Pink Fire Pointer December 2011

Best Holiday Destinations – New York, USA (part 1)

Nowhere says Christmas more than New York. So when debating where to go on holiday this December for a wintery city break, New York was the first destination to come to mind. And eight hours after jetting off from Heathrow, we were touching down at JFK for five days of sights, culture, food, drink and tinsel at surely one of the best holiday destinations in the World.

We stayed at Hotel 17 – a cheap hotel in Manhattan’s East Village with shared bathrooms, small but comfortable rooms, and above all an excellent location just minutes from East Village’s bars, cafes and restaurants and also really close to New York’s subway system. Our first stop was Wendy’s burger joint for a taste of NY’s fast food scene. Pulp Fiction’s Big Kahuna Burger scene sprang to mind. We then proceeded to hit the East Village bar scene – in our first bar a round of Jaegarbombs was greeted with an “Oh my God you’re from England” from the barwoman, and a generous 30% off the tab to ensure we had “the best introduction to NY possible”. This kind of friendliness was encountered throughout the trip, dispelling the myth of mardy, arrogant and impatient New Yorkers (towards British tourists at least). The highlight from the 1st night was Old McSorley’s Ale House, one of the oldest pubs in New York boasting some tasty ales. The constant buy one get one free policy and sawdust on the floors help create a great atmosphere in a historic pub.

New York Cab

Day two saw us travel south on the subways to Wall Street, with a wander round the financial district in the Southern tip of Manhattan. The Statue of Liberty is visible from the riverside if you don’t fancy a ferry over – it’s current renovation works make it visible from the outside only so no climbing to the top of the head for the time being. A trip to the sombre Ground Zero site is a must – you need a free ticket in advance to gain access to the site itself, which is now home to two huge waterfalls where the Twin Towers once stood. Otherwise the visitors centre is just off-site which again is an emotional experience. One World Trade Centre, the new flagship tower in the rebuilding project, is growing quickly (see below) and is beginning to command the Downtown skyline.

One World Trade Centre
Our evening took us north to Broadway, for a stand-up comedy show. We were sold the tickets at Wall Street, with Chris Rock on the lineup and plenty of free drinks included in the measly $15 price tag. Unfortunately, upon arrival we discovered Chris rock was NOT on the lineup and only one free drink per person was provided. We had fallen for a classic tourist sales scam. After complaining to the manager we were given plenty of free drink and had a really good night but it is something to watch out for, street vendors are everywhere touristy in NY and many are out to make a quick sale.

Part 2 coming soon – Times Sq, Central Park & street dancers on the way - subscribe to keep updated!

Happy Christmas everyone!