Hey everyone!!!So we made it back from NYC on Sunday night (very very late on Sunday), and I have to say, NYC was beyond amazing. I already want to go back! Times Square was definitely one of my favorite spots to visit– the lights were incredible and the energy of all the thousands of people was truly a one-of-a-kind experience.The hotel I stayed in was called Hotel 373 on 5th ave. It was clean quiet— AIR CONDITIONED (which was a God send) and located right in the heart of Manhattan. The staff was truly pleasant and if any one out there is planning a trip to NYC, I would recommend Hotel 373 as the place to stay (especially if you’re on a budget). The only downside was there was no “business center” so, unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to post any updates for you guys while I was there, but here is a re-cap of what I did while in the Big Apple.After arriving at the hotel and checking in, we took a short walk down 5th and went to a little sushi joint called CHADO. It wasn’t the best sushi I’d ever had, or the cheapest, but it was an easy walk to fill our bellies after a long, long drive (7 hours to be exact).Next we headed down to Time Square. It was definitely hot, and definitely crowded, but even in the daylight the lights from the giant-sized TV screens was blinding! We took a little time to sort out the area before heading to Broadway to see The Phantom of the Opera. I’ve seen many plays onstage and even one or two musicals… but Phantom of the Opera was UN-BE-LIEVABLE! I laughed, I cried, got chills and even had a scare or two. Seriously, it was one of the biggest highlights of my trip. Looking back, I can’t even begin to describe the excitement in the theater. We weren’t allowed to take any photographs or video of the show, but I don’t think any picture or video would really do justice to actually being there. The first five minutes of the show the scene opened with an auction of a few items from the theater, and when it came to the chandelier, the Phantom music boomed through the stage as the candles re-lit themselves and was lifted above the audience to the roof of the theater as it transformed to what it once was… OMG. I can’t even get over the thrill it gave me to know I was ACTUALLY sitting there… in NYC… on Broadway…. seeing a show I’ve been dying to see since I was 5 years old. My Mum sat beside me, looking bewildered and astonished, because she too had been waiting 20 years to see Phantom on stage. We were not disappointed.If you choose any Broadway production, and I know there are many, you HAVE to see The Phantom of the Opera.After the show, we pretty much walked around taking some more pictures of Time Square before we walked back to our hotel.The next morning we headed down to Planet Hollywood to pick up our New York Pass. The New York Pass was $100 each and for two days you could see the biggest tourist attractions as well as discounts at different restaurants etc. On average, the events we went to see were $20-$34 each, so you can see how having a pass really ends up saving you a lot of money to see everything.After picking up our passes we headed over to the King Tut Exhibit. Again, we weren’t able to take any pictures, but the artifacts there were truly astounding. In the exhibit you get to see ACTUAL items from the King Tut tomb, including jewelry, furniture, religious artifacts etc. The only thing was the end of the exhibit was a big disappointment, because we thought we were going to see King Tut, but there were no signs of his body… except a fake replica of his remains. All in all though, it was really interesting to see artifacts that were 3000+ years ago in the Boy Kings tomb. If you’re interested in history and that sort of thing, I’d recommend seeing it, but just be aware that you’re not going to actually see King Tut.After the exhibit we decided to take a little walk over to Toys R Us, and see what it was like inside…Let’s just say it was MASSIVE.There was a huge Ferris-wheel inside, which we didn’t ride because the line-up was insane, but I did get a shot of it:After we strolled around the store, we decided to head back to the hotel for a little break. On the way, some guy sold us some some tickets to a comedy show at Stand Up NY Comedy Club… However, at the time we didn’t know these tickets are actually free…. so that was our little experience with getting scammed in NY. I do have to say that the sales guy was really, really good at what he does. He promised some famous people, as well as a close location, which both proved to be inaccurate, but the show was my first-ever experience at any sort of stand-up show and even though the comedians were local, they were all hilarious! I guess a lot of people who were traveling got the same deal we did on the tickets because there were people from Ireland, Austrailia, New Zealand etc. at the show.It’s a very small venue, so if you ever head over, make sure you’re prepared to be picked out from the crowd. Trust me… I know. We were the only Canadians there. hahaha.The next day, we walked down to Madame Taussads which is like a figurine museum filled with different celebrities and famous people. We were allowed to take pictures, so I made sure to take lots! To the right is a picture of me and Johnny Depp, lol!We then took the Subway (btw, it was so fricken hot on the subway I almost passed out from the heat on the platform. Thank God the trains were AC’d) and headed down to The Statue of Liberty ferry. The one thing