On 7th September we set off for the first stop on our journey: New York City.
We decided to go to New York first as our friend and former London housemate Harry moved out there in January, so we saw it as the perfect opportunity to pay him a visit. Such a great opportunity, in fact, that we managed to persuade several more of our friends to visit him at the same time – Tom and James came over with us from the UK, Michelle and Alex flew over from California, Mike took the train from Boston and Al flew in from Colombia.
As I’m sure you can imagine, this trip didn’t end up involving a whole lot of sightseeing.
Dan found a great little Airbnb for us in the East Village. It was an ideal location, with loads of bars and restaurants close by and an easy metro ride (or more frequently, an uber ride) away from the rest of town.
One thing that we discovered very quickly about New York: every hour is happy hour. Seriously. Every single bar we visited during the week had some sort of happy hour deal on, no matter what time of day it was. At Sidewalk in the East Village, for example, you can enjoy $4 glasses of prosecco…all day. In hindsight this was probably not the most sensible place for us to visit after 2 hours of free mimosa refills at our bottomless brunch at Fonda, also in the East Village.
Brunch is another thing that New York excels in. Our brunch at Fonda was incredible not just because of the free flowing mimosas and bloody marys – the Mexican style menu gave a really unique twist to the usual brunch options. Another popular brunch spot that we tried was Clinton Street Baking Company. Despite it being mid-morning on a Thursday when we went the queue stretched right out the door, which will give you some idea about how awesome the food is. And the brunch cocktails.
We did manage to drag ourselves away from the bars and restaurants for long enough to see a few sights. On our second day we walked across the Brooklyn bridge – which in the New York summer heat was a serious challenge – and got some amazing views of the New York skyline, Empire State Building, World Trade Centre and Statue of Liberty. We also had a wander around Central Park and visited the Tavern on the Green, where we sat and watched the hordes of joggers and cyclists zoom past while nursing our hangovers and somewhat questioning our life choices.
On Friday we were lucky enough to get tickets to the US Open Men’s Semi-Final, where we got to see Djokovic battle it out with Monfils. The atmosphere was incredible, and we were all thrilled to have the chance to sit in that iconic venue and watch some of the greatest names in tennis – though admittedly, a lot of our awe came from the fact that we couldn’t imagine how anyone could run around in that sort of heat and not spontaneously combust.
On Monday we took a walk around Wall Street and went to the World Trade Centre, where we saw the 9/11 memorial. It is an incredibly moving sight, and being there over the anniversary of the attacks made it especially poignant. Afterwards we strolled along the High Line walk, an old disused railway line that runs above ground and has now been turned into a nature walk. We then ended our New York trip with an amazing steak at Buenos Aires restaurant in the East Village, washed down with copious amounts of Argentinian wine, before packing our bags (see more on this in our Travel Tips: USA post) and getting ready to fly down to Madeira Beach, Florida for a week of chilling in the sun.