Wednesday, 9 July 2014

New York Trip of a Lifetime with my Sis !

Can't believe it's now July!! Where has this year gone??
So much has happened since my last post in March. We have moved into our beautiful new house, I have been to New York for my son's wedding, and I have started my new job.
It has been so mad that I haven't really had time to blog, but now that things are starting to calm down a bit I decide it was time to get blogging again. I have really missed it, and it's a great way of recording life events, a bit like an online diary that is so cool to look back at, and nice to share.
So to get me back into writing I have decided to use this first one to record my wonderful trip to New York at the end of march :0)

I met my sister Jo at Heathrow airport and we flew Club Class to New York. We had access to the executive lounges which were amazing. You just helped yourself to anything you felt like to eat and drink. The flight was excellent too and we had so much fun. We arrived at our apartment early evening.  Our apt was in Park Slope, (which my son informed us was the safest place for us to stay in Brooklyn) and was just a few blocks walk from a subway getting us into Manhattan within half an hour.

Our apt was the full first floor!

My room in Park Slope

My sister Jo's room

The apt cost just over £800 for the 6 nights making it just over £50 a night each, and we had our own beautiful rooms, a kitchen, bathroom and lounge. Airbnb is fantastic!! and I will be using them again for our holiday next April.

First day there we went for breakfast in the Kellogg's diner in Williamsburg, not far from my son's apt. Pancakes, bacon, maple syrup and lots of fabulous Brooklyn coffee!! We then headed to Atlantic Avenue where there are loads of quirky independent designer shops. We could have spent all day! This is the Jonathan Adler store......LOVE!!

On our first evening we attended the rehearsal dinner at Harry's in the financial district of Manhattan followed by cocktails at Gild Hall Hotel. It was nice to meet up before the wedding day and get to know everyone. Food and drinks were awesome!
Saturday morning we got a taxi to The Liberty Warehouse and had such a special day. Erin and Barry looked amazing, and the venue was magical. My special surprise was Barry telling me that I would be walking him down the aisle! I was so proud!!

The boys looks fantastic in their new kilts they had made specially for the wedding on The Royal Mile in Edinburgh, and Erin's dress was so beautiful. Everything was perfect from the 5 course wedding dinner to the choreographed first dance, and this is my favourite photo from the day. A nice quiet moment on the balcony with the Statue of Liberty in the distance. A perfect day!!

Sunday morning we took the subway up to Williamsburg and went to the Brooklyn Flea Market. I will definitely be bringing Russell her next Easter when we go back. Loads of stalls with cool vintage and craft items, and the food court was amazing!

That evening we met up with the family and went our for dinner and cocktails at The Smith in Manhattan. It was a really special Mothers Day meal, and extra special because both my sons were there.

On Monday, after a brief stop off for breakfast at The Bagel Factory, we headed for Union Square in Manhattan, and had a great time in Nordstrom Rack, the Nordstrom outlet store. Great bargains, including Kate Spade handbags that we just had to buy. I got the red one, and Jo bought the stripey one.

Then we went in search of a craft shop Jo wanted to visit that sold rubber stamp. Well, that's 2 hours of my life I will never get back !! ;) I was very patient though and earned the delicious cappuccino and cake she bought me in Joe's coffee shop when we finally got out.

Got the subway down to Soho and bought a few things in the MoMA shop.There were so many cool shops in this area, we loved Paper Source and Papyrus, and an enormous Chinese department store that was so colourful!

We were going to head down to Century 21 but we had too many shopping bags, so decided to get some dinner before heading back to the apt. After checking our map we discovered we were right round the corner from Lombardi's Pizzeria.
It was nice to have a seat and a large glass of chilled Pinot Grigio. We shared a clam pie with lemon and side salad and it was so delicious!!

We hailed a taxi back to Park Slope and it took us back over The Brooklyn Bridge. It was the first time I had been across it, and it was stunning as the sun was just going down. The perfect end to another perfect day :)

Tuesday morning we decided to head into Canal street, and we bought a few nice handbags and scarves, but this is not a very safe area so we didn't stay long. We got the subway down to Lower Manhattan and I had my first experience of Century 21. Loads of bargains, and I got a nice DKNY shoulder bag, a nice big Guess holdall for flight home as I knew by now that I was not going to get everything in my suitcase!!! The souvenirs were a really good price there, so bought a few things for friends back home.

