Part two of my New York City blog, as I seem to have rambled on so much it felt better to break it up a bit! Enjoy :)
On Thursday morning we successfully daysat for Chicago, and again it was a nice short queuing time as we arrived there around 9am and the box office opened at 10am. After buying our tickets we decided to go to Ellen’s Stardust Diner for breakfast as we’d enjoyed our time there so much on the first night! Let me tell you, American’s know how to do a good breakfast. I’m not saying our Full English isn’t amazing but American pancakes are serious competition.
As I mentioned in my last blog, there were so many great performances that we watched while at Ellen’s that I want to put them in a video by themselves, and I will link that video here when it’s online :)
We walked off breakfast by heading to the Imperial Theatre to pick up our Les Miserables tickets in readiness for the next day, and randomly on our way back to the subway we saw the American Olympic synchronised swimming team performing in a tank in the middle of Times Square! It was in collaboration with Epson and I’m still not sure of the link there but hey, their routine was really cool and fun to watch!
The weather had reached a temperature high so we decided to not scorch in the Subway and instead take a bus, though this made no difference really because we thought walking the Chelsea High Line in 27° heat would be a fantastic idea…! The last time I was in NYC this was still under construction so it was great to finally walk along it and see the city in a new way, though we did end up sweating quite a bit. Nice.
When we’d had enough of sweating we ducked into Chelsea Market to have a nosey round, and were immediately distracted by an amazing looking bakery. Here we had the most incredible Devil’s Food cupcakes and proper lemonade (another thing the Americans do better than us). The photo doesn’t do it justice, these were delicious.
Another thing on our list to see was the new Freedom Tower and the Ground Zero memorials, something else that was under construction the last time I visited. Due to the Pope arriving in NYC the day after we couldn’t go into the museum that day so instead just admired the beauty of the reflection pools before heading uptown. Sabine and I reacted very similarly when at the pools, they’re quite harrowing to see in person.
We didn’t talk much while there but afterwards we both agreed that it was really weird to see people taking selfies etc with the pools, because they’re modern graves in a way aren’t they? The whole notion just felt a bit odd. Both heart breaking and warming to see the little tokens of love and remembrance in flowers and flags in some of the names, it’s a very special memorial.
Dinner that evening was a trip to TGI Friday’s, we kind of just wanted to see how different it was to the UK version ha! We struggled to finish our meals but then made our way to the Ambassador Theatre for Chicago.
Now if you’ve already watched my Broadway video you’ll know I was slightly underwhelmed by Chicago, which was quite sad to be honest! I generally enjoy most pieces of theatre that I see but this production just felt quite old and outdated – I know it’s a very long running show but it just wasn’t what I expected… I was pleasantly surprised by Rumer Willis in the role of Roxie Hart though, some good celebrity casting there.
As we already had tickets for Les Miserables thankfully no dayseating was required on Friday morning so we had a slightly lazier start, and as soon as we got into the city we picked up a pack lunch from Starlite Deli before heading down to Battery Park. We got on a boat to Staten Island around midday and found it so relaxing we spent probably a good couple of hours on the island!
I loved getting to see the city from a distance, this is another thing I missed out on doing on the last trip because I remember it was freezing cold and the queue to get the boats was something crazy like three hours, and we decided it just wasn’t worth it. Beautiful to see the Freedom Tower standing out on the skyline like that too, sad to imagine just how incredible the skyline must’ve looked with the Twin Towers there.
Again because we we were in the more off peak season there wasn’t as many people visiting so we enjoyed chilling out a bit. With our CityPass we received an audio guide on the island so it was really interesting learning about the history of the island too! I had travelled without a tripod so found some unusual ways of capturing some time lapses while here…
We wanted to visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum on the Friday after it had been closed the day before so took the boat back to Battery Park and walked towards Ground Zero. This was the most haunting museum visit I’ve ever had, again it felt like we were intruding on something really private and personal, and it is still very personal for a lot of people.
I think these were the only photos I actually took inside the museum. I really liked this quote on the wall, it felt like a kind sentiment for the families of those affected on 9/11, and then I wanted to keep note of the visitor count of the South Tower because in 1997 my parents took me to the Observation Deck and it’s one of the few memories I have from that trip.
After leaving the museum we realised we were cutting it fine to make it to the Imperial Theatre for Les Miserables, so we rushed uptown, literally threw a Five Guys meal down out throats and ran to the theatre with two minutes to spare! The usher must’ve thought we were mad as we ran up to the mezzanine sweating and out of breath!
I’ve seen Les Miserables in London quite a few times now so I’m really used to how the show looks in the West End; however on Broadway they’ve changed it up with the staging so I was really intrigued as to how this would affect my enjoyment of the show.
The main difference is that Broadway lacks the stage revolve, but surprisingly after the prologue I kind of forgot that the revolve was a thing, and it felt like watching Les Miserables for the first time all over again! It’s safe to say I very much enjoyed the show, and it was great to see another couple of Brits storming the Broadway boards, with Alfie Boe and Earl Carpenter leading the cast as Jean Val Jean and Javert!
On Saturday it was sadly our last day in New York. Wahhhh. We had brunch plans with my lovely friend Rebecca (who recently moved to Toronto, how swish!) so we had a bit of a lazy morning before heading to downtown Manhattan to meet her. We were surprisingly on time whereas public transport had let Rebecca down and she was delayed with no way of contacting us, she definitely had me worried for a good twenty minutes!
When she finally made it to us we had the most delightful brunch at Agave, catching up, talking about New York, Toronto, theatre and all that! We also ended up quiiite drunk, as we were at a bottomless boozy brunch (why not, 21 and legal in America hey.) and with frozen margaritas on tap in the sunshine, who would say no? I must add that Rebecca managed to spill her first drink after one sip, I don’t think this is the first time to happen though as the tables were covered in brown paper sheets – ha!
After reaching our two hour limit – yes, they limit the time you’re there, which is probably for the best, we headed uptown. Rebecca went to see Something Rotten and we carried on up towards Central Park. We got off at the Natural History Museum with all good intentions of educating ourselves. Realistically, we went in there and used their restrooms before accidentally falling asleep watching one of the 3D films they had on. Oops! I’m sure it’s a great museum, but perhaps not the best idea after boozy brunch.
We thought it would be best to go and relax somewhere, so headed into Central Park where we ended up collapsing on the grass there. We hadn’t realised beforehand but that day was the Global Citizen Festival, so even though we weren’t particularly close to the lawn where the concert was happening, we could hear the likes of Coldplay and Beyonce performing, which was really cool!
After relaxing for a couple of hours in the Park we made our way back to Union City to pack up all our things and get ready for the next morning where we would be heading to Canada.
It’s crazy how quickly a week can go by when you’re having so much fun. This trip did make me realise just how much I enjoy New York. I know, I know, it’s one of the most romanticised cities ever, and it’s such a cliché to say I love it, but I do! There’s just always so much going on, so much to see, all these different types of people to get to know and so much to explore, and I don’t think I’ll ever get round to doing everything there is to do in New York City. I’ll be damned if I don’t try though. :)
I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading these blogs about our time in New York City, if you’re booking a trip there soon please do read my post about the CityPass we used for the touristy side of the trip, and also I’ve posted a blog about seeing Wicked the Musical on Broadway which you might like to read.
Be sure to check out my post about our whirlwind trip to Canada, and there’ll be one about Washington DC on the way soon too. :)