My sister and I have always been close…but as the years go by, we struggle to see each other as often as we’d like. We are on different continents and operate in different timezones. She’s got a demanding job, I’ve got kids and well, life goes on.
When I decided to take a time out in December, we agreed to meet in New York, for some quality sister time. I’m so glad that we managed to! It was lovely experiencing the Big Apple with her. Although we spent a significant amount of time walking and eating, we managed to squeeze in a bike tour, watched the New York Knicks vs the Sacramento Kings, I caught up with an old girlfriend who I’ve not seen in ages and visited my cousin and his family who live on Long Island.
Where We Stayed:
This was also the first time I stayed in this AirBnb and it was absolutely brilliant. We stayed in a well presented, new apartment, in close proximity to food and bubble tea in Chinatown! Besides being cheaper than staying at a hotel and it was close to the Metro. I would definitely consider staying there again. We paid £443 for 4 nights (including the cleaning fee).
How I Got Around:
I went for the cheapest direct tickets I could find as I wanted to maximise my time. Norwegian Air was a good value option with great customer service, flying from London Gatwick to New York JFK. I did not pre-book any inflight meals but purchased checked-in baggage on the way back. The flights cost me £396.30 about 6 weeks before date of departure. In New York, I hopped on the Metro (even to and from the airport) and walked everywhere. And boy, the Americans’ defnition of ‘1 block’ felt pretty far!!
Stuff We Did:
Bike the Big Apple Manhattan Bike Tour
One of the highlights of our trip was the bike tour. It was tiring as it lasted from 10am – 4pm with a lunch break but well worth the effort. There were quite a number of interesting stops along the way and it’s great to have Marc Seidenstein, who’s extremely passionate about NY, show us around. Cycling the two bridges – the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge was definitely an interesting experience.
New York Knicks vs Sacramento Kings @ Madison Square Garden
My sis and I used to spend our highschool nights in Malaysia watching the NBA games from 11pm onwards. We were huge fans of the likes of Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, Shaquille O’Neal. To be able to catch a game in Madison Square Garden felt like a childhood dream coming true. The atmosphere was nothing short of fantastic!! Err…and yes we both bought the same New York Knicks T-Shirt so that we could ‘boria’ together. Funnily enough I can’t seem to find the definition of ‘boria’ on wikipedia. I am pretty sure it means wearing the same clothes or doing the same things….
And all the other stuff we did:
We wandered around Rockefeller Centre, Chelsea Market, Central Station, Central Park, The NY Public Library, the 9/11 Memorial, the High Line, admired the Christmas decorations and also did some shopping. There was just so much to do and so little time. Definitely a city that you’d want to visit more than once!
Stuff We Ate:
I won’t bombard you with too many food photos. There was a lot to eat and try! Here were some of our culinary highlights:
Russ & Daughters Cafe
Jewish food was something different for us as we’re not really big fans of ‘preserved’ fish (except maybe some ‘ham yee’ every once in a while). I’m not sure I would return for a second helping unless it was for smoken salmon, cream cheese and a bagel. Ooh I do like capers though, they remind my of jalapenos but…not spicy!
One of my favourite calorific creations of all time has to be the doughnut and what better place to have a doughnut than at the Doughnut Plant in New York? My sister and I had 3 doughnuts to share and our favourite was the Coffee Cake doughnut pictured below. I think I can personally eat a dozen of these bad boys.
Eileen’s Special Cheesecake
She’s not kidding about this. This is some special cheesecake. The right texture, not too sweet, deliciously crumbly. And with so many flavours to choose from and in guilt-free mini portions, you’d be hard pressed to only pick one. I went for blueberry and my sister had salted caramel. Did it matter that we weren’t actually hungry when we walked past Eileen’s? No.
Imagine a mega supermarket with Italian groceries and separate sections for Italian coffee, cheese, pasta, gelato, pizza and everything Italian you could possibly imagine. That was what Eataly was like. My sis had been there before and loved the food and she insisted we made a lunch stop there. We shared a pizza and a pasta dish followed by some gelato and Italian coffee. The ingredients were all fresh and the food was top notch.
Dominique Ansell Bakery
We queued outside the bakery to get a taste of the original cronut (there’s a separate queue for everything else). Fortunately it was only for 20 minutes, unfortunately, we both thought the cronut was overrated. Plus we couldn’t even choose the flavour of cronut! The bakery only served one flavour per month.
And everything else:
We did indulge in a bit of Chinese food in the form of noodles and bubble tea as we were so happily situated in Chinatown. I met my friend, Ms. R at a lovely Italian place (Giovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina Restaurant) close to Chelsea Market and got carried away talking and eating until I nearly missed my night train to Long Island! In true Malaysian style, my cousin took me for a mega dim sum session at Flushing…when I say mega, it’s because there was just the 2 of us and approximately 14 plates of dim sum. Nevertheless we demolished most of it and my favourite dish is pictured below. The pickled vegetables and fruit from the Pickle Guys is also worth a mention. Perfect for those of you who are expecting and craving sour goodies!
I returned to London, feeling happy to see my girls and my husband but sadly empty that I had to say goodbye to my sister again. The best part of the whole trip was all the conversations I had with my sister. Conversations about everything or nothing at all, about our lives, our careers, our hopes and dreams. We did try our best to annoy and irritate one another as only sisters can. Until our next adventure baby sister!!!