Let’s hear it for New York.

A large part of the reason this trip was so successful is, I think, because having 8 days in the city allowed for a happy medium between John’s more leisurely style of holidaying and my desire to do and see everything that’s physically possible within the time constraints given. Nevertheless, climbing the Empire State Building on our final night was, perhaps, one landmark too far for him, and so John left me to shoehorn in one last attraction while he went back to the hotel to get a head start on packing.

On arrival, I was given the option of buying an Express Pass – twice the cost of a regular ticket but with the added bonus of skipping all of the queues upstairs. I politely declined on account of the fact that it was approaching midnight and I appeared to be one of about ten people in line.

The view from the 86th Floor Observatory, with Times Square on the left there.

The Chrysler Building (and – somewhere in the bottom right – our hotel).

The 102nd Floor Observatory. It might not be open air like the one 16 floors below, but you can’t knock that view.

Come midnight, I found myself looking out over Manhattan from 381 metres above, and able to recognise almost every place we’d visited over the course of the trip. I think the strangest part of being in New York is that peculiar sense of déjà vu that comes of seeing a city that has so permeated pop and film culture; where you can step out on any street for the very first time and be met with the uncanny familiarity of everything around you.

On our final morning, John and I opted to have one last Penelope breakfast but – with packing and check-out taking precedence – were forced to make an emergency online order lest we miss the brunch menu. Alas, by the we arrived, there was limited space in the café itself, and so we took to the streets in search of a picnic spot. We eventually settled on Madison Square Park, which was going perfectly well until we were joined by a local vagrant. “Hey, amigo – gimme some food. I’m gonna take a leak, watch.” Needless to say that both requests were met with a resounding no, and a swift relocation.

The Flatiron Building.

With several hours to spare until we needed to make our train to the airport, John and I made one last (decidedly more successful) trip to Mood Fabrics. This also constituted the final tick on both our official and unofficial to-do list, making the holiday a resounding triumph on all fronts.

All that was missing was Tim Gunn.

While we were there, we picked up some designer yardage, figuring that we could buy a scarf’s worth of Diane Von Furstenberg and hem it ourselves for a considerable fraction of the in-store mark-up. Thank you, Mood!

Evidently, someone in city-planning had a sense of humour when it came this street. How else to explain a store called “polish me”…

…right next door to the fresh tossed salad bar.

Back to the hotel for our suitcases, where, unlike the first day, we thankfully remembered to tip the bellboy. Tipping was, incidentally, one of our sole vacation vexations. Suffice it to say that having lived longest in Britain (where it’s more selective) and Japan (where it’s borderline offensive), my knowledge of who to tip and when is a little restricted. Thankfully Steph was usually on-hand to let us know that bartenders, for example, are included on that list.

Rather appropriately, the last thing we saw before leaving was the very first thing we’d seen on arrival: this little alley bridge opposite Penn Station.

And finally, tragically, saying goodbye to one of our new favourite cities.


  1. thisluxlife says:

    WOW what beautiful pictures!!! Reading your post and looking at the pictures made me realise there will always be a ton more things for us to do in New York (we have a never go back to a place rule!) We got back from NY this week and I am writing about it at the mo on my blog and i’ve only done day one so far!!! You might find it interesting! The pics aren’t as good as your stunners though! Best, Amanda thisluxlife.com

    • Mark Liddell says:

      Thank you! I thought the same thing after we left – we managed to squeeze in a ridiculous amount while we were there and we still didn’t get through a fraction of the museums, restaurants and attractions available. As soon as we got back to the UK, we were already making plans for a return trip!

  2. Markus McD says:

    Definitely a great city to check out multiple times!!
    Amazing pictures! I love how Times Square emanates its vibrance into the night!
    You’re right, it has a strange familiarity being in movies, but there’s also the excitement of running into celebs at random shops and stops. 😊

    • Mark Liddell says:

      Thank you! We’re hoping to get out again next year and maybe see more of the Boroughs next time. Yes, celebrity sightings were definitely one of our main bragging points when we got home, haha. (As a complete aside, I’ve never been to Brantford, but I was in Ontario a few years back. It was gorgeous!)

      • Markus McD says:

        Aww, nice of you to say so! I find once you get out of the big cities there’s so many National Parks and natural beauties around Ontario and Canada! But even the cities have some decent historical landmarks. Not as many stories as I’m sure Britain’s cities have!

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