Not too long ago I was rostered a flight to JFK. It’s actually been quite a while since I visited New York – the last time was Christmas 2017!
As always, I was so happy to be heading back to one of my favourite cities, and looking forward to catching up with my friends there.
We touched down in JFK early afternoon, but by the time we got through immigration and hit the New York traffic, it was nearly 5pm when I reached my room.
I showered and changed and headed straight back down to the lobby to meet my friend Stephen, who was there waiting for me.
We jumped on the subway and our first stop was a rooftop bar called 230 Fifth, where our other friend Colin joined us. The weather was absolutely perfect, and we managed to get a table right in the sun, overlooking the Empire State Building.
We enjoyed a couple of drinks and nibbles for happy hour, before taking a stroll past the Flatiron Building, to our next stop.
The boys had picked another awesome rooftop bar/restaurant called Eataly. Funnily enough we actually have an Eataly in Dubai, but it’s nowhere near as pretty as this one!
We shared some Italian food and had a drink each, but it was so jam-packed that we called it a day after one cocktail.
Our final stop for the night was an amazing little Italian restaurant called Piccola Strada. The boys picked this place out, and they actually took my best friend Lucy here when she was visiting New York last time (the four of us met when Lucy and I were interrailing around Europe 7 years ago!). I would highly recommend it, the food was just incredible.
All in all a great night catching up with friends, and enjoying some excellent food and drinks.
The next morning I was up early and ready for a day of exploring. For once my layover felt slightly longer than usual (it was 30 hours, but the wake-up call wasn’t until evening) so I had pin-pointed a few places I wanted to see.
First up though was breakfast, and I found a cute little café called Two Hands, which was easy to get to on the subway, and a walk through some of New York’s typical buildings.
My breakfast turned out to be more salad than eggs, but it was still pretty tasty! In the mood for something sweet, I decided to walk to another spot I’d seen online, Jack’s Wife Freda.
After my second breakfast I decided to continue my walk, and make my way through SoHo for a browse of the shops.
I managed to avoid doing much shopping, and kept on walking through the pretty tree-lined streets of Greenwich Village, heading slowly towards Chelsea Market.
Despite having been to New York quite a few times, I’ve not actually been to Chelsea Market before, so had a look around. It’s awesome inside, with loads of cool food stalls and boutique shops. Sadly I was still full from my double breakfast, so didn’t try anything this time!
After having a wander, I walked over to the High Line. The High Line is a 2,3km long elevated park which is built on a disused converted section of the New York Central Railroad line. It’s a pretty cool way to see the city.
At the end of the High Line, I reached “Vessel”, a new structure that just opened a couple of months ago. It has 16 floors and is 46m high, and you can climb the connected staircases inside to get to the top. There was quite a queue to climb it, so I decided to give it a miss this time.
Next up was something fun and unplanned – a trip to the Empire State Building! One of my lovely Instagram followers messaged me to say she worked in the building and we could go up to the top for free, so I jumped at the chance!
She met me after her lunch break (and after I’d stopped for a bagel – when in New York!) to take me up.
It was very cool being able to skip the line (especially as a huge group of at least 100 people arrived around the same time) and just head straight up to the top.
It was pretty windy at the top, and the sky was a bit grey and cloudy, but it was just awesome being able to check out New York from above! We wandered round, admiring the city from all angles. Thank you so much to Lauren for taking me up the Empire State!
Finally it was time to slowly start making my way back to the hotel to try and get in a quick sleep before the flight back.
Not without a walk through Times Square of course!
What a great layover in New York! It’s times like these when I realise just how lucky I am to get paid to travel the world, meet up with old friends, and re-discover some of my favourite places over and over again.