Arrival evening/Day 1
Our honeymoon adventure began at the Virgin lounge in Heathrow which I thoroughly enjoyed (I was definitely the most uncool person there, getting overly excited at the free stuff). I had two cocktails, one of which was an espresso Martini which I constantly bang on about wanting so was very pleased to have one! Our plane tickets were upgraded to premium economy at the desk as well which was a delight, sounds obvious but it was actually a lot comfier than economy. I don't really like flying because I can never sleep on planes and I find the seats so uncomfortable I'm constantly fidgeting, so this was very welcome.
We arrived in New York the evening of Monday 7th March, and took a taxi straight to our hotel, The Peninsula on 5th Avenue. I was so excited about coming to New York because it's somewhere I've always wanted to go and it's iconic - the moment I first caught a glimpse of the skyline was the best - it was real! We checked in and went to our room, which was something else. I say room, but it was basically a flat (about twice the size of our old flat in London in fact) and the staff had included the cutest personal touches, which you can see in the pics above. Yes that is a photo of us created in chocolate - as if! (Later on in the trip, I had left my sunglasses on a table and whilst cleaning the room the maids popped a Peninsula glasses cleaning cloth underneath them!) We cracked open the champagne but only had a glass each as we were both knackered, but determined to stay up and go to bed at a normal time for New York. We were also hungry af so we went to the bar and had some fries which we shared - as per America's huge portions there were more than enough for two - before giving in to sleep.
The next day we started early, had a delicious breakfast in our room and then set off on the subway (much more confusing than the tube!) to the 9/11 memorial museum. It was a very interesting and also sad, but I'm glad we did it and also very glad we went so early (I think we got there for 9am-ish and there was practically no queue). What I did find weird was that some people were posing for pics and taking selfies next to the exhibits - tad inappropes? We grabbed a snack from one of the hot dog stands (I had a pretzel due to vegetarianism, which was nice but VERY salty)
We hopped on the subway again and headed towards the Meatpacking district, which as you can imagine was pretty cool and hipster-ish. We went for a walk along the highline, which is a disused railway track that's been converted into a long walkway with little stalls and places to sit along the way.
We made our way towards Chelsea Market which was very cool, full of boutiques, vintage stalls, jewellery and places to eat and drink. I was really in the mood for pizza and when I get something I want to eat in my head I must have it (much to the annoyance of Rich who just wants FOOD NOW when he gets hungry - he's a very hangry man) and there wasn't really any on offer so we decided to walk back towards the subway, hoping to find a pizza place on the way. Luckily there are loads of little pizzerias dotted about the area and we had two massive slices and a 'soda' for $5 which was exactly what I wanted, and a total bargain. Instead of getting back on the subway we decided to walk to our hotel, via some classic New York sights - it took a long time but the weather was perfect so it was a pleasant stroll. We saw the Flat Iron building, Empire State Building and Times Square, and as an M&Ms fiend I couldn't resist going into M&Ms world and buying a selection - although I do find some of things they sell there so odd - who are these people spending £100s of pounds on M&Ms figurines?!?
That evening we had an ice hockey game booked in Brooklyn - New York Islanders vs Pittsburgh Penguins. I had been to a basketball game in LA when I went travelling so I kind of knew what to expect in terms of how OTT and full on watching an American sports game can be! Before going to the game we went to Doughnut Plant, as I had read about it whilst doing my honeymoon research. Their USP is that they use the 'finest ingredients', and also invented the cake doughnut and the jelly filled square doughnut. Their signature doughnut is the Creme Brulee, which looking back I kind of regret not having, but at the time I was in the mood for a more fruity kinda snack so I opted for the Strawberry and Cream, whilst Rich picked the Blueberry. Both were really good, I could have easily eaten about three more! After purchasing a New York Islanders baseball cap to get us into the sporting mood, plus more pizza for me and a pulled pork bowl for Rich, we headed to our seats in the arena. Despite knowing absolutely zilch about ice hockey it was pretty easy to understand, and pretty entertaining too, despite the fact that the game stopped every ten minutes because the opposing teams kept getting into fights! My favourite part was a guy behind us who kept shouting 'WAKE UP BOYS!' and joining in with the 'Let's Go Islanders!' chants. Despite our best efforts at staying awake, when it was half time we had to leave as we were so tired we could hardly keep our eyes open.
Again, we woke up pretty early and ventured downstairs for breakfast before heading to Central Park, which was walking distance from our hotel. We strolled through to The Museum of Natural History, and again we benefited from getting there early (before it opened in fact) as, apart from groups of school children, it really wasn't busy at all. We watched a space show, viewed various mammals from all over the world (including the blue whale - my fave) and had a look at the geology section before it was time to leave and meet Rich's friends for lunch. They brought along their super cute daughter, Layla, who we successfully impressed by giving her the purple unicorn cookie we bought at the Chelsea Market the day before. It went down very well especially as her favourite colour turned out to be purple. I awarded us top future parent points and then ate an amazing (and huge) creamy mushroom rigatoni for lunch at the Blue Dog Kitchen.
We said our goodbyes and headed off to see the Radio City building and visit the Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller centre, where we could see views of the Empire State Building on one side, Central Park on the other, and where we took this cheesy-ass photo. We went to buy my mum a postcard (she bloody loves a postcard) and the very excitable man in the shop kept saying Rich looked like Ryan Reynolds, so he was pretty chuffed. We were pooped by then so we headed back to the hotel for a sit down before getting ready for dinner at Juni, a fancy restaurant nearby. Rich had interviewed the chef for the magazine he edited in Dubai, and he invited us to try the food when we came to the city. They had prepared a special vegetarian menu for me which was really sweet - the food was tres tasty especially the dessert which was a chocolate and satsuma fusion of deliciousness. Once suitably stuffed, we headed back to the hotel where they had surpassed themselves by providing us with thick, super fluffy hotel robes personalised with our initials - told you they were the cutest!
View part 2 here :)