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Monday, 11 May 2015

My New York Story (Part 1)

New York has been called by many a name. The big apple, the urban jungle, the empire city, the city that never sleeps. Each evokes a different idea which gives some preconceived notions. I for one had all these assumptions about this city, after all , it is the location of all my favourite movies. I have all these thoughts swimming in my head about New York, Manhattan to be specific.

The start of Spring had me finally set foot on the land of milk and honey, America. But I did not just want to go to America, I wanted to go to New York. I knew what I did not want to do and that is sit on a tour bus and just take in what the guide tells me, clicking my camera at every stop and turn. I wanted to do as the locals do, walk and explore New York on foot.

After a good flight with British Airways, we arrived at midnight and true enough, this city really does never sleep. The streets were still buzzing and the city all lit up. Excitement got the better of me and I did not sleep a wink.

The first half of our first full day was spent walking along Times Square with a ride on the indoor Ferris Wheel in Toys R Us. Times Square has that electric vibe, chaotic and crowded. Considered as the crossroads of the world, even when you are on your own, you will never feel alone there. A photo opportunity at the famous red steps was not to be missed.

Lunch found us queueing at the famous The Halal Guys (dubbed as the most popular food cart in the world) on 53rd and 6th which we happily devoured with a side of Central Park view. It was delicious.

The rest of the day was spent walking along 5th avenue, taking in the skyscrapers and visiting FAO Schwartz and having some latte at Starbucks inside the Trump Tower. The heavens opened so it was a good excuse to sit and people watch in the gold interiors of the building.

The next day, we skipped the complimentary hotel breakfast and went for brunch at Sarabeth's across Central Park. This was a good idea indeed as Sarabeth's hit the spot for a breakfast lover like me. The waffles, the coffee and ambiance. I could eat breakfast there everyday.

And what better way to burn off the calories than to have a lovely walk around Central Park across the restaurant. 

Central Park was magical even that time of the year when the trees have not come back to life and flowers were still not abloom. It was a lovely day. Despite the chill in the air, the sun was out.

A visit and a walk through at The Plaza which was just across Central Park was in order. Having been made famous by the movie Home Alone, The Plaza is world renowned as it is, having set the standard for luxury for more than a century and had the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt and Mark Twain as guests in the past to modern day Tommy Hilfiger having his own penthouse at the hotel.

The Plaza food hall, a European inspired food hall, is a place to visit when in New York. Since we were still full from lunch, we could not try the wonderful European dishes that were presented before our eyes. I did not leave the place without trying French chef Danile Boulud's cafe and having a few of his macarons. 


Our visit to New York would not be complete without seeing the New York Knicks play. So that evening was spent in Madison Square Garden. This was one of the highlights of our trip.

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