Hey guys & welcome back❤️
In this post I’ll be talking all things New York
Where did I book ?
We booked through Cassidy travel & it was super easy , there was an offer at the time for 3 nights in New York & 4 in Las Vegas for €1800 which was perfect for us . Another amazing thing about Cassidy is the fact you can pay it off over time , there’s usually a deposit of €100 but then the balance is due about 2 months before you fly out. They post out all your hotel vouchers & flight info the week you’re going & you literally have everything taken care of for you.
Electronic System for Travel Authorisation or ESTA is mandatory if you’re planning a trip to the US.
We seen a couple in the airport in Dublin who didn’t have the ESTA visa & they were frantic trying to apply for it , the timeframe is 72 hours for approval but I would definitely apply much earlier even a month before you fly out . If you don’t have the visa you can’t enter the US , I’m not sure that couple even made the flight .
To apply for an ESTA, you must complete an online application form Here .You’ll be asked to submit a picture of your passport as part of the process so have it at hand. ESTA costs $14 each and is mandatory for everyone entering the USA.
There are so many websites charging anywhere from $20 to $80 each so please be wary & make sure you use the official site .
What airline did we fly with?
We flew with united airlines & to be honest I couldn’t fault them. The only thing is there is no back seat entertainment (on our flight anyways) but if you download the united app you can access tones of movies & TV shows. Paul brought his iPad so you could do that , I just used my iPhone & it was grand . There’s free drinks including wine & beer , plenty of snacks, the meal wasn’t great but we’d eaten already so if your fussy definitely take your own food & snacks. The flight was 5 hours 50 mins I’m nearly sure but it literally flew past. Definitely take fluffy socks , a travel pillow & an eye mask to help you sleep & sound eliminating earphones , you’ll sleep like a baby. Our flight was delayed leaving New York to Dublin & from New York to Las Vegas so 2 of our 4 flights were delayed so just be aware guys.
What airport did we fly into & how did we get into Manhattan?
United airlines only fly into Newark airport which is in New Jersey so you can either take a taxi , order a car , take the bus , Uber or the train. We took the airtrain from our terminal to Newark airport station & then the train onto Penn station , in total it costs $12-$13 & the great thing is there’s no traffic so it’s around 30 minutes into Manhattan.
Step by step instructions on how to take the train from Newark to NYC
To take the train from Newark Airport to Manhattan, once you land at Newark Airport, make your way through the terminal and follow the signs for the AirTrain. We landed at Terminal B, and it was quite clear where we needed to go. As we made our way through Newark airport towards the AirTrain, there was also a train ticket kiosk to purchase tickets.Continuing to follow the signs for the AirTrain led us to a waiting area that looked like this⬇️ we took Raillink train.
A few stops later, we were at the Newark Liberty Airport train station. There you will have to scan your ticket to go through the turnstiles. Once you do, you will get to a doorway that looks like this
You’ll use your ticket to scan through the turnstiles when going from Newark Airport into the Newark Liberty Airport train station and then AGAIN once you’re on your NJ Transit train, the conductor will come through the train asking to see tickets. You might think once you scan your ticket at the turnstiles that you won’t need it again but make sure to hold on to it!
Riding the NJ Transit train from Newark to Manhattan
Follow the signs to Tracks 1 / A where you will go downstairs and take the first NJ Transit train you see. Some Amtrak trains will also stop there, so make sure you’re on an NJ Transit train to get from Newark to Manhattan, or you’ll have to pay the Amtrak fare.
You will take the train for about 3-5 stations – first is NEWARK Penn Station – that is not the same as New York Penn Station, so don’t get off there! Really the train that goes from Newark Airport to Manhattan ends at New York Penn Station (NYP), so just wait till it ends. Again, that’s where most of the people will be getting off, so again, it’s a good policy to just follow the crowds.
Once you’re at New York Penn Station, just follow the signs out to the street and you will find yourself in the middle of Manhattan – between 7th and 8th Avenues and 31st and 33rd streets, where you can take a taxi, Uber, subway or walk to your final destination.
We got an Uber to our hotel, there’s WiFi pretty much everywhere in New York so just pop on & order your Uber. The traffic was insane when we got there, we spent 40 mins in the car , literally a 16 minute walk but we didn’t have our bearings yet so decided it was safer to Uber it.
What hotel did we stay in?
