Posted in New York 2018

13th February 2018 (Day 5)-New York Public Library, Empire State Building and 9/11 Museum

A packed day coming up today but we started in New York style with coffee and doughnuts from Dunkin’ Doughnuts and a walk to 42nd Street.

New York Morning

Our first stop was at the New York Public Library.

New York Public Library

Our plan had been to just pop in and have a little look, and maybe find where the ghosts were, but one of the extremely friendly security staff said we couldn’t come in with a child without visiting the children’s library. So we went down to the basement to find it. They had a little display there of the original Winnie the Pooh toys, so we got a photo with a book for Rosemary’s “Reading in Unusual Places” challenge.

Winnie the Pooh

It was then a relatively short walk to our next place, which was the Empire State Building.

Empire State Building

The building itself is an amazing Art Deco construction and decorated to match. But the views from the observation deck are hard to beat.

Empire State Building
Empire State Building
Empire State Building
Empire State Building

Rosemary was somewhat obsessed with the binoculars and we had a hard time pulling her away from them when we decided to leave after being up the top for quite some time just enjoying the views.

Empire State Building

We grabbed a burger and a drink at Wendy’s and couldn’t resist this classic New York scene.

Steam Vents

We then headed back the Freedom Tower for a visit to the 9/11 museum. Our last visit to New York ended on 10th September 2001, so when we got home to the UK it was 9/11. So we have always been very aware of the events of that terrible day. A visit to the museum therefore seemed very appropriate, and although it may have been a little scary for Rosemary we had explained it all to her beforehand.

Before going in we spent some time at the pools which mark the sites of the towers and have the names of all the victims of the attack.

Twin Tower Pools and Memorial

The museum is very impressive and the space it occupies is also amazing in it’s vastness. We decided that some areas weren’t really appropriate for Rosemary to visit though as they were potentially too scary due to the realness of it all. So we focused more on the construction of the Twin Towers.

The visit was quite emotional in many ways, especially as how close we had come to actually being in New York that day.


We spent a little while longer at the site. It was dark by the time we came out and it was nice to see the area in darkness.

But Rosemary was definitely getting tired by this time so we headed back to Times Square again (as it was the best place to connect to the shuttle which ran from Times Square to Grand Central Station and then walk from there back to our hotel). So we stopped off for food and drinks at Red Lobster.

Red Lobster and Cocktails
Posted in New York 2018

12th February 2018 (Day 4)-Liberty and Ellis Islands

We headed down Manhattan to get the ferry over to Liberty Island this morning, a trip which has to be a must-do for any visit to New York. It was a cold start though and the wind was really whipping across the river as we made our way over on the boat. And even once over on Liberty Island it was still very windy.

Downtown from Liberty Island
Downtown from Liberty Island

And we got our first proper look at the Statue of Liberty.

Statue of Liberty

There was quite a lot of construction work going on at the site so some of the normal views had barriers in the way. I think it was for a new visitors centre.

The entrance to the statue herself is through the museum, which has lots of interesting artifacts there on the history of the construction of the statue and how it has changed over the years. This included the original torch, which was lit and you could even go onto the viewing platform that surrounded it. Must have caused massive vertigo.

The original torch

There was also the full size model of the face. This isn’t actually quite as large as we were expecting.

Face of Liberty

We walked around the viewing areas outside as we didn’t get a ticket for the top. They were already sold out for the day when we got there, but even if not I’m not sure we would have gone up. The walk up the spiral staircases looks somewhat terrifying.

View up the stairs

As we went out we were really blown about and Rosemary got somewhat battered by the wind.

That’s some strong wind

After our tour of the museum we got some lunch in the cafe (which was actually very nice) and during that time the weather improved greatly and we had clear blue skies and very little wind. We’d also picked up a classic Statue of Liberty souvenir, which we had to get into some photos.


The ferry from Liberty Island takes you to Ellis Island, which is where vast numbers of immigrants to the US arrived and the halls there would process them.

Ferry from Liberty Island

The ferry does give some fantastic views of the Downtown area, including Freedom Tower which we had been to 2 days ago.

Views of Downtown

The main hall on Ellis Island is an amazing building and is part of the National Parks, as is Liberty Island.

Ellis Island

The building is an extremely good museum, with lots of history but told from the perspective of the individual people arriving to America.

Ellis Island Reception Desk

Our trip finished with getting the ferry back to Battery Park and it was already nearing sunset, and we had put in a lot of steps already during the day. So we headed to a nearby Subway station to go back to the hotel and have some dinner near there.

But we did spot the building where the Men in Black have their headquarters. But we couldn’t get access….

Men In Black HQ

We had dinner at a very nice Italian restaurant not far from our hotel, with pizza and pasta for dinner.

Posted in New York 2018

11th February 2018 (Day 3)-Natural History Museum

On our third day in New York we decided to take things a bit easy and revisited the Natural History Museum, which hadn’t really been our plan anyway the day before and we’d gone because the weather had turned a bit rainy and even some snow.

