My first date with New York was short and sweet; with only one full day to hang out, I had to make some tough decisions regarding how we should spend our time together. After getting the bus from New Jersey over to the Port Authority Bus Terminal I headed straight for Times Square, who wouldn’t? I wanted the New York you see in the movies; neon lights and yellow cabs, billboards advertising musicals on Broadway; if only I had more time to see something on Broadway…another time, I promised myself.
Make the most of every single New York Minute
I wanted to make the most of every single New York Minute, I wanted to see everything New York could show me; I had to get off the sidewalk and up high above the city; the only predicament was deciding who to call on to help me. I had two choices:
- The Empire State Building
- Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center)
Rockefeller, I choose you
I chose the Rockefeller Center and I didn’t regret it. Rockefeller provides seventy storeys (850 feet) of Art Deco good looks. Not that you choose him for his looks, it’s his height that you want to exploit, his vantage point, the Observation Deck, where you can fully appreciate the beauty of his taller (102 storey – 1250 feet), more attractive friend, that American cultural icon, the Empire State Building, whilst marvelling at the panoramic views of Manhattan. The Top of the Rock certainly delivers. His reliability doesn’t make him boring though, he has tricks up his sleeve to surprise you and he makes use of technology to thrill you. Yes, Rockefeller likes his gadgets; we have that in common.
If you’re ever in New York, I recommend you look him up. Seriously. Even better if you arrange to rendezvous in advance because many are eager to meet him; why wait in line when you can fix a date in the diary? My date was arranged for late morning on a clear blue, sunny summer’s day in June; excellent visibility although clearly not the best time if you’re a keen photographer. I had a tight schedule with New York so I took what I could get and I wasn’t disappointed.
On bidding farewell to Rockefeller, I planned to see him again soon, later that evening in fact, to watch the sun go down. Unfortunately I stood him up as I met up with some fellow travellers and New York took us in a different direction. New York is spontaneous like that. Despite my love of spontaneity, I did have a plan for New York and she was taking me shopping.
A little Fifth Avenue extravagance
Those who know me well, know of my love affair with Tiffany and also how previous attempts to meet her in San Fran, Vegas and LA didn’t work out. This time it was going to be different, nothing was getting in my way. It felt like I walked forever along Fifth Avenue in search of her; I am so glad I decided to wear my trail trainers (sneakers). Occasionally I was distracted by other goods on display in shop windows, but not long enough to miss my date. I knew what I wanted but on arriving at Tiffany’s I was overwhelmed by all the precious shiny wares; I felt like I was back in that corner shop I used to frequent as a child with ten pence in my hand and about fifty penny and half penny sweets to choose from. The shop keeper used to threaten to kick me out as I would procrastinate over how to best spend my ten pence; thankfully Tiffany was more welcoming and she invited me to take my time wandering around, trying various necklaces and bracelets until I decided to purchase the bracelet that I planned to all along. I was in no hurry to leave Tiffany’s and if I didn’t have plans to meet up with Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte I’m sure I could have stayed there all afternoon.
Sex and the City
Before catching up with my favourite New Yorkers, I had some time to do a little more shopping, indulge in a hot dog, relax and take a stroll through Central Park. At 3pm I met my Sex and the City friends (On Location Tours) near the Plaza Hotel for three and a half hours of entertainment, gossip and unadulterated, r-rated fun. I was clearly not the only one waiting to catch up with Carrie Bradshaw and her friends, there were many other females waiting inline, along with a couple of guys, who appeared to have been dragged along for the ride. And boy, were they in for a ride. It was like participating in a massive hen (batchelorette) party, with lots of giggling and shrieking with most dressed up for the occasion. Yes, everyone was in character including the tour guide, who also worked the comedy club circuit doing stand-up; I could appreciate why, she was very entertaining. As we drove through the city, we watched clips from the TV show, providing context to the 40-plus locations we visited. It was like really being there, in Carrie Bradshaw’s New York; especially when we stepped off the bus into her world, visiting key locations in Midtown Manhattan, Greenwich Village, Soho and the Meat Packing District.
Cupcakes and Cosmos
One highlight was drinking Cosmos in Scouts, the bar owned by Aiden and Steve, another was experiencing the treats on offer from the Magnolia Bakery; it was hot and sunny and that buttercream was melting but it was delightful and that day, my love affair with cup cakes began!
After a thrilling first date with New York, I headed back to New Jersey to meet up with the people I’d be travelling with the following day; and then I took them straight back to meet my new friend, New York.
We’ll meet again…
My date with New York was a long time coming and when I finally left her, I knew I would be back soon; next time I would stay with her and get to know her better, visit the 9/11 Memorial and attempt to understand her pain, loss and suffering, because true friendship isn’t just about shopping, cupcakes and Cosmos, but it sure is a great way to break the ice!
Plan your date with New York
If you’re planning to visit New York it is definitely worth thinking about what you want to do in advance; New York has so much to offer, far more than what most visitors can expect to experience in a single short visit.
I arranged to visit the Top of the Rock in advance of my stay in New York and purchased a “Sun and Stars” ticket, providing me with the option to visit twice in one day. At the time of writing this ticket is $40USD Find out more and book your date with Rockefeller
I also booked the Sex and the City Hotspot tour in advance with On Location Tours; advance purchase is required for this tour, you cannot just turn up and hop on the bus. At the time of writing the tour costs $49USD (including ticket fee) Find out more and book your afternoon with the Sex and the City girls
On Location Tours also offer alternatives if Sex and the City isn’t your thing: New York City tours
If you’ve got more time and less budget, why not plan your own walking tour of the Sex and the City locations?
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of the above recommendations.
This was originally posted on: Kookytraveller.com 25/09/13