Arriving at the Blakely Hotel, where we would be staying – we found a number of staff members waiting to for us. Prior to dad and I arriving at hotel, mom had arrived first and found that our room wasn’t accessible enough so she requested a room change.
We found the assistants very helpful and eager to give us any advice on the hotel and locations around New York.
On going up to our room I found the lifts were very small, which was a challenge as there was limited time before the lift doors closed. I had to very gently ease myself into the lift and position myself at a particular angle each time.
In the room, itself, there was a main bedroom in which I could move around with ease, the room had a large double bed, a desk, a TV and a large window with a great view. Then in the mini hallway there was a sofa bed in which one of us were to sleep on when the other two took the bed in the main room.
It turned out in fact that the bed was very big we managed to all sleep in the bed during our stay. Leading off the hallway was a bathroom, though the room itself was very spacious, the doorway was narrow. My parents had to lift me all the way to the toilet and into the shower when necessary.
The shower had a decent sized step, meaning so my parents had to lift me up and into the shower in which we had placed a shop bought chair in for me to sit down in while I showered. Overall though we were very pleased with our room.
Every morning breakfast was served in a room off the lobby. Depending on the time we went down for breakfast, it was very busy and most of the tables were taken. Continuing to be helpful, staff guided us and reserved a table for us that was easy to access.
Served for breakfast was a range of food and drink; there were pancakes, muffins, cereal, toast, bagels as well as range of different juices and tea of coffee.
Sometimes the portions were so big I had breakfast and skipped lunch and had dinner, as I was full from breakfast.
The Blakely Hotel was conveniently located near Times Square so we went out every day and explored, taking advantage of what New York had to offer.
On the first night, we were looking for somewhere to have a bite to eat, soon finding a small, very nice looking cafe/restaurant.
Going inside we looked forward to a good meal. However, first impressions weren’t good, on seeing I was an electric wheelchair user, the waiters wanted and were trying to seat us at the back as they felt my chair would be in the way and people wouldn’t get past.
As I often feel that I’m in the way especially while I’m in public, I felt very uncomfortable at this comment. Feeling angry, my parents stated that my chair wouldn’t be in the way and became adamant that we were sitting main restaurant.
Reluctantly they complied and moved tables around and we sat in the main restaurant. When we were finally sat down, we saw that there was no cutlery, on asking for some the waiter threw them down on the table, probably still annoyed we got them to move things around so we could sit down where we wanted too.
Not very hospitable at all and we were shocked. Others agreed as they thought service and attitude was terrible. When it came to paying the bill, we agreed to paying but we refused to pay service charge or leaving a tip and they were not happy. We weren’t going to return to that restaurant in a hurry.
During our holiday, we decided to go on tour bus route and see the monuments of the city, soaking up the atmosphere of the amazing city. As part of our package with the tour bus excursion we were also able to get a boat trip around New York.
We found a good seat by the window to see all the sights. Starting at the Brooklyn Bridge, we sailed the waters around the Statue of Liberty and back to the Brooklyn Bridge. I marveled at the sights and magnitude of it all, struggling to take it all in.
I could not believe we were so close to the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty, two very iconic places in New York.
I enjoyed the tour bus excursion the most as I was able to see the fantastic sights as well as being able to soak up the hot weather and the overall atmosphere.
Listening to them through a pair of headphones, the tour guides were great and full of energy and well-practiced as they told us about the important monuments.
There were different buses, going different routes around the city and to experience it all we joined the two-day excursion and swapped routes regularly which all crisscrossed at certain points of the day, to make the most our trip.
Driving through New York, we saw significant monuments that were very symbolic in New York or in the world. We saw the 9/11 memorial, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Centre, Central Park, Grand Central Station, Times Square, Dillon’s Candy Store and of course all the shopping opportunities in New York.
One of the main monuments that I wanted to see when I went to New York was the 9/11 memorial. It is an iconic monument in both New York and the world and is said to be worth visiting.
Not until you are actually there can you actually witness and feel the impact of the monument. It’s hard to believe that I was standing where all those innocent people died, where something so significant in history happened.
Where the twin towers organically stood were two waterfalls, surrounded by marble, which were engraved with the names of those who sadly perished on that fateful day. As I looked at each of the names of each of those who perished on that day, I felt a twinge of terrible sadness towards them but certain deaths stood out to me; mothers and their unborn child hit me hard, making my heartache.
Though it did cause me great sadness, I wouldn’t have missed seeing or visiting the monument.
