We flew to Los Angeles with Qantas on their A380. Our seats were up in the bubble at the top of the plane in 33 AB. I would definitely recommend booking seats here as the configuration was only 2-4-2 and we only had 1 row in front of us and nothing behind us, so we could recline without feeling rude! There are only about 6 rows of economy class in the bubble, therefore service was great and rarely a line up for the toilet.
Los Angeles to New York was the shorter flight on the dream liner, the seats felt smaller however the configuration was 3-3-3 so it was probably because we had someone next to us for that sector. Los Angeles was our first arrival point within the US, so we had to go through customs there and picked up our bags. Customs was busy and slow; the next flight was delayed (luckily) but still waited for us!
We flew into JFK Airport in New York. To get a cab to anywhere in Manhattan it is a flat rate of $52 USD + tolls + tip. There are a lot of private cars who charge a much higher prices, they try to get you to go with them, so you must be firm that you want the yellow cab only to get the flat rate.
We stayed at The Wellington Hotel which was a great location, 5-minute walk to Times Square, Central Park, Columbus Circle and about 10 minutes to Rockefeller centre. My friends stayed at The Hudson and they had smaller rooms, their hotel was close to Columbus Circle, however they were about 5 minutes further than us from everything and our hotel was cheaper! We stayed on the 8th Floor and could still hear the constant traffic and sirens clearly, so a higher floor would be a good option however, some days the wait for the lift was very long or would be full so we would take the stairs down. There is an old-fashioned diner underneath our hotel which was usually busy, breakfast here looked okay but more expensive than options across the road or nearby, so we ventured elsewhere for breaky.
We hired a driver for a private tour which was good, we could jump out whenever and not worry about parking or catching cabs. The driver was very knowledgeable, and as this was our first day, he took us on a full tour around Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. He explained how the streets worked which was helpful for the rest of the trip. We touched on lots of things such as: Walk through Central Park, saw the “Friends” building, went to Dumbo, Brooklyn Bridge, did a short walk on the high line, Wall street, Ground Zero (9/11), Katz’s deli for a takeaway lunch, Rockefeller centre and many more sites and building along the way.
As we were only there a short time, we wanted to squeeze in a lot in the time we had -and we did!
We saw a play on Broadway, the New York Knicks playing basketball at Madison Square Gardens, an Ice Hockey game at Madison Square Gardens, went up the Empire State Building, Ice- skating at Rockefeller Centre, walked the Brooklyn Bridge, walked the high line, 9/11 memorial museum, had cocktails at Rainbow Room (65 floor of Top of the Rock – must book in advance) plus lots of shopping.
A few tips-
- I would definitely recommend an ice hockey game if it is the right season, the crowd and atmosphere was crazy. It was one of the highlights of the trip.
-Empire State Building we went in the afternoon which was a great time to go. Considering the NYC Marathon was the next day we expected it to be packed but we didn’t have to line up at all, it only took about 15 minutes to get up the top from the point of buying the tickets at the door.
- Ice skating at Rockefeller Centre was great. Again, we didn’t pre-book and just turned up, we started lining up for the general section and then released it wasn’t that much difference in price to go to the VIP section. This was so worth it. We had a concierge to store our bags, free coffees and hot chocolates and it was basically empty so had plenty of room.
- There is Wi-Fi everywhere, due to our short stay we didn’t worry about international sim cards and when wandering around the city and figuring out how to get back to our hotel we could easily connect to wi-fi somewhere and google the directions.
- Shake Shack. I 100% recommend this, they call it the “In n out” for New York. It is a burger joint at a few locations throughout NY. All the stores have a line up, but the lines move fast, and the food is so good!
New York is huge, and in our short time (7 days) we barely scratched the surface. There is still a lot we want to see but ran out of time and we were exhausted every night. I can’t wait to visit again. My boyfriend also surprised me with a marriage proposal in Maddison Gardens Park, near the Flatiron building so it is a trip that will always be special to me.