Most people have set their eyes on New York, dreaming of the ultimate city vacation and shopping holiday. In the eyes of many it is the cultural epicentre of the world, and the place to go if you want to shop till you drop.
I've wanted to visit New York for some time. While having been to the US previously, I've never made it to the big apple and as such it has always been a bit of a mystery to me as I am constantly being bombarded with iconic pictures, popular movies and TV series and inside knowledge of the city. Everywhere you look, you will find something symbolising or picturing New York.
But the idea of crossing the Atlantic simply to walk the chessboard streets of Manhattan has always seemed a little preposterous. When I travel beyond Europe, I want to see more than the granite grey streets of the city.
It has become tradition that when we travel we explore both the cultural, historical and natural wonders of the region as well as the modern cosmopolitan cities. Thus, a visit to New York would have to include all three elements, which means that we've ended up with a jam-packed two weeks autumn holiday.
We will begin with a weekend in Southern Manhattan before taking a three day tour to Philadelphia and Washington DC. Returning to New York we are having a small week exploring the central parts of Manhattan before going north to experience the fall foliage in Southern Vermont. We'll end our trip with a short weekend around Central Park and the Upper West Side.
Welcome to New York: Chinatown, Little Italy and SoHo
Sitting down at this very local and far from touristy little place was absolutely heaven, and perhaps the moment that we both realised that we were indeed in New York.
Welcome to New York: Financial District, TriBeCa and Ellis Island
After our visit to Ellis Island and learning about the discrimination against Chinese, it felt befitting to return to Chinatown and a proper Chinese meal.
In the Footsteps of Revolution - In the Streets of Philadelphia
Visiting New York for the first time we've decided to spent a few days travelling south to the cradle of American democracy. We are visiting Philadelphia synonymous with the American Revolution and fight for freedom.
Building a Country - Building a Capitol
A middle-aged woman was monotonously speaking into a microphone about God and the bible with a sign which indicated that she was a write-in candidate for the presidential election. If I was American, I might just have chosen to write her name.
Days in New York: Gramercy, Flatiron and Chelsea
We passed between modern buildings built to encapsulate the High Line as well as older and crumbled buildings which stood as testament to the industrial area that it used to be.
Gallery: High Line
The High Line might be my favourite place in Manhattan after a two weeks visit. It is the mix of old and new, industry and creativity, and the feeling of walking above the Manhattan grid in a wonderful world of recreation.
Days in New York: The Village
A small group of students were advocating for the rights of Native Americans, and in reference to the upcoming Columbus Day were asking people passing by how they'd like it if someone showed up and took over their house.
Gallery: Chelsea Flea Market
Though I did not find anything, I was in particular need of, I could not help myself taking pictures of all the odities that were available at Chelsea Flea Market.
Days in New York: Harlem and the Met
Whatever sun we've experienced is gone from Manhattan and instead we are left with a grey blanket of clouds and heavy doses of rain.
Days in New York: The UN and the Upper East Side
Americans seem to adore parades. They have the Mardi Gras, the Thanksgiving Parades, massive Halloween parades and Saint Patrick's Day Parades which equals anything in Ireland.
I have always known that should I go to New York City I would want to combine it with something more. I’d want to explore more of the east coast. That is why we went south to Philadelphia and Washington DC. It is also why we’ve planned a small vacation to Vermont.
Good-bye New York
If Brooklyn was still a city in its own right rather than a borough of New York City, it would be the fourth largest city of the United States in terms of population. As such, a short day would never do the place justice. But, I can proudly state that we did what we could.