My first time visiting the states was when I went to San Diego in November 2016. I’ve been wanting to visit another city in the states for a while so when a deal for New York came up, I had to take it. I only stayed in the city for four nights so I didn’t get much time to explore everything.
My trip started at London Heathrow. I’m not a well travelled person but Heathrow has to be my favourite airport. The architecture is stunning all over the place. It’s also super clean. There’s tons of stuff to do when waiting for your flight or if you have a layover.
I landed at JFK but it was quite late on Thursday night and it was dark so I didn’t take any pictures. I was also pretty grumpy from the awful eight hour flight. I just wanted to get to the hotel ASAP and go to sleep.
I would recommend for everyone to take the train to Manhattan or Brooklyn. You’ll save a lot of money over getting a taxi. Though if you want to see the city on the way there, a taxi may be worth it.
I stayed at the Intercontinental Barclay hotel. It’s not really my style of hotel but I couldn’t be too picky. The best thing about it was that it was right in the heart of Manhattan so it makes it easy to explore the city.
The hotel room was pretty nice and luxurious though the view was awful which makes sense because it was a basic room. But one thing I’ve discovered with American hotels is the ludicrous mini bar charges. Most of the hotels I’ve been to in the UK have a free mini bar except when it comes to alcohol. A small box of Pringles in my room was a ridiculous $8!? You’d be stupid to use anything in the mini bar when there are so many convenience stores nearby.
Everything else with the hotel was brilliant. The staff are super nice and helpful and I liked how well kept and clean everything was.
The next morning, Friday, we went for a walk around the city just to get a feel of it. The first thing you notice is the smell. It’s not a nice smelling place whatsoever. It’s a mix of sewage, exhaust fumes and rubbish. I’d say the smells are worse than London. The noise also isn’t pleasant. Cars are horn crazy in New York and it’s downright annoying. I jumped out of my skin so many times from a random car horn.
When you look up though you get a real sense of the sheer size of everything. It’s difficult not looking up because there are skyscrapers everywhere – very different to what we have in London. New York really makes you feel small.
My first stop was Central Park but I didn’t get any good pictures really because it’s not a very photogenic place. It’s a nice place to go when you want to relax but wasn’t really for me.
After Central Park, my next stop was Times Square. It reminds me of Leicester Square in London a lot. There are people everywhere and there is so much going on. The amount of ads everywhere is absurd. Definitely a must visit spot.
There were so many cute dogs in New York. These two dogs drew a crowd and were loving the attention. They just sat there posing for pictures. When the woman tried to leave the dogs refused!
Many recommended Shake Shack and there’s one in Times Square. I got one of their burgers and some cheese fries. The cheese fries were amazing, the burger, not so much. My fault though because I’ve recently really gotten into gourmet burgers. Fast food burgers don’t do it for me anymore. I’d still recommend trying it though if you want to try some proper American fast food.
That evening I ended up spending time at the hotel. I did go down to the bar inside the hotel and get a non-alcoholic mojito. I have an addiction to them for some reason. I rarely drink any fizzy drinks but I will never say no to one of these.
It was now Saturday. Next to the hotel was this office building that had these beautiful marble benches. You can see me above, behind-the-scenes for the shot of my iPhone.
I went to the top of the Rockefeller Center, they call it Top of the Rock. This was by far my most favourite part of the trip. The views you get are truly astonishing. It’s an incredibly calm and serene spot which gets you away from the busyness in the streets below. From up here you get a sense of how dense New York is – you can barely see any of the streets from the top, with skyscrapers blocking most of what’s below. You get a full 360 view of New York from up here, you can see Central Park, the top of Times Square and downtown where there are a bunch more skyscrapers.
It’s around $30-$40 for a ticket. I went in the middle of the day so it wasn’t too busy and you can stay there for as long as you like.
Later in the day I went downtown to the very photogenic Oculus building which is next to the World Trade Center building.
The top of the Oculus building.
I’ve seen shots of this building all over the internet so I knew I had to go. When I got there I had no idea it was actually a Westfield shopping centre. The building itself is stunning in person. It has a really minimalist and clean look throughout and always feels so full of light due to the unique roof design.
I would highly recommend visiting the Oculus building if you’re into architecture.
On Sunday I went back downtown over the Brooklyn bridge. The weather took a turn and it ended up being cloudy for most of the day. Thankfully it weren’t cold though.
I didn’t spend a ton of time in Brooklyn but it definitely has a much different vibe to Manhattan. It’s much more relaxed but it’s also a bit more run down.
When walking towards the station from Brooklyn Bridge Park you also get this awesome view of Manhattan Bridge. This is probably my most favourite picture from the trip. I feel like it really captures architecture, style and vibe of New York.
I’m into cars and going to New York I was expecting to see tons of supercars but I was very disappointed. In London you see supercars all over the place but in New York you’ll be lucky to see one in a day.
My Panasonic GM1 which I used for all of this trip has an awesome dynamic monochrome mode that makes it super easy to take stunning black and white imagery. I love this little camera, it’s perfect for taking on holiday.
Later the same day I went to Grand Central station – mainly to see the Apple store. This is probably one of the most unique Apple stores I’ve seen. There are no doors or walls to the store, it’s a completely open space. It’s been blended into the station so well it’s pretty amazing.
Finally I had to try some American donuts. They looked so good but tasted like any donut you’d get anywhere else to be honest.
Monday was my final day in New York and I only visited one more spot before my flight that same day – the Flat Iron building. This is New York’s first ever skyscraper and was also a pretty busy place, especially with tons of people taking pictures.
New York was an amazing trip and I’m glad I got to see all the main sights I wanted to see. I will most likely go back at some point in the future because there’s so much to do there. I only spent three and a half days there so there was no way I got to do everything. If you’re from London or have visited London, New York is basically London with an American accent.