Day 1, 21st April

The start was ridiculously early. Like way way too early. We got up around 4am to get to the airport for 5.30am. Stupid-o’clock. 4am is 11pm NYC time the day before. The flight was ok. I’m on the return flight now – so don’t want to jinx it – but the flight over was ok right up to the descent. Which was terribly turbulent and I hated that last 15 mins of a 7hr 42min flight. Even Shelly hated it, so it must have been bad!

BUT you could see all over Manhatten island and all the skyscrapers. Shelly could even see the Statue of Liberty, but I had bits of the plane in the way. It looked amazing. Once I got my legs back and could walk again, we walked through the glass terminal at Newark. It was great. You could see the manhattan skyline off in the distance and it was all hazy and everything I expected it would be. It was strangely emotional to finally see it. All those hopes and dreams that were dashed in more ways than one, finally culminating in me getting there. No alcohol, no drugs and more importantly no tears on the flight! A fantastic achievement!

When we got through the (hideous) queues at Homeland Security we almost had a ‘Patsy and Eddie’ moment on the baggage carousel. For some reason our cases came out on top of others, meaning we had to lean right over the carousel and try to drag the cases off. In our (partly) sleep-deprived delirium, the idea of being dragged along the carousel in an ‘ab-fab’ style was forefront in our minds! Luckily, that didn’t happen.

We took the bus out to Manhattan island. It was great to see that famous vista get closer and closer. The ticket seller for the bus was a ‘traditional’ New Yoick voice. The kind they show in the movies, but you think no one actually has. But they do! The bus went through the Lincoln Tunnel and it seemed to be endless. Mostly because the traffic was really stop/start. What was really interesting to see was that the terrain of New Jersey and New York seemed to be quite rocky in places and had buildings sort of on rock faces. This was a real surprise. I mean, I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t that! We got dropped off the bus at the port terminal. Crazy. Just crazy. I can’t say anything else to describe what it was like. We had to fight our way through crowds of people and resist the urge to jaywalk, just to get off the main thoroughfares. With cases it was impossible to walk properly. Once you get off Eighth Ave it’s much quieter and was much more normal.
We found the hotel fine. It’s just on the edge of the main stuff. This was a bonus, as we were like rabbits in headlights when we arrived. Being somewhere a bit more on the outskirts was certainly perforable to being in the centre of it all.

Our room was on thte fifth floor. This turned out to be fab. We had the best view of the skyline and could see the Empire State building really well (at least on days when the magic wore off that hid it in huge amounts of mist and cloud, like we’d said the wrong word, so it had just disappeared for the sake of it. The Chrysler building was particularly like this).

We dropped our stuff off and decided to head out to Times Square. This was a nice easy walk, but may have been a mistake for a couple of new arrivals. We’re both city girls and are used to metropolises more than most (I’m really happy in London and Nottingham isn’t exactly small) but this was on a whole new level. It was like Oxford street the week before Christmas on speed! Sooooooo many people, so many lights, so much noise. It was both an assault and an insult to the senses. We couldn’t spend too long in Times Square, it was all too much. So we decided to walk back up to the Rockefeller Centre as we figured that would be a bit less bonkers. It was still crowded, but it was much better. The ice rink was still in place and people were still skating on it (up until the end of April I believe). I understand that FOUR proposals a day happen on the rink!

We had a wander around the buildings taking in the architechture and scale (and a few shops – like the MoMA one). There were a few restaurants/steak bars in that area – so we headed to somewhere called Ted’s Montana Grill. They had a happy hour on, so we indulged in a Margherita (or 2) to try to knock some of the wobble off our legs from all the travelling (well, that was our excuse). Nice salmon caesar salad (not much out in the US for veggies – so thank goodness for the fish!). Then we did a little bit of shopping out on Fifth Ave (fantastic!) but soon got tired out (pushing clock back 5 hours meant 9pm in NY was 2am really for us – so we did well staying up that late). Bought lots of caffeine free Coke and water in effort to rehydrate and went back to the hotel. Intention was to go to Times Sq when it was all lit up – but felt it was too much for the first day.

An amazing place – it certainly never sleeps (thank goodness I took earplugs) and the noise is constant. But incredible!

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