I’m starting a photo-diary of some sorts to document our travel stories, so here’s the first!
There was a huge snowstorm and a totally unnecessary threat of a crew strike in the days leading up to our trip to New York City in December 2009. Thankfully, the court called off the strike, and the snowstorm ceased the day before we were due to fly.
Seven hours after a painful flight on BA (argh), we arrived on a crisp morning at JFK. As the taxi pulled out of the airport, I pressed my nose to the window and marvelled at the blankets of shimmery, powder snow left by the storm.
About half an hour later, we were approaching the city, and I could hardly contain my excitement!
Gray’s Papaya was a stone’s throw away from Madison Square Garden, so we hopped over for a quick peek. It was for the benefit of the sports fan in my husband, really, but even he admitted that he has lost touch with the basketball scene, and he couldn’t recognise any of the biggies on the posters! I was naturally clueless.
Until of course, we walked to Macy’s and the shops along 34th street spoke to me. I was running in and out of them, mostly spending my time at Sephora.
We spotted the peak of Empire State Building whilst strolling along 34th, and made a beeline for it because the sun was setting and we thought it would be perfect to get up there for a glimpse of the city that never sleeps. Apparently we were not the only ones who had such an ingenious idea.
Once we got past the queues for tickets, we had to join another queue to get on the elevators! It was abit of a bummer and we were frankly getting more frustrated, until we got up there and saw…..
The view was absolutely breathtaking. Sunset is magical, but you really haven’t seen it until you get up there on Empire State Building.
The problem was the weather. It was actually nice and cool on the streets, since we were wrapped up in layers to keep us warm. But once we got up to the peak, the winds were icy, and our faces hurt from the relentless battering. I couldn’t even quite click the shutter on my camera, because my joints were frozen in place. It was that bad.
But the trip was well worth the cold. The wind was howling in my ears, but peace and calm washed over me as I watched the city light up when night fell. I didn’t want to leave. It was where I wanted to be. There is something about being on top of the world. I feel dwarfed, in a good sense, even though I’m taller than anything else that stands before me, and things always, always land in perspective when I’m up, somewhere. It was nice.
Reality hit when it got too physically painful for us to be out in the cold, and we quickly joined the queue to get back to the streets.
As soon as we were at ground level, we were surrounded by Christmas lights, it was hard not to feel the joy and excitement of the festive season! We stepped into Macy’s for a quick look, and before I got carried away, M reminded me about our dinner reservation at Sushi Yasuda.
After our little excursion to Sushi Yasuda, we dropped by Grand Central Station on our way back to the hotel. The market was still opened and we were greeted with colourful displays of fresh fruits, cheese, cakes, nuts, wine, chocolates, everything! It was soon to be half past the hour, so we hurried to the station itself and caught the laser display. It was like time froze; everyone stopped in their busy tracks soon as the music came on, and leaned back to admire the dancing lights on the ceiling. Visiting the Grand Central Station was the perfect ending to our first day at NYC, there was something alluring to it, being at the crossroads of many paths taken by people from all walks of life in such a old-fashioned, charming setting.
We left the station soon after to rest our aching feet in the hotel and we spent that precious five minutes chatting excitedly about how wonderful the rest of the trip was going to be.
Just a bit of an outfit advice here. If you’re planning to visit NYC during winter, please please please don’t forget to pack your heat-techs and cashmere from Uniqlo and wrap yourself up in fitting clothes (much like cling wrap…) to keep warm. Don’t forget to get a comfortable pair of shoes that look decent enough for all your outfits. I got my non-slip boots from Clarks and it was the only reason why I was able to walk and comb my way through NYC.