New York, New York

I’ve always wanted to return to New York ever since my first, and only, visit in 1986.

1986 was the year I took my first ever overseas trip backpacking with a mate around the world for 4 months. Our ticket took us in a westerly direction from Australia through Asia, Europe, the USA and back home. We were so excited until we found that due to some vagary of our round the world ticket we were forced to make a stop in New York.

Neither of us was particularly fond of this as a destination. We were virgin travellers with no exposure to the big, wide world and the thought of spending time in the Big Apple petrified us. Back in the 80’s New York had a pretty bad reputation for crime and violence and we had no idea what to expect. As is usually the case though it wasn’t as bad as our pre-conceptions.

We had a great time and enjoyed it so much that we extended our stay by a few days. BUT we never rode the subway and only ventured into those areas we were advised as being ‘safe’. I’ve always remembered the one piece of advice we received whilst there. Not because I still use it but just because it was so accurate for the time. It was “walk down the street like you own it and never make eye contact with anyone!”.

An opportunity too good to pass up

Fast forward a few decades and my desire to re-visit had never waned. Even though we’d visited other parts of the USA during the 1990’s and early 2000’s Jacqueline was never keen to go to New York.

However, through our house sitting contacts we became aware of a 2 week house sit in Manhattan. This was in a condo on Broadway on the Upper West Side (which meant nothing to us!) and only two blocks from Central Park. It just seemed too good an opportunity to pass up so we shuffled some of our plans and booked our flights. We’re so glad we took the opportunity as really enjoyed our time in the Big Apple.


I had no idea of the geography of Manhattan island before we arrived. It runs roughly north / south with the Hudson River running along it’s west side and the East River, unsurprisingly, along the east side. Manhattan is divided into various districts but the main areas are downtown (the southern end), mid-town and uptown.

Map showing the various districts of Manhattan, New York
Manhattan –

The Upper West side, where we were staying, was only a 10 minute subway ride to mid-town, Times Square, Broadway shows and all the ‘action’ of New York. However, it was so surprising discovering this was a primarily residential area so close to the ‘city’. It had a lovely neighbourhood feel to it with children coming and going to school, mothers pushing babies in strollers and dogs being walked day and night. In fact, we’ve never seen so many dogs in any other large metropolis we’ve been to!

Streetscape on the Upper West Side
Streetscape of 80th West St in New York
Plants cascade down the steps of a stoop on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York
Beautifully decorated stoop on the Upper West Side

Seeing the ‘sights’

We ventured out most days to see the ‘sights’ and experience all things related to the ‘city that never sleeps’. I took way too many photos to distil into only a handful for this blog.

However, most days I did post to my facebook page little stories about the history and places we went including various videos and photos.

I’ve also put together a list of money and time saving tips about New York. You can see these here – Our New York travel tips.

So, for this blog, I’m going to try something different and instead of duplicating all that info I’m including links to all of those posts below.

To see the full text content, photos and videos in the links just click on either
– the small blue facebook logo in the top right corner
– the ‘greyed’ duration text below my name in the top left corner

(Note: the facebook post will open in a new tab on your browser)

I hope you enjoy seeing and learning more about this wonderful city. I believe that everyone should experience what this iconic world city has to offer at least once in their life.

Please feel free to leave comments on this post about whether you’d like to visit New York OR, if you’ve been, what were your favourite things.

First impressions

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Hudson Yards and The Vessel

Central Park

Lunch at Ellen’s Stardust Diner

Roosevelt Island and Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

The Brooklyn Bridge walk

The Apollo Theatre – Harlem

Grand Central Terminal

Coney Island

9/11 Memorial and Museum

Brooklyn (very surprising)

Iconic Buildings

Please feel free to leave comments about whether you’d like to visit New York OR, if you’ve been, what were your favourite things.


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