New York, New York

After our visit to the High Line the rest of our weekend away in New York was equally as touristy, well what else would you do when it's your husband's first visit and your first opportunity to travel overseas in just over two years. Given that we went in December (yes I know just how long it has taken me to actually write this) and we packed so much in I'm not sure I could ever do it all justice now so I'm taking the easy option and making this post mainly photo laden and minimal on text. I promise I will try and do better in the future, but for now, over to you New York! 

New York is a city that is great for walking around, we did a lot and as with any city there is plenty of street art to enjoy as you explore. This lady (along with a few others) really caught my eye and I'm sure if we'd been there for longer I would have spotted even more.

Grand Central Terminal

Times Square

Central Park

When I visited New York the first time it was the February before 9/11. I remember so clearly the day that my friend and I visited the World Trade Center on that trip. From our hotel we decide to take one of the iconic yellow cabs there and we were driven by a feisty New York lady who had loads of recommendations for us. When we arrived we took the lift up and enjoyed the views from the observation deck level along with the other tourists there that day. This was in the days before cameras on phones were really a thing and before I had even upgraded to a digital camera so I had to wait until I got home to get my photos developed in order to see how they looked. Luckily though I got some good ones and those are memories that I now hold especially dear. So when we returned I knew we had to go to Ground Zero. 

It's a truly humbling experience seeing the names of everyone who died that day and also in the bombing of 1993. I was especially struck by the name of one lady who was remembered alongside her unborn child, so tragic. The white roses that are left for those whose birthday it is each day are another poignant reminder of the lives cut short and you can't help but be moved. As I looked at the names of everyone who died I thought about what they might have been doing that February day when I'd been here last, maybe I had past some of them as we entered or left the towers or maybe they or I had held a door and there had been a brief acknowledgement of each other. Our visit here certainly made me reflect again on the tragic events of that September day and the memorial that is now here is a beautifully peaceful tribute.

'Charging Bull' Sculpture

Brooklyn bridge

On our first night (read we'd landed, dumped our bags in our hotel and found a bar nearby for a nightcap) we got chatting with some people on another table who were regular visitors to the city. Naturally we got talking about our trip and what we planned to do and it was they who recommended a visit to the 'Top of the Rock' observation deck in the Rockefeller Center as opposed to going to the Empire State Building (which I did the last time I was there). Obviously not being in the Empire State Building means you get the bonus of the views of it with Manhattan stretching out beyond. They also recommended, and trust me this is so worth it, that we got the express passes meaning you get priority entry and elevator access. Trust me, when you're battling the crowds to get up there for sunset you're going to really appreciate spending that bit extra on tickets to be able to skip the queues.

Getting those passes ensured we got up to the top in plenty of time for sunset and were able to really enjoy the views over the city. When you're ready to leave you also get priority access to the elevators to go back down again. The queues were nowhere near as bad going down obviously but it was still nice not to have to queue at the end of the evening.

The famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Another great tip to get views of the Statue of Liberty without actually going to Liberty Island is to simply take the Staten Island ferry out to Staten Island and back again. Amazingly this ferry is completely free (even to tourists) and you can simply turn up, catch the next available one, travel the short distance to the island, then hop off and walk through the terminal building to board the next ferry going back. On the day we did this I think pretty much everyone onboard was doing exactly the same as us, you could spot the handful of locals as they were the only ones not standing on the deck with their camera or phone ready to get a photo. The ferry staff even came round to tell anyone on the wrong side of the ferry to go to the other side for the views. It amazes me that there isn't even a nominal charge for tourists, but this is definitely a great way to get views and photos.

My return visit to New York was certainly very touristy but this more than made up for my first visit where although we did loads too I unfortunately got sick for part of the holiday so I wasn't really able to enjoy myself as much as I had hoped. This was one of the reasons why I'd always hoped I'd have the opportunity to go back at some point. Plus that was a considerable time ago so even without getting ill my memories of certain places etc. were now very vague. We fitted a lot in over our few days but there is definitely a lot more we could have done. Would I go back again? Of course I would!