep by the time we took off, but there was pretty mad turbulence literally as soon as the plane left the ground, which made me feel sick. They had Descendents on the inflight entertainment system though, which made me feel better!!
By the time we landed in Montreal for our connection, we had to run to make it on to the tiny plane heading to Laguardia in New York. US customs was a bit of a faff, despite them knowing we were close to missing our flight. It was a super close call and I was in such a bad mood by the end of it, despite making it just in time!
After sleeping practically the whole way, we got into New York at 10am the next morning, signalling the start of my seventh time to the city (and without a doubt my favourite)! I’d never flown to Laguardia before, and it was awesome to soar past Manhattan and see the Empire State and the Chrysler Buildings, etc. You don’t get those kinds of views descending into JFK which is further out.
We crashed at a friend’s place for a few days before moving into our final Airbnb on the Lower East Side, where we stayed for exactly a month. We were booked into a hotel for our final 4 days at the end of December.
Autumn was in full swing upon our arrival, and the colours didn’t disappoint. Central Park looks pretty at all times of the year, but it was especially breathtaking during the fall, with golden colours everywhere you turned and a crispness in the air. We had a couple of weeks left of the season before Winter started to take over.
Visiting at Christmas time has been on my bucket list forever. We were praying it’d snow at some point during our stay, and our wish came true after four weeks… it was very sludgy and wet though!
Unfortunately it didn’t snow on Christmas day, but there were still puddles of snow and ice dotted around, and as we were staying right in the heart of Manhattan on 31st Street, we didn’t need snow to feel festive as we were surrounded by decorated trees, lights everywhere, over the top window displays, carol singing, holiday markets and of course Rockefeller Plaza (etc.) and it’s famous tree. New York is electric, overwhelming, exciting and loud during the festive season, and did put us in the Christmas spirit, although it was a bit strange as we were away from home and our families- a first for both of us.
I am so glad we have ticked it off the list, but I wouldn’t need to do it again. It’s incredibly hectic and at times it’s hard to move through the streets (of course, if you’re on 5th Ave on Christmas Eve it’s inevitably going to be difficult, but it’s still a little much when a 10 minute walk takes an hour and streets are closed off for crowd control)! If you are visiting NYC for the first time, you might not want to go at this time of year (especially 20th-26th December, ish) as it’s so busy that it might put you off the city and not give the best first impressions. I overheard a family at the airport saying they’d never go back because it was too busy and nothing like they imagined, which is a shame, but understandable I suppose. I thought it was great, but can see how people might not agree.
We’ve been to 4 of the 5 boroughs, went to museums and galleries, a gig, a Broadway show, lost count of how many miles we walked, ate double our weight in pizza (probably more, actually), did pretty much all of Central Park, had the odd day where we did nothing because our feet were so sore, saw all the Christmas window displays, walked over Manhattan, Brooklyn, Williamsburg & Queensboro Bridge, got put off Times Square for life, had a picnic in Central Park, saw the amazing light displays at Dyker Heights, watched lots of Christmas movies, went to various tree lighting events, got up at 5am for the Thanksgiving Parade, and so much more.. too much to write about here, so I’ll just include pictures, and some highlights.
We were away from the U.K for almost 7 months, and we had an amazing time. We really feel like we made the most of the time we spent abroad, and have so many great memories and funny stories, and now I feel like I’ve got the travel bug out of my system for a while. Our only slight regret is that we started on the East Coast instead of in Banff- we reckon we might have stayed there for the length of our visas if that’d been the first place we visited; we fell in love with it! We will definitely be visiting again in future, even if only for a week or two. We are so ready to get back to work (and get back to having money!!!!), and feel so lucky to have been able to take this amount of time off and visit so many places…. even if we have returned home with about £100 between us! It was worth it.
Highlights of this trip:
- Martin Scorsese Exhibition at the Museum of Moving Image (absolutely the best exhibition I’ve ever been to)
- Bouncing Souls at Irving Plaza
- A Bronx Tale on Broadway, on Christmas Day
- Central Park in Autumn, and seeing all the colours change and the trees lose their leaves in Winter
- The Mariah Carey Empire State Building light show – watch the video, it’s lush
- Our pizza crawl (scouting out the best dollar pizza places for a whole month)
- Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
- Amazing $1.25 vanilla custard donuts from GI Delicatessen
- Being in the audience for the taping of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert
- Lychee Rose ice cream from Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
- Our hotel room and the comfiest bed i’ve ever slept in
- Dyker Heights, Brooklyn (the neighbourhood where all the houses are lit up)
- Seeing the tree at Rockefeller Plaza