New York, New York

After almost two hundred days of travelling, we arrived into our penultimate destination (the last before home!), New York city on the 16th of December. Riona spent a summer working in Manhattan back in 2000 and I’ve visited a few times on short trips, so we were both familiar with the city and very, very excited to be back! It didn’t disappoint. The city had donned her festive attire for Christmas and she was looking lovely! I could have happily spent a few hours looking at some of the window displays, and nearly had to be pulled away from the windows of Bergdorf Goodman, the super-fancy department store at the top of 5th Avenue.

Window Display at Bergdorf Goodman Department Store

Window Display Window Display Window Display

Coming from a humid Ecuador to New York’s snow and chilling wind was a shock to the system, but to experience the sparkle and crispness of the city in the winter was worth every numb toe and runny nose.

Brooklyn 118th Street, Harlem

Rockefeller Lights

Subway Sign Subway

On one of the days, the weather went from being grey and bitterly cold to bright and sunny so we took the opportunity to spend a lovely few hours strolling from the north end of Central Park down to 57th Street. I’d never taken the time to explore the park before and it was a perfect day for a walk; cold but crisp and bright. Central Park is a great amenity and were it not for the ever present Manhattan skyline in the background, you could be in the middle of the countryside. I thought we’d have seen the last of any real wildlife when we left the Galapagos, but the area was full of life and we even spotted a large red-tailed hawk watching the world go by from a tree.

Squirrel, Central Park Somebody Contemplating

Central Park Duck, Central Park Central Park Hawk

We were quick to settle back into the land of plenty although I struggled to clear my plate when we ate out. We mainly stuck to budget restaurants but also managed to fit in a couple of nice meals. The Spotted Pig gastropub in the West Village was definitely a highlight. This is the only pub I’ve ever ate in that has a michelin star and their burger and chips was probably the tastiest I’ve ever had. I didn’t realise that a pub burger could be so good! It wasn’t too expensive either (about $18 for a main) although their pints were pretty pricey at $9 (plus) a pop. We had planned on visiting after Riona had read about the place in a few magazines, but it was while we were strolling around one afternoon that we came across it and decided to have some tucker. One of my favourite things to do in New York is to stroll around the city with no particular plan and let her quirks, sights and attractions find you. There’s something here for everyone, you could walk the streets for years and never get bored. Some of my highlights included exploring Chelsea’s Indoor Market, trying the gluttonously thick chilli-hot-chocolate at Jacques Torres chocolate shop in Brooklyn, having a post-dinner cupcake in the Magnolia bakery in the West Village and warming up the old bones with Hale and Hearty‘s cheddar and tomato soup. My desire to eat good western-style food again was pretty evident!

The Spotted Pig Boot Repair Street Art, Meatpacking District

New Museum (of Contemporary Art) Sheltering from the Bitter Cold at Jacques Torres, Brooklyn!

Cupcakes, Chelsea Market Snowman in Harlem

Mainly because of the cold weather (it was sometimes too cold to just wander the streets) we spent more time shopping than we had planned, just to be indoors! NYC really is consumer heaven, we picked up some great bargains in Macys (there were big sales on) and in the shops along Broadway from Canal St to Union Square. We also visited the Jersey Gardens Outlet, Filene’s Basement and Century 21- all of which contain lots of junk but we did get some good bargains in reward for our perseverance. Riona thought she had hit the jackpot when we stumbled across a sample sale in Chelsea Market and I had to leave her to it for a few hours as she wreaked havoc on her credit card

I had never been to a Broadway show and so on our last day we queued up at Times Square for discount tickets to one of the big shows. We ended up at Spring Awakening, which was great -it’s a musical tale about the sexual awakening of a group of teenagers in 1890’s Germany, but with modern music and a few raunchy sex scenes. Not one for the kids, but it had the audience veering between laughter and tears and we both really enjoyed it.

We stayed in the L Hostel in Harlem for $25 each a night and it was perfect, just a few months old, modern, clean and close to the subway. We hardly spent any time there as we were up and out each morning and not home until we were ready to sleep each night. On one of the nights we met our old friend Pam from home and another night we met Nina, a girl we had met briefly when we were in Peru.

After six fantastic days in NYC, it was time to pack our (much heavier) bags and start our final journey back home. After so long being on the road where our biggest worry was where we would go next, the thought of settling back in to a very different country from the one we left was a little depressing, but it would be nice to see our family and friends again and at least we had Christmas to look forward to.

Snow in the Village

This final entry is being written a few weeks later and already the whole trip seems like a dream! After a few days of being home, it was like we had never left. We plan to keep this blog updated from time to time with photos from around Ireland and from any other holiday we take (probably not anytime soon!). You can subscribe for future updates here. Other than that, thanks for reading! Good night, God bless and safe home ;-) 

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5 Responses to “New York, New York”

  1. Simon Says:

    Love the blog.

  2. Clarey Says:

    Aw lads, after reading these it feels like an adventure is coming to an end for me too. Beautifully written and illustrated with amazing photos! Deffo keep it going – even if it is for local little trips!

  3. Eddie Says:

    Depressing isn’t it! I reckon our next holiday will be up to Bundoran to play the slots the way things are looking. I’ll post it though, watch this space :-)

  4. Darren Says:

    Hi Eddie, I see you’ve made the shortlist for the Irish Blog Awards, well deserved! Love to see you at Sligo Camera Club when you get around to it. Some of the shots on this blog have been simply amazing.


  5. Eddie Says:

    Hi Darren,
    Thanks for the comment! I actually moved to Strandhill today and intended coming along tonight but time got away from me. I’ll definitely be along on the 17th to meet you guys, looking forward to it.

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