Our long-awaited and rescheduled trip to New York had finally arrived, and since our flight was quite early in the morning, we decided to book a room at the Sofitel Heathrow Terminal 5 to avoid the early morning trip to the airport.
Arriving in NYC
We arrived in to JFK in the afternoon, which isn’t close to Manhattan.
We took the Air train in to Jamaica Station in the Long Island suburbs, then changed to the Subway in to Manhattan, which is the cheapest option available at around $10 for the 2 tickets combined.
Arriving in Manhattan and emerging from the subway, up the steps on to 7th Avenue to get that first look at central NYC was amazing, and was everything I’d hoped it would be.
We dragged our bags through the crowded streets, staring upwards at the buildings towering above us, and made our way to the hotel.
Park Central Hotel
We checked in to our hotel, which I’ve done a separate review of the Park Central Hotel, so I’ll keep this brief!
The Park Central is on 7th Avenue, just a 4 minute walk to the edge of Central Park and in the other direction just a 10 minute walk to Times Square, or a 13 minute walk to Rockefeller Center.
The hotel is also in between 2 Subway stations, each on different lines and walkable within 1 minute.
It really is right in the middle of Manhattan, with many of New York’s main sights and attractions within easy walking distance.
To give an idea how central the hotel is, this is the view down to Times Square from outside the front of the hotel.
After spending the afternoon wandering Manhattan and seeing some of the sights (more on these in later posts!), we went for something to eat in a local deli, then walked in to Times Square to see it all lit up at night.
All the guides I’ve read, the videos I’ve watched, and advice I’ve heard had forewarned me that Times Square isn’t that great… But it is a spectacle and a must-see at night.
The first thing I noticed when walking towards Times Square was just how bright it was – it was like daylight! Many of the screens were far brighter and more high-definition than my TV at home.
Times Square isn’t really a square, it’s more of an intersection surrounded by adverts and packed to the brim with tourists, along with the usual crowd trying to rip them off – including numerous (badly done) fake Mickey Mouses (Mickey mice?), Emlos, Avengers, Power Rangers, huge numbers of people trying to trick you in to buying their CDs or bracelets, and several opportunities to buy cannabis and all the paraphernalia that comes with it, but if you look past the tourist traps, it’s a very impressive sight to see.
I’m not sure I’d hurry back to Times Square again, but I’m so happy to have finally been there to see it in person.
We rounded up the evening with a slice from Ray’s Pizza (absolutely delicious and would 100% recommend!) and headed back to the hotel for the night – we needed some rest before the busy day tomorrow…
Continue to day 2