#NYC, BigApple, Travel, Uncategorized

(Part 2) An Englishman in New York…

An idea for getting around.


One of the main challenges of visiting NYC is how to squeeze in all of the wonderful things you are planning to see and do. Leading on from this is the distinct possibility that whatever you plan may go well out of the window if it rains or if you purely get caught up in what else NYC has to offer. The latter is a definite risk!

Whilst I would highly recommend making an itinerary to guide you before you get there you should also allow yourself a bit of breathing space as you never know what may divert your attention. Of course some of the things you’ll want to do are best booked in advance; Statue of Liberty Crown Tickets are a must! Factoring in the main objectives of your trip we found the best way to see as much as possible is to do it Neighborhood by Neighborhood. Manhattan itself is a beast! and if you want to visit any of the outer boroughs you will find that this adds further logistical elements to your trip. As mentioned in my previous post, the subway is your ally in this quest and makes the city somewhat smaller when it comes to getting about.

In order to avoid any disappointment and make the most of your trip I advise doing the following:

  1. Research exactly where you want to get to
  2. See what else is nearby
  3. Look at whether there is anywhere to get something to eat in the vicinity

One of the best ways to do this is to start with the Neighborhood; as there are less of them then there are individual places to visit (Obviously!)  The example below offers an explanation:

Visiting Liberty Island/Ellis Island and Financial District

Get up early (you’re in the city that never sleeps) and catch the subway (4 or 5 Train) to Bowling Green; there’s also a Starbucks on State St to set you up for your caffeine hit. Walk through Battery Park to the Castle Clinton National Monument and beat the queues by getting your tickets early. Once you’ve got them you have the chance to wander through the park and checkout the various monuments or just take a view out to Liberty Island before your ferry leaves. If you’re lucky you’ll have been early enough to get on the first ferry and will soon make your way to security and boarding onto the boat. The short ferry journey is an ideal opportunity to view Manhattan and get some good photos of the skyline from afar.

We stopped at Liberty Island first (not sure if this is always the case) where the lone inhabitant needs no introduction! The 3rd time we went we got organised and booked Crown tickets albeit 5 months in advance! and had crossed fingers for good weather in February. Luckily it was although don’t let the weather perturb you as the Statue is awesome and whilst it looks quite small from Battery Park it is behemoth! The statue has numerous viewing platforms and a museum in the base as well as the opportunity to go into the Crown if pre-booked. WARNING – The Crown is a climb! and not for everyone (they do explain when you book) The spiral staircase is a long way up and am told that in the summer can be up to 20 Degrees Celsius higher than outside! But wow! it is worth it.

Once you’ve absorbed the wonder of the Statue there is a restaurant on the island if you are peckish or thirsty. Once you are finished you can catch the ferry to Ellis Island. In my opinion whilst Ellis Island is not as captivating as Liberty Island it gives an interesting insight into the history of immigration into the USA and ultimately the people whom made NYC what it is today. You can also look up any ancestors you may have who came to the US in days gone past which is good and certainly a must-do in my opinion if you had any that crossed the pond. Now comes the first mistake to avoid – Make sure you get the right ferry back! There are ferries from NJ as well that dock here so make sure you get back on one that returns to Battery Park. Whilst I am sure NJ is lovely your day will be somewhat put out by a further couple of hours of travel!

Back in Manhattan and the right state, walk up Broadway and see the Charging Bull and then carry on until you reach Wall St. Wander amongst the historical financial institutes and imagine how much money is flashing around in this one street alone. Feeling hungry? there are plenty of places around to eat nearby or wait until the next destination. Walk over to the World Trade Centre (a few blocks West) and go into One World Trade Centre to visit the One World Observatory. If like me you love buildings and architecture, One WTC is a marvel of engineering, a beautifully designed building and a sign of the unwavering spirit of New York and the US. By now you should be feeling pretty hungry and what better place to enjoy lunch than on the top of One WTC. The last time we visited we thoroughly enjoyed eating our lunch and sipping a cocktail over 1250 feet above the city and would definite recommend it. In summary, the food was good and the view was amazing on a clear and crisp day.

View from our table at lunch

Following lunch and a good look around the observatory there are a number of things around the area to do and see including:

  • 9/11 Memorial
  • 9/11 Museum
  • Brooklyn Bridge (A reasonable walk away)
  • Trinity Church
  • City Hall

Hopefully this will give you an idea how ticking things off of your list area by area can not only reduce unnecessary travelling but allow you to soak up more of the NYC atmosphere. As you will no doubt find out, each neighborhood is different to the last and are worth giving a bit of time to complete your New York experience.

From the above you may find that in certain cases that some attractions do need to be treated individually as they will always be busy, the 9/11 Museum in particular. That being said, in all cases the early bird gets the worm and if you’re from the UK it shouldn’t be a problem if you are suffering with some mild jet lag!

Cheers, Paul.


#NYC, BigApple, Travel, Uncategorized

An Englishman in New York…



After a long break from posts I thought it worthwhile to share some of the knowledge I have gained visiting my favorite city; New York, New York. Since my last post I have been lucky enough to be able to return to the Big Apple for a short break to reaffirm my love for the place as the best city on earth; in my opinion! although I know many more agree. My Fiance and I have been fortunate to visit the city on a number of occasions and each time we have added new and exciting experiences in what is an ever changing city. Whilst I would never consider myself an expert I feel that the little things I have learnt in visiting the city makes it more enjoyable so I thought I would share a few things with you…

First up – The Subway

Without a doubt this is the best way to explore the city; one of the first things I learnt when I first visited, as the city is huge! Even if you only want to visit Manhattan you will find out very soon how big it is and whilst walking is a good way to soak up the city you will struggle to walk everywhere in good time . Of course cabs are another option (and by all means get a cab!) but being a more frugal traveler I think the subway is ideal and a good place to start.

