My trip to NYC is one I’ll never stop talking about. Sorry ’bout it. I’m sure when I’m 90 and live in a post apocalyptic nuclear wasteland, I’ll still be regaling passers by with my five days under the bright lights and behemoth skyscrapers. Alas, it’s only been two months, so there’s still some time before it gets old.
Midtown is the heart of NYC (literally) and most of the key sights are here. New Yorkers are famously ‘busy’ and this is apparent in their ruthless pedestrian behaviours. They won’t tut or grumble at you if you’re in their way like we do in the UK. No, they will walk through you if they have to and it’s no big deal. For that, I respect them, because they’re not trying to be something they’re not and from what I can gather, their lives are similar to Londonites, working 12/14 hour days and surviving on the promise of money, and coffee. So, if you want to see the real busy Manhattan woman walking to work in her stilettos, Midtown is the place to be.
Here’s what I managed to fit into my first day in Midtown Manhattan:
On the recommendation of Stories My Suitcase Could Tell I walked to the end of my block, took a left and within five minutes I was outside Ess A Bagel. Now, it doesn’t look like much, but this is the best bagel I’ve ever had in my life. It was the first time I’d ever had a bagel for breakfast and also the first time I’ve eaten a BLT bagel. Go. Buy. Eat. Live.
I accidentally found the Chrysler, followed by a meander through the gorgeous Grand Central Station. Then a very long walk to Times Square. Later I discovered that it’s only a 15 minute walk in a straight line from my hotel… There, I was a little underwhelmed, but seeing TS in the daytime is nothing compared to seeing it at night. 10 minutes later I had accidentally joined a queue for the TKTS stand. After 40 minutes in the freezing air I had one ticket to Kinky Boots in my hand at a 50% discount. Fourth row, $90. Bargain.
Note: Do not buy tickets from anyone who approaches you with a clipboard etc. They are shady.
Kinky Boots wasn’t due to begin until 2pm, so I had three hours to kill. In that time I did more wandering and ended up at the top of the Empire State Building. I’d been told this was an underwhelming experience and to opt for the Top of the Rock. However, I thought the ES was pretty incredible and the view was breathtaking. Perhaps, as a first timer I felt the impact of it more and as I didn’t make it up the rock I can’t compare. Next time though, next time. At 2pm I was in my seat in the Al Hirschfield Theatre and one of the ultimate highlights of my trip began. If you go to NYC, you absolutely must see a show. Just don’t do what I did and accidentally hold the hand of the woman next to you. If you go to this theatre, take a left when you leave and a few doors down is Schmackary’s: Lip-Schmackin’ Good Cookies. It’s small, cosy you could say, and the smell is heady to say the least. I left with a sch’mores cookie aka the best cookie I’ve ever had in my life.
I made a new friend at Miami airport before I caught my flight to NYC. Knowing someone in the city made a huge difference to my otherwise hazy dinner plans and I ended up in Hell’s Kitchen. The eponymous restaurant was awesome. Mexican with a grill twist (I think?), the food was amazing with service to match, all at reasonable prices.
I managed to do a lot in one day and I walked over 27’000 steps (I could feel my heart beat in my feet). There’s so much to see and do in Midtown that it becomes evident that you need to dedicate an entire day to every part of New York that you want to properly explore and experience. For day one, Midtown is the perfect introduction to the New York you’ve seen in movies and in posters, but it’s by no means the best part.