Friday, 8 March 2013

New York, New York; Day 1

The city so good they named it twice! My favourite city in the world. What better thing to do than round off my birthday week than a very long weekend in the Big Apple? Starting our holiday early at a Heathrow Airport hotel, we had a c. 4am start and headed the entire 5 minutes to the airport.
Welcome to America!
Flying United airlines is awesome. The seat back entertainment system allows you to start your films as soon as you are seated with no faffing around during take off and landing. The selection was also amazing. Over 100 movies including 26 recent blockbusters. I opted for Wreck it Ralph (which made me laugh AND cry, it is fantastic - go and see it if you are young or old) followed by Argo. I wasn't expecting much from this film but it is an edge of your seat thriller. Totally Oscar worthy.

Anyway onto more important things! We landed in Newark around midday (the joys of going back in time) and hopped in a cab to Midtown. Just seeing the skyline is one of my favourite things. You can almost smell the excitement of the city.

The Intercontinental Barclay Hotel
Home for the trip was the Intercontinental Barclay on 48th and Park. Central enough for most things, and close to the Subway for anything else. We dropped our bags and headed to 5th. 5th Avenue is the main high end shopping street of Manhattan. On here you have the elite department stores (Henri Bendel, Saks, Barney's and Bergdorfs). The other two main ones Macy's and Bloomingdales are off 5th.

Bergdorf's is probably my favourite - not just because it is a staple of the Gossip Girl life! It also has fabulous bars and restaurants. I've dined in the basement cafe before, this time we headed up to the bar, with it's fabulous views out on to the Plaza and Central Park. First drink in NYC? Two champagne cocktails coming up.
My Spiritual Home

Champagne at Bergdorf Goodman, We've Arrived

First school bus sighting - and the smokey pot
Carrie's Shoe! SATC Fans...

The Plaza, one day I will own one of these apartments
Post cocktails and a slightly tipsy browse around 5th Avenue we headed back to the hotel to unpack and get ready for a chilled night out in Midtown. We weren't looking for anything fancy as we'd been up for so many hours. Bubba Gump is a kitsch themed restaurant based on 90's favourite Forrest Gump. Good seafood and enormous cocktails, with a view over times square. Every time I've been to New York I've been here and it kind of never gets old! These sort of places in London I'd generally avoid like the plague but being a tourist in someone else's city means you can get away with it.

Times Square from our table
Bourbon Mahi Mahi and Shrimp - Bubba would be proud!

We ordered Sangria - which when you do you get to keep the cocktail shaker it comes in! Yep we are those people. I was torn between a couple of things on the menu but opted for Bourbon Street Mahi Mahi - which is charbroiled cajun spiced Mahi Mahi (a fish you don't see enough of in the UK) with bourbon sauce, grilled shrimp and mashed potatoes. M opted for fish and chips. Yep. My Mahi Mahi looked totally divine when it arrived. The fish and chips also looked awesome. The taste? Just what the doctor ordered. I wolfed it down - totally delicious and we were starving. It also called for another massive cocktail!
First cocktail (of many) the size of my head
After dinner we headed along 44th Street to the Royalton Hotel. Within the Royalton is Bar 44 (you'll find a lot of venues named after their street name or address in Manhattan). A divine fire divides the bar in two, you have the raucous end where you will likely find a band, lots of loud drunk business men post work and some very young, thin ladies accompanying them. On the other side of the fire is the more chilled relaxing area.

We opted for this and ordered more cocktails. Almost midnight we dragged ourselves back to the hotel after a very successful first day - and ready for our first real day as Upper East Siders. On the way home I couldn't resist snapping some shots of the night time skyline, it never gets old...

For now...XOXO
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