My First International Trip – New York City!

My First International Trip – New York City!
“New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
  There’s nothing you can’t do
  Now you’re in New York
  These streets will make you feel brand new
  Big lights will inspire you
  Hear it for New York, New York, New York” 
– Empire State of Mind


Merely landing in New York inspired me! The anxiety of braving this city solo was immense. I was here for a week of orientation, but that was not going to deter me from exploring the concrete jungle. I landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport and shuttled my way to my hotel, taking in the sights and sounds of this magnificent city.

New York was in the midst of winter during my first visit, bright and sunny but exceptionally cold, with some light snow. Being from bright, sunny Durban did not prepare me for this next level cold. Temperatures fluctuated between 6°C and -5°C.

Emerging from my shuttle, I embraced the cold. I was standing (with a ton of luggage) in midtown Manhattan! It took me a few minutes to compose myself; there was no longer any anxiety, only excitement! I checked in to my hotel and started my adventure!


I’ve made some special mentions of where I stayed, where I ate and the places I visited below:

New Yorker Hotel

8th Avenue & 34th Street – Midtown Manhattan

New Yorker Hotel  – official website

The hotel was built in 1929 in a distinct Art Deco style and was coined as the largest hotel and the most technologically advanced in New York City at the time of its opening. It is presented with luxurious amenities after being refurbished in 1994 and then again in 2000. New Yorker Hotel is situated close to Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. It is also within walking distance to all the places I visited below albeit some are located further away.

Metro Room Double   – official website

I was booked into a Metro Room Double, on the 19th floor with city views and a slight peek of the Empire State Building. The room was styled in its Art Deco design with two cushy double beds, bathtub/shower en-suite, flat screen TV, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, a workspace and complimentary Wi-Fi! The room made for a comfortable retreat after day long orientation and evening sight-seeing.


Tick Tock Diner

8th Avenue (next to the New Yorker Hotel) – Midtown Manhattan

Tick Tock Diner  – official website

Tick Tock Diner opened its doors in 1997 with diner-styled décor (bright colours, light-up signage and booth seating) and a menu to please Americans and foreigners. With an entrance to the diner from the New Yorker Hotel, it services the hotel guests 24hrs a day.

The menu is extensive with influences from Italian, Greek and Tex-Mex dishes. Breakfast is served all day (Belgian waffles and French toast all day!) with lunch and dinner options following. Since this option was closest to my hotel, I enjoyed the menu almost everyday. Some options that I tried were Eggs Benedict, Tex-Mex Omelette, Belgian waffles, French toast, Spinach ravioli and Parmigiano Sandwich. The Nutella Crepes were delightful and the perfect anytime breakfast dessert!



49th & Broadway

Established in 1956, Sbarro is the go to spot for XL New York pizza slices. Pizzas are freshly handmade with San Mazano style tomato sauce and whole milk mozzarella. Their menu also includes Stromboli, Pasta dishes and salads.

I sampled their cheese pizza which was simply a slice of heaven for those of us that adore stringy cheese pizza. I tried their spinach Stromboli which was also filled with cheese and the Pasta salad – all fresh ingredients and easy on the budget too.

Five Guys Burger & Fries

West 14th Street

A typical American burger joint which opened in 1986. Ingredients are fresh and all burgers come with as many toppings as you choose.

I packed my Cheese Veggie Sandwich with tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, jalapeno peppers and mayo. This was accompanied by Cajun style fries and handspun vanilla milkshake with mixed-in cherries. I felt very American-like after this meal!


Grand Central Terminal & Subway – (second visit)

East 42nd Street

Approaching Grand Central Station

Visions of grandeur spread over this magnificent building. The scale and architecture of the Grand Central Terminal building is astounding. It was designed to be functional with looping tracks for trains so they would not have to turn around. The idea was to have it built to accommodate all kinds of travellers and the Main Waiting Room boasts marble floors and wall trims with flourishes and acorns.

Main Waiting Room 

The bustling crowds seem familiar in the directions they go. Tickets in hand, we make our way to the subway for a short ride. Riding the subway was interesting – you see different people from different backgrounds, all with somewhere important to go.

Exploring the Subway
Empire State Building 

350 5th Avenue – Midtown Manhattan

The commencement of construction for the Empire State Building began in 1930. The historical site is often used to honour and show support for countries in need by displaying the colours of the country’s flag on towering sides. The Empire State Building is so tall that if you stand at the base of the building and look up – you are unable to see the top of the building.

102nd floor observation deck – Wow! World famous city views of New York City makes for an awe-inspiring sight, especially at night. The fresh breeze, city sounds and bright lights add to an experience you can’t miss. Get your tickets online to avoid waiting queues and join the express line.

View from the ground of the Empire State Building
Times Square

West 42nd Street to West 47th Street

When people talk of city square, an image of cobbled roads with fountains and quaint shops, boutiques and cafes – not Times Square. With its bright lights, big billboards and screens, colourful people and flashing cameras, Times Square is just as it is envisioned in movies, magazines and post-cards.

