New York Day 1: Times Square

Times Square

Our day started off with a 05:30 alarm, usually I’d say that’s way too early for a Sunday, but we had a flight to New York to catch! Check in and security were a breeze, although we did have to chuckle at the guy trying to take a blender in his carry on luggage…

Starting as we meant to go on; we had an American breakfast before we boarded the flight. If you’re ever at Heathrow terminal 3 at breakfast time, check out the bridge restaurant, I was really impressed with my bacon, sausage, egg and pancakes. The flight passed quickly, the inflight entertainment on the A330 was much better than on Virgins A340s which they use for the Heathrow to Tokyo route. I was even able to text my Dad from 37,000 feet above the Atlantic. Following the sad news of Paul Walker’s death I decided to watch Fast & Furious 6, which has been one of my favourite films of 2013. As the plane approached JFK I had a great view over Long Island and then caught a glimpse of the iconic manhattan skyline in the distance; time to start getting excited!

We’d been dreading immigration at JFK, as we’d heard a lot of bad things, but it was a really efficient system – much more so than Tokyo or Heathrow. We got a bus from outside the terminal to Grand Central station, one block away from our hotel. Again the excitement grew as we caught sight of that famous skyline getting nearer (and seeing all the American cars/trucks in my case).

In all, it took us less than 2 hours from touching down to checking into the Library Hotel, our base for the week.

Our room, (themed on dewy decimal code 1000.003 – encyclopaedias) is small, but well equipped. Free afternoon cheese and wine is a nice touch too! Based on our experience so far I’d recommend it to anyone visiting New York.

Due to jetlag, double jetlag (I was still in Japan 3 days ago) in my case, we didn’t want to venture too far from the hotel, so took a stroll down to Times Square, with neon signs, tourists, hot dog sellers and hundreds of yellow cabs it is exactly like New York on TV – a great way to start the trip. After Times Square we checked out Grand Central station, which exceeded all expectations. I’m not sure if it has been done up for its centenary year, but it is immaculate, the sort of station I’d image the Flying Scotsman or Orient Express to call at – despite being a commuter station. My thoughts go out to those involved in the crash this morning on their way in to Grand Central station.

We finished off the day with an amazing burger and milkshake at Shake Shack in Grand Central station (ironically we were served by a girl from Northampton) and then an early night, before sight seeing starts in earnest tomorrow!