So the day was finally here and we were off to Heathrow for our 4 night stay in New York.  No dramas getting to Heathrow just a very long drive. This was our first time flying from Heathrow, we have always managed to get flights from Gatwick which is a bit closer to home. Parking was easy to find and the bus journey to Terminal 3 took around 10 minutes.  Off the bus and through into Virgin Atlantic’s Terminal 3 and suddenly the excitement starts and the holiday has finally begun.

Terminal 3 Heathrow

Over to check in and surprisingly there was no queue in fact there wasn’t really many people around this was my kind of airport.  Bags checked in boarding passes collected off to security. Through security and for the first time in forever I made it through without bleeping or a bag being searched – I am not dodgy I promise! Anyway we were through security and straight into world duty free, very good marketing skills there Heathrow but I was after the bar I will have time for shopping in NYC.  After a couple of glasses of prosecco, some nachos and chicken skewers our flight still did not have a gate number so I guess it was time for a browse of the shops, hello Tiffany.

Finally the gate number appeared and we were off.  No waiting around, boarding pass checked and  straight onto the plane, I don’t think things could of ran any smoother if we tried.  We were sat near the back of the plane in a two, my choice which didn’t seem a bad choice in the end. We had been on board for around 15 minutes and just got comfortable when one of the cabin crew came down and greeted us by name and two glasses of champers and some in flight goodies.  It appears that someone we know who works for Virgin had put in a good word which was a lovely treat for us.  After my embarrassed red cheeks died down we enjoyed our goodies while the plane taxied along the runway and off into the sky.

First Day

So 7 hours later along with some TV, some surprisingly good plane food and a little snooze we were preparing to land in JFK to the twinkle of lots of lights below in the night sky.  Once touched down and off the plane we were lucky enough to be able to go through the returning visitor line as we were in the US in October lucky us. Around half an hour later we were through immigration and our suitcases were waiting for us – which makes a change.  Suitcases in hand we went in the direction for the Airtrain.  We like to take public transport instead of taxis were we can and I had read up how to get to our hotel from the airport so as long as my notes were correct we should have no problems.  We jumped onto the Airtrain to Jamaica which is the last stop, couldn’t go too wrong there.  Once off the train you then pay for your ticket at the machines to the right which if I remember right was around $6 and head through the barriers.  Part one complete no problems, next step was the subway, we grabbed a couple of 7 day unlimited metro cards from the booth which were $32 each and made our way down and onto the platform. This was our first experience on the subway so part of me was a tad nervous and it didn’t help that at home it was now early hours of the morning so we were tired and trying to keep our wits about us while standing on the platform. We jumped on the E train in the direction of World Trade Center which according to my notes was correct.  Luckily for us it was really quiet so we had no problems getting on the train with all our luggage, 30 minutes and 11 stops later we made it to 7th Avenue 53rd Street.

When we were finally up on street level as tired as I was I still managed to get excited, we were finally in New York, now just to get our bearings and find our hotel in the dark.  This would have been an easy task if Google Maps wanted to play, however it didn’t want to tell us where we were so instead we asked the bell boy at the Sheraton hotel and fortunately enough we were only one block away from the hotel.  We were staying at the Ameritania Hotel on 54th Street and eventually made it to the hotel around 9pm.  The only downside to arriving in the dark was the hotel has no sign that is lit up so it did make it that little bit harder to find but we got there eventually.  On checking in we were given a room on the 6th floor, straight up to the room and a quick look around and I was impressed, everything seemed modern and the room was large but I will save all the details for another review.

Ameritania Hotel

Ameritania Hotel

Before we got comfortable in our room and unpacked we went out for dinner. Last time we were in New York we went to John’s Pizzeria near Times Square which we were desperate to return to so that was our plan for dinner.  We hadn’t even been in the room 5 minutes when we were back out heading for Times Square and Johns.  When heading down to Times Square we had our first experience of the cold winter weather, my god it was freezing that wind was so harsh by the time we reached Johns on 44th Street my face felt numb. I forgot how beautiful this restaurant was with the high ceilings and big open feel.  We were seated straight away in a small booth on the ground floor.  The service was a little bit rubbish which was a shame as it was so amazing last time but my main concern was what pizza to get.  We ended up going with margarita with prosciutto, pepperoni and sun dried tomatoes.  When it arrived my jet lagged eyes were wide open it looks amazing and the smell was beautiful.  Last time we were here we couldn’t finish the pizza, this time round there was no struggles there was not a single bit left. Our meal came to $32.95 ($38.95 inc tip).

John's Pizzeria

After our pizza we were ready for bed.  We battled with the cold wind back up to our hotel, unpacked a few things and finally went to bed at 11.30pm ready for our first full day in NYC tomorrow.

New York Travel Diaries | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 Day 5

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3 comments on “Travel Diary | New York | Day 1”

  1. This is great! I’m looking forward to the rest of it! One question – you said you were able to go through immigration in the Returning Visitor line? Would this apply to us next month…if we last visited in April 2013??

    • Thank you, I think you can only go through the returning visitor line if you are travelling on the same esta as your previous visit. If you have had to apply for a new esta then I think you have to go through the normal visitors line however they will be able to tell you at the airport they are really helpful. Enjoy your visit and remember to subscribe to the website and you will get notified of my next New York post.

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