Times Square

Time passes by quickly and all one can do is sit and take in almost every detail that makes Times Square a popular tourist and local attraction.

Times Square – NYPD horses!
Central Park

5th Avenue. North 110th Street

Bethesda Terrace and Fountain – official website

Central Park creates a beautiful balance in the concrete jungle. It is a good retreat for a lunch time meal, evening stroll or hangout spot. Some of the attractions you can see are the Strawberry Fields, Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, Conservatory Garden and the Great Lawn and Turtle pond.

Alice in Wonderland Sculpture- official website


I visited Manhattan, New York on three occasions and I believe the splendour of experiencing New York in winter and fall (autumn) gave me a new found love for the cold, rain, snow and moody clouds. Each visit an experience that made me believe in myself, in people and in my dreams!


New York, New York.jpg


Hello Yeshi

0 thoughts on “My First International Trip – New York City!

  1. I visited New York over 10 years ago and would love to go back. The food looks tasty especially the large pizza slice! Can’t believe how spacious the room is in the hotel. When I stayed at the Waldorf Astoria, the room was half the size of the New Yorker hotel and the heating didn’t work! Thanks for the tips.

    1. The hotel was amazing – I haven’t been since the most recent update to the hotel. I shared my room and there was sufficient space for 2 girls and all our stuff! Very comfortable. 10 years! NYC misses you 🙂

  2. I have always wanted to visit New York! Everyone who has ben there tells me such good things. Love your picture of Grand Central Station! Looks exactly like we see it in the movies! Well done on braving the cold and growing to love it. I literally cannot function when its freezing!

    1. I really need for Durban to have much cooler winters, I can’t function when it’s too hot – I shut down!
      Definitely put NYC on your list and its so wonderful seeing all the places in reality that you would see in movies!

  3. I love this honest experience. I have always wondered myself if New York is really as cool as people say. I guess its time for me to actually go and find out!

    1. I guess it’s what you make of it. At first I was really bummed that it was so cold, then I got over it since I was in NYC! You sort of don’t sweat the small stuff when it comes to enjoying the experience.

  4. I think Central Park would be my fave spot in NYC – I’ve seen some amazing pictures of it. To be honest I find big cities quite overwhelming but I think I would give it a go for the sake of experience. Do you think you will ever come back?

    1. The hotel was lovely, even though my stay was covered, I highly recommend it budget-wise too. New York is amazing – put it on your list!

  5. New York is long in our bucketlist. I have always imagined New York as one of the coolest city. Though I want to visit more of San Francisco but my husband is totally crazy for New York.

    1. I’m in agreement with your husband Anushka – New York is an experience you will love! It gives you a sense of how people live and work together to make their dreams come true.

  6. Great read! The Grand Central Station and central park have been on my list for such a long time now! I hear its Beautiful place, New York. Thanks for a great read and looks like you had a great time 🙂 Thanks for sharing

  7. amazing trip, I can see that you really enjoyed it. love the photos of the buildings and parks. as the songs say New York…New York 🙂

  8. I loved knowing about the New Yorker Hotel built in 1929! New York really stays at par with the expectations, doesn’t it? Magnificent buildings, luxurious dining places and heritage all make it a brilliant package. Wish i could visit it during my visits to the States.

  9. Love NYC!!! Some fantastic places to see and things to do. I really enjoyed my time there. Thank you for sharing some fantastic photos and great info, I really love the look of the New Yorker Hotel.

    1. The hotel was amazing – and very affordable; also walking distance to almost everything. It really is an experience!

  10. I freaking love NYC, the best city in the whole world!!! I love the sound of the diner as well, one of my fave things about the states is that you can still find old fashioned diners to go and have a cup of coffee and eggs in 28 different ways. This is a fabulous post darling xx

    1. Ahh, that’s so true. This diner was so convenient – they would even changes dishes to suit exactly what you want – apart from the huge variety!

  11. New York looks like a place I’d like to visit one day. That NY pizza!!! Thank you so much for sharing!! Loved your post!

  12. This place is really my dream place to visit ever since I was a child. Anyway, I love how you were able to transmit your experiences in New York. It is interesting and beautiful. I love your photos as well as its showcase what this place has to offer. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  13. We were in NY just a month ago and loved it! We went with our kids, and did most of the places you mentioned along with the Natural History museum. You’ve captured the essence of NY well with the pictures!

  14. When next you return, do endeavour to venture past touristy midtown and head downtown or even lower Manhattan. Also, parts of Queens and of course Brooklyn. It’s good to see all the tourist sights but we’re more than just that and are a literal melting pot. Heck, I could take you to eat South African food the same way you eat it at home too. Lol. Let me know when next you come in.

Leave a Reply

Back to top
Please visit SA Corona Virus for updated information on COVID-19, symptoms, preventative measures and