You’re probably a bit like eff off Hannah and stop talking about New York and this damn competition, but no, I’m still stuck in this NYC bubble where if I don’t actually go I might burst into a zillion tiny pieces.
First off – the competition. There’s two parts to it, firstly you have to vote for your favourite blogger (there’s 19 of us and a leaderboard you can follow obsessively) and one of us will win the Aer Lingus competition to become their official blogger which means a trip to NYC with a plus one and £1000 spending money. Fabulous.
Secondly, every time you vote for one of us (I mean ideally, you’d be voting for me because NEW YORK, NEW YORK) you get entered into a separate prize draw to win the exact same prize – that dreamy trip to the Big Apple.
In order for the entry to count you HAVE to choose Dublin as the fastest route to NYC because it actually is – you can get cleared to pass customs when you go via Dublin which means no lengthy two hour queue to get interogated after stepping off a 7-hour flight (which is killer because NO MOBILE PHONES). And you have to Tweet the link out. So yup, go, go, fly my pretties. Go win us both a seriously sassy trip of a lifetime.
You’ve got until Thursday 26th March at 11am!
OK, so I’ve been to New York a *few* times before, and if you’ve read this post you’ll understand how soul-destroyingly magical it is and why I absolutely have to go again. At least once a year until I die, ideally.
Here’s the very best stupidly perfect things to do whilst you’re out there…
1. Go to Toys ‘R’ Us in Times Square and pretend you’re about 8 again. It’s even more enchanting that you can even imagine. Picture life-size dinosaurs, an indoor ferris wheel and a counter crammed with the biggest and brightest and most drool-worthy cupcakes of all time. Plus, you can customise your own watches and there’s like 75825678 Barbies and OMG you could literally lose days in there, even as an adult. I’m serious. It’s fascinating and colourful and brilliant.
2. Take a 6am walk when your jet lag is being seriously killer. Because that will happen, your body thinks it’s like 11am and is like GET THE EFF OUT OF BED YOU MORON. So you have to. I did a 6am walk around 5th Ave and the outskirts of Central Park with a coffee (because obvs Starbucks was open) on a Sunday and it was everything. Literally one of my favourite ever NYC memories and I was totally alone. It’s just so overpowering and I think I might cry as I’m typing this. You get to see a totally different side to New York – I saw NYPD officers practicing bagpipes for a march, it was bizarre and incredible.
3. Visit a flea market. I went to this one in Brooklyn and bought an AMAZING £2 scarf (which I’ve now lost, sob) and some vintage prints, but there was tons more I could have splashed out on. It’s also nice to get out of the touristy 24/7 atmosphere of Manhattan and see somewhere a bit more real. We actually walked over to Williamsburg whilst here (the flea market used to be held somewhere a bit further out) and OMG so different, so hip and ghetto and up and coming like east London.
4. Top of the Rockerfeller by day and Empire State by night. They’re not far away from each other but it’s definitely worth doing both because the views feel very different and OMG, you could never grow old of seeing everything from that high up. You can get city passes that cover both of them and it also includes some other city attractions like museums and such. The view by day is magical, but the view by night will make your belly go all funny and you might feel a bit emosh and no photos will EVER do it justice, not ever. You’ll immediately want someone, anyone, to propose to you because it is new-level perfect.
5. Get a cheap mani-pedi. In the UK you can expect to fork out like £60 on a spa pedicure and manicure but in the States it isn’t like that. I got a gel mani for £18, and I’ve had a whole mani pedi including like tackling my dry heels for £30. I’ve been back to this place a couple of times as it’s mega cheap and they have EVERY COLOUR IN THE WORLD. Just don’t forget to tip 20% otherwise it gets awkward.
6. Get a McDonald’s. I mean, this is important wherever you visit because it’s vital you test out the different menus and compare it against home, but seriously, get one here. For starters, they’re really big, like stupidly impressively big, and there’s even a branch down in the Financial District that has a grand piano in it, because why the heck not. Just be careful with what words you use to order – a double cheeseburger and chips will get you a double cheeseburger with tortilla chips stuffed inside. True story. And a lemonade will not get you a Sprite, it’ll get you a weird pink frozen drink. So yeah, FRIES GUYS.
7. Nintendo store. I mean, this is obvious if you’re me, but it sells all the good stuff. Classic pokemon toys, Princess Peach mugs, Super Mario pyjama bottoms, wallets with the triforce symbol on. All the good stuff that like number 1, will make you drift straight back to your childhood in the best possible way.
8. Go to Olive Garden. You’ve probably heard of this through American TV serieses – it’s like an Italian chain restaurant out there. I remember it being vaguely nice and vaguely cheap and bang right in the middle of Times Squsre, so it’s a good lunch fallback spot. The main reason you should go? They sell Italian Margaritas, which are probably the best cocktail ever known to man. Picture a sweet and crisp, refreshing margarita and then add a shot of Amaretto. Oh boy. Oh boy boy boy.
9. Get pancakes and french toast and bacon and berries and whipped cream and syrup and EVERYTHANG for breakfast. Yeah sure, you might get the worst sugar come down known to man, but there’s cupcakes and cheesecakes everywhere in New York to up your sugar again when it dips too low. Breakfast at American diners is like nothing anywhere else. We went to Tick Tock diner a couple of times back in 2013 and it was cheap and FULL of locals having early morning business meetings, plus I love the way the staff just top up of your coffee as they’re flying about. It feels SO New York. Plus, it’s next to Penn Station in Midtown and is pretty close to everything.
And then yeah, do all the obvious things. Take a boat cruise and marvel at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Visit Little Italy and Chinatown. Eat cheesecake slices as big as your face in Cheesecake Factory. Visit the World Trade Center memorial site and marvel at the glossiness and giganticness of World Trade One. Sit in Starbucks just for the free WIFI to upload everything to Instagram. LIVE THE ABSOLUTE FRICKING AMERICAN DREAM.
Oh, and VOTE, VOTE, VOTE HERE