I don’t know if you’ve seen from all over my social media but I’ve recently returned from a trip to New York! I went with my university so there was a couple of journalism related activities but it was mostly three and a half days of manically rushing around trying to fit in as many as stereotypically touristy stops as we could.
I just wanted to give a little summary of what we did.
On Monday we got to the West Side YMCA hostel that we were staying in by about 4pm after 14 hours of travelling, we had a couple of hours to sort ourselves out and freshen up before we headed to Times Square! On the way there we’d passed Hard Rock Cafe and on a whim we decided to go for dinner there. We got our photo taken and suddenly we were looking at a menu and eating the biggest meals we’ve ever had and taking far too long trying to figure out the bill.
We walked to Target after Dinner and bought a few snacks then tried to figure out the subway. We went in the wrong direction at first but we got back eventually.
The next day was the biggest day we had – we went to The Smiths round the corner from the hostel for breakfast and then we ticked off a lot of things we wanted to do:
- The 9/11 Ground Zero Memorial
- Got a large drink from Wendys (it was a bucket)
- Staten Island Ferry and Statue of Liberty
- Rockefeller Centre ‘Top of the Rock’
- Nintendo Store
- Hershey Store
- Disney Store
- A variety of New York tack gift stores
- Shake Shack for dinner
- More tack shops on the way back to the hostel
The 9/11 museum is not a happy place and it’s not really enjoyable, at all, just because of the subject but the memorial itself is stunning and I think it’s something anyone that goes to New York should do – it’s so powerful and you really don’t get a sense of the scale until you go, so I thoroughly recommend it.
Shake Shack has also changed my life – the burger was so good I nearly cried it was just incredible. I’ve been to the London one in Covent Garden before but I’ve got to go back and soon because oh my god I need more Shake Shack burgers in my life.
It was a super busy day but I loved it, New York is such a beautiful city and I’m so astounded by it, all those tall building and skylines – it really is the concrete jungle that never sleeps. When we were looking for the Rockefeller Centre we were a bit lost and an absolutely gorgeous old lady wearing florescent pink hat asked us if we needed any help and she could tell we were disorientated because we were standing still – “people don’t stop in New York”. She was incredible.
Wednesday was a much calmer, more university orientated day – we went to Starbucks for breakfast (oh my god there are a million Starbucks in NY) and then went to a digital marketing company called Search Labs which were based in this really cool communal office environment called wework. It was really interesting to talk to them and learn more about PR and marketing and especially to see it as an international company based in a country that isn’t the one I’ve grown up in.
After that we headed to the United Nations, where we were meeting with a journalist for a chat and doing a tour. We travelled via Grand Central Station (which was stunning but surprisingly dark) and then went through the really intense security at the UN. We went on a tour of the UN and it was super interesting – I didn’t know much before we went and it was just so inspiring to see this massive corporation trying to bring peace, development and basic human kindness to the world in a somewhat realistic way. The tour guide was incredibly knowledgable and it was a good afternoon. That evening, everyone else went to a basketball game in Brooklyn but sport isn’t my thing, so I went back to the hostel, sorted everything out and did most of my packing.
Thursday was our last day – I got up super early to have a shower and finish packing, then a group of 17 of us headed to IHOP which was genuinely wonderful. I had the dark chocolate and something pancakes (I probably should have made note) and again, I think I could have cried with how much I loved those pancakes. They were incredible.
From there, Thursday was the day of ticking off the last things we wanted to do before we flew home – so we took a lot of photos from Brooklyn Bridge, headed back to the Empire State Building just to see it in person, walked round to Macy’s where Liane and I sat in the sunshine just chatting for an hour and it was genuinely lush, wondered round Sephora, had one last look in Target (where they had a really good deal on Instax cameras so I may have picked one up…) and then went to Umpire Rock in Central Park.
And we were back at uni by midday on Friday. It was a whirlwind trip and felt more like a recce for a longer trip to be done in the future but it was incredible. I’ve already been looking into other trips and cities I can visit because the travelling bug has been caught – I want to go everywhere.
My advice for anyone who’s going on a shorter trip to New York is to know what you want to do before you go and then have some additional ideas if you find yourself with extra time – my friends and I had an itinerary provided by the university to work with and then we put our own ideas in amongst what was already scheduled. It was really helpful to have a vague sort of plan before we even left the UK.
For packing tips, I just uploaded a video to my YouTube channel about how I packed for this trip so if you’re interested you can watch that here!
Hopefully this year, I’ll be able to do a couple of other city breaks – I should be going to Paris with my boyfriend in the early summer, I’d love to go up to Edinburgh and explore properly, there’s lots of places on my list (I can write a whole blog post about it if people want that?) but I’m just taking it a trip at a time.
For more pictures, I did a NY photography post while I was there so you can read that here! If you want to know any more about specific stuff I did on the trip (or any recommendations for when I go back!) then let me know, all my socials are linked below!
Thank you for reading (even though this post is super long),