This past year has been a big one for Edward and I, and we wanted to end 2015 and start 2016 in a way we’d remember… Is there a better way to achieve this than celebrating the beginning of the New Year in New York?!
The night of my birthday, after braving a snowstorm in the middle of the night to make it to the bus station in time, we climbed on a coach for the 10-hour drive between Québec and New York.
We arrived to New York around 6:30PM, which let us just enough time to start exploring the city. The coach let us at Bryant Park; from there we walked to the nearest Starbucks to grab hot drinks before heading to Grand Central Station to try and take some long exposure shots during the rush hour. Since it was really crowded (as was the whole city that weekend, really) we decided to simply wander around Manhattan for the rest of the evening, until it was time to check into our hotel. We were absolutely shattered at that point and really just looking forward to warm showers and a comfy bed to snuggle in!
The next morning was a bit rough, especially for Edward who was battling a proper “man flu”, but we were decided to enjoy our trip. Despite the fatigue and the aching feet, we had a fantastic day exploring the city and photographing it from every possible angle. It started with a visit at the Rockefeller Centre to climb the “Top of the Rock” – the view from up there is stunning! I personally liked it better than the Empire State Building; mostly because the queue is shorter and it’s easier to take photos, but also for that classic view of the skyline.
After seeing New York from above, we walked all the way down to the Flatiron District and hopped on the subway direction the Financial District to visit the 9/11 Memorial and see the freshly built Freedom Tower. Both are very impressive… The Memorial is surrounded by a quiet park and the atmosphere all around is very respectful with people praying and laying flowers. It’s not the most touristic place, but it certainly was a must-see for me.
Our next stop was the famous Brooklyn Bridge. The first half of the bridge is full of tourists armed with selfie sticks, but it’s worth braving the crowd and crossing the bridge to access Washington Street and Main Street Park on the other side. The view (and photo opportunities) is amazing, especially during the blue hour when the sun starts going down and the skyline slowly lightens up.
By then we had walked nearly 18K and were totally exhausted so we decided to avoid Times Square that night and go back to the hotel for a well-deserved rest. We nestled in bed and watched the countdown on TV, and toasted to our year.
Our last day in New York was a half-day and we still had loads to explore! After a little mix up with the early morning shuttle service, we finally made it to the city and headed straight to Central Park. The night before, Edward had offered me a custom-made “love lock” with our names and the year engraved on it. Very romantic! We locked it to a fence in a quiet corner of the park; a tangible memory of our short stay in New York, and a celebration of our love and first New Year together.
Our next and final stop before taking back the road was Times Square for some last-minute souvenir shopping. The streets were covered in confetti from the previous night, and there was this “morning after” ambiance going on. We found little gifts for everyone and got a bit too enthusiastic about filling our own bags at M&M World… I ended up throwing candies away when I packed moving boxes six weeks after our trip!
The journey back was long and arduous but twelve hours and three movies later, we were finally back home… We were so tired, I think we slept until 4PM the next day!
New York is definitely a place you should add to your bucket list. However I’d recommend to take more than 48 hours to visit; our weekend was wonderful but hectic. We both want to go back to the Big Apple someday and really take our time to explore. There is so much left to see in that city that truly never sleeps!