Finally! Our month in the USA has arrived and we’re so excited! We absolutely love NYC (who doesn’t?) and when we told my parents we were coming here, mum was straight on the web, searching for cheap flights. Fast forward 10 months and here we are, Sam, me, Mum and Dad all together in an apartment for a week- surely there would be some arguments? Tension? Frustration? Well, surprisingly, not really.
Sam and I flew over to stay with some friends who live out in Westchester for a few days. We had such a great time, eating so much, visiting cute little towns, hiking and hanging out with the ever adorable Valerie, their 1 year old daughter. Josh and Steph have the most beautiful house and gave us so much to aspire to in the future!
Then it was time to head to Brooklyn to meet Mum and Dad Dixon. The apartment we’re staying in is fantastic, it’s just that we’re so far away from tourist central- it’s around an hour to Grand Central and Sam and I quickly realised (reluctantly) that our days of siestas were over. There’s no point in coming back during the day when it would take so long to get back into the city.
Dad has never been to NYC before and it became apparent very early on that his mind was blown. In a good way. I thought his head was going to explode when we got to Times Square. Again, in a good way.
We’ve walked non stop for almost a week, so much that on a night we were exhausted and had to go to bed by 10pm pretty much every night. Obviously we’ve done all the touristy stuff- Empire State, Central Park, Rockefeller, Greenwich, Times Square, UN, Statue of Liberty etc but we’ve also done some really amazing things that, unless friends had recommended them, we would never have considered. We took a tour through the 9/11 Tribute Center, with 2 firefighters who were on duty during 9/11- it was amazing, in a very sobering way and I think was Dad’s highlight of the trip.
We also took a free guided tour of the NY Library- so so interesting and even better after the 3 glasses of wine consumed in the Oyster Bar at lunch.
We spent a day in Brooklyn- Coney Island, Williamsburg (amazing bars,) Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope. What an incredible place! Brooklyn is gigantic and we could have easily spent a week exploring it without even stepping into Manhattan. Shamefully we didn’t even get to the other boroughs- there was just no time. We wanted to get upto Harlem on Sunday to see the gospel choirs but again, there was just no time.
Our friend Josh works at Google, so Sam got to go for a tour- he came back incredibly depressed because he doesn’t work there. Just look how happy he is:
One thing we’ve been surprised by is the incredible diversity of NYC- the food (oh god, the food,) architecture, neighbourhoods and open spaces. I don’t even want to think about how much weight we’ve put on- it’s so bloody difficult to say no to anything! From amazing steaks, to yummy brunches to delicious bagels and pretzels, we’ve been so spoilt. Yes it’s pricey, but double yes, it’s worth it.
We did find the 18-20% service a little steep but it’s all about what you’re used to- I think if we had that in HK or London, we’d be used to it too. For the most part, service has been pretty decent so I didn’t mind too much.
Tomorrow, Mum and Dad fly back to UK and Sam and I take the bus down to DC to hang out with the lovely Casey, Dani and Nick, all of whom we met travelling over the past few years.
Sam and I found out last night that Kanye was playing a ‘secret’ gig fairly near to where we’re staying. For about 10 seconds we considered it.
Then we realised it wasn’t starting until 2am.
Kanye, you’re entertaining in a what’s-he-said-now-way, but really, 2am?! No thanks.