From Brunches to Broadway – My Birthday Adventure in the Big Apple

Hello lovelies!

Spring has well and truly sprung over here.

I don’t know about you, but I always feel like this time of year is like a new beginning. My birthday is at the end of March. It’s a new season where everything is waking up again; we get more daylight, and people generally feel happier.

As I’ve got older, I’ve realised I don’t want or need “stuff”, so when the husband asks me what I want for my birthday or Christmas, my answer is the same: I would like the gift of some time together.

Because I am still in the first few years of starting a business, my income is unpredictable. So, for the last couple of years, the husband has kindly combined a Christmas & Birthday present and taken me away somewhere. Last year, we had two glorious weeks in Greece. This year, he pulled it out of the bag again with a long weekend in one of my favourite places in the world. New York!

Before heading stateside, I enjoyed a birthday dinner with the girls, followed by some dancing in what can only be described as a dive bar, but the music is so good, and the crowd is “older”, so what’s not to like? I spent time with my family, had dinner with my closest friends, and my besties took me to brunch and spoiled me.

My birthday was spent packing and taking my not-so-little Tobes to the cattery. He is perfectly fine. However, I am not, but we needed to leave for the airport before they opened the following day, so I reluctantly spent my birthday evening without him curled up on my lap.

We flew out the following day from Heathrow. The husband and I enjoyed a smooth flight to JFK and arrived at the fabulous Bryant Park Hotel. This was my fourth trip to New York. I’ve stayed twice just off Times Square and once near Central Park.

Bryant Park Hotel is a few blocks below Times Square and is, in my opinion, the perfect location to explore New York. It overlooks the beautiful Bryant Park, just behind the New York Public Library (where Big stood up Carrie on their wedding day). Bryant Park has a little carousel, lots of seating and snack booths and even an outdoor bar!

Bryant Park

The Hotel itself has a Japanese restaurant and an underground bar. Our room was huge, which, in my experience, is unusual in New York, and the staff were lovely. They were helpful, courteous and friendly without being overbearing.

We arrived in the evening, and after a few glasses of wine on the plane, by 9 pm, I was ready for bed. We had an early start the following day, so I was happy to oblige the pleading from my eyelids to close!

We woke up bright and breezy the following day, ready for a whole day in New York. The husband had booked us on a bus tour of Harlem, The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Coney Island. We stopped for a McDonald’s Breakfast (it’s American!) and found our tour group waiting outside Grand Central Station.

Grand Central Station

If you are going to New York, I cannot recommend this tour enough. Our guide was bloody fantastic; his name was Jorge, and there wasn’t anything he didn’t know about New York. I could have listened to him talk all day, and honestly, if I had the money, I would have hired this man for the entire stay.

We took pictures of the Walk of Fame at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem,

Walk of Fame

We ate empanadas from a Bodega and took pictures outside Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, 

Yankee Stadium

We drove through the plush and quiet streets of Malba, onto Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens and saw the Unisphere, which is the world’s largest globe and was built for the World Fair 


and we took a stroll through DUMBO, wandering underneath the glorious Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn Bridge

We drove through the streets of South Williamsburg and learned about the lifestyle of Orthodox Jews in South Williamsburg, where the Netflix drama Unorthodox is said to be loosely based.

We finished with some free time at Coney Island, walking along the beautiful beach and eating hot dogs from Nathan’s, where they were invented, before returning to Manhattan.

Coney Island

On the way back, there was traffic, so we detoured. This didn’t detour Jorge, who seemed to know every nook and cranny as though he had lived in every street himself. Even though we had been on the tour for almost an entire day, I was sad when it ended.

After going back to our hotel to freshen up, we went to West Side Steakhouse for dinner and ate a delicious fillet steak cooked to perfection.


The following day, we were doing a boat tour. We walked 20 blocks and grabbed breakfast in Chelsea before boarding a beautiful boat at Pier 62. 
The following day, we were doing a boat tour. We walked 20 blocks and grabbed breakfast in Chelsea before boarding a beautiful boat at Pier 62. 


The boat sailed down to the battery park, up to the Empire State Building, up to the Statue of Liberty and all around Manhattan. We passed the Bronx Harlem and learned all about the architecture and history of the waterside. We had a couple of cocktails to enjoy along the way, too.

We then walked along the High Line into the village through all the boutique shops, stopping in the Red Lion Pub for a drink, of course, and a couple of other bars, before stopping in Little Italy for an early dinner. Arancini and lasagne for me, yum!

Thoroughly stuffed, we decided to walk back to our hotel, which was about 30 or so blocks! Of course, we stopped halfway for a drink before dragging our tired butts to bed much earlier than usual.

The following day, we didn’t have anything booked in, but we planned to go to the Intrepid Museum to see all the warplanes. There was also a space shuttle and a walk through a submarine. Honestly, I don’t know how those men survived staying in such small quarters for so long!

We grabbed a quick lunch in a deli before taking a stroll around the Rockefeller Centre and back to freshen up to watch the sunset from Summit One. I’ve been up the Empire State Building and to the Top of the Rock, but the views from Summit One were outstanding.

The security going in is understandably thorough, and as you board the lift, you are told you will be entering the first of three floors. The first floor has floor-to-ceiling windows and mirrored ceilings and floors with circles and gaps which reflect the other floors. 

The second floor has a room with giant silver balloons that everyone throws around. Some windows edge out with glass floors; there was a queue for this, but we wanted to get outside for the sunset.

The top floor had a bar, and the floor-to-ceiling glass was outside. We stood and watched the sunset with our drinks in hand, and it was truly beautiful.

Looking down, I couldn’t help but think about the people in the World Trade centre and how scared they must have felt.

We finished our evening with dinner and drinks at a Belgian bar and restaurant. I had DELICIOUS. I loved the staff there, too. They were fun and friendly, and I even hugged them as we left! That may have been the free birthday shot they gave me!

We had a much-needed lie-in on our last day. We packed our stuff and left our cases at the hotel and went for lunch in a diner and then on to Rise NY, an interactive thing that takes you through the history of New York and ends in a ride over the New York skyline, which left me feeling quite emotional.

We walked up to Central Park before stopping in an Irish bar for a pizza before waving a sad farewell to the Big Apple, which I don’t doubt I will fall in love with all over again on another visit.

Central Park

Ready to plan your own Big Apple adventure? Share your travel dreams in the comments below!

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