So packing for 2 different climates wasn’t all that fun, even more so before watching this brilliant packing video… but I digress.
Before our trip to Iceland and NYC, I painstakingly checked the weather, both historical and forecast just so that I could pack the right things. I came to the conclusion that NY would be reasonably warm in May so I went ahead and packed relatively lightly for that portion of the trip.
NY turned out to be freezing and the blazer that I packed for the nights just in case wasn’t even cutting it for the day. I couldn’t bring myself to re-wear those stinky jumpers that I wore so much in Iceland so I chose to freeze instead, and on one occasion stole Mr M’s jacket and made it mine. One thing I did right was to pack my white Superga with me because that was essential for the kilometres that we covered every single day. We walked so much that a section of the soles had actually worn out. I also brought my brand new birkies with me and while they were comfy enough, a day in them was enough to make my heels crack!
Based on this experience, here are the top 3 things that I would definitely pack with me to NY next time.
#1. A couple of pair of sneakers – Let’s face it, heels just do not work for a tourist, except for dinners and photoshoots. Having a couple of pairs on rotation would allow the shoes to air out a bit before the next wear.
#2. Heel balm – A rich balm for heel abrasions because they can be very uncomfortable, especially during summer when sandals are called for. I’m currently in love with this one.
#3. A warm stylish jacket – Granted if there’s a heat wave like the one that’s happening now, I would not bother. However if I’m unsure of the weather and if it’s in between seasons, I would just err on the side of caution. I added stylish to my criteria because New Yorkers are stylish and it’s kinda nice to fit in and pretend that you’re living the Carrie Bradshaw dream. The puffa ones made famous by Uniqlo is completely fine (I wore mine over there and it was super comfy) but you would look like that generic tourist, if you know what I mean.
Can I add a 4th item that’s kinda random but completely important? Always pack a hand sanitiser in your bag. I was quite shocked at how dirty NY is and there will be a lot of rail holding in the subway.
Now let’s move on to the Empire State Building. The observation deck is very popular and it had taken us 2 tries to get up there. There’s limited capacity at the deck and many people do prefer to visit right before sunset. If you want to catch the world famous skyline while basking in that warm orange glow, you would need to allow ample time for queuing. We ended up visiting at night (they close at 2am 365 days a year) and even then we spent a couple of hours inching up and down. This also goes to show how important comfortable footwear is (refer to packing tip #1 above) as standing in long queues can be incredibly harsh on the legs. Thankfully ESB offers free wifi so it was quite nice to binge on it. However one thing to keep in mind is battery levels as they run out, fast. Mr M and I utilised our phones for navigation (Apple Maps are great for public transport as it shows you details like exits and stops). I turned off mobile data and wifi to preserve battery and only whipped it out occasionally when i feel the need to upload a photo or 2 on ig and that had worked well for us.
NY is incredibly stimulating and it may take a while for you to get use to the environment. It took me a good few days to really enjoy it as I found it difficult to transition from the ever so peaceful Iceland. Once I got into that mode, I really enjoyed it and had the urge (just like most people) to make it my home (haha). Whilst intimidating, it’s also an extremely fascinating city so please give it a chance, soak in the atmosphere and just be.
It may be filthy and overcrowded but it’s New York City.