New York

Tracey Blackman on 26 September 2014
I have just come back from New York with my family, our daughter was 21 this year and we said for her 21st we would treat her to a visit to the Big Apple. Roy and I went eight years ago and we loved it so much we said we would go back with Hannah.

The experience was very different this time as the weather was a superb 82 Fahrenheit - freak weather for the weekend we went which I am so pleased about. When you first arrive in JFK it is a very busy airport so it takes a while to get into the zone. We got a yellow cab to 47th street which is where our hotel was. I must say location wise it was superb and I would stay there again for location. I booked it through our own tour operator Phenix, and being one minute from Times Square was fantastic.

New York is so amazing. It’s full of life, energy and really friendly people which was great in a place like this. Anyone we talked to in the shops, bars and restaurants were really friendly. My daughter and I said it makes UK staff seem miserable as nothing seemed too much trouble.

We went up the Empire State Building which is just an amazing thing to do and shows you every angle of these incredible buildings. We all spent ages up there and I think Hannah and her boyfriend Jordan were impressed - we even got a good view of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. A little tip would be to go in the morning early as we only had to wait around 20 minutes and the cost was $29 which was good I thought.

In the afternoon we went on the ferry over to the Statue of Liberty as the weather was just superb. It really was amazing to get a look from the water as the skyline was so fab and we got some great photos from that angle and also of Downtown Manhattan and the building they have put in place of the Twin Towers. The colours are just amazing. The cost of the ferry was also $29 each and was a couple of hours, we all really enjoyed it. There is also a bar on board so you can sit and have a drink if you want to.

Hannah and I went to Broadway when we were there and we went to see IF/THEN based on the film Sliding Doors. The music was fantastic and it had Hannah’s idol in it, Idina Menzel. She didn't disappoint - she was amazing. The theatre was beautiful, it was a great experience and very magical. A must in New York - it was just around the corner from our hotel.

We all walked through Central Park on Saturday and a great day to go as there were lots of locals walking with their partners and family. There were people doing Tai Chi and running and all sorts to be seen. We could have spent ages in Central Park as it is massive and the weather was gorgeous but so much to do and so little time. We even took in the Natural History museum while we were there as all museums were free that weekend and you just donated what you wanted. What a fab idea.

We went down to ground zero and I did the 9/11 memorial. I am so amazed at what they have built. My three felt they couldn't go in so I said I would meet them in a couple of hours. It’s hard to put into words what it was like and yes it is emotional as it should never have happened, but I applaud New York for getting right back on track so quickly and also building such a serine place to go and reflect. It’s one of those places you should just go and see and then decide if you can go in to the memorial, it was enough for Roy to just stay and sit for a while.

Shopping in New York is fantastic and I would say take as much money as you can afford as you will spend it. We all said it was still cheaper than the UK, although the dollar had dropped from our last visit. Dinner cost around £20 a head I would say mostly, with drinks as well. We went to a really fun diner called Ellen’s and the waiters just break out in song. Many have got jobs on Broadway - its fun. The food was ok but it’s worth it for the experience.

We had an amazing time in New York and our four nights went really quickly. If you haven't yet been, put it on your list as you won’t be disappointed - that's a definite.