New York holds a special place in the hearts of us 80s and 90s kids. We grew up watching kids shows and films based in the city – Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Ghostbusters, Home Alone 2 – and as we got older we dreamed of living the New York City life whilst watching Friends and Sex and the City. It’s almost become a modern pilgrimage that every millennial should embark on at least once in a lifetime. It’s no surprise then that some of my favourite holiday memories are from my trip to NYC back in 2014.
We were to stay in downtown Manhattan at The New Yorker hotel. A historic jazz era, Art Deco hotel that was home to the brilliant Nikola Tesla; the man we have to thank for New York’s dazzling lights, and in fact almost every other modern invention in existence!
I’m always on the lookout for a bargain, especially when booking a holiday. So, when I spotted the 7 night trip at an all time low, I snapped it up! “Sure, it’s out of season,” I told myself about the February dates “but cities never really go out of season…”
It hadn’t dawned on me to check just why prices were so low for that week. Fast forward to day 3 of the trip when I found out that February on the East coast gets cooold!
New York Blizzards
We’d been greeted to the city with sunshine and blue skies, but sh*t was about to get real. A deadly snow storm was incoming and about to wreak havoc on the city. There was an upside to the blizzards though: There were barely any tourists, anywhere. Apart from Times Square, which is like Piccadilly Circus on steroids 100% of the time.
We wanted to see the bright lights of NYC in all their glory so decided to take a trip up the Empire State Building just before closing at around 12:30am. The place was empty. We rushed through the queuing area and took the lift with just one other couple. At the top, there were a few tourists huddled inside the building staying warm, so I took the opportunity to step outside and soak in the city alone. It was beautiful, deadly quiet and I felt like I had the entire view to myself. Fellow introverts, take note: The best way to see NYC is late at night!
On our final day we ventured in to the icy tundra that was Central Park. Again – apart from a few couples at the zoo, and a separate couple very passionately eating each others faces in the middle of the park (presumably for warmth) – we had the whole place to ourselves.
A Chilly Day Trip to DC
In order to cram as much in to the 7 days as possible, I booked a day return train ticket to Washington DC. “How much time do you need to look at a few monuments? This is more than doable in one day”. Oh naïve past-me.
I’d imagine in the warmer weather, a short trip to Washington DC would be easy. But in February the city seems vast, barren and grey. The monuments are a good distance from one another, and if you’re not used to cold weather you’re not going to have much fun. An organised day trip from NYC would have made more sense in that weather rather than going it alone.
That being said, if you don’t mind roughing it winter is a great time to travel by train in America. Their trains are warm and spacious and so snug. Travelling by train gives you the opportunity to see each city skyline up close, even if only for a few minutes.
The train journey from NYC to Washington DC was a real highlight of the trip. Taking the commute with people who work in the Capital, talking about work deadlines and their favourite sports and pizza gave a glimpse in to real life in the US. Between carriages was so cold that snow and ice built up in the train during our journey. I stepped off the train in to -14° weather. It was bitter cold and there was a moment whilst waiting for a bus when I thought I might freeze to death, but then we found a Shake Shack phew!
Anyone else feeling chilly after that? Hopefully you’ll be creating some top holiday moments of your own this summer, so why not check out the Personalised Photo Books from Truprint and create a unique album to look back on, or even give to family as a gift.