My recent trip on the Queen Mary 2 ended in one of my favourite cities, and from the arrival at the quayside in Brooklyn terminal, sailing past Lady Liberty and passed by the free Staten island ferry, it was going to be a hectic 2 nights in the Big Apple.
The taxi fare into Times square was $54 and there were loads of them available,allow about 40 mins with traffic, there is a lot of building work in the city at the moment.We stayed at the Hilton just off 5th Avenue and it was an excellent location with its own bakery and coffee shop on site with 2 Starbucks alongside ! A quick breakfast as we were too early to check-in and we hit the streets ,first stop 42nd street to check out the theatres and Times Square.
Yes it is an iconic area but unless you like shopping for souvenirs or getting names printed on your M&Ms its not really my favourite place although you do have to see it.After a fast lunch we made our way back to the hotel to get changed and out again.Dinner in the Hard Rock cafe and the next day we began our exploration, and made extensive use use of our 2 day Big Bus tour tickets.If you havent been before this is the very best way of getting discounts or free entry on the attractions , make sure your ticket includes a night tour which takes you around Chelsea, the Bowery,views of the Highline and Brooklyn Bridge just as the lights are coming on in the city with a spectacular view !
New York City is home to 1700 parks, and we found a favourite one just minutes walk from Times Square and that was Bryant Park, a big open area with festival tents,lots of upmarket eating areas and a great atmosphere especially on the weekends when families are there with their children and dogs,a great relaxing area. We walked from there and used the bus and our trainers to visit the 911 memorial, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge,all over Midtown and Uptown,went up the Empire State building and much more.Although we used the Big Bus as well, we walked 22500 steps-im told thats a lot-tell it to my feet!
After a quick change at the hotel, we were out again and had to visit Juniors, home of the worlds best cheesecake-but is it ! Well personally i beg to differ, i have eaten at The Cheesecake Factory in a lot of American cities and the Middle East and had better but so far, the best ever was the whole cheesecake served to you on the Queen Mary, baked and gooey with an outer crust,excellent.
The next day we were going to visit Central Park but found out it was Puerto Rico s national day and spent a few hours watching the vibrant floats and processions on a lovely morning.I had been in Central Park before but we walked the whole park and from seeing the brides preparing for their weddings to eating a hot dog from one of the carts and the peacefulness of the memorial Strawberry Fields tribute to John Lennon, it was fabulous in the sun.In the afternoon we also had time to visit Madison Square Garden, another freebie on the 2 day pass and took the behind the scenes tour which i recommend highly.Off to the airport for the flight back from JFK, and i have had one of the best trips,with the best people at the best time.Whether you sail from or to New York,take the time to really explore, and dont forget to try the cheesecake and let me know what you think.