If you have followed my travel diaries before you will know I suffer from jet lag when I travel so surprise surprise I was wide awake at 5.30am with my brain having no intention of going back to sleep. As I was awake I grabbed my phone and started looking at the map and subway routes for the day ahead and also find somewhere for breakfast.
After a quick facetime with mum at home, Sam woke up around half an hour later so we decided we may as well get up and head out for the day. First stop was Times Square, much to my delight it was extremely quiet, maybe something to do with the fact it was 8am on a Saturday. Anyway those famous red stairs were empty so up to the top we went to take some photos before we were joined by a few more early risers. After taking a few photos in Times Square we went in the direction for Grand Central Station and Pershing Square which is opposite the station and had been recommended to us for breakfast.
Pershing Square looks like a small cafe from the outside however inside reveals a huge beautifully presented restaurant. Even famous movies like Friends with Benefits have used Pershing Square as a filming location.
Back to the restaurant it keeps to a very traditional theme, beams on the ceilings painted a deep red and very smartly dressed waiters. For Breakfast I had buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup and Sam had egg’s Benedict and we both had tea which came in a small teapot (small meaning you could have one teapot each it is that small). Tea will never be like it is at home someone needs to introduce them to some Tetley, but the food here was lovely and really filling. Breakfast came to $38.65 ($45.15 inc tip).
After breakfast we were fuelled up and ready to go, first stop was inside Grand Central Station. I love it in here and love people watching with everyone rushing around travelling to their destination. We stood up on the stairs and took a few photos watching the world go by before we moved on. We continue to walk down in the direction of the Empire State Building, taking a few pictures along the way.
We finally reached the Flatiron Building where we stopped to take some pictures when I could hear loads of dog barking in Maddison Square Park. We crossed the road and walked through the park where we came across a dog run which was basically a fenced off area for the dogs to run around freely in. I couldn’t believe that they actually had a dog run for the dogs it was so lovely to watch them all playing together nicely with all their owners chatting. You just don’t really see things like that in the UK or you might do but not where I am from.
After watching the dogs for around half an hour and begging Sam for us to get a dog when we got home to which he says no, boo hisss :-(, we went to find the Nutella Bar at Eataly. If it is on your list of things to do if you turn right at the lego store it is just a couple of shops in we spent ages walking back and forward along the same parade of shops. A quick look at the menu and the thought of food made me feel sick I was so full from breakfast still I couldn’t manage a pancake or waffle even if I tried. I could of done with a hot drink but Nutella Hot Chocolate wasn’t on the menu :-(. As we were too full for food we ended up leaving with nothing, bad times.
Still talking about the dogs we carried on walking down to Washington Square Park. When we arrived we seen a big crowd just in front of the arch, of course my nosiness got the better of me and I went to investigate. There was a man playing the piano surrounded by a crowd in silence watching him. He was fantastic and it was so lovely to see everyone stopping to watch him.
We took a couple of photos from the park and carried on walking through where we seen the most beautiful view of One World Trade Center at the end of the street a great photo opportunity, so we spent a good bit of time here snapping away for a perfect shot. I can’t really take credit for the picture below as it is Sam’s but mine were very similar.
Back to our Google Map we could see that the Ghostbusters Fire Station wasn’t too far away so we started walking with a quick detour to starbucks for a warm drink. I don’t think I have mentioned yet but it was freezing today even with all my layers on. Back to Ghostbusters, after walking past the fire station twice, to our defence it was covered in scaffolding it was such a disappointment. We managed to see the paintings on the floor but everything else was covered in scaffolding and tarpaulin so a very quick visit from us.
Next stop was China Town, we never managed to go here on our last visit so I was keen to visit this time round. When we reached Columbus Park the place was busy with people. We wandered through Columbus Park and watched some of the local Chinese people playing card games and playing music. We then carried on walking further into China Town where things were becoming busier and busier with local people shopping and selling fruit and vegetables in the street. While walking through China Town we were pestered by a lot of locals asking if we wanted to see designer bags or watches, if you said no they did move on but there was so many of them, clearly my Mulberry bag across my body and a camera round my neck made me a prime target.
We carried on walking through China Town until we reached Manhattan Bridge Arch, what a lovely entrance and exit to a bridge, snap snap photos taken now let’s find Little Italy.
Back to Mulberry Street and the start of Little Italy. How two communities can be so close together yet so different will always amaze me. Now in Little Italy we came across a lot of amazing graffiti on the walls and lots of Italian flags flying. There was also lots of little Italian restaurants with lovely terraces. Part of me regrets not stopping here for a little hot chocolate and watching the world go by but we were definitely on explore mode today.
