Sunday, October 06, 2013

A Few Bites of the Big Apple

'New York, New York, So good they named it twice' goes the words of the famous song. For us perhaps this needs to be 'So good you need to visit it twice'! We had a full week in the Big Apple, but this really was only enough time to just start to scratch the surface, there was so much more we wanted to do.

We did however manage to cram in some of the main sights - both botanically and the more famous tourist ones like the Empire State, Statue of Liberty, Broadway, Central Park, MOMA, etc. We even managed to meet up with a fellow blogger, although we sadly, didn't get chance to visit his garden - next time!

Whilst away we managed to blog a few times, taking advantage of free public wifi that seems to be so prevalent in New York, everywhere from Starbucks to Museums and public spaces seemed to have free wifi available, something that the UK should work harder to catch up on.

We were able to share short "postcard" style blogs from, Bryant Park, The Rockefeller Centre, The High Line and the NY Botanic Gardens.

The View from Bryant Park

Bryant Park

The Botanic Gardens will feature in one or two posts in the future as it has simply so much botanical eye candy on offer. This is out of the centre of New York City and required a 40 minute train ride from Grand Central into the Bronx area. The parkland of the Botanic Gardens reminded us of the UK, but with a very American style of the buildings.
Inside the lush glass house at New York Botanic Garden
Timing wise, Mid September worked well for us, the weather was still warm, reaching 33°C (90°f) in the middle of the week - and believe me, hiking across Central Park from the Natural History Museum to the Metropolitan Museum is not fun in that heat! Although the view was lovely, going via Belvedere Castle.
Belevedere Castle 
Belevedere Castle was built in 1869 as a Victorian folly on the summit of Vista Rock, the park's second-highest natural elevation. Belvedere means 'beautiful view' in Italian and the castle provides great vistas across Central Park and City beyond. It was designed as an additional feature of the Central Park "Greensward" plan by the architects Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould after they were appointed to oversee the park's construction in 1865.

As well as the "Plant" related trips we spent a day in Lower Manhattan, visiting the Statue of Liberty (sadly Ellis Island was still closed following Hurricane Sandy), Battery Park, and the 911 Memorial, which we visited just 2 days prior to the anniversary.

Battery park
Lower Manhatten from the boat taking us to the Statue of Liberty
Ellis Island
This needs no caption....

The dramatic and poignant water feature at the 911 Memorial garden

We strolled down to Wall Street, which felt much more like London than other parts of New York, with the street layouts much more disorganised than Central Manhattan. I was also surprised how underwhelming the NY Stock exchanged looked from the outside. We completed the day with a view across to Brooklyn Bridge before heading up to China town to eat.

As we were staying on 42nd Street we were right in the heart of things, not far from Grand Central, Times Square, and the many Skyscrapers that make up the street scene. We just had to go up the most famous and had trips up to the top of both the Rockefeller and Empire State buildings, and of course we were in the middle of the shopping area.

So many places to go...
Inside Grand Central
Taxi in Times Square


Despite being surrounded by so many famous shops and department stores we were actually very restrained in what we brought back, probably as we were thinking of the renovations going on at home, rather than seeking out new things for ourselves.

London to New York is a fairly easy trip, we are not too far from Heathrow Airport and there are lots of airlines that cover the route. My dad was kind enough to drop us off for our flight so we didn't even have to get their under our own steam. We flew at 9.30 so it was a nice civilised time, perhaps if we had an earlier flight it would have made sense to stay in one of the airport hotels the night before.

With so much to pack in we did miss out on one or two things we had hoped to see, such as Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Cats Diner (which we had seen on various TV shows), Ellis Island, I would also like to see more of Central Park as we only explored the lower, more southerly section.

Hopefully we shall get to return before too long.



  1. I believe I may have said this on one of your other NYC posts but darn! I really need to get back there, it's been too long.

    1. NYC awaits you Loree :) Funny how that even though you're in the same country it takes as much time for you to travel there as it is for us, so worth it though.

  2. I really enjoyed the virtual tour of a city that I'll probably never make it to, so many iconic buildings and views, it is nice seeing the personalised versions from people I "know". Sounds like a really good trip, and with it being so relatively easy and there being so many good deals around for flights I am sure you will be back to fill in the gaps, revisit favourite places, and perhaps shops for yourselves and not the house. Hope it gave you the energy you need for the final phase of the house renovations - plus packing your garden away for the winter... At least you got the greenhouse moved ths year! How are your fish getting on in the no-longer-quite-new koi pond?

    1. It was a wonderful trip Janet, and never realised how much we needed a break until we took it and now feeling more energised to carry on. Most of the building work is finished now and we're on to the decorating phase. All koi are doing well and settled in their home :)

  3. I haven't had any desire to visit NYC but after this post, I might change my mind :-).

    1. Well worth it Gerhard, take the entire family along as there's something for everyone :)

  4. My mother, who grew up there, always argued that NYC was the greatest city in the US (if not the world). As I've never visited (unless you count transferring planes at the airport), I can't argue the point one way or another but, after seeing your pictures, I think a visit is in order.

    1. There's just so much to do there Kris and found one week is not enough. Do visit if you get the chance, you'll love it :)

  5. You are quite the ambassadors for NYC. Looks like you have already convinced a few of your followers to plan trips. That water feature in the Memorial Garden is truly spectacular. It will now be at the top of my list of "must-sees", right behind the Hiline. I also love the shots of vegetation at ground level with skyscrapers towering above.

    1. It sounds like it Ricki, although we did have a fabulous time and it exceeded our expectations on nearly all aspects. The Memorial Garden is definitely worth seeing, the atmosphere there is solemn and haunting even with loads of tourists around, as the water cascades into what looks more like an abyss.

  6. Oh you should stay for at least a month, so there wont be no regret! Despite the short stay your trip is so envious for me who wont be able to go there at all. I just rely on other's trips there, so thank you!

    1. Ahh Andrea, if only getting long time off work is that easy we will :)

  7. Nice trip, you really packed it in! I love the NY Botanical Garden and Grand Central. Jeannine

  8. Glad you got to New York - we are there at the moment. NY Botanic Garden yesterday - pity you missed the Kiku exhibition - exceptional - see the pics in my next blog. High Line this morning - wonderful!


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