EMPIRE STATE BUILDING AT NIGHT
Though we passed the Empire State Building on our tour bus excursion and were told to visit it, we were encouraged to go and visit here at night; the experience would be much stronger at night. Deciding to take the advice, we ventured out at night and journeyed up the empire state building.
Getting the lift up to the highest level of the empire state building, causing my ears to pop repeatedly and painfully, we were able to see the whole of New York from the top level, it was unbelievable.
Using binoculars, we were able to focus on parts of the city below. The sites were beautiful and stunning and defiantly a highlight of the holiday.
I know you may think I’m exaggerating, but I’m really not, I’ve never seen such a beautiful city as New York at night.
On a day of our trip, my dad decided to go and meet a few clients and was working on a project while mom and I went to visit the Rockefeller Centre.
The Rockefeller Centre was roughly at the opposite end of the city to The Empire State Building, meaning we could see the sites of New York from a different prospective, but it was still as beautiful.
On our way up to the top of the Rockefeller Centre we spotted a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, who could resist one on the top of the Rockefeller Centre while lounging in the hot weather. Bliss.
The beautiful weather in New York was relentless and we took advantage of it that we could by visiting Central Park. It was really nice to take a step back from the sightseeing and soak up the atmosphere, relax and just enjoy being in New York.
GRAND CENTRAL STATION
I was really eager to go to Grand Central Station as it often featured in films set in New York. Going past it on the tour bus excursion I was able to admire the greatness of it. However, nothing compared to the inside. It was amazing.
Exploring the inside of the station, we were able to see the station at its busiest time of day and look around the different platforms while having a bite to eat.
DILLON’S CANDY STORE
Passing Dillon’s Candy Store on the bus tour, we decided to get off and look around. It was probably the biggest candy store I have ever seen, every sweet or chocolate you could possibly imagine. It was crazy. I felt like a little child pointing to all the sweets, wanting them all. In the end, I selected a lot of sweets, which I could not resist and took them home.
Times Square was probably the highlight of New York for me, I know it may sound a cliché but I felt like I was being filmed the whole time. As we drove through Times Square I looked everywhere at the same time, I didn’t want to miss any of it I swear I had a neck pain and headache by the end of it. In my opinion films do it an injustice.
Big TV screens everywhere. Full of light and excitement, crowed and popular. It was unbelievably amazing. There were many shopping opportunities that I took advantage of in Time Square. There were shops like Macys, Desigual, or the M&M store, which were very well known in New York.
There was a massive Toys R Us, it was like a big department store people could get lost in, in fact every store in New York were like this. My parents were often found in the Desigual shops, buying all they can.
Other than seeing the New York monuments and the shopping opportunities there was all the amazing food to try. I couldn’t believe how much more delicious the food was in America compared to England.
The portions of the food and drinks was crazy, each portion was at least double the size of the food we had back at home.
I couldn’t pick a favorite food or drink; there was the pancakes, burgers and pizzas, ice cream floats, milkshakes and of course every desert served, all the food and drink were unbelievably yummy, however nothing compared to the cheesecakes.
One of the top items on my itinerary was to go to a Cheesecake Factory. At first my parents weren’t particularly enthusiastic about going but with me nagging and pleading they said yes.
When we found it, and went into the Cheesecake Factory and my eyes widened, nearly bulged out the sockets. There were counters everywhere with cheesecakes on.
There was every cheesecake you could possibly imagine is in there to eat and possibly think of, I felt sick by just looking at them but I was excited to try as many as I could.
At first my parents and I were going to have a slice of cheesecake each but then saw slices of cheesecakes being brought to another table close by.
Seeing the size of the slices we would be given, we knew we wouldn’t be able to eat a whole piece without feeling terribly sick and decided to have two pieces between us; one New York baked cheesecake and one Oreo cheesecake.
Both were delicious, I will never forget the tastes of them. I wanted more but I knew my body couldn’t hold anymore.
I had to try to restrict myself on the number of souvenirs I brought; I wanted to buy souvenirs to remind me of my time at New York. I decided to buy bags of sweets as well keyring of the Statue of Liberty with the initial of my name on it amongst a few other souvenirs.
Though I wanted to buy much more I had to remember that I still had our holiday to Orlando and Palm Beach to come and these holidays included visits to Universal Studios and Island of Adventures and of course the much-anticipated visits to the Harry Potter Diagon Alley attraction at Universal Studios and the Harry Potter Hogsmeade Village at Island of Adventure.
Approaching the end of the holiday I spent as much time as I could in the city, soaking up the atmosphere and filled myself up on as much New York food as I could. I really didn’t want to leave, but I had all the memories from New York to hang on too and we had our holiday to Orlando ahead to look forward too!