New York – Expectations vs Reality

I told you another blog post was coming on New York and I hope this one doesn’t disappoint. I was actually in New York when I came up with this idea and was hoping it would help people either planning to go to New York or who had a certain view of the city that never sleeps.

I admit, I was one of those people that had this kind of rose tinted view and expectation of what New York would be like. Whether this was the excitement of going on holiday to such a famous and iconic place or simply the thought of going to New York. I think this bottled down to what you see in movies, TV shows and even YouTube. The lights, the hope, the sights etc. Yes what you see in the movies etc is real and is there but the expectations of certain things weren’t met for me. I don’t want this blog post to turn into me moaning about New York because it definitely isn’t intended to, I just want to give people like me a realistic reality of what New York is like.

This blog post may come across as I was naive but I think that would be 100% accurate as I was, as would anyone visiting a new city let alone a whole new country. For this blog post I want to highlight a few specific sights we visited on our holiday in New York to highlight what it was actually like – the reality and what I thought it would be like – the expectations.

I had a holiday of a lifetime going to New York and America for the first time but it’s the age old of thing of seeing a photo and not fully understanding what it took to get that photo etc. There’s a story between every photo.

Let’s jump right in…

Before I get into the actual body of the blog post, I’d just like to address my expectation of visiting New York in September. I did research what the weather would be like and that’s mainly why I decided to go in September. It normally isn’t too hot or too cold, it’s a nice happy medium. Oh how wrong those predictions were! When we got to our hotel, the humidity just hit us and permanently hit us the whole holiday unless we were in an air-con store or hotel room. Yes we had lovely sunny weather and it only rained the day we went home but it made exploring New York that little bit exhausting and uncomfortable. We definitely weren’t prepared for the heat or humidity on that level at all!


Times Square

It’s the heart of the city that never sleeps…which is too accurate seen as you’d never be able to sleep anywhere near all those screens and lights. No matter what time of day you are there, it will always be full of people. We went twice, once in the morning around 8:30am and then at night around 9:00pm.

My expectation of Times Square was that of many others I reckon…bright lights, big screens, lots of tourists but an overall good fun atmosphere. I also thought it would be no problem getting a few photos for the Instagram and blog. Plus shopping around a bit in the a few of the shops.


The reality of Times Square for me was avoiding nearly everyone wanting to take my money for some reason, trying to squeeze past every bloody tourist to get one decent photo but also dipping into the centre of Times Square as quickly as possible and then walking out of it as quickly as possible to just say I’ve been there, seen it and got the t-shirt. It’s definitely not a welcoming atmosphere at all, it’s a place you don’t want to stay in for long at all…so yeah I definitely didn’t go shopping there.

Brooklyn Bridge

The bridge that everyone wants to walk across, including me and I did but was it worth it? Yes to a certain extent. You don’t really understand the size of the bridge until you’re actually walking over it. It’s absolutely massive!

Brooklyn Bridge in my expectations was meant to be a relaxing stroll across from Manhattan to Brooklyn taking in the views and obviously getting a few photos too. It’s such an iconic bridge, I couldn’t not visit it and take it in.

The actual reality of Brooklyn Bridge probably wasn’t made better by the fact we walked across it in the middle of day when it was 28 degrees. Now when I said it was big, I meant it…it took us about half an hour to walk across it, something I definitely didn’t realise. We walked from the 9/11 memorial to the bridge so we were already a bit tired. By the time we reached the Brooklyn side, I was near exhaustion and got myself a coffee just so the caffeine could perk me up a bit. Given that the bridge is also such a perfect place to get photos you often find yourself being halted on the walk way by people taking photos and just getting in the way a bit. It’s meant to be a two way traffic bridge but people obviously didn’t pay attention to this whatsoever. I think my reality of the Brooklyn Bridge would have been different if I went at a different time and wasn’t already exhausted from walking. But hey hindsight is a wonderful thing?!

A quick thing about DUMBO also was yes, you can get the photo that everyone gets but what you don’t see if the amount of people risking their lives by standing in the middle of a road trying to get that photo! There was live traffic coming through Washington Street but people proceeded to stand in the road regardless.


Fifth Avenue

Every major fashion city in the world has a shopping area or street…London has Oxford Street, Paris has Avenue des Champs Elysées, both of which I have been to. I feel like London has the most accessible shops on Oxford Street for anyone’s budget. New York has Fifth Avenue and well I think I should have done more research when it came to shopping in New York as I could just about afford food with my spending money.