We stayed in the Edison hotel on 228 W 47th Street , literally just 2 minutes off Times Square. The hotel itself is in an amazing location, so central to pretty much everything & is surrounded by great restaurants & bars. The reception to the hotel is fabulous but the rooms themselves are quite dated if I’m honest . The bathrooms in particular were very bad but you don’t send much time in the rooms themselves so if you can get over that , then it’s a great place to stay . The Edison also have an Edison hour every Tuesday & Friday from 5pm, they have wine & snacks for free for all guests which is a nice touch .
How did we get around?
We took the subway pretty much everywhere & walked everywhere else. Please don’t be afraid of using the subway guys , the first time we went to New York we just used the hop on hop off bus to get around, total traffic nightmare. The subway is so easy to navigate once you get the hang of it , we used google maps & the NYC subway map to figure out what stop we needed to get off at . There’s free WiFi in most subway stations so you won’t be lost .It can be a bit confusing figuring out uptown & downtown, plus some entrances & exits are on different streets so just be wary of that , we did get caught once & took us so long to find the right station.
Definitely take full advantage of the subway because you’ll be walking so much , you don’t want to add unnecessary steps to your day.Although you might think that walking is a good idea (and you can see a lot), your feet will be killing you by the end of day 1. It’s good to see one neighborhood, hop on the train to the next, and then hop back on the train once you’re done.
We bought the unlimited 7 day pass for $33 at one of the kiosks , it definitely will save you a few $ because we used the subway at least 4 times a day .
How much spending money did we need ?
Well it depends on the type of holiday you’re looking for to be honest , you could spend anywhere from €500 to $3,000 . We brought about $2,000 each but we were flying into Vegas so all in all I spent about $600 in New York & we literally drank & ate everything, there was no holding back.
Obviously if you’re going to shop in jersey gardens or Woodbury Common then you’ll need to budget accordingly but we didn’t shop at all in New York. I really wanted to just spend the 3 days taking everything in & not in the shops .
Another thing you’ll need to budget for is the tipping you’ll be dishing out pretty much everywhere so be prepared for that . Also check out all the prices of attractions such as ice skating ⛸ or museums because they can add up quickly to.
What clothes did I bring?
This was one of the most asked questions, so we flew out on December 4th & we expected to absolutely freeze to death but we were pleasantly surprised. It actually wasn’t that cold at all , nothing like I was thinking anyways, but a hat , gloves & scarf were definitely needed. We got very lucky with the weather , every day was dry & the sun was shining so we were delighted. I wore jeans most days & a tight jumper , I find a tight polo neck the best for keeping you warm , baggy jumpers can let the breeze in underneath so even bring a tight t shirt to layer up on. I had a heavy fur coat to which definitely helped , my feet didn’t hurt at all , I wore a pair of boots I have ages so I knew my feet would be comfortable walking for long periods. Don’t wear new boots or runners , it’s the worst thing you can do , definitely break in anything you intend on wearing.
What did we do?
So we checked into our hotel around 2pm & basically freshened up & then heading straight out to Times Square. It was crazy busy & we were starved so we went to Black tap for a burger & there famous milkshakes.
I would highly recommend a visit to black tap , even just for a milkshake, they were delicious.
After we fuelled ourselves for the day we walked over to radio city & spotted some iconic Christmas decorations.
We headed to rockerfella to see the Christmas tree & to ice skate , it was so magical, literally like a fairytale. The ice skating cost about $84 for both of us , it’s the most expensive ice ring to skate on in New York but it was definitely worth it for us . Ice skating isn’t an easy task but stick with it , it takes a few Laps to get to grips with it , don’t be afraid to let go , it’s so much fun.
We finished the day off with a few pints in Connollys pub & headed off to bed.
We headed straight to Ellen’s Stardust Diner for breakfast at like 8am & there was no Queue but it got super busy right after that so definitely go early 🏻. Now down to my thoughts , ok so firstly it’s very pricey , for both of us it was over $100 for breakfast which is expensive, we order 2 pancakes,orange juice & 2 Bellini’s
. The food itself was mediocre at best , the pancakes were dry & hard & really bland , wouldn’t recommend at all , however the experience alone is worth going . I would just order an alcoholic drink next time & watch the performers become the food was just so awful . The staff waiting tables are all incredible singers & the atmosphere was next to none .
After Ellen’s we headed to battery park to catch the boat to Liberty Island & Ellis Island , we booked our tickets Here, we booked the pedestal tickets which we amazing , definitely book really early as they sell out so fast. The views were incredible & you get so close to Lady Liberty & you can go onto the museum to learn all about her construction & why she’s green.
