Hills Balfour recently hosted a group of journalists to experience the city that never sleeps in just one day with Norwegian Airlines – who have launched a new early morning second daily flight to New York. The new flight departs London Gatwick in the morning and arrives into John F Kennedy airport for 9am. Jet setters can then spend the whole day exploring the city before returning on the 11pm red eye from JFK, landing back to London Gatwick the following day – perfect for a weekend break.
To celebrate the launch a whirlwind daytrip to New York City was put together, incorporating both the new and iconic Midtown Manhattan. The action-packed itinerary featured 12 hours of big-name attractions including Gulliver’s Gate, a preview of the National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey, world-class museum MoMA, dazzling restaurant Charlie Palmer at The Knick and the unique buzz of Midtown Manhattan. After a jam-packed day of sightseeing, there was the obligatory cocktails at sunset at Bar SixtyFive at the Rainbow Room before catching the 11pm flight back to London Gatwick.
Flights direct to New York City from London Gatwick start from £149 one-way and £259 return for a LowFare economy ticket or £149 one-way and £759 return in Premium including all taxes and charges.
EXPLORE THE ‘NEW MIDTOWN’
For most travellers, New York conjures up images of the City’s many classic attractions – Times Square, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Centre, but in 2017 the beating heart of Manhattan is set to see the opening of some brand-new landmark attractions:
• The immersive, first-of-its-kind NFL Times Square Experience (opening November 2017) will bring the world of professional football to life. Including a 4D film with exclusive footage, interactive displays that dive into the NFL training regimen and game plan, physical challenges that allow guests to measure up against the pros, and championship memorabilia, the first-of-its-kind attraction will take fans of all ages from the stands to the field (nflexperience.com).
• During the jaw-dropping interactive undersea journey that will be National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey (opening October 2017) visitors will be transported to breath-taking places from around the world thanks to virtual reality technologies and interactive “real-time’ audience tracking (natgeoencounter.com)
• Gulliver’s Gate – In May this year, Gulliver’s Gate became the newest addition to Midtown Manhattan. The attraction features more than 300 miniature buildings and more than 1,000 model train cars, including 3-D printed replicas of Times Square, Grand Central Terminal and parts of Lower Manhattan, along with scenes from around the world (gulliversgate.com).
• Country music’s most famous brand, the Grand Ole Opry’s, first “home away from home,” in the shape of Opry City Stage (opened April 2017)
Flight schedule – London Gatwick to John F Kennedy International Airport
• Departs 6.45am lands 9.45am – Thursday
• Departs 5.50am lands 8.50am – Friday & Monday, Tuesday
• Departs 5.35am lands 8.35am – Saturday
• Departs 7am lands 10am – Sunday
Flight schedule – John F Kennedy International Airport to London Gatwick
• Departs 23.00 lands 11.00+1
GROUP PRESS TRIP ITINERARY
04:45 Meet at Gatwick South Terminal
06:45 Fly from London Gatwick to John F. Kennedy
09:45 Arrive at John F. Kennedy
10:30 SuperShuttle transfer from John F. Kennedy to NFL Experience Times Square
(Transfer time: 60 mins by car)
11:30 Visit Gulliver’s Gate Leave the Land of Large and enter an amazing new experience, located at the crossroads of the world, Times Square. A full city-block wide, Gulliver’s Gate is a technologically advanced, interactive and immersive world of miniatures that will ignite your imagination and challenge your perspective. In May 2017, Gulliver’s Gate opened featuring more than 300 miniature buildings and more than 1,000 model train cars, including 3-D printed replicas of Times Square, Grand Central Terminal and parts of Lower Manhattan, along with scenes from around the world. The 23,000 square-foot space occupies the ground floor of the former New York Times Building.
Address: 216 W 44th St. (West 47th St. between 7th & 8 Avenue) www.gulliversgate.com Twitter: @Gulliversgate (Transfer time to Charlie Palmer at The Knick: 4 minute walk)
12:30 Lunch at Charlie Palmer at The Knick With dazzling Times Square views overