Once we landed in New York we decided that we wouldn’t waste our money on a taxi and we would just get the train that goes directly to Penn Station. Locating our train was easy enough, the problem was that we had arrived at “rush hour” (although I’m not sure whether there is ever a “quiet hour”. Our cases seem to become even heavier and bulky. We struggled to heave them on to the train, then once there the train was so pack people were standing in the luggage storage areas. Once we arrived at Penn Station we had to make our way across the forecourt to find our exit, wheeling our cases through the crowds was a nightmare and I’m sure I ran over a few toes in the process.
We walked from Penn Station to our hotel the Wyndam Gardens. It was located on West 36th street just a few blocks away,when we reached the hotel we were exhausted but very happy to be back in New York. It was the day before Thanks Giving so trying to find somewhere to eat that evening was hard work. We had a Broadway show to make so couldn’t afford to hang around for the 45 minutes plus wait most restaurants were offering.
We chose to visit Sbarros for a slice and a coke. With a little time to kill we went to a Starbucks just off Broadway and enjoyed our first famous hot drink of many whilst in the City.
The show we had tickets for was Rock of Ages. One we were both immensely looking forward to. We both love our 80’s classic rock music and had heard great things about this show. We were not at all disappointed – it was beyond amazing. It completely rocked. Dee Snider, front man for Twisted Sister starred in the show and Has’ highlight was when he ran down the aisle and the wings he was wearing hit him on the head! Ha! It’s such a great show and neither of us can wait until the show come to London late this summer.
The next day we set our alarms uber early so we could get a good spot to watch the Macy’s Day Parade.
We left our hotel just after 6am and walked the 20 odd blocks towards Central Park. Hundreds of people already lined the streets, huddled under blankets sat on fold up chairs with coolers packed with food and flasks of hot drinks by their side. It was clear these people had been there hours before we had even woken up! After stopping off at a little café to grab some hot drinks and breakfast we finally found our spot by 63rd street and managed to shimmy our way in so we actually had no one in front of us. It was 7.30. The parade didn’t kick off until 9. It was so cold but there was a real buzz of excitement in the air. We were stood next to a group of children who were super excited and had even made signs to hold up that said “Spongebob Square Pants Rocks”
The parade starts at 77th street so when it kicked off at 9 we could see them slowly making their way down to us. It was actually more like 9.30 by the time the first float came past, the people in the parade came skipping down throwing confetti and wishing everyone a “Happy Thanks Giving” it was a little odd to receive these wishes as we don’t celebrate the occasion but it wasn’t long before we were reciprocating and cheering along with the rest of the crowd. It was a wonderful experience, I loved watching the floats and seeing the school bands and cheer leaders that had travelled from other states to perform in the parade. There were so many infamous characters such as Snoopy, Buzz Lightyear, Shrek and Spongebob Square Pants. Some of the floats housed celebrities too. I recognised Kylie Minogue, Kanye West, Joan and Melissa Rivers, Jessica Simpson and Gladys Knight.
The Parade finished with Father Christmas around 11am. At that time we were cold, tired, exhausted, hungry and aching but on a complete high too! We made our way back to our hotel stopping off at Subway first to grab a meatmarina sub. We sat and watched the parade finish on the TV whilst scoffing our sandwiches. I actually fell asleep for about an hour and after we’d both recharged ourselves we ventured out again. One of my favourite things to do when we’re in New York is to visit Rockefeller Centre, more specifically Top of the Rock.
The views from the top are wonderful you can see for miles on a clear day and I just love from one side, the view of the Empire State Building and the other, Central Park. It had started to rain so it was dark and gloomy but I still loved it. The light was fading and we were able to stay up there until the lights on the Empire State Building were switched on. One of my favourite parts of the Top of the Rock besides the view is the crazy light up room they have. When you walk in a light on the ceiling, floor and walls follow you around. Simple things, but I’m honestly amused for ages!
