My boyfriend and I both turned 21 at the end of last year, so our parents booked us an American adventure in January which saw us jetting off to New York for 4 days before flying to Las Vegas for another 3 days. I’d never been to America before, so I had no idea what to expect but was really looking forward to watching a few Broadway shows, visiting different museums and trying new foods.
We arrived at the Moxy hotel near Times Square after what seemed like an overly expensive cab ride, and checked into our room. The hotel wasn’t anything like I expected – it was small and decorated in a style I’d probably call modern industrial. Our room was absolutely tiny but it suited us well because we didn’t spend much time in it at all and we didn’t really need any more space.
Before arriving in New York, we booked New York Pass tickets using the app, so we could visit any attraction on the list for free or at a reduced price. We also got to skip the ticket queues so that was great and use the planning features of the app to set up itineraries for the few days we were there. We tried to fit as much into 4 days as possible – and as a result, we were absolutely zombified afterwards. Before arriving in America, we both created a list of things we wanted to visit in the short space of time we had. The Natural History Museum, Guggenheim, Yankee Stadium, Ground Zero, Central Park and Statue of Liberty all made it onto the list, but we also managed to fit in 2 shows, The Empire State Building, Ripleys Believe It Or Not, the outlet village and Madame Tussaud’s (and probably a few other things I’ve forgotten to mention).
On the first day there we decided that we needed to learn how to use the subway because we were tired of paying $70+ for a cab ride in the city – and we knew our budget couldn’t sustain that for long. We even had a subway ride complete with a singing A Capella group which was great fun on a cold morning.
Throughout the trip we found ourselves in lots of novelty and fast food restaurants simply because we didn’t actually have much time to eat due to all of the sightseeing we were trying to cram in. I had my first Dunkin Donut experience and tried Grape Skittles and Grape Fanta – I highly recommend staying away from all grape flavoured products because they are grim! On what planet is bright purple classed as grape? *insert barf emoji here* Most of the time we ate on the move and as quickly as possible because we were constantly visiting new places and we wanted to take it all in and experience as much as we could. Hard Rock Cafe became a favourite both in New York and Las Vegas. But we also enjoyed Bubba Gump’s and TGI Fridays – although we decided to leave Planet Hollywood before we even ordered because it looked so tacky and rundown on the inside…
We managed to get tickets to two shows while in New York and I would recommend both of them. I have seen the film Pretty Woman a million and one times and can pretty much quote it from beginning to end. The show was basically true to the film script but with a few small changes and of course a lot more singing and dancing. Even though I personally wouldn’t want to see it again, I would definitely encourage other people to watch it. The second play we watched was my absolute favourite. We saw King Kong at the Broadway theatre for $49 – so basically half the price of a $99 Pretty Woman ticket. I’d seen it advertised online before we arrived in New York and set my heart on watching it simply because of the giant gorilla puppet. And it was fabulous! The staging, the acting, the singing, the puppetry – everything was amazing. I’d watch it again and again. It was our favourite by far and I can’t stop looking at the photos.
We made a few trips to various shopping malls and outlets during our time away. But I have to say, the tax and tipping made shopping and eating out a bit more stressful than they should have been. However, by the last day we just about had the hang of it. New York has always been on my bucket list. Perhaps the films, songs, theatre shows and books I’ve been spoon fed throughout my childhood raised my expectations of this city a bit too high – because while I loved every minute of being there, it wasn’t the city of dreams I’d hoped it would be. Everything seemed to be one constant rush and although navigating through the city was easy, in a weird way I felt a bit pressured and stressed constantly. I also found that the people weren’t as friendly or welcoming as I’d thought they would be, and the way we were treated by a few staff members at various restaurants and attractions made me question exactly why I had decided to leave that 20% tip and at certain times I did miss England and the people I meet everyday there. Of course I recommend visiting New York – it is an amazing, bustling city and there is so much to see and do. The way of life is really different to that of the UK and has to be experienced! But just be aware of tax, tipping servers, hotel staff and cab drivers, and being scammed by people dressed in costumes asking for pictures ($20 for one photo is excessive…)
Have you ever visited New York?
Little Green Cars –> My Love Took Me Down To The River To Silence Me