#9 Brooklyn Bridge

One sunny but cold afternoon, we walked to 486 meter walk over the East River, from Manhattan to Brooklyn, over the Brooklyn Bridge. It was awesome to walk over the iconic bridge which has featured in many films including I am Legend, The Avengers, and one of my favourites, The Dark Knight Rises.

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Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan

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Obligatory selfie in front of the Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the USA, and was under construction/maintenance while we were visiting. It still made for some fantastic views of both Manhattan and Brooklyn itself.

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One of my favourite photo’s from the Bridge

Aside from the stunning panoramic views, I also really loved the Love Lock; where people had written their names on padlock and forever chained it to the fence of the bridge. It’s a lovely trait, and something people can leave there forever.

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Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn

< #8 The Statue of Liberty

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#8 The Statue of Liberty

We of course took a boat trip around Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty herself. We took the boat trip at around sunset, so we had a glorious view of the New York skyline in the sun as we left, and a nice dusky view of the statue; both making for some lovely photos.

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zoe jack tom boat statue of liberty from a distance sunset statue of liberty tom    IMG_2943

It was really nice to see the big city from another angle; a little further out and from the water. After roaming around the streets of New York for a few days, it was a reminder of just how big the city and the skyscrapers are from a distance. Coming from a small town in England, it still amazes me just how huge the architecture is, no matter how many times I see it.DSCN0123

sky scrapers from boat

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The world famous statue, which was given to the USA as a gift from France, stands 93 meters from the ground to the top of the torch.

< #7 Food

#9 Brooklyn Bridge >

#7 Food

Having loved food, (mostly junk) since I was young, I had always wanted to visit America purely for their cuisine – and it did not disappoint! Almost everywhere we ate, the food was great. The McDonald’s menu wowed me and the amount of fast food joints over whelmed me – it was as if all my dreams were real!!

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One of my favourite photo’s from the whole trip; The classic yellow NYC taxi’s in front of my favourite place to eat, McDonald’s.

My favourite discovery was bacon, egg and syrup pancakes – and the fact that it was classified as a ‘breakfast’?! Oh yes. I’m not really a pancake lover and wasn’t sure these foods would go together, but how wrong was I?! It’s now a lifelong favourite for the first meal of the day, and knocks lemon and sugar, and Nutella out of the [Central] park when it comes to Pancake Day!!

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The portions were all huge in America and very reasonably priced! In other countries, I would enjoy trying the different tastes and flavours of the world, but being in America, I just wanted to eat the biggest, greasiest foods I could find – and I did by good measure!

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< #6 The Rockerfeller

#8 statue of liberty >

#6 Rockerfeller

Another movie classic tourist spot! We visited NYC in the first week of January, meaning all the Christmas decorations were still up! It was a massive bonus – even better when it was half the price to go just after New Year! So the Rockefeller Centre was dressed up just as beautifully and magically as in the movies.

The huge Christmas tree above the ice rink was just perfect. I didn’t go to the Top of the Rock, as I didn’t think the view would be much different – and certainly no better – than the Empire State. I do regret now though, not going up one of them in the dark! I can only imagine the views of the city lit up late at night, but I bet it’s spectacular. (This is one of my frustrations for not being more curious back then.)

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< #5 The 9/11 Memorial

#6 Food >

#5 The 9/11 Memorial

If you ever go to New York, you should absolutely visit and pay your respects to the 9/11 Memorial. It was the most powerful part of the whole trip of course, but also one of the most emotional, distressing, and upsetting places I’ve ever been in my life.

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The Ground Zero fountains themselves were beautiful, with the names of the victims engraved, but it was the ‘museum souvenir store’ which was the most moving. They have a TV with videos of survivors, victim’s family and fire fighter’s which just broke your heart to watch.

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There is a framed United States of America flag, named ‘The Flag of Honour’, embroidered with the name of each and every victim to the horrific tragedy the world saw back in 2001. There is another flag, ‘The Flag of Heroes’, embroidered with the name of every emergency service personnel who gave their life to save others.

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Being just 7 at the time of the attacks, I was interested to go and see for myself, the impact the attacks caused. What I learnt hit me harder than anything else. Seeing so many names, of poor innocent people including children, sends shivers down your spine. Your hair stands on end while watching the videos. The loss felt, not just in New York or even America, but the world on September 11th 2001, was greater than anything I’ve known.

Visiting the memorial and the museum was absolutely nothing to the pain and devastation felt by hundreds of people that day, but it was without a doubt an experience that will stay with me forever. It was over whelming, and heart rending.

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The touching and comforting thing about it was the strength and fearlessness the USA has shown since. The shop sold souvenirs such as t-shirts, sweaters and wrist bands, reading ‘United by Hope’.

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There was a lot of uproar after the “gift shop” opened, with many people saying it to be ‘completely insensitive’, however I think it is nice for visitors to be able to buy little things to show they care, and that the world they will never forget the fallen of 9/11.

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< #4 Times square

#6 The Rockerfeller >

#4 Times Square

I am very much a night person, so for me a lit up Times Square was just, wow.

The huge neon signs, the brightly lit, ever changing adverts on the big screens, the tourists with bags of shopping and camera flashes constantly going off, right down to the Disney characters and NYPD officers roaming around – nothing said New York more!

The first time I saw Times Square, it was surreal. Only in the big movies did I believe this place to be real. I have to say, it was smaller than I thought, but no less jaw dropping!! It is the heart of the city, with an electric current pulsing through, keeping it alive! There is a fantastic, excited energy in Times Square at night, an energy that out unfortunately lived ours!

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times square night time

< #3 Empire state building

#5 The 9/11 Memorial >

#3 Empire State Building

You cannot possibly visit the Big Apple without scaling the 86 (or 102) floors of the Empire State Building for one of the most amazing views I’ve ever seen! NYC is exciting enough, but from the top of the tallest building in America, it’s just breath taking! You can see for miles; the electricity racing through the heart of Manhattan, the tall and mighty buildings all around, the energy of the people walking down below.

It is truly incredible. Without a doubt one of the best things we did during the whole trip, and a view and a memory I will take to the grave! It’s ironic, the way you feel so small, tiny and insignificant while standing at the top of one of the most famous and momentous buildings in the world.

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#4 times square >

< #2 Central Park

#1 The New York Lifestyle

I thought I had seen busy; rush hour in London and other big cities in the UK, but nothing can compare to New York. It is constant; people are always on the move; Starbucks is always full of New Yorkers getting coffee’s to go; every block lined with the famous yellow taxi’s all day and night; the bright lights and noise just go on forever!

The general hustle and bustle of a typical day in New York is quite over whelming! Everything is fast and urgent – even when you’re walking along the sidewalk you’re always being over taken by people in suits and talking via Bluetooth headpieces. I got a strong feel of deadlines and efficiency, and maybe that’s why New York is arguably the best city in the world.

I really loved the busyness of New York; the on-the-go lifestyle and the 24/7 functionality, but if you lived there, i definitely think a quiet relaxing holiday will be needed every now and then!

new york city streets

#2 Central Park >

2014 Best Bits Video

Thank you to everyone who supported and enabled me to have the best year of my life! A massive thank you too, to everyone who came to see me! Had some amazing times with some fantastic people and made some of the best memories! Bring on 2015! These are some of my favourite photo’s from 2014!