“There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless.”
– Simone de Beauvoir
Unexpected adventures really are the best kind of adventures and with one cold winter’s night to explore New York City, it couldn’t be more magical!
I had been harping on about going to NYC for my 30th birthday since a year before and when it didn’t happen, I was pretty disappointed to say the least. Little did I know the universe would converse to make it happen later that same year. In the months leading up to our December vacation in the Virgin Islands, it seemed that our travel dates and budgets meant a long layover in New York City would soon become a reality.
What an unexpected surprise! After much planning, Ash and I soon realized we would both be landing around about the same time in the Big Apple. What a way to see my love after months apart! Our itineraries showed that we had about 10 hours to kill before we could fly out and with our visas already been issued as we were travelling onward to U.S. territories, we figured what better way to spend a layover than exploring the city on New Year’s Eve!
Our initial routes booked on American Airlines, was as follows:
Me: Cape Town – London –New York – Saint Thomas
Ash: Abu Dhabi – New York – St Thomas
Unfortunately and without knowing, American Airlines soon changed our routes. It wasn’t until we started planning how we would be exploring the city that we realized the change. An additional leg had been added with subsequent layover in Miami. That cut short our exploration time by an hour or two and as annoyed as we were; it wasn’t going to stop us.
After months of planning we were finally on our way! Luggage and homemade Christmas presents soundly packed. Plane tickets in check.
Off I headed with a fitting book to Cape Town International Airport.
Eight hours later and I was finally in London Heathrow with my first eight hour layover.
I must be honest though… Heathrow is one of the most boring airports to have a layover in. I found a café, ordered some breakfast and did a bit of blogging.
Hours later, I was on a flight headed to New York City. Some eleven hours and an uncomfortable economy flight later and I had just landed in JFK. Anxious, nervous, excited and a million feelings more; I made my way off the plane, through border control and fetched my luggage before heading off to find Ash waiting for me on the other side.
We were finally in New York City!
Ash arrived a few hours earlier and grabbed some dinner with a friend he hadn’t seen in a while, so now it was time for full on exploring! I checked my luggage into the baggage storage counter near the arrivals area in Terminal 4. The counter is open 24 hours and charges reasonable prices between $4 – $16 dollars depending on the size of your bag. With that taken care of, we made our way out of the airport and caught the subway, heading over to the first stop on our NYC Bucket List: the Rockefeller Tree!
By the time we made it to the Rockefeller Tree it had started to rain so after spending some time here, we decided to walk on in search of Times Square.
While Times Square is easily accessible by many buses and subways, there’s no better way to explore a city than on foot…even in the winter rain.
By the time we reached it was the early hours of Christmas morning and while the shiny lights and changing billboards were captivating, the streets showed signs of people wandering home and snuggling away in warm apartments.
Cold and wet, we decided to head back to Ash’s friend’s apartment located somewhere in pretty old Brooklyn, have some hot chocolate and delicious ginger biscuits before catching an Uber back to the airport and flying onward to begin our island vacation!