I’m not a huge fan of my birthday, it’s nothing to do with getting older, that parts never phased me, I think it’s more to do with the fact that I hate being centre stage. I’m happy to go out and have a good time with a few friends to celebrate or spend time with loved ones, but the idea of a big group of my nearest and dearest altogether and focusing on me, fills me with horror (it’s for this reason, if I were I ever to get married I would elope with as few people as I could possibly get away with). My friends all find this rather strange given how much fuss I make about celebrating other peoples birthdays and that I’m always the last to leave a party, but you know me, got to be different.
So, as the big 3-0 loomed and everyone started to ask what I was going to do for it there was only one answer… run! And run I did, all the way to NYC with my best friend in tow. It was perfect.
I love New York. It’s one of those places that although I’ve only been to a handful of times, it somehow feels like home. I would adore to live there at some point in my life; whether or not that opportunely will ever arise, who knows but either way I’d like to visit and make the most out of it often as I can. The Big Apple feels like the centre of the world, as like London it’s a hub for all the best things great cities should offer.
We arrived at our hotel that afternoon, giddy with excitement but a little stiff from the plane journey so decided to race to the pool for a dip to stretch our muscles and freshen up. I accidentally stubbed my toe in the rush but I won the race so the pain was forgotten quickly – no guts, no glory!
Fresh and feeling lively, it was time to hit the city and hit the city we did… As the clock struck midnight and I officially turned 30 we clinked our glasses and danced the night away (given the state of these pictures I think we clinked quite a few glasses).
Waking up on my birthday to this view was pretty awesome. Hearing my best friend singing happy birthday with her horrifically out of tune voice was less pleasant but appreciated nonetheless.
With slightly sore heads from the night before, we wrapped ourselves up (I’m yet to visit NYC in anything other than bad weather) and headed out for a stroll in search of a much needed breakfast.
Oh what a breakfast it was! There is absolutely nothing as stomach rumble inducing as a freshly baked bagel. I ordered smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers sandwiched in a soft, chewy, warm-from-the-oven, sesame bagel. Jode opted for baked eggs with molten cheddar, avocado and tomato, which she claimed to be a total life changer.
We spent a lot of time exploring the West Village and Chelsea which were full of foodie hotspots and cool boutiques, which made was the perfect stomping ground for us. I always feel like I’m on a movie set when in New York and particularly in these parts as we spotted the Friends building, along with certain restaurants and cafes that had been used as locations in the filming of Sex and the City.
As you can see I got a little snap happy as I always seem to when on holiday, taking hundreds of pictures of skyscrapers and yellow taxis. Jode and I chatted about how tourists do the same in London with pictures in front of black cabs and red buses. I guess that no matter where we come from and however different our cultures may be, we just love photographing anything that isn’t the norm in our day-to-day lives.
I particularly liked this buildings message and as I turn a year older it’s good to be reminded of some life lessons.
We walked and talked some more before retiring back to our hotel for a little slice of cake my Mum had got the hotel to smuggle into our room along with birthday cards they’d sent over from the UK so I’d have something to open on the day. Jode made me this video which made me laugh a lot and I was particularly touched by this card from my Dad. He’s not usually one to say much about feelings (what man is?) and I won’t tell you what he wrote inside but I thought it was very sweet that the card showed how many days I’d been alive and loved by him. I welled up thinking back to my childhood adventures. The older I get the more I learn to appreciate all I have.
Having pulled myself together we headed for dinner at Buddakan which was awesome. For those of you that have seen the Sex and the City movie, it’s the setting for Mr Big and Carrie’s rehearsal dinner, but luckily we were spared all the drama they endured and just had the best of fun.
It’s a lively venue with utterly delicious food and drinks which we devoured before taking ourselves for a spin on the dance floor of 1 Oak just down the road. We had a blast!
As much as I think New York is a fantastic city by day, I think it gets even better at night with all those neon lights twinkling away on the skyscrapers (the Chrysler Building is my favourite). I adore London but come sunset I think New York just might edge the win in the photogenic stakes.
We crashed into our bed as the sun started to rise…
Sadly the jet lag didn’t allow for much sleep so we decided to be real tourists and take in the sights.
One day I would love to take one of those helicopter tour rides over the metropolis, but until then, I would highly recommend heading to “Top of the Rock” which, yes, you’ve guessed it, is at the top of the Rockerfeller Centre. This was a great place to take in the city waking up below and to blow away the cobwebs from the night before.
Will you look at those views…
After much gawping at the world below we made our way down to the 65th floor for brunch at the Rainbow Room. It was an experience like no other.
As well as an incredible selection of dishes on the menu to choose from, there was a rather overwhelmingly sized buffet to pick from too, which is famed for its Bacon Bar. Yep, you read that correctly – a bacon bar. At each station of the buffet they prepare the dish as you wait so it’s spankingly fresh and of course all involves bacon in varying forms. We made our way through all sorts of breakfast goodies whilst supping on Bloody Mary’s and tapping our feet as a live band played jazzy vintage tunes in the background.
It’s not the cheapest place for a brunch and primarily full of tourists so I prefer local delis full of brash New Yorkers, but if you’re planning a special occasion (like a 30th birthday) with a back drop you’ll never forget then it’s ideal and I was very lucky that Jode treated me to this.
We probably could have stayed there all day, grazing from the huge dessert section, but sadly London was calling us home.
Each time I come back to New York I fall a little more in love with it and each time I take a trip with a friend I am so grateful for the fun and laughter we have together along with the amazing people I have to travel home to.