So after some breakfast we got the subway to the Upper Westside to the Natural History Museum. We could take our time a bit today and wanted to visit some of the areas we didn’t get a chance to go to the previous day.

Natural History Museum

We started the day in the area with the planetarium and lots of displays about the Earth and the planets.


They had an amazing meteor which is made of iron. Wouldn’t have liked to have been anywhere near where this landed!

Huge Meteor

We also visited the marine galleries where they have a giant blue whale hanging from the ceiling.

Giant Blue Whale

We also wanted to find the Easter Island statue that you see in Night at the Museum. After a little while we did find Dum Dum.

Dum Dum

While we were in the museum we did stop in their cafe to have some snacks but also had a relaxed time walking around the museum. We couldn’t resist taking some more photos with the dinosaurs in the entrance though.


Once we were done and we left we headed to Times Square again for some dinner and some selfies.

Times Square
Times Square

A relaxing and non-stressful day.

Posted in New York 2018

10th February 2018 (Day 2)-One World Observatory and Natural History Museum

Our first morning in New York and Rosemary decided the view from the window was better than putting the TV on.

Taking in the view

After unpacking a bit more we headed out to get some breakfast and after asking at the front desk were recommended John’s Coffee Shop, which was just a short walk from the hotel.

Pancakes for breakfast

I’d prebooked some of our trips during our stay and this morning was the first one with a visit to the One World Observatory at the top of the Freedom Tower. To get there we took the short walk to 42nd Street and headed to Grand Central Station to get the subway. There is a short link from there to Times Square which proved really handy for us as it just goes between the two.

Grand Central Station

And we then got the subway for the first time heading downtown.

One the subway

Don’t recall now which station we got the subway to but we had a short walk through the back streets to the Freedom Tower and got our first sight of it on the way. For something so large you’d think it would be hard to miss but it was hidden behind the tall buildings.

Freedom Tower

We had an entry time booked and we were allowed up the tower, ears popping on the way.

One World Observatory

The views from the observatory were pretty amazing even though the weather wasn’t ideal with some low cloud and a little bit of rain.

Brooklyn Bridge
Looking towards Liberty Island
Looking Uptown

The glassfloor is a bit of a cheat as it’s actually TV screens (as there isn’t a part which overhangs) but still makes you feel super dizzy and gives the sensation of vertigo.

Don’t look down!
Compulsory Selfie

After a couple of hours the weather started to turn and the clouds rolled in along with the rain. So we decided to head out and get some lunch. We went down the lift and into the Occulus, which is the shopping centre located underneath the tower. It’s a pretty amazing place in it’s own right.

The Occulus

We had some sushi and then a Starbucks while deciding what to do for the afternoon. As the weather wasn’t so great and there was actually a little bit of snow falling we decided to go the Natural History Museum.

Welcome to Jurassic Park

There was a massive queue to get in as clearly a lot of other people had the same idea as we did, but eventually we got in and headed to see the dinosaurs (along with everyone else). It is one of the most impressive collections though.

Shock and awe
Not a dinosaur but a very impressive fossil regardless

We spent a good few hours in the museum before wanting to get some food. Just time to see some more skeletons.

We took the subway to Times Square, where we could link up to the shuttle to Grand Central station, but got out to get some food.

Subway to Times Square
Times Square

An amazing first day in New York.

Posted in New York 2018

9th February 2018 (Day 1)-A Surprise Trip

This isn’t a Disney adventure but it is a big trip, and certainly an adventure.

So, about 9 months previously I booked a surprise trip for Julia’s birthday. Neither she nor Rosemary knew where we were going to but had convinced themselves that we were going to Disneyland Paris.

So we arrived at Heathrow in the very early morning, packed for weather similar to the UK in February (their only clue) and got the bus from the long term parking.

Bus to the airport

I had already checked in online so just needed to print luggage tags, which I went off and did myself before dropping the luggage and we went and got some breakfast and then headed to the gate.

Heading to the gate

And it was there that the secret was finally revealed that we were going to New York and we boarded what was a much longer flight than they thought they would have.

On board and ready to fly.

We had a nice smooth flight and after 7 hours (or so) we could see the coast and then the skyline of Manhattan.

Nearly there
Manhattan from the air

I’d prebooked a airport drop off in Manhattan at our hotel and we picked that up and headed off through Queens and Brooklyn and eventually across the river.

On the way from the airport

Our driver unfortunately thought we were going to a different hotel and drove us all round, at least we got a free tour, before eventually we got to our hotel, the One UN just by the United Nations.

Our room was a long way up the tower and looking into the island so we had an amazing view.

View from our hotel

But it had been a long day and an early start, and it had taken much longer to get from the airport than I had thought. So we just decided to grab something to eat (a burger from Five Guys) and head to bed so we could get an early start tomorrow.