New York was our first stop on the 2019 America/Canada/Iceland tour.
I have been before around February 2015 and it was cold and full of snow. I didn’t enjoy it.
But I knew that so many people go to New York and have such a great time so I though that would start there. Flights from Dublin are super cheap. It cost us only £267 to fly from Dublin to Stewart Airport. Stewart Airport is about 1 hour north of Manhattan but you can get a coach directly for only £16 each one way.
I didn’t post much on social media about our accommodation. It was based in Chinatown. The subway was only around the corner and there were lots of amenities our doorstep.
However it was basically a hostel. It was called the Grand Bowery Hotel.
We had a double room which was 8×8 feet wide. It was clean, with a TV and fan on the wall. There was ample storage room under the bed for our case etc. The bathrooms were down the hall.
If you are looking for simple accommodation in New York then this is for you! I even had an Amazon UK package delivered without any bother!
We had been given many tips and tricks for places to go and see. However it can be a little overwhelming. I decided to keep a diary and list each day what we did/ate/spent etc. This worked out so well for us and I would highly recommend to anyone wanting to keep track of their travels.
We seen most of the main tourist attractions. We also took time out to chill and relax. It is very important that with my fibromyalgia and Owens autism that we take it at our own pace. Remember that we can always come back again in the future to see anything we missed!
Today was a travel day. We were catching our flight at 3.20pm from Dublin, and arriving into Stewart at 5.30pm. New York is 5 hours behind the UK & Ireland. My dad took us to the airport which was so handy.
We had a little issue getting through US Customs. The problem being that we were coming to stay for so long in hotels. The US Customs agent was a little disbelieving that we could afford this. I only had a bus ticket booked for us out of the country. They prefer a flight although he did accept it in the end. ESTA requires only an outward journey to be booked. I had to show the agent all my hotels and booked bus journeys to prove we were not there to work!
Anyway drama over we went through to gate. The flight was great (read about it here). We arrived into Stewart, collected our luggage and headed straight onto the coach into Manhattan. Traffic was busy as it was rush hour so we arrived late into Port Authority Bus Terminal.
We headed straight for the Subway and purchased subway tickets ( 7 day ticket is $32). This gives you unlimited travel round the subway system.
I stopped for some snacks at a newsagent as we were too tired to go out for food and drinks.
We got to the hotel without incident and check in was a breeze.
We woke up hungry and in need of breakfast. When I had been before I remembered a fantastic little diner with amazing pancakes. This was the Manhattan Diner. We each had the Lumberjack breakfast. I had coffee and Owen had hot chocolate. The bill along with tip came to $50.
We were full so we headed to Times Square. Over the next few hours wandering we found a Glossier (£18.50), Starbucks ($8), and Sephora (£87). I also bought Owen a t-shirt in the Disney Store for the bargain price of $6!
It is very important to remember that there is a tax added to everything in New York which can blow the bill up substantially.
Also depending on location will depend on prices – Starbucks prices varied hugely round the city.
We were knackered so we headed back to the room and ordered Chinese food in for dinner (£28). The food is so different to home. It was delicious!
Cold Chinese food is amazing according to Owen who ate the Lo Mein for breakfast! You go guy!
Today we set off to the Rockefeller Center (£58) Last time we done Top of the Rock and Owen wanted to do it again. It was beautifully sunny at the top. Not to mention the spectacular views!
Owen was so happy that we visited FAO Schwartz, the Lego Store and the Nintendo store when we came down. I think he could have quite easily picked up a trolley full in them all!
We had lunch in an Irish bar just off Fifth Avenue. I think that you can feel overwhelmed by all the choice available so it seemed safe. It cost $62 for 2x burgers and fries and a pint of Budweiser for me. The food is so expensive here and we are not being splashy in any way. I also spent $15 on drinks for the room as well as $11 in Starbucks (for the same drinks as yesterday!)
With our bellies full and our feet sore we headed home.
Brooklyn was first on the agenda today. We had Rainbow Bagels in our sights! They were delicious although Owen cried off in favour of a “buttery garlic bagel with bacon, egg and cheese!” The coffee was so good as well! We sat on the sidewalk and munched on our food watching the Brooklyn traffic go by for ages!
We then headed to the 9/11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center site. The tour cost $39 for the both of us. 2015 is when I last done the tour and it had changed so much since then. It so much sadder and poignant than before. However the Occulus is finished and gives the area a sense of serenity as well as the pools. Owen was very sad.
Owen bought himself an NYPD t-shirt and a hot chocolate when we came out.
We headed home and ordered pizza ($28) for tea. It wasn’t bad but I prefer the pizza at home.
We did absolutely NOTHING today. In fact I got showered but back into pyjamas and enjoyed a day of resting round the hotel. It was amazing. I would highly recommend taking a day off when travelling to relax – otherwise you will burn out! In fact we were so tired we ordered Chinese in the evening but ate nothing else the entire day! Busted!
I hope you enjoyed the start of our travels.
Tune in for Part 2