Knowing the City would be busy we had booked a table at our favourite restaurant Virgils for dinner. We were both really curious to try a traditional Thanks Giving meal so there were no hesitations when the server came around to take our orders. Unfortunately the usually very good restaurant couldn’t handle the amount of orders and people they had and the service was a little ropey. I ordered a beef soup and was brought a prawn and duck, my diet coke was served to me in the can rather than a glass and when the correct soup was brought over, half way through eating it our main courses were brought out. Sigh.
The meal was also a little peculiar. Far too many flavours on one plate! This was our menu.
Parts of the meal were really yummy, others – sweet potato mash with marshmallows anyone? – were not!
For pudding I had an apple pie where as Has opted for the more traditional pumpkin pie. Or as I like to call it “The worst pie ever” Has enjoyed it but I honestly thought it was gross!
That evening we went to see the Green Day Musical American Idiot based on their best selling album of the same name. I’m a huge Green Day fan and was really looking forward to the show. We were sat 3 rows from the front so had a great view, of most of the stage. The actors were awesome and the show was incredible so dark and moving. We really enjoyed it.
The next day we had intended to get up early to see what all the Black Friday sales were all about. Just before we got into bed the night before I saw advert after advert for the sales, “3am to 5am” yeah we weren’t going to make those! We did however venture into Macy’s. God it was packed!!! I’m no good in situations like that I hate squabbling over the racks of discounted goods so I tend to avoid the sales here. Macy’s was indescribable! You had to fight to get in, to get out, and to get to the escalators, to move even! Has picked up a jumper but I didn’t have the energy to bother.
We grabbed a quick lunch then caught a train to Atlantic City in New Jersey. We left from Penn Station, went via Philadelphia and finally arrived in Atlantic City around 2 hours later.
Brett Michaels, the lead singer from one of my favourite bands Poison was performing at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino. We arrived with enough time to grab some dinner and drinks at Hooters and play a few slots. Atlantic City isn’t exactly Las Vegas but it was still pretty cool. We stepped outside just to see the boardwalk but it was too dark and far too cold to stay out and see anything. We did buy some Salt Water Taffy though! Strange stuff, quite nice though!
One of my highlights of the trip has to be getting to see Brett Michaels. It was a seated auditorium but most people ran down the front. By the time we realised you were allowed to do that we were better off staying where we were. He sang all my favourites and we danced and sang along. It rocked!
Once the show was over we went back into the casino and as our train wasn’t until much later we had some time to kill. We sat in the bar with our drinks and talked about how we couldn’t believe our honeymoon was coming to an end.
We had to get a taxi back to the Atlantic City train station but before we did we noticed Brett’s tour bus parked outside with a queue of people outside. One by one they went in and came out with their signed merchandise. We weren’t really sure how you got to be in that queue but we stayed around for a little while and spoke to the bands guitarist for a while. We than hailed a taxi and headed back to the train station.
We were both exhausted and managed to sleep a little on the train home. We finally arrived back in New York around 2 in the morning. Exhausted we climbed into bed and fell fast asleep.
The next morning we allowed ourselves a little lie in before getting up and heading to Madison Square Garden to see the Knicks. If we are in New York for the basketball season then we always go to cheer on the Knicks, more often than not they lose and that game was no exception! I love the atmosphere in Madison Square Garden when everyone gets behind the team.
After we watched the Knicks lose we headed straight to Times Square to see if we could get tickets for a show that night from the TKS stand. They sell on the day tickets for Broadway and off–Broadway shows at reduced prices. We queued for what felt like hours in the cold until it was our turn. We managed to score two tickets to see Elf, which I was more than happy about!
After that we went to spend some serious cash (or should that be I went to spend some serious cash!) First up was Bloomingdales. My beloved Ugg boots had really been through it, first the snow in Seattle then the rain in New York and they were looking a little rough around the edges. They were over 2 years old and I desperately wanted a new pair. The shoe department in Bloomingdales was again rammed but I was a woman on a mission. I found myself a shop assistant told her what I was after and left her to find them for me. Thankfully my tall chocolate Uggs were in stock, in my size. Happy Laura. She put them through the till and I paid. Not-so-happy Has!
