As most of my regular readers will already know, Adam and I recently enjoyed the holiday of a lifetime in New York City.
Of course, a trip to the ‘Big Apple’ is pretty exciting in itself but the main purpose of this particular adventure was to tie the knot – an occasion that very nearly didn’t happen after an eventful first day…
I’ve already shared the story of our wedding day and Chester Zoo wedding reception with you guys but realised that I never posted about the rest of our trip. It’s a long one so I’ve split it into three parts, hopefully making it a little more palatable for you. Grab yourself a coffee, get comfy and enjoy the ups and downs of our special American adventure.
We headed to Manchester airport in the early hours of a chilly October Monday morning. Fuelled by pre-wedding nerves, excitement and coffee, we waited around for a couple of hours to board our flight and browsed the duty-free offerings. Hello Benefit and MAC! The wonderful guys at Thomas Cook airlines had actually upgraded us to premium class, free of charge, as a treat. I was super excited about this prospect, having only ever travelled via economy before.
Settling into our seats, we could certainly tell the difference. With more leg room, unlimited complimentary drinks, blankets and movies on tap, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever want to go back to economy class again! (My pitiful bank balance ensures that I most definitely will be flying economy in the future – I momentarily forgot that I’m not actually Richard Branson) The flight was smooth and eight hours later, we landed at JFK airport.
Being a little bit
stupid over-confident, we’d decided not to book a transfer in advance and find a cab instead. Big mistake! The queue for a taxi was estimated at over an hour and none of our phones worked in the US, leaving us unable to source an alternative method of transport. Despite warnings being broadcast over the airport tannoy, at one point Adam was happily being talked into a randomers car as we were approached by several unsolicited drivers. After ‘rescuing’ him and eventually admitting defeat, we joined the queue and managed to get an official taxi after a short wait.
At around 8pm that evening, we arrived at our Air BnB apartment. This had been advertised as ‘a cosy, open plan apartment in a friendly and welcoming neighbourhood. Just a short ride away from Central Park and within walking distance of the Subway. Lots of local amenities close by.’
To say that this was an exaggeration is an understatement. The location was a $40 cab ride away from anywhere remotely central and the neighbourhood was frankly, pretty intimidating. It was a far cry from the Hollywood version of New York City that we’d been led to believe prior to booking. We also learnt upon our return that a lot of Air BnB rentals in NYC are actually illegal according the city laws, so please do be mindful if you’re planning a trip!
As I unpacked my wedding dress and attempted to settle in our windowless room, the combination of tiredness, long distance travel and disappointment built up and the tears began to flow.
I couldn’t help but feel that the trip was doomed and dramatically declared that I was going home the next day, that this had all been a huge mistake etc, much to the shock of my soon-to-be husband! I began looking at flights back to England as Adam attempted to reassure/rationalise me, whilst agreeing that he also felt rather uncomfortable. We decided to sleep on it and make a decision the next day.
We woke up and decided that neither of us were particularly thrilled at the idea of staying in the underwhelming basement room for the entire duration of our trip. After frantically budgeting, we managed to find a decent enough hotel in Times Square for the next two nights, just so that we could spend our wedding night somewhere a little more pleasant/convenient.
To ensure that we could legally marry in New York City, we had to apply for our marriage certificate at the City Clerks Office at least 24 hours before the ceremony. We made our way over to 141 Worth Street at around 9am and, armed with our passports and other essential documents, collected our ticket before joining several hundred other people in the waiting room!
After around two hours, our number was eventually called and went to the relevant desk to finalise the last bits of paperwork, ensuring that all the information we’d provided in our online registration was correct. We paid $35 and left with our licence. I’m actually going to write an in-depth guide on how to get married in NYC and will cover all of the formal requirements, so if that’s something that’d be interested in, do watch this space.
Once this formality was done, it was time for a little cliche tourism. By this point, we were in dire need of food so made a pit stop at Denny’s, just opposite City Hall. Adam and I both ordered the ‘Honey Jalapeno Bacon Slam’, consisting of two fluffy buttermilk pancakes, two strips of honey jalapeno bacon, hash browns and two eggs, finished off with a bottomless coffee. We smashed through the entire thing within about 20 minutes and left happy!
We’d pre-booked a slot at Meow Parlour, a local cat cafe (you can read all about it here) so wandered through the hustle and bustle of China Town, taking in the sights en route. After spending an hour in cat heaven, we made our way back to Times Square.
We’d each purchased a five day ‘New York Pass’ online, giving us discounts and access to plenty of local attractions, so decided to collect them from Madame Tussauds. Adam has never been to a wax museum before so was instantly intrigued and we explored several floors of famous faces. Some bore amazing resemblances – others not so much – and I particularly enjoyed ‘seeing’ Anna Wintour, Albert Einstein and Johnny Cash. Adam is a big ‘Ghostbusters‘ fan and we were lucky enough to be in NYC as Madame Tussauds held an exhibition dedicated to the movie.
Exhausted from walking over 16 miles, we grabbed a slice of pizza from a little pizzeria in the Hells Kitchen district and headed back to our hotel to get some much-needed rest before our wedding day!