Now that we're ready to roll after an amazing breakfast, it's time to set the scene.
How do I capture the essence of Manhattan in a paragraph? Impossible, much like trying to do everything we wanted in 6 days. But I'll give it ago.
8 impressions of Manhattan.
1 :: Honking. So much honking. There is no rhyme or reason to the (not so) musical outbursts from the cars and taxis of Manhattan, and it never stops. By the end of our trip, we had become semi-immune to it, but it needs some getting used to. Purely for this alone, my impression of New York is something in between London and Tokyo, but noisier and more chaotic.
2 :: People are lovely, and service is excellent. There is a general feeling of friendliness in NY that doesn't exist in most major European cities, which I enjoyed - but at the same time, there is that bustling feeling of a city that never sleeps, and people are headed where they're headed and keep their distance, which I also appreciate.
3 :: It all feels like a movie set. Obviously, I realise that this is probably because it actually is the set for a gazillion movies, but it just felt like a character from my favourite sitcoms, TV shows and films could pop out onto Fifth Avenue at any moment. I'm quite aware that this makes me sound like a pitiful tourist, but I don't mind. It's just part of the fun!
4 :: We witnessed two big NY events: Halloween and the NYC marathon. On both occasions, the streets were crazy - parades, stands, blocked subway stations. And on both of those days, it was as though half of the population were NYPD. There were crowds of police officers on every corner, and it was all handled so well, the police were polite and helpful, and it felt very safe - we were impressed.
5 :: Every time I spotted those fire escape staircases outside the buildings that are so quintessentially New York, I thought of Friends.
6 :: I can't remember if I've mentioned this, but this was technically not my first time in NYC. I went there with my parents when I was about 2 years old (I think we lived there for a few months), but nothing in my memory was triggered from being there. However, I did think about how tiring it would be to try and explore a place like New York with a young child - I was exhausted and we had no one to look after. But I also think that kids would love NYC.
7 :: Usually, I have the absolute worst sense of direction, and I'm well known for it. So you can imagine E's shock when I miraculously turned into some kind of orienteering wizard in New York. So what if it's because the streets are a grid and even a baby could navigate it? And why is London so much more complicated?
8 :: It is as amazing, exciting and unpredictable as you'd imagine. If you think you would love it, you will.