In October I got the chance to fly to New York with work, travelling with one of my friends who is a journalist. I hadn’t been to New York in about a year, so I was really excited to head back to one of my favourite places in the world – even if it was just for 24 hours!
Stepping off the plane, I remembered that I was just travelling with hand baggage, which really makes all the difference. As soon as we were through passport control and customs we were free to head in to the big apple. I had forgotten about the weird taxi system at JFK, so after being shouted out by the taxi dispatch guy for not seeing him first (a perfect welcome back to the New York way of doing things), we were in a cab on the way to Manhattan within half an hour of landing. Amazing.
I was staying at The Standard, High Line – the first time I’d stayed in the Meatpacking District. When we arrived, we were greeted by an amazingly friendly reception team who treated us like VIP’s. We were checked in quickly, and were up to our rooms, but not before asking the question “Why is your logo upside down?” The answer? “Because at The Standard, we’re anything but…”.
I had been allocated a fantastic room, with a large bathroom including shower and over-sized bath tub. The bed area was compact but neat and perfectly appointed with a seating area, plug sockets (next to the bed!) and large TV. I had a note on the side welcoming me, alongside some complimentary snacks and two big bottles of water.
The view was absolutely breath-taking. The floor to ceiling windows gave me a sweeping view across downtown Manhattan, over the Hudson to New Jersey and down to the Freedom Tower. I love New York.
After a quick shower and freshen up, it was time to head out for a drink and bite to eat – we headed down to what can only be described as a fabulous German beer garden called ‘The Standard Biergarten’ (original!), directly under the old railroad tracks that now form The High Line. It offers beer, sausages, pretzels and ping pong and was the perfect start to our evening. We had been introduced to The Standard’s night manager who had kindly given us some free drinks tokens to use – and we ordered what we thought was a normal pint of German beer only for it to come in a glass boot. They went down a treat though!
By this point we were rather hungry and didn’t feel a sausage or a pretzel would do the trick, and so we headed across Washington St to a place that had been recommended – The Sugar Factory. A place where the weirdest and most wonderful confectionary concoctions are made – including a milkshake with a cheeseburger slider on the side. We just went for a sharing platter and one of the large fishbowl style drinks, which we barely touched in the end due to sheer volume of liquid!
After there, we were lucky to have been added to the guest list at Le Bain – a club at the top of The Standard, with a built in pool mid-dance floor. We were mainly there for the views though, and after doing the typical tourist thing of snapping dodgy nighttime photos of the New York skyline through the windows, we realised we were far too un-cool to stay, and decided to call it a night.
I purposely left the blackout curtains un-drawn so I wouldn’t miss the sunrise over downtown Manhattan, and I wasn’t disappointed. This was one of the best views from a hotel I’d ever had in New York, and I took lots of photos and even attempted a time lapse of the hustle and bustle of the city as it sprang to life once again.
After showering and packing my bag, we checked out of the hotel as we planned to make our way around Manhattan before heading to the airport and didn’t want to have to come back to the hotel to collect our bags. But first, we stopped for breakfast at a cute little cafe on the corner – and opted for an outside table so we could watch New York life pass us by over coffee and eggs. It was unseasonably mild and it felt like a Manhattan spring morning – the perfect weather to wander around.
Our first item on the agenda was Chelsea Market – one of my favourite spots in this area and reminiscent of Borough Market back home. I love walking through and people watching, but also spotting all of the entrances to tech companies like YouTube and google that are housed in this area. From here, we approached the High Line and followed its path all the way up to midtown – and headed to the ultimate tourist hotspot Times Square. We paused for a can of Coke and a 10 minute sit down – people watching here is second to none!
We then headed to Rockefeller Plaza to take in the ice rink setup, and a few pictures of course, before jumping in a cab and heading to the South Seaport area. the weather was beautiful and we’d built up a bit of a thirst by this point, so we stopped for a beer on one of the piers to watch more of the world go by. It was hard to believe that 24hrs prior we were in dreary wet London, and that in just a few hours later we’d be back there once again.
We hit a few of the shops in this area, namely Abercrombie & Fitch, before stopping for a bite to eat. It was time then to head to the airport – the traffic is always bad on the way to JFK, particularly at that time in the afternoon, and our driver kindly let us squeeze in a stop at a secluded spot on the Brooklyn side of the river with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline to take a few selfies along the way.
We’d had such a whirlwind visit but it felt like we’d been there for days. New York is a place that you can always visit and find lots of new things to do to fill your time – and with lots of flights a day you can create your own timeline and itinerary, even if it’s just 24hrs!
I flew with Virgin Atlantic (obvs) who have multiple flights a day between the UK and New York – http://www.virginatlantic.com.