New York - Central Park, 5th Avenue and Top of the Rock

This is the first of my New York photos posts even though we've been back over two weeks. I was expecting to have time to get organised when we came back, before starting work again, but that didn't quite good to plan (more on that later).

Thursday 31st March
 We both woke up on the first day in New York at 6am. Not so much jetlag but our bodies just wouldn't let us sleep any longer. This turned out to be quite a good thing as we had plenty of time to get going. We booked our bus tickets before we left for New York and wanted to go and collect them from the Grayline Bus Office so we'd be ready for Friday. We chose the FreeStyle Bundle which included 3 days tour, 3 free attractions, free museum entry and Hop-On Boat trip. Let's just say it was worth every penny. We barely had to spend any more money on tourist attractions.

View from our hotel

Times Square is the centre of New York for most tourists and we couldn't wait to have another look. It's amazing how different it is at 9am to 9pm. We got a good look around without many people being about and had someone offer to take a photo of us which was a nice start. First thing in the morning would be quite a good time to get some shopping done.

Times Square in the morning

On the steps at Times Square

Our next stop was the Rockefella Center. Top of the Rock was one of the attractions and we wanted to see if we could book the sunset time slot. 9am was one of the best times to go. The queue was tiny and apparently we were super lucky, and should have gone to buy a lottery ticket, because we managed to get tickets for 6pm. This meant we'd see the skyline in daylight, sunset and darkness if we stayed long enough. There's no time limit on your visit so if you're looking for a good time in Spring I recommend 6pm.

The Rockefella Center

The Easter Channel Garden at Rockefella 

We had a quick look around the Rockefella Center including a peak at the filming across the road at NBC and the Easter decorations nearby. Then it was time to wander along Fifth Avenue on our way to Central Park. I didn't quite have the budget for 5th Avenue this early in the trip but Tiffany's is well worth a visit, even just to window shop! We also went into the Apple Store just to say we'd been in and for a little bit of free Wifi. Just before Central Park is The Plaza Hotel from Home Alone 2. We went in but were chased by security because of the big camera around my neck. Felt a bit like a Kevin moment.

Tiffany's on Fifth Avenue

The Lake in Central Park

and The Pond 

Sitting in the castle in Central Park

Gossip Girl wedding venue

Central Park is huge. You could spend all day wandering around the paths and over the bridges. There's a petting zoo for kids and a regular zoo there too. There's lots of famous places like the boat pond from Stuart Little, the fountain from Friends and the Bethesda Terrace from the Gossip Girl wedding and Home Alone 2. I highly recommend getting a hold of a map. There's lots of volunteers who are there to help and can give you some advice and a free map. There's also a ice skating rink which I think is a bit cheaper than the Rockefella one.

Beside the Central Park Ice Rink

If there's one thing I could recommend to someone visiting New York for the first time it would be; go to the Top of the Rock. The views are amazing and if you're looking for the famous New York skyline this is where you'll find it. It's a busy place but it's good that you go and book a time slot so you don't waste too much time queueing. There's not a lot of places to sit if you're trying to let time pass (or for the sun to disappear and lights to start turning on). The glass screens can sometimes leave a bit of a glare in photos so it's worth being patient and taking a photo in the gaps.

A quick pose with the viewfinder

Empire State Building at sunset

The 2 of us at the Top of the Rock

New York at night - lights galore

Our first night finished with a meal in Juniors just off Times Square. It was really busy and we ended up sitting at the bar to avoid waiting in a 20minute queue. If it's only 2 of you I recommend it. Being able to chat to the staff and have instant refills was quite cool. My intention was to have a small dinner and then get their famous cheesecake. Unfortunately it didn't quite work out like that and cheesecake was added to our 'To Do List' for later in the week. After an early start and 40,000 steps we were ready for bed by 11pm. It was a good job Yotel had a super comfy bed!

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