Hope you all had a great break and are ready for what could be a tough slog this year. This post is mainly just to get off my chest how great a time I had in New York. Once I’ve done this, I promise to keep it to double glazing stuff, and I’ll try and keep it brief!

Well, we nearly didn’t get there! The original pilot was taken ill in hospital, so Virgin had to call in a spare pilot who was on his day off! About an hour later we managed to take off and landed smoothly at JFK in the middle of the afternoon. However, things were about to get much more stressful as it took four hours to make a 45 minute journey to our hotel. The reason? 51cm of snow. That all fell 48 hours before we were due to set off. The whole of New York just caved in. Three lane roads were ploughed only down the middle, only clearing one lane, causing huge snow piles either side. Not only that, trains and the underground weren’t running in the city or in the outer counties, so everyone was driving in, clogging things up further.

We managed to get to the hotel, which was a very nice 4 star place in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. But we had to change rooms as we were right next to some generators and the noise was way too loud to sleep through. We actually ended up with a better room! After we moved it was room service burgers then bed.

Throughout the week we managed to pack in as much as possible, doing the usual tourist places: Empire State Building, so much shopping, Central Park, American Museum of Natural History, Maddam Tussauds, Time Square etc. One thing I’d like to stress is how polite and courteous the American people were…and how rude and arrogant the Europeans were! Every American bar one moody NYPD officer and all the British tourists were extremely kind and helpful. You could go up to either and ask questions and would give your more information than you needed. The mainland Europeans however were some of the rudest I’ve ever come across. A great example is where we were on a bus tour around the city and while we were trying to listen to the tour guide on the microphone, this Spanish couple were trying their best to talk over the guide, much to the annoyance of us as we were right in front of them. We did tell to be quiet as people were trying to listen, but they chose not to listen so we moved further down the bus. We had Russians and Italians pushing through queues while everyone else was patiently waiting. The French were just as rude. The Germans were OK, but I’m afraid the European tourists didn’t give their continent the best impression.

The only poor part of the trip was a couple of passes we bought prior to getting there. We hoped to get into Times Square to watch the ball drop live. We found a website last September which claimed to sell tickets which not only allowed you to get into certain venues around the edge of the square (which is actually a triangle!) but also access to Times Square and get past the NYPD blockades. All I can say about them is that it was all utter bullshit! We had to spend two and a half hours trying to find a way to get past all the security barricades to pick up these passes, and once we had them and read the info pack we got, it became clear that these passes were worthless and we didn’t have a chance of getting into Times Square! We were duped by a flashy website which looked absolutely legit. The simple message is if your going to Times Square in the future to see the ball drop and you find somewhere which claims to sell access tickets avoid it! It’s too good to be true and don’t waste your money. Just occupy a space from about 11am in the morning and be patient!

This didn’t ruin any of the holiday as there was too much to do to spoil it. Another observation is that food is quite expensive over there. Menu prices look reasonable to begin with, but when you add tax on then 20% tip, it becomes a bit expensive. But, if you find a great steakhouse like we did then it’s worth every penny!

Although bitterly cold for most of the week, we did OK weather wise. Sunny most days and no rain meant we could do everything we wanted to. It was a great week away and neither of us wanted to go home, hence we are already looking at booking again soon! It’s a fantastic city full of welcoming people and great sights, just go with patience, it’s a very busy place and you don’t tend to get anywhere fast. Walking is probably your best option.

So, now that’s over I need to sell a few more doors and windows to help pay for the next trip!