Fifth Avenue expectations for me were mainly down to movies, TV shows and YouTube. I get sucked in easily, don’t blame me… You see shots of people walking down Fifth Avenue with bags and bags of shopping, having a great old time.

The reality of Fifth Avenue is if you aren’t mega rich or haven’t saved a fuck ton of money you won’t be buying much at all. The majority of Fifth Avenue is made up of designer stores and department stores. Both of which I couldn’t afford anything in. Yes I did treat myself to something in Tiffany’s but that’s because I saved for it and knew I was going to buy something…not that I didn’t still feel guilty about spending that much though. Yes I can say I’ve walked down Fifth Avenue and window shopped but that’s all I basically did and it just reminded me of how tainted our vision of certain things can be.

Grand Central Terminal/Station

Probably one of the most famous train stations and the place where Gossip Girl starts. It’s again another iconic place to visit in New York and get a snap of.

Grand Central for me in my expectations was meant to be this magical busy place just like you see in movies. The hustle and bustle of city life. Romantic meet ups between couples. You know normal stuff to expect?!

The reality is…it’s just a train station that has been featured in a lot of movies. It’s quite hard to get a good photo of it too as it just a ticket hall where people get to their platforms from. There’s nothing that special about it in my opinion and probably somewhere I could have done with not going to. The ceiling of the ticket hall is quite amazing if you can actually make it out as it’s quite vast. It also wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be considering we visited around 4-5pm.

Walking/Getting Around New York

This is the last area of New York I want to address in this blog post as I’m aware I’ve been rambling for quite a few words now. Now New York being a city means that getting around should be a lot easier than somewhere far more vast in America like Texas? Well that was my thought process behind it. I picked New York for that reason, it had good transport links and everything was kind of in walking distant…yes that was my expectation and I think that was my biggest shock and realisation at the end of the holiday. Yes New York is a city but just like all places in America, it’s quite big. Walking the whole of Fifth Avenue from Tiffany’s to the Flatiron Building, takes a lot longer than you think. Walking from the 9/11 Memorial/surrounding areas to the Brooklyn Bridge and then walking across it takes a lot longer than you think.


We stupidly didn’t end up using the subway because we kind of heard some horror stories about it and then got a bit scared so relied on Ubers for further away places to get us there. Fun fact, I used Uber for the first time in New York and was amazed by it. Where I’m from, they don’t have it and we’re only an hour or two from London…yes I know we need to get with the times.

So yeah, my biggest realisation and reality check of New York was actually how big it is and how long it takes to walk to places. My feet suffered that holiday like they have never suffered before…don’t wear converse or vans kids! 10 blocks don’t sound like a lot but after walking around for a while and exploring…it’s torture walking those 10 blocks.

Okay so lets round this lonnnnggggg blog post up or else I’ll be typing forever. I actually really enjoyed writing this and I so hope it isn’t taken in the wrong way. I’m guilty of it, portraying certain places in a certain light…hey I did it on my Instagram all throughout the holiday. I posted a photo of me at DUMBO but what you didn’t see is the tears I had running down my face from the exhaustion I was suffering with and the panic attack I suffered walking over it. I just wanted to show people that not everything is what it seems but you can make the most out of it.

I got to go on a dream holiday, yes it wasn’t what I expected but did I enjoy it any less? No definitely not. I made memories and visited an amazing city. If anything it’s made the possibility of travelling more possible.

If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading and I really hope you enjoyed it.

Until next time,

adoseofapril x

I’m not just a typer on this blog, follow me on my other social platforms…


1 thought on “New York – Expectations vs Reality”

  1. […] It’s always been a dream of mine to visit America let alone New York so when the idea that visiting New York was a possibility this year then I couldn’t not take it. Even though I researched a lot before booking the trip it did end up being a bit of a spare of the moment decision. Even to this day I still can’t believe I got to go and looking through photos doesn’t make it seem any more true. It was definitely a holiday of a lifetime and a dream come true. I can’t wait to go back at some point and explore the city more…maybe when it isn’t so humid or bloody blisteringly hot though! Visiting New York was definitely an eye opener and made me realise that photos of places are just that…a snapshot of what it’s actually like. If you want to read more about my trip to New York, I wrote a few blog posts about it so just click here and here. […]


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