In USA

Given we went to the show the night before and then went to the bar next door to the hotel which had a live band playing (and they were very good), it was an early start to head to New York in order to get there for the parade.

The South Station was only a couple of minutes Uber away, probably a bit too far to go with suitcases. Being there at 5:30 am, the station was very quiet as we were taking the first Acela Express train to New York at just after 6 am.

Amtrak is something I would highly recommend – especially on these stops on the East Coast. You can easily get between Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC – and many of the smaller cities like Providence, Stamford and Baltimore. Although the train was old, it was fine for the 3-hour journey to New York (although I do know they are getting new trains soon). Some of the scenery is stunning en route!

Arriving at Penn Street in New York is a bit like arriving in London, there are lots of lines, and lots of exits and can be quite confusing. In our case, we had a driver waiting for us as it was busy, knowing that the parade was starting at 11 am, but you could normally either get the Metro or a taxi depending on where your hotel is.

After checking into the hotel – for this trip, I was staying at the W Times Square, with some of the group staying next door at the Marriot Marquis. You really can’t stay any more central in Times Square than either of these two hotels. At the W, the rooms are of a really good size, and my corner room had really lovely views over the Hudson.

W Times Square - Corner Room

W Times Square – Corner Room

The St Patrick’s Day parade isn’t as grand as the Thanksgiving Day one, or possibly the celebration they have in Boston – but it was interesting seeing different groups file past. Essentially the length of Fifth Avenue, for a good few hours from start to finish. It’s not such a grand affair as the Thanksgiving Day parade in November, where there are large floats, often with big-name stars onboard or stars from the musicals. Still, it’s something that’s worth going to, if you happen to be in New York at the time.

St Patricks Day Parade

St Patrick’s Day Parade

Afterwards, we decided to head to Brooklyn Bridge, with a short stop to see inside Grand Central Station. It is a must when in New York, it’s such an iconic building. We got the Metro to Brooklyn Bridge as it’s further south in Manhattan – which again is easy. You just tap in like you would on the tube – and you can use a normal bank card or Apple Pay.

The bridge was really busy with many others doing the same thing, and you do have to be careful as it got quite windy. Still, you can get some fantastic photos. As it was nearby we also walked to the World Trade Center (and the new Westfield Mall), before getting the Metro back to Times Square.

For the evening we headed to the Upper West Side, a lot more calm and sedate than the centre of Midtown. We looked around the Arthouse, a 4* boutique hotel – which had great-sized rooms and a really lovely lobby area and restaurant. The food really was fantastic – really amazing and the service ‘top-notch’.

Shake, Rattle and Roll - Duelling Pianos

Shake, Rattle and Roll – Duelling Pianos

Afterwards, which by this point was about 10 pm, we went to Shake, Rattle and Roll – two New York-based singers who both play the piano and take requests (for payment) ranging from anything like Ray Charles all the way through to the Backstreet Boys. They are really entertaining, and given the intimate atmosphere, you really do get a sense that you are part of the show. Although note, it does finish late!

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