Secretary in the city

Last week I was having a fabulous holiday in New York to celebrate my Mum’s 60th birthday. With two Executive Assistants in the family I’m sure you can imagine how organised the whole trip was from the moment we booked the flight and hotel to the moment we landed back in London we had a detailed itinerary and plan for all to follow and I can tell you in the 5 days we were there we saw A LOT!  I thought I would share the trip with you and show that our skills can be transferred across from business to our own personal lives… plus there are a few pretty pics!

Saturday 5th May

We arrived into NY tired and a bit overwhelmed but we checked into our hotel – Astor on the Park – and headed out to have a look around Central Park as it is was opposite the hotel.

New York City Travel Guide Practically Perfect PA 2012/05/14

A very green Central Park

We then headed down to Time Square for the evening, it was crazy busy as you would expect on a Saturday night! I wouldn’t recommend eating around Time Square as it tends to either be over priced or a bit rubbish. We ate at an Italian restaurant called Il Violino on Columbus Avenue which was very nice, although we did have a slight run in with the waiter who thought we had not tipped enough, despite it being 20% of the bill!

New York City Travel Guide Practically Perfect PA 2012/05/14

The neon colours of Time Square

Sunday 6th May

Sunday is all about one thing in New York City – brunch! We had a quick wander around Harlem before taking the subway back to Central Park to get a table at The Boathouse, a classic brunch spot on the lake in the centre of the park. It was a perfect choice and the food was lovely, particularly the waffles!

New York City Travel Guide Practically Perfect PA 2012/05/14

I could lick the screen right now!

After brunch we had to walk off the food so we used our feet to get from the park to the upper east side and a quick trip to The Plaza for a bottle of Prosecco. It was so expensive but well worth it, plus my brother’s girlfriend spotted Jessica Alba in the foyer (my brother was gutted)!

New York City Travel Guide Practically Perfect PA 2012/05/14

Glasses required for undercover celebrity spotting!

I’m glad we had a little bit of alcohol to steady the nerves because the next stop was Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Center, which had amazing views from the observation deck all 70 floors up.

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Amazing view of Central Park from the Top of the Rock

Sunday night seems to be a quiet affair in NYC and we were all still getting over the jet lag so we had a relaxed dinner in Chinatown – one little tip, when the waiter says you’ve ordered too much food, listen to him! We ordered a dish each and there was enough left over to feed a small nation!

Monday 7th May

We had a bumper packed day planned for Monday, and it was all based around downtown NY. We had an early start aboard the Statue Cruise Liner  to the Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island. Both were amazing experiences and something I would totally recommend to first time visitors.

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Lady Liberty … or Karen as we renamed her!

Once back on dry land my mum and I went to the Tenement Museum to take a tour of a 19th Century building that housed an immigrant Irish family. The rooms were tiny and had 10 people living there at any one time. Cramped! After the tour we met back up with my brother and his girlfriend to visit the 9/11 Memorial. It was a moving experience and I didn’t quite realise how much I would be affected by the memorial. Although my opinion isn’t worth a dime, I thought the fountains were a fitting tribute to those that lost their lives and the buildings. The rain had started by the late afternoon so we had a whistle-stop tour around the financial district before grabbing a taxi back to our hotel.

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Raging Bull!

We really fancied a full on American dining experience for dinner so we picked a restaurant on the Upper East Side called Brother Jimmy’s BBQ. It was fab for a few reasons – the food was sooo good, the crowd were all in a happy mood because the local hockey team had just won and to top it off I got asked for ID!

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Yum on a bun!

Tuesday 8th May

Tuesday morning was spent wandering around Greenwich Village and the Meat Packing District and I loved it! I think it might well be my favourite part of the city, I could definitely see myself leaving my Brownstone off of Bleaker Street to poodle around the shops for the day. Anyway… back to reality, I was on holiday so after a quick tour which including seeing The High Line, Chelsea and Soho we made our way back into the centre of the city to Union Square, the Flatiron Building and Grand Central station. My brother’s lovely girlfriend had been given a recommendation for a speak easy / secret bar in the station that served up glamorous cocktails so as it was mid afternoon and we were on holiday, we thought why not!

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Cocktails in The Campbell Apartment

We also stopped to take in views of the Chrysler Building which I’ve always wanted to see, I love all things Art Deco and this building certainly lived up to expectation.

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The impressive Chrysler Building

Tuesday night was I think the best night we had in NYC. We rushed back to the hotel for a quick shower and to change into our glad rags for our Broadway show. It had taken awhile to decide what show to see as there is so much choice but finally and with a flip of a coin we settled for One Man Two Govnors starring James Corden. It was fantastic and I am so glad we went to see it… one word of warning though, for some reason Broadway theatres offer wine in what can only be described as a beaker, which means you are drinking wine through a straw. No good can come of this!

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It really is very funny!

After the show we got my mum in a cab home and headed out for a night on the town, starting in the East Village and finishing back in the Meat Packing District, which was really lively for a Tuesday night anyway. It all get’s a little hazy at this point so I can’t really recommend anywhere specifically! Although I vaguely remember having a cocktail in The Standard Hotel which was very nice… I think!

 Wednesday 9th May

Despite the slightly fuzzy head we had planned something I was sooo excited about I could hardly contain myself, we were finally doing the Sex and the City tour. My brother was slightly less enthusiastic mainly because it lasted for 3.5 hours and he was one of only three men on the coach! Anyway, it was brilliant and I loved every single minute of it. We took in a lot of the city and the tour guide was not only knowledgeable about the show but New York in general. I’d really recommend it for those that want to see the city from a different perspective and get free cupcakes along the way!

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‘Scout’ owned by Steve Brady in SATC

The coach dropped us off at the New Public Library, so we had a brief look at the beautiful building that was the setting for the wedding that never was but does still house all of the great love stories. We then jumped in a cab to Bloomingdale’s for some food and shopping. We grabbed a table at the Flip Restaurant in the basement and I order a milkshake that was the size of my arm… it was divine once I stopped worrying about the amount of calories it contained!

It really was that good!

Wednesday night was a slight disappointment as we were planning to go to the top of the Empire State Building for a night-time view of the city but it had been raining on and off for most of the day and we were told it wasn’t worthwhile going all the way up. But as all good assistants will know a back up plan is always worthwhile having so while my mum and I took the opportunity to meander around the area and have an early night my brother and his girlfriend had a date night at a Mexican restaurant in midtown. Anyway I did manage to get one great snap of the building and a previous resident!

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Thursday 10th May

Our last day in New York and we had put the time aside to do all of the little things we missed along the way, including the Lincoln Centre, Columbus Circle and buying those all important souvenirs from Time Square. I have since worn my ‘I love NY’ jumper and unless there were strict clothes rules at work I would have worn it today also! We finished the day back at the Magnolia Bakery for one final cupcake before getting our car back to JFK and the flight home.

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Last bit of sugar before going home and on a diet!

So, although this is mainly an excuse to relive my trip and share some of my pictures with you all, I do think that being an assistant comes in really handy when organising our own holidays. We spend so much of our time just getting on with organising flights and hotels for our managers that I don’t think we quite realise how much information we are taking in. For instance the EAs in my family knew how long the flight to JFK was, how much the car from the airport cost, where to stay and how the subway worked. All of these things we knew because of our jobs not because we had been there. It just made me realise that the skills we have as assistants are not only transferable to a number of industries but also to our personal lives and for that I am most grateful!

You can follow me on twitter @PracticalPA

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