After Bloomingdales it was Abercrombie and Fitch. I love their hoodies more than anything and already own a few, but I wear them so often that I always try to buy a new one when I’m over in New York. One thing I have to say is, I hate their shop. It’s more like a nightclub. The music is loud and the place is so dark! Yes I know I sound like a moany old lady but seriously would it kill them to turn it down a notch!
As well as the hoody I picked up a pair of jogger bottoms and took them to the till. My argument was, I spend a lot of my home time in snugs so I may as well have something nice to lounge around in…!
We then went to Best Buy – Has’ favourite shop for DVD’s and Blu Rays. I mooched around the aisle quietly pleased with my purchases as Has went through his mental list of “Most wanted” films and TV shows.
Given the time of year we knew reservations at restaurants would be tough so we used TopTable.com to make our reservations ahead of time. We ate at Tony’s, our favourite Italian restaurant. Their food comes in platters so you always share, we ordered meatballs and spaghetti and it was delicious!
As we had so many bags from shopping Has took them back to the hotel whilst I waited in Starbucks. We were running a little late but Has made it back in time and we took our seats in the theatre to watch Elf. It was a happy little show, with catchy songs and made us both feel really Christmassy. It was weird to think that Christmas was only just around the corner, when we had left it was the last thing on our minds and now we were nearly in December.
On our way back to the hotel we stopped by a place called The Shake Shack for the most delicious frozen custard. It was just vanilla and chocolate with cream but it was pure heaven.
The next day we headed straight for the Magnolia Bakery. The queues the night before were out the door so we arrived early so we could try on of the famous cupcakes. Yum!
After scoffing our sugary treats I was able to tick off something from my 30 before 30 list. We went to see the NY Giants play at home. I got dressed up in my Giants shirt and hoody and went to cheer them on. Our seats were great right behind the field goal really close to the pitch. The game was really intense the Giants were losing by quite a bit but in true Hollywood Movie style managed to pull it back with a couple of really good plays. When they scored a touchdown all the fans around us turned around to high five us. It was a great atmosphere and we were totally absorbed by it. The girl sitting next to Has got louder and louder the more she drank. She was screaming at the Giants and at first everyone around her was laughing. In fact from the moment she sat down she apologised saying she gets very loud at games. By the end she was annoying everyone. Even with her yelling constantly everyone was really friendly and my first Giants home game will be one I’ll never forget. Completely amazing.
We got back into New York in time to visit Virgils one more time. It’s our favourite restaurant and the debacle of Thanks Giving dinner didn’t put us off. This time we both stuck to the BBQ menu we both know and love and of course it was scrumptious. We were both still wearing our Giants shirts so were asked a few times about the game.
We didn’t need to get to the airport for our flight home until later so we visited a few shops in Times Square picking up presents and souvenirs before heading back to our hotel to change and collect our cases. We had decided at this point we were both so tired and worn out that we would get a taxi to the airport. Yes the train was cheaper but neither of us had the energy.
As we watched New York disappear we sat in the back of the taxi exhausted but happier than we had ever been. Our honeymoon was the holiday of a lifetime, we had managed to do, see and experience so much in those 3 weeks and enjoyed every single second of it (ok maybe not the dreadful flight from Hawaii to Seattle! Ha!)
Our honeymoon suited us both perfectly, yes we could have flown off to some exotic island for a few weeks of complete rest and relaxation but we would have been bored within the first couple of days. Some people thought we were madto take on such a demanding holiday straight after the chaos of planning and the emotionally draining wedding day, but neither of us would have had it any other way.
Although we were sad to end our honeymoon we were also ready to go home, see our family and friends and start our “normal” lives as husband and wife