We actually didn’t stop off at Ellis Island but there you can visit Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration its located in the Main Building of the former immigration station complex and tells the moving tales of the 12 million immigrants who entered America through the golden door of Ellis Island.
That evening we went for dinner in the Latitude bar , it was amazing. They have a happy hour Monday- Friday until 8pm (cocktails are delicious)which is perfect if you’re heading to a broadway show. I would highly recommend checking it out , the wings & crab cakes were so good .
After dinner we went to see wicked , which has been a dream of mine for a very long time , I was so excited. We booked our tickets through ticket master , they were about $130 each but totally worth it , it was incredible.
Definitely go see anything on broadway if you can , we’ve seen the lion king & wicked both were incredible. There are a few ways to get tickets discounted if you’re working on a budget, so you can enter the digital lottery Here , pop in all your details & cross your fingers. Another way to secure cheaper tickets is to queue for rush tickets. Rush tickets are sold on the day of the performance as soon as the box office opens, unless otherwise specified. Seat location varies with different shows. For more popular shows, anticipate a wait. Also note that some box offices only accept cash for rush tickets & usually you can buy these at the box office of the theatre. A third way to score discounted tickets is to download the tix today app & check out the discounts there. Lastly you can visit the TKTS stands , theres 3 in New York.
So we started day 3 bright & early & headed to an empty Times Square , it’s so amazing taking in all the lights with no one around, definitely one to put on your list .
After that We headed to Washington bridge to get that iconic picture, definitely go early, went at around 7am . It was the perfect time , there was only 1 or 2 people there .
Once we got the shot we headed to Katz deli , we’d seen it on man vs food & the sandwiches looked unreal.
The french toast & the pastrami sandwiches were delicious, we went at about 9am & it was quite busy already so I can only Imagine it at lunch time so definitely go good and early.
Basically we popped into China town to do a bit of shopping so if you’re looking for jewelry, handbags,sunglasses, watches, wallets, shoes, etc. walk along Canal Street between Broadway and Mulberry Street. You will have many shops to choose from. Don’t be shy about ‘haggling’ (negotiating) – try it and you may get a better deal. Don’t buy from the first person you come across , the deeper you go the better the bargains .
Now don’t get me wrong I don’t endorse buying counterfeit goods but I mean if you’re going to do it , there’s no better place.
We headed to radio city to see the Christmas spectacular with the rockettes . Ok so my take on this show , it was just ok , I didn’t love it . I’m just being honest , I know most people love it but for me I don’t feel like it’s a must see. I definitely can think of better things to do & see in NYC & better ways to spend your dollars , for me it was a bit dated . Don’t get me wrong the dancers were amazing & it was very festive but something we definitely could have skipped.
After the show we stopped in magnolia bakery to try the famous cupcakes & they did not disappoint , definitely pop in if you’re in the around . We took ours to have in Central Park , everything tastes better when this is your view.
Next up was ice skating in Central Park , yep we ice skated twice & it was amazing . Ice skating in Central Park is way cheaper than rockerfella so if you’re only doing one , definitely pick Central Park. Top tip definitely take extra pairs of socks & fluffy socks go keep your feet dry & warm because the skates can be quite uncomfortable & you will get wet feet .
The sun was just starting to set when we got on the ice & it was so beautiful, literally out of this world . We both had a rocky start but once you get into the flow of it you’ll be flying around the rink listening to the Christmas tunes , so idlic.
One of my favourite places in New York is definitely Central Park, we spent hours just wondering around, it’s so beautiful. Definitely dedicate some time to see all the sights here , Alice in wonderland, the friends fountain, the bridge in home alone , bolt the dog & so much more.
Tipping in US
Ok so tipping in the US is pretty much mandatory regardless of service quality because people working in the service industry rely heavily on tips as they as they are pretty much paid nothing . Some literally get pay checks with zero dollars on them so tipping is really important. In most restaurants there will be a recommendation of how much to tip on your bill but 20% of the bill is a good place to start so make sure you budget your cash accordingly as you’ll be tipping in every restaurant & for services in the hotels to.
Check out the highlights on my instagram
List of restaurants/snacks
Tick tok dinner
Shake shack again cos I loveeeee it
Bryant Park food stands
List of bars
230 rooftop bar
The dead rabbit
Beauty & Essex
Other things to do in New York
Boat ride in central park (weather permitting)
Empire State Building
Top of the rock
One world observatory
Visit the met museum
The high line
Grand central station
I hope you found this helpful and if you’ve any questions just pop them on over gals.
Enjoy your trip to New York ✈️🍎
Lorna Jane xxxx