A little further into Little Italy we did stop to try some cannoli. We found a stall selling 2 for $5 we got one chocolate and one vanilla. I had never tried cannoli before and if I am honest I wasn’t really a fan. Whether they had been out for too long but the shell wasn’t really crispy which I am sure they are meant to be. The filling was also so thick not my cup of tea, next time I will try Carol’s.
After so much walking today our legs were starting to ache well I say our legs more like mine. We decided to start heading back to the hotel to get ready for the evening. We walked back up to Washington Square Park and the piano man from earlier on in the day was still playing surely his fingers must have been aching like my feet. Anyway he had just moved further round the park in a nice area with seating either side. As we didn’t stop earlier and my feet were aching we stopped for a little bit to take it all in. We moved further into the park and just in front of the arch was some more street entertainers, this time dancers/acrobatics however there seemed to be a lot more talking than action. When they did get going they were good and really interacted well with the children in the crowd, however it would have been better if they done a bit more action than shouting. What I also didn’t like was that they wouldn’t perform their last act until they had been round with huge sacks asking for money. I appreciate they are there to earn a living however I think people would have felt more willing to give money after the act rather than before their final act, this is my opinion though. Unfortunately things seemed so long winded we didn’t end up staying to see the final act we decided to move on instead.
After speaking about our plans for that night we decided to try and get tickets for a Broadway show from the TKTS Booths in Times Square. With this in mind from Washington Square Park we headed back in the direction to Times Square. I made it as far as Union Square where we came across a protest when my feet decided to give up and my hands were so cold they felt like they had fallen off so it was time to jump on the subway back to Times Square. How glad I was for a bit of heat on the subway and my hands finally started to get some feeling back in them again. While on the subway we came across some buskers playing the drums, there were actually really good and even got some people up and dancing which seemed to put a smile on everyone’s face watching.
When we reached Times Square we decided we wanted to try and get tickets for School of Rock at Winter Garden Theatre. I had read about the queues for the TKTS booths before so I was expecting a long queue and to our surprise we walked up and were seen within 10 minutes! We managed to bag two tickets for School of Rock in the stalls slightly to the left hand side for around $158 which is around £113. I was over the moon, by this time it was around 5pm and the show started at 7.30pm, luckily for us the hotel was up by the Winter Garden Theatre so we went back to the hotel to change and decide on somewhere for dinner.
I had read about The Three Monkey’s restaurant next to our hotel and it had plenty of good reviews so we decided as it was near we wouldn’t have to rush so much to get to the theatre. It is a small bar/restaurant with a quirky vibe to it. Upon entry we were both asked for ID to which I was surprised as we were there for food not drink and this was the only time during our whole stay we were ever asked for ID I took it as a compliment I must look very young for my age. After showing our ID and proving we were old we were shown to a table.
The bar itself was quite dark and the tables were lit with candles. I think they had more seating upstairs however, we were sat downstairs so I can’t comment on upstairs. The menu seemed good I had a burger and Sam had a flatbread pulled pork pizza. Food arrived very quick and tasted lovely, the meal came to $43.01 ($51.61 including tip) we did also have a couple of drinks on our bill from the bar so it was very reasonably priced.
After dinner we walked down to the Winter Garden to see School of Rock, we found our seats quickly and grabbed some drinks and sweets, if I remember right drinks and sweets were $5 each. School of Rock was incredible, the story, the cast everything about the show was just brilliant. I was in awe watching the small kids play their musical instruments and sing they really were incredible and their parents must be extremely proud. What I also loved about School of Rock is the fact they kept the storyline exactly the same as the film, I always get so disappointed when a theatre production is different from the film. During the show I suffered with a severe case of jet lag, with it being dark my brain clearly thought it was bedtime, my eyes were rolling around in my head at one point. I know your probably thinking it can’t have been that late and yes your right I think it could have only been about 8.30pm but in order to keep myself awake I just ate sour patch kids and pulled some lovely faces while eating them. It was a great way to keep us going at the time and I did make it through all the way to the end :-). I would definitely recommend this show on Broadway, Sam is in no way a musical fan in fact I would go as far as he hates some of them but he really enjoyed this show.
After the show we was hoping to go out for a few more drinks however, jet lag had well and truly got me tonight and I was ready for bed. When we left the theatre the wind was bitter again so we fought with the cold while singing along to School of Rock songs, well really I was just singing the same line over and over again as I didn’t know the second line. But, eventually to Sam’s delight we made it back to the hotel and I fell asleep pretty quick after a few more times of singing the same line.
There we have it our first full day in NYC complete.
New York Travel Diaries | Day 1 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5
If you would like to see Sam’s photos from New York click here
You can also find me on Instagram or Twitter