Tip 1 – Get a weekly MetroCard. These are circa $30 and last 7 days with unlimited travel; an absolute bargain if you compare to the tube in the Big Smoke.

Tip 2 – Don’t try and get one at rush hour, like London or any other city you will be getting in the way of people just trying to get to work and its New York so don’t expect good old english queuing and niceties!

Tip 3 – Uptown and Downtown are important. Make sure you get on the right line! Get a subway app or carry a small subway map with you to avoid wasting time and potentially getting lost. The subway is easy enough to negotiate but when its busy you are better off knowing exactly which way you are looking to go.

Tip 4 – Enjoy the entertainment! The subway is full of a vast myriad of characters and especially at weekends we have seen some very good entertainers in the stations. If you enjoy street performers some of them are definitely worth a watch.

All that being said, be safe and follow the rules. Whilst New York is probably one of the safest places we have ever visited remember it is a still working city so treat it as you would any other major city you might visit. We have never had any problems on the subway but study it beforehand i.e. your local station and line, to give yourself a fighting chance.

Hopefully you will find the above helpful and please feel free to leave feedback if you do.  I have quite a few more topics I want to share about this wonderful city and hope some of it helps would-be travelers and Big Apple lovers like me!

Cheers, Paul.

construction, Life, Uncategorized

Under pressure…Construction Life

It’s been a while. 

“It wouldn’t be fun if it was easy” 

Life according to Paul

I’ve been in the construction game a while now and every project is as complex and challenging as the last. Late nights, weekends, sleep deprivation….a part of every job if you care about what you do. “Blame the builder” they say “it’s all their fault”. Well guess what?! Whilst you despise change, we revel in it we build or lives and families around it and make it our own. If there was anyone better at giving you what you want and need we’d use them. We’re not uneducated fools who failed at life and decided to build things; we do a job that needs doing. We are the facilitators, the change merchants, the foundation of every industry and if you didn’t need us we wouldn’t be here. 

Don’t hate us, appreciate us, because we are your fathers, your mothers, aunties and uncles and your children. We do what needs to be done to change the world as we know it into something better. 

If you want to make a difference in the world; be part of the industry that’s helps change it.

Cheers, Paul. 

Fitness, Health, Life, Motivation

A journey to a healthier, fitter life……

Following a similar stream from my previous post, I have been recently been attempting to alter my lifestyle to live a more balanced life. 

There is one thing that is synonymous with working in the construction industry  and that’s unhealthy eating and drinking habits (for the most case! No offence intended) For years I have eaten my way through site canteens and have been full on with the Full English Breakfast and cheeky pints after work. Don’t get me wrong I have enjoyed the camaraderie with the lads on site but have spent my 20’s contributing to a nice paunch. 

Despite many attempts at shifting it over the years nothing has really worked for me. Until now…

I’m not selling anything or recommending a miracle product and will certainly not be posting mirror selfies of my physique; you can watch Animal Planet for an idea of what I look like! All I have done is cut down on drinking alcohol and started exercising more. In particular, I still eat what I want but measure it based on nutrition. That means eating more fresh food, especially vegetables and only eating wholemeal carbohydrates. 

I find that eating like this for most of the time balances the fact that I like nothing more than to tear into a nice, juicy burger or pizza and enjoy a nice pint of cider (that’s hard cider if you’re from across the pond). 

The final change is more exercise. In the past I’ve tried running, going to the gym with a friend, a personal trainer, and working out at home but nothing stuck. Although I would say that at home HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is well worth a go as it’s a cheap way to get a motivated work out in your living room; the problem is disciplining yourself to keep at it as a routine. 

If you’re thinking ‘well what’s left?’ I’ll tell you….

Kickboxing. I’d been before years previously and found it fitted well with the level of effort and stress release so took it up again. I can undoubtably say that if you can find somewhere local and somewhere you feel comfortable then go for it. Take a friend and train together whilst benefitting from motivation from the trainer to push yourself to get fitter. 

I appreciate that some martial arts and ultimately any fighting style are controversial at times but they shouldn’t be. Find yourself a training based school and see for yourself. I can honestly I feel the best I have in years and look forward to it every week. I sleep better, feel better and am less stressed. 

Give it a go….

While I’ve found it’s hard to break the habit of a lifetime it shouldn’t mean you can’t change the habit of a lifetime.

Cheers, Paul. 

Life, Motivation, Uncategorized

Finding the balance…

Work/Life, Health/Enjoyment, Time/Money. 

“Live life to the full”

“Everything in moderation”

“Your health is your wealth”

Those are all good sayings but are also contradictory in nature as we all know. How can you live life to the full when you work? Surely moderation is boring? And not all the things you want to do are good for your health and certainly not good for your wealth. 

As I write this there will be potentially millions of people who have just cancelled that gym membership that they only started in January. These are People who aspire to get healthy and implement positive change into their life. Unfortunately real life is the worst habit and the hardest to give up. Everything always starts well and then falters as we fall back into our usual approach to life. But who can judge them….not me; I’ve been one of them! 

The question is ‘How do you balance your life to live well and live healthily whilst maintaining a decent standard of life?’

The answer……is unknown to me and one beyond my years so I’ll let you figure it out for yourself!

Fortunately, spring is on the way and all the cheerfulness of the thought of warmer, and (potentially in the U.K.) drier weather. Hopefully we’ll all forget about what we think we should be doing and actually enjoy our lives rather than analysing and evaluating our life performance thus far. 

Whatever you do….live the dream! 

Cheers, Paul.