Finishing off our holiday with an incredible 5 days in New York.
I have always wanted to visit New York for as long as I can remember so I couldn’t wait to arrive and it did not disappoint. New York is huge and there is so much to see and do it is virtually impossible to do it in 5 days. We had a very busy jam packed trip so I have just picked out my highlights of which there were quite a few.
Despite it being the height of summer we were treated to a torrential downpour when we arrived so after dumping our bags at the hotel and grabbing some breakfast we headed out in search of some of the city’s indoor sights. Our hotel was in the heart of midtown so we were luckily close to both the New York Public Library and the huge Grand Central Station which are two landmarks which always pop up in films and TV. In fact, the whole of New York feels like you are in the middle of a live movie set.
Our first day in New York wouldn’t have been complete without an obligatory visit and multiple selfies in the brightest and busiest tourist attraction I have ever visited, Times Square. Even though it is incredibly busy, big and brash I couldn’t help but fall in love with this crazy place.
Luckily the rain had cleared by the evening which was handy as we had pre-booked a sunset cruise along the Hudson River. This two hour boat ride took us around the whole of Manhattan and all the way out to the Statue of Liberty just as the sky turned a gorgeous pink and it looked magnificent in the golden light. By the end of the cruise the sun has fully set and the skyline looked like a sea of tiny stars as the skyscrapers switched on their lights.
The next day was super busy and came with a massive surprise so this was by far the best day of the holiday. We woke to a beautiful sunny day and started with an early morning trip to the Empire State building. Arriving early meant we missed all the queues and breezed to the top to amazing views across the super tall city, sometimes queues can be over 2 hours at peak times. Next up was the the beautiful High Line, this old train line has been converted into a 2.33km long park which sweeps along Chelsea on the west side of Manhattan. We walked the whole distance from North to South before popping into the hipster Chelsea market for a spot of lunch, plenty of gluten free options here so I was spoilt for choice.
I had been so excited to visit the iconic Central Park all holiday so we headed over to soak up the sun and atmosphere of the park whilst munching on an ice cream. The park is absolutely huge and we got a tiny bit lost as we meandered around the woodland trail. After navigating our way out of the woodland trail we headed over the bow bridge and then down to the lake to rent a rowing boat. After discovering that actually I am quite good at rowing, Jon took over and found us a quiet spot on the lake.
After this point it is pretty much a blur as, out of nowhere, Jon got down on one knee in the boat, pulled out a ring and asked me to marry him! I was in complete shock but I said yes of course, I never knew Jon had romance in him! It was the perfect setting and a moment I will never forget. Jon did good and the ring is beautiful so I am one lucky lady. It meant we then had the rest of the trip to enjoy the good news and now I get to plan a wedding!
We spent the afternoon visiting the the Brooklyn bridge with the biggest grins on our faces, our little secret in this huge city. We watched the sunset from our hotel rooftop bar which overlooked the Empire State Building before going out for a celebratory dinner and plenty of prosecco.
We also visited the Statue of Liberty during our trip including climbing up into the crown from within. When you see it in person it looks so much bigger although I think I preferred her at night from the boat. The ferry ride which takes you over the island is just as fun even if it’s very windy.
Top of the Rock is another tourist attraction to make time for. At the top of the Rockefeller Centre, you get great views of the Empire State building if you can see over the top of all the people as it was by far the busiest attraction we visited, apart from Times Square obviously. At the other scale of things was Ground Zero which was a beautifully respectful memorial for the tragic events which happened over 15 years ago but are still fresh in the memories of many New Yorkers.
Other things we managed to squeeze in included seeing the Yankees vs Blue Jays at Yankee stadium. I managed to get to grips with the rules of the game quite quickly and really enjoy the atmosphere which is a lot more family orientated compared to watching football back in England, they even served gluten free hot dogs from a dedicated gluten free stand. You can’t go to New York without visiting Broadway so we booked tickets in advance to see our favourite show, Les Miserables. It was amazing and we were so lucky to get the tickets as it was its penultimate show on Broadway.
New York was incredibly busy but blew me off my feet. I fell in love with the city and the food was definitely a high point too. My favourite place for breakfast, brunch and lunch was Friedman’s which had so many gluten free options. I had a great gluten free sandwich here but also deliciously gluten free blueberry pancakes which Jon helped me demolish.
We found our favourite areas for food were Hell’s Kitchen and East Village which had so much choice. Bareburger treated us to tasty gluten free burgers with the option to customise to create your favourite. We also discovered a great Italian called Nizza Trattoria which had the whole menu converted to be gluten free on request. I ended up with fresh gluten free bread to start, followed by burrata cheese and stone fruit salsa. My main dish was a melt in the mouth gnocchi, divine. Never struggling to find a gluten free option I was able to try a classic grilled cheese sandwich from Melt Shop.
In the super cool and trendy East Village we tucked into full to the brim creamed cheese and smoked salmon gluten free bagels from Tompkins Square Bagels. The queue was long but moved quickly and was worth it for the best bagel I’ve ever had, plus Jon said his non gluten free bagel was also the best he has had too! Later on the week we visited Five Napkin Burger for more juicy and delicious gluten free burgers.
New York spoilt me for choice and now we have such memories here I can be sure we will visit again and I can explore the more incredible food choices that New York has to offer.
Now, on to some wedding planning!