It was cool to see all the construction work going on round the new Freedom Tower, which is now the tallest building in the western hemisphere!

On our last day in Brooklyn we decided to go back to Soho for another look round all the lovely shops there, then on the way back to the apt we stopped off at Dumbo to check out a home decor store, West Elm, that Jo had been drooling over  online. It was really cool, and we bought quite a few things there, and had a coffee in their coffee shop. Why does coffee taste better in New York? Maybe it's something to do with all the fab coffee shops with quirky decor and great atmos?

Here are a couple of pics of West Elm.

Laden with carrier bags, we walked down to the waterfront and had some fantastic views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.

My last stop on the way home was to pick up a pressie for Russell at a shop near the apt. 

I bought him a Huntress figure, and I was glad I had bought the holdall to keep it safe on the journey home.
Oh, by the way, I bought a total of 5 handbags :)

We sadly packed our bags for the journey home and a taxi took us to the airport around 6.30.
But my story doesn't end there !!

On arriving at check in I discovered I had lost my passport! The last time I remembered seeing it was when we came through customs when we landed. I was frantic at the airport and had everything out of my suitcase in the British Airways terminal. The staff were amazing there, and the bottom line was I would not be able to travel that night. I was told I would have to go the the British Consulate the following day and apply for an emergency passport. I told my sister I would be fine, and booked a hotel near the consulate  at the airport hotel reservation desk. Jo felt terrible leaving me but we had just made such a quick decision as the gate was closing for the flight, and BA transferred me onto the same flight the following evening at no extra charge, they were lovely!!
I took a cab back into Manhattan and checked into the Hilton Doubletree on Lexington, just a block from the Consulate.

Once checked in I started to feel a bit better. I was still a bit worried about finding the consulate in the morning so I decided to go for a walk and find out where it was. There was something quite exciting about being in New York on my own, and there was no way I was going to get to sleep quickly so once I was out (and it was a lovely night) I just kept walking.

You would think it would have been quite scary walking around after 11pm but there was something calming about the city, and I didn't feel at all worried. I had a good look round Grand Central Station, and popped into the Waldorf Astoria to use the restrooms!

When I started to get tired I picked up a sandwich at a late night deli and headed back to my hotel, where I ordered a large pinot from the bar and took it up to my room for a midnight feast, and a chat with Russell on whatsapp to let him know I was fine. I wished now that Jo had stayed as we would have had fun on this extra sneaky day.

The staff at the Consulate were brill the next morning, and I was taken straight away. I had my emergency passport by 11am, and after not sleeping much the night before I went back to the hotel (after getting something to eat) and slept till 12.30. I had to vacate the room so I left my luggage with the porter and headed out to explore more of Manhattan. My first time in Bloomingdales! Got myself a gorgeous pair of blingy earrings!

Walked up to Central Park. 

The horse and carriages were all lined up, and the sun came out and it was the hottest day of the trip !
Bought Russell a treat in FAO Schwatrz

Then walked down Park Lane, and had a look round Tiffany & Co. It was quite quiet in the shop, and one of the sales ladies took out a beautiful diamond bracelet for me to see :)

After a nice lunch in Starbucks I decided to walk down to the Empire State Building.

My feet were now very sore at this point, but I still managed to walk all the way back up to Bloomingdales to buy another pair of earrings for my sister.

I got back to the hotel around 6, after walking for over 5 hours in the heat, and my feet and ankles were swollen, but it was worth it for a fantastic day out in Manhattan.  When I got back to the BA terminal the same lady was there that had been so nice to me the evening before. She was glad I had managed to enjoy my extra day without worrying. I had a lovely buffet dinner in the Executive lounge, and on the flight back I was seated upstairs (another first) and as my seat reclined back into a bed I slept most of the way back. After chatting to the cabin crew, and telling them I had been over for a wedding, and the story about the passport, they gave me a bottle of champagne :) They were all lovely!

I hope you have enjoyed this slightly different post. I know I will look back on it in the years to come, remembering such a special wedding trip to New York in 2014!