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New York City bigger than your average apple!

A pre Christmas trip to New York was always going to be the best way to get into the Christmas spirit, but the Big Apple needs to be handled with care and Sian Pages of Not Just Travel was our guardian angel who made sure everything was perfect from start to finish. B4’s Richard Rosser recaps an eventful trans Atlantic trip.

Ten years ago Tina and I promised ourselves we would take the kids back to New York following a November trip…but this time we vowed to go back closer to Christmas to see the Rockefeller ice rink, lights and all the festive trimmings.

We had a lunchtime flight with Virgin (thank you Claire Delaney for your help) from Heathrow which arrived at JFK at 4pm. Sian had advised pre-booking transport from the airport and this proved to be a great move. Within 2 hours of landing we were in Times Square at the Paramount Hotel – functional, not fancy! We decided to adapt to the time difference by treating it as if it wasn’t there, took a walk through Times Square and found a vegan (thanks Abi!) restaurant just a few blocks from the hotel. One by one we were visibly running on empty and had an early start so headed back to the hotel…we had been up for nearly 24 hours!

Sunday was non-stop. We enjoyed a ‘hearty’ breakfast together but then Ed and I made our way to the huge Port Authority Bus Terminal to find our ride to the Met Life Stadium to watch the New York Giants versus Tennessee Titans. Great stadium, great experience but VERY WET! To add insult to injury, the Giants declined to score for the first time in four years, so look no further for an American Football damp squib!

That night we ate at Carmine’s where Tina and I had enjoyed lunch ten years previously. It put our hearty breakfast in the shade and the veal marsala was superb. Great atmosphere and it even started to snow outside!

Monday started with breakfast followed by a walk to 5th Avenue and the start of Ed’s shopping spree. Guess followed by Nike followed by Supreme, followed by lots and lots of shops! It was to be our first sightseeing day but we ended up with more bags than in a scene from Sex and the City…at least we were in the right place! After a quick stop at Tiffany – looking only! – we jumped into a cab (Uber was incredible) to go to DUMBO, the other side of Brooklyn Bridge, for a late lunch at Dumbo House. As the sun set over Brooklyn Bridge and the twinkly lights of Manhattan came into their own, it was time for our final trip of the day to the famous Madison Square Garden to see New York Knicks versus Phoenix Suns. Another great stadium, very American razzamatazz, no rain (bonus!) but sadly we jinxed the home team again who ran out on the wrong end of a 128 – 110 scoreline. At least Ed got to see his idol, Gary Vaynerchuk, who was court side to see his team hammered!

And so it went on at quite a pace…cycling through Central Park, the Big Red Bus open top tour of Manhattan, the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, a fantastic view of New York from the jaw dropping Rockefeller, a beer in Trump Tower, the incredible St Patrick’s Cathedral and an afternoon at the Met to view the amazing Egyptian collection which was out of this world – you need a New York Pass if you’re going to do as much sightseeing as we did, great value. We also managed to fit in Grand Central Stadium, a Broadway Show, the Empire State Building, By Chloe vegan restaurants (three or four times!) and even more shopping in Soho and the Meatpacking District.

Our fast paced trip to New York ended up with dinner at Soho House before our transfer back to JFK and a final wave goodbye to the city that never sleeps…..I’m surprised we managed to get some given how much we did but there’s no other way. Well, maybe next time we won’t pick a hotel right in the heart of Times Square and go for a more relaxed pace!