about the New York Pass you should be aware of, is that you still have to get in line for every attraction, so be prepared to wait in line for tickets. I guess because it was Saturday, everyone and their 8 million relatives decided to take a trip to the Liberty Island and were lined all the way around Battery Park. We decided to try the next day before we left because we would have to stand in line for two hours to get on the boat.So on we headed down to Bodies the Exhibit, which was located in this really cool old-town market square called The South Street Seaport. There were street vendors all up and down the Seaport as well as larger stores (like The Body Shop! lol), selling handmade jewelry, clothes and trinkets.The Bodies Exhibit was really fascinating… in sort of a gross way. My Mum was thrilled of course because she’s a Nurse. Some of the exhibit was really beautiful, like the containers with blood vessels in all parts of the body. They looked like deep-sea coral reef. It’s hard to believe the complexities of our bodies. It was really overwhelming!Then we walked down a few blocks to see the Twin Tower Memorial site…. but there wasn’t really anything to see. There were paid tours, but we decided to pass after getting hounded by End-of-the-World Revalationists. The next stop was a long subway to Central Park and the American Museum of Natural History. After walking for about 5 hours we decided to park on a bench and enjoy the environment at Central Park. Mid-July is really a beautiful time to see it— full of luscious greenery and birds (lots and lots of pigeons lol). It really is a stunning park. We didn’t walk through the entire park, because it seriously would take a whole day to go through- it’s THAT BIG. We then walked over to the Museum and enjoyed a little exhibit of Lizards and Amphibians (which a security guard let us in for free) because we didn’t realize that the museum closed at 5:30 pm on a Saturday. We decided we would try to see the museum after the Statue of Liberty the next morning.The last stop of the day was the Top of the Rock Observation Deck. Unbelievably, when we got there… I realized I had lost my New York Pass! I was so upset, because the admission was $25 and in a sense I had already paid to see it. The friendly cashier allowed me admission for $10 which was a fair enough deal. The Top of the Rock gives you a 360 degree view of all New York City–an even better view than the Empire State Building. My Mum is afraid of heights, so she was a little nervous going to the top, but it was really the cherry-on-top for a wonderful sight-seeing day. I got a few panoramic pictures of the city, and I have to say, you honestly have to be up there to appreciate the view.We headed back on the subway back to the hotel and freshened up after a long day of walking. We grabbed a quick plate of calamari in a small Irish Pub (which was very UN-Irish btw) across the street from our hotel. Then we headed off to bed so we could get an early start.On the last morning we were in NYC we got up at 7am so we’d be able to catch the first ferry to the Statue of Liberty– so we got on the subway. Halfway on the ride, we realized we were going uptown…. not downtown. So we had to hop off and quickly run over the other side to catch the right train. We were racing around like crazy people to catch the ferry in fear of not making it back to the hotel in time for checkout. I was sick, tired and overwhelmed by my whole NYC experience. But we finally made it, and it was one of the best events during the trip. The Liberty Statue is not only much bigger than I had thought, but also much more beautiful and poignant. It was a touching experience being on the island and looking at a statue that was and is a symbol of freedom for so many, including ancestors of my own. We took lots and lots of pictures.It would have taken quite a long time to get back to the hotel via subway, so we hopped in an NYC taxicab. The driver, who was very chatty, gave us some helpful tips for parking around the Museum of Natural History. Back at the hotel, packing was a fricken Gong-show. We basically threw everything we had out in one bag, without even caring what went where. We checked out and raced down to the Central Park area.Finding a parking space was like finding a needle in a haystack, but finally after about 20 circles around the neighborhood, we found one. We spent a good 2 hours at the museum before calling it quits— after all, we had a 7 hour drive ahead of us, but while at the museum, we had a great time taking pictures and exploring some of the spectacular displays. The dinosaur section was particularly neat. New York City has tons of museums, but I would say this one would be the place to start. If you plan to go, you’d really have to spend a whole entire day to really absorb everything it has to offer; we just barely scraped the surface!Finally we took the George Washington Bridge and headed on back to Montreal. New York City, was beyond amazing, and every person that I met was friendly and helpful. It seemed that almost everyone I talked to was from a different place, a different country. I did get a little NYC ‘ttude from a kiosk guy LOL, but seriously, it’s no wonder New York City is the place of dreams. It was incredible. I will definitely make my way back there, and encourage everyone out there to make it one of the things to do before you die. Seriously, the best trip of my life.
My Empire State of Mind: New York City in 4 Days