Last night we arrived in the Big Apple, touching down at New York’s JFK airport only 6.5 hours after leaving London. We were lucky enough to have short queues at border control and our shuttle dropped us at the hotel at around 22:00. Seeing the Manhattan skyline from the air as we approached landing was truly a spectacular sight and you can feel the city’s energy the moment you arrive. It’s the city that never sleeps, so the first thing we did was go to bed.

New York is home to more than 8 million people and attracts up to 50 million visitors a year.   It’s a city that was built and shaped by immigrants, dating back to 1624. Back in the day, New York was a place that offers hope and liberty, but today it’s a city like no other. The city is built on a grid system that makes it super easy to explore by foot, but should you feel extra lazy, you can always hop into one of their famous yellow cabs or take a subway train.

The city has many famous skyscrapers including the Empire State building, the Chrysler building and new World Trade Centre, but we decided to visit the Rockefeller Centre, a building that rose during the Great Depression. The viewing deck at The Rock offers incredible views of Manhattan and this sight is one we would highly recommend to every first-time visitor. Not too from The Rock is the famous Central Park, the local chill-out spot for every New Yorker. For those who follow our posts regularly will remember that we visited the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco two months ago, and even though the Golden Gate Park is bigger, Central Park attracts more visitors per annum. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a hotdog while doing some serious people watching. Of course, Elaine wanted to do more than just chilling out, so we also took a row boat out on the lake and even got to watch a few locals play baseball.

Most people in New York spend their time looking skyward, but we visited Ground Zero where we had the opportunity to stop and bow our heads in memory of almost 3000 people that lost their lives on that terrible September day of 2001. The 9/11 Museum offers audio and guided tours, detailing all the events that led up to one of America’s darkest days. Most of us will remember that day, what we did and where we were the moment the news broke, but visiting the site, putting names to faces, seeing the remains of the original structure and hearing actual distress call recordings from the victims, made it very real. If you plan to visit the site, we’d recommend putting at least 4 – 5 hours aside.

We ended our day in Times Square, one of the biggest and most famous tourist attractions around the world. With hundreds of flashing lights and billboards, Times Square is a serious sensory overload and to advertise in the Square can cost anything from $1m to $4m per year. It’s also the place to pick up last-minute Broadway show tickets and where you’ll see many different street artisits / performers.

Some photos: