Two years ago I sat in a cafe with a friend. She was soon heading off to New York for her sister’s 40th birthday and I listened green with envy at all the plans they had made. ‘Wow, that would be my dream to turn 40 in New York’ I remember telling her.
Fast forward a year and we were making plans to book a trip back to the UK to visit Mark’s parents. Every time we’d been back to England we’d put New York on the agenda for a stopover only to take it straight off again when we looked at how expensive the flights were as soon as you added New York into the mix. This time however, the stars aligned. American Airlines had just launched a new service from Auckland to LA, opening up the rest of the States with their internal flight options. Suddenly New York was looking like a real possibility. ‘But if we go to New York we really HAVE to go to Niagara too’ I declared. And so the trip of a lifetime took shape. Flying to New York for 5 days, Toronto for 2 days (the closest major city to Niagara), onto England for 3 weeks and back home via LA to take the kids to Disneyland.
We booked the flights a good 9 months before our trip and it was a loooong wait, but gave us plenty of time to research accommodation and excursion options. Originally we thought we might stay out in Long Island as the accommodation was about half the price of staying in Manhattan. But then we considered how great it would be to be right in the thick of the city action and bit the bullet booking a hotel right near the Empire State building on West 35th street.
Hanging in the QANTAS lounge before our LA flight
When the day finally rolled around, we were more than ready to be on our way. I think I’d forgotten just how LONG 12 hours is on a plane and I was ready to get off about halfway through the LA leg - no such luck. However with lots of new movies to watch including plenty of new release kids movies the trip passed uneventfully - apart from Noah throwing up a couple of times as we landed in LA. We hadn’t given him a Sealegs tablet but remembered to give him one before the NYC leg.
After a straightforward LA customs process very unlike what we’d been warned about, we sat down to wait for our NYC flight. As soon as we got on the plane, they warned us that thunderstorms in New York meant a possible delay. Then the captain further announced that due to something mechanical we may need to change planes as well. We sat on the plane for nearly two hours (luckily the movies were working) before having to get off and wait for our new plane. Eventually after a 4 hour delay we were on our way again. Noah had perked up a bit after it being nigh on impossible getting him to eat anything in LA where he was as white as a ghost and I thought he could have passed out at any moment from lack of food as he’d barely eaten on the LA flight.
We landed in NYC at 9pm local time after 24 hours travelling, more than ready to see our hotel beds. A straight forward trip into the city landed us there by 10pm.
Despite the late hour we were pretty ravenous and headed out for a late night slice of New York pizza, with views of the Empire State building to wow us along the way.
That night we slept the sleep of the dead, muchos tired but feeling excited about what the next few days would bring.