NYC DAY 3: “Once again, I’ve been defeated by a sandwich.”

Today, I got on a subway and didn’t end up anywhere I wasn’t supposed to.

We had breakfast at McDonald’s because if you’ve never had a Big Breakfast with Hot Cakes then you haven’t lived (apologies to any vegans/vegetarians out there). The vanilla latte I had with it wasn’t half bad, either.

We nipped back to our hotel room to get our cameras and brush our teeth before heading back out again. I had a rough idea of where to go, just not the specifics. We got to Penn Station and shared a Metro card between us. Metro cards work in the same way as Oyster cards, in that you top them up with money to get places, except you can share it between as many people as you like. Take note, TFL.

Because Ben and Heather had a CityPass they went a different route to Jess and I. They got a ferry to the statue and Ellis island and had a look at the museum (which was apparently crap, but that’s just what I heard from them). Jess and I went on the free ferry that took us past the statue and back. When trying to get some photographs I pondered maybe getting a new lens with more zoom.

When we got back we waited around for Heather and Ben for a while, until Heather text us saying to go because they’d be a while and they knew the way back anyway. So we hopped on the subway to Central Park.

Central Park itself made me fully aware to the fact that I was actually in New York. It sounds odd to say, but before then it hadn’t really hit me that I was in the same place where a lot of my favourite movies were filmed. We took a stroll through the southern part of the park, seeing a jazz band as well as an ice rink and finally the zoo. We didn’t buy tickets to see any of the zoo’s attractions, but from a distance we could see some sea lions getting fed. It was strange seeing wildlife amongst the surrounding concrete towers.

When we left the park we took a look down Fifth Avenue. There were some truly amazing sights such as Trump Tower and the Apple Store, which is essentially a large glass cube where you get the elevator down in to the store below.

In movies set in New York, or any popular city for that matter, you see large skyscrapers branded with a name, such as OsCorp of Stark Tower. I never thought that any of these were practical until I saw Trump Tower.

After a while we took a right and ended up in the Rockefeller plaza. There was a large Lego store and a building home to NBC news. 

We kept walking and eventually reached Time Square, at which point we had gone from a little peckish to rather hungry and with a “will literally eat anywhere as long as we can sit down” attitude. We were constantly being…how do I say this?…pestered by people trying to sell us tickets to stand-up comedy gigs.

We ended up eating at a place called Liberty Diner, below Applebee’s, next to Madame Tussauds. Again, I proved myself an unworthy competitor in the great Hannah vs. Food battle. I ordered a grilled chicken club and a diet coke. The coke came in a normal sized glass, but the food was generous. One thing I can say about being a tourist in New York is that you don’t leave a restaurant feeling unsatisfied.

When we got back to the hotel we discussed our plans for the next two days. Tomorrow we’re planning on going souvenir shopping followed by Chicago at 8. Then, seeing as it’s our last full day on Wednesday possibly going to Coney Island as well as the Brooklyn Bridge and Wall St, followed by a final meal out and a visit to the Rockefeller observation deck.

NYC DAY 2: “This drink’s the size of my face”

Besides from going to Time Square, eating and trying to get tickets to see a show, we didn’t really have much planned today.

We got up at about ten, showered and then Jess and I headed off in to the concrete jungle. I thought I knew which direction to go in, but it turned out I was wrong. It’s my first time in New York, leave me alone.

We eventually made it to Time Square where we ate and Applebee’s and sweet baby Jesus the food was good. We both ordered an Artisan Grilled Chicken Ciabatta and a bottomless drink. You know how in the U.K. you’ll order a bottomless drink and it’ll come in a pint glass, if you’re lucky? This drink came in the most enormous glass I’ve ever seen.   

I couldn't finish it. But my God...it was a beautiful defeat.
I couldn’t finish it. But my God…it was a beautiful defeat.
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I couldn’t finish it. It defeated me. But my God, it was a beautiful defeat.

We were trying to find a place where we could get discounted tickets to see a show. I personally wanted to go and see Avenue Q because I’d seen it before and it was a cheap ticket. We approached this lovely guy called Eduardo from Colombia. He told us that he could do us tickets to Avenue Q but because it wasn’t on Broadway anymore we may as well go see a show that’s actually on Broadway for the same price that has higher production value. When we arrived at the ticket office we discussed going to see Wicked, but its $160 price tag wasn’t within our range, so we got tickets to see Chicago on Tuesday night for a healthy $99.50. I’ve never even seen the film before, but thanks to the university’s musical theatre showcase, We Both Reached For The Gun is one of my favourite songs.

Our next port of call was Toys R Us, naturally, because we’re proper adults. Inside they have a massive ferris wheel that looks over the entire store. They even have an animatronic T-Rex.

There was a lot of Thomas the Tank Engine, which was creepy as well as funny. If you get why this is, good for you, you spend a lot of time looking at SFM videos…or goths dancing. If not, then ignore everything I’ve just said and don’t let your mind me tainted.

There was so much cool stuff, like a comic book section as well as a huge Optimus Pride model. I was so close to getting a selfie with Spider Man. So. Close.

Following the theme of toys, of course we went to the Disney store. They had the most adorable baby Kristoff doll and the escalator was lit with the lanterns from Tangled. Urgh, my heart.

I kept seeing a lot of children’s Avengers toys and clothes and the urge to buy them for a family friend’s little boy was too strong. I almost wish that I was little enough to fit in to a Thor costume.

We walked further down the street and came to a set of red stairs and instantly recognised them from The Amazing Spider Man 2 (can any of you guess that I’m a Marvel fan?).

After a pit stop at Starbucks we went to collect our tickets for Chicago and made our way back to the hotel, but not before stopping at B&H, which is a massive camera store. I was after a second hand Nikon lens (a birthday present from my parents) but realised that I didn’t wanna go ahead and get one straight away, just because I was wary of spending my money too quickly.

We chilled out at the hotel for a bit then headed out again in search of food at around 8. We stopped at Wendy’s because it was cheap. I ordered a salad and a medium drink and the drink was bigger than my head. Note to self: order a small next time.

[There is more photo evidence of what I did today, but I can’t put it in right now].

NYC DAY 1: I never want to look at an airport again.

The last time I blogged about something other than university was in August of last year where I made a post saying that I would be writing lots of entries about my recent holiday to Italy…oops.

So this time round I’ve made the decision to (try and) blog every day so a) I don’t forget stuff that’s happened and b) I don’t end up with a massive list of blog posts that I need to write. Go me?

Let’s begin…shall we?

So, 21st March 2015. My twenty-first birthday, woo! I get up and 6am and rudely awaken Ben with my bedside table lamp. I didn’t sleep that great that night, probably because of my cold and Ben’s snoring. Apparently I snored too. I swear we’re an actual old married couple sometimes.*

[*Ben isn’t actually my boyfriend or my husband. We have a solid bromance that fluctuates from “Shut up, you slut” to “Get over here so I can sleep on your shoulder”]

So yeah, queuing happened as well as a woman moaning about the queue followed by more queuing followed by me getting felt up at airport security and then finally food. I’d like to emphasise that the first queue was an hour long and that was just to check in.

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When we arrived at the gate, three Muslim people from our course were “randomly” searched. Yeah, the airport staff weren’t even subtle about it.

There were no shortage of films to watch on the plane, which was a relief. They had films that I’m pretty sure aren’t out on DVD in the UK yet, like Big Hero Six and The Judge. Despite the shed load of films, that 7 hour flight felt so long. The food was so good, though. It got quite warm so they started to hand out chocolate ice cream and water. Aww yes.

So, you know how I said we were waiting in queues a lot before we got on the plane? Turned out that was NOTHING compared to what happened when we reached passport control. Again, we were probably waiting for about an hour before we got our passports checked. Once we were through we found that our luggage had been taken off the conveyer belt, so that part was easy, as was the customs line. We were in New York and we were free.

Or so we thought.

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The boredom got too much.

We had to wait for everyone else to come through from passport control and customs. We were mostly all together, so it shouldn’t have taken that long surely? WRONG. Our lecturers didn’t make an appearance for another hour or so. Without them we couldn’t get on the coach to go to the hotel. I was texting someone from the Photography course, who were also going to NY on the same day as us but on a later flight, and he told me that they had already arrived and were on their way to their hostel. Needless to say, that was frustrating to hear. Two out of three of our lecturers arrived eventually and after a while we FINALLY got on to our coach to the hotel, which is located opposite Madison Square Garden.

The hotel. How do I begin to describe the hotel?

The lobby is large, busy and inviting. When you arrive on our floor, however, it’s a stark contrast. Imagine a classic horror film or game that’s set in a hotel. Can you imagine those dim-lit hallways with old-fashioned interiors? Yeah? Nailed it.

Personally, the fact that this hotel is rough around the edges and looks like it should be haunted makes me warm to it. It’s eery and creepy and totally imperfect. But it’s got its charm. Don’t take my word for it, though; this is coming from a girl who had pictures of zombies above her bed when she was ten.

Our original plan was to go to Hooters. Because Hooters. However, because the majority of the group aren’t 21 we couldn’t go in as a group. So we pottered about and eventually a few of us went to McDonald’s because it was easy and we were tired and grumpy and couldn’t really be bothered to go walking around 5th Avenue with the rest of them. Then bed.

Okay, so my 21st birthday wasn’t exactly a massive celebration, but I spent it in one of the most famous cities in the world.