Taking New York

I got back from New York on Wednesday and boy was it a trip to remember, so much so that I thought I had to share my experience on this blog - think of it as my guide on how to experience New York in a few days without breaking the bank.

Having heard mixed things from people about New York, some saying it is an unfriendly city whilst others preferred it over Los Angeles (a city which I adore), I thought it was about time to experience the 'Big Apple' for myself and I'm really glad I did as I completely and utterly fell in love with the city. Words cannot describe why but if I had to find a description that could sum up NYC then the below comes close....

"They say that NY has an electric energy and when you go there, you feel alive and you can do anything!! People like to work hard and party hard as they all want to reach the top and fulfil their dreams. They all work together to make the dreams come true and nothing can stop them. Some people say that NY has so much energy that it can wear you out, but it makes you feel unstoppable."  


I had 3 full days in NYC (and two half days) and pretty much saw the whole of New York, which also included going Electric Zoo Festival (on arrival), Pacha and doing plenty of shopping. Scroll down to see just how I did it... 

The flights
With regular flights from the UK and only 6 hours away it certainly makes for the perfect long weekend, city break. I flew out on Friday midday, arriving in JFK for around 14:30 (EST time), and left the city on Tuesday around 18:30 (EST time) arriving back into LHR on Wednesday at 6am. I flew by American Airlines but I wouldn't recommend them- I didn't have the best experience compared to BA but I got an alright deal at the time of booking.


Where you stay in New York is important especially if you haven't been to the city before as it's a big place and you want to be near all amenities - the less time you spend travelling the more time you can see the city!

I pretty much left booking my hotel until the last minute and luckily came across The Hampton Inn United Nations on East 43rd Street. The Hampton Inn is a branch of Hilton so you know you are going to get good service and I certainly did - the staff were super welcoming, the room was a good size, the breakfast was great and there was a gym - what more do you want?

Inside Grand Central Station 

Situated near the United Nations, with the Chrysler building in sight, only a short walk from Grand Central Station and about a 20 minute walk from Times Square the location of The Hampton Inn was beyond perfect! I would highly recommend the hotel and when I visit NYC again I will certainly be staying there.

Getting Around

The subway was super easy and cheap to use. I found it particularly handy when I wanted to get from JFK to my hotel in Manhattan - probably the quickest way to do this journey as it only took around 40 minutes. I found everyone super friendly and helpful when I needed to figure out where to go.

My other my main mode of getting around New York was walking. Buses also proved handy, as did hailing a yellow cab (surprisingly not pricey at all). The latter made for a favourite way to get around the city as they allowed me to see more of they city rather than being underground on a subway.

'Touristy' stuff
People say NY is expensive but I disagree especially when you compare it to the prices you pay in London or Los Angeles to see tourist attractions. We saw the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock and the Statue of Liberty (so the main attractions), which start from $18.

Views from the Empire State Building. 

The Statue of Liberty cruise was a great way to see Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty - highly recommend it. 

Views from Top of the Rock - I recommend going just before sunset and staying after - makes for great views.

When you are walking the streets of NY people will stop you to sign up for their tourist deals and I'm normally weary of this but in NY it's kosher. I would recommend City Sight Seeing as you can see two attractions for $49 - not bad when you convert to £ (good old exchange rate).

Apollo theatre was a moment. 

Further to the above we decided to go on the City Sight Seeing hop on, hop off bus tours (once again I'm not a fan of these but NY converted me) and I totally recommend these to everyone who has not experienced the city. At $59 you can see the whole of NY in two days and it includes a night tour of the city, which made for the perfect way to end our time in NYC! Not only did we get to see Brooklyn, the Bronx, Harlem, Uptown and Downtown NY but we got to learn about the history of each of these places thanks to the tour guides on the bus.

Views from top of the bus

I'm normally quite apprehensive with bus tours as I think they pass through the city too quickly and you don't get a chance to see the sights but the ones in NY were quality as you could get off at a selection of stops and then get on another bus and of course there were plenty of opportunities to take photos.

Yankee Stadium - there was actually a game going on as we passed by, sadly didn't go. Next time!

Another good thing about these bus tours is they allowed me to see all 5 boroughs in two days and places I wouldn't have had a chance to visit if I hadn't used been on the bus such as China Town, Little Italy, the Yankee Stadium. Now that I have seen all these places the next time I visit New York I can explore my favourite boroughs in more detail i.e Brooklyn.  

Completely honest we didn't eat much in NY - made the most of our complimentary breakfast and because of the heat and trying to do everything my hunger for food seemed to vanish. From what I did eat and see NYC is perfect for those after a healthy diet. I'm gluten free and vegetarian and NY had plenty of places to meet my requirements, which was great! There are also plenty of smoothie trucks scattered around the city, which kept me going from breakfast until dinner.

A favourite place to eat for me was Pax Wholesome food - highly recommend you check this place out. They did the best quinoa salads! Yep I went to New York and ate a salad, crazy I know. I'm waiting for the day they open up one of these in the UK.  


Shopping in the US is the best, thinking about it most of my purchases this year have all been from my travels to the USA (I went to Los Angeles in December/ January and pretty much haven't needed to buy any clothes since). I prefer the fashion in the States as it's so much cooler than the UK and you get collabs that are not always released here, this applies more so to Adidas purchases.

I hadn't planned to buy much in New York, apart from trainers, however being in the city on Labour Day meant many shops had sales so I couldn't resist as I love a good bargain! Most of my purchases came via Forever 21, the one on fifth avenue was closing down so EVERYTHING was half price!

Times Square
Times Square shops are open until 1am so you can do a bit of shopping after a night out or after dinner. I highly recommend you go the H&M and Forever 21 in Times Square as the selection of the clothing is oh so cool - I bought a ton of stuff from Forever 21 in Times Square, after I visited the fifth avenue store. Could have bought half the store but it wouldn't have fitted in my suitcase!

If you love touristy merchandise then there are some market stalls I discovered on the side streets of Times Square on my last day in NYC when I was rushing to the station to go to Soho. To be honest though Times Square isn't really that expensive for touristy things with most small items coming under $5.

Adidas store outside Soho - fav place.

Soho is another place I recommend you visit for shopping. I rushed through Soho on my last few hours in New York as I really wanted a pair of Adidas trainers - the main Adidas store can be found here and it's massive! What I love about the Adidas stores in the States is you get pieces you can't always get in the UK, I got some cool trainers, my favourite things at the moment and a few t-shirts.

Whilst dashing through Soho I passed by the Dash store. As a fan of the Kardashians I couldn't go past Dash and not go inside - it was minimalist inside and the Dash dolls were super cool and friendly! I have to say though the store was quite hidden and can thus be quite easy to miss, not sure how I noticed it but glad I did!

And Finally...

Images - all my own

New York City is certainly a place you HAVE to experience for yourself, it really is like walking through a movie set. The people are SO friendly, there is so much history and it has a great buzz. That buzz may be why I was able to handle the long days, jam packed schedule and sweltering heat without feeling tired.

Seeing the Statue of Liberty really did make me think about all the people that have come to New York to make their dreams come true and succeeded. As they say if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere, I can see that being true.... *salutes*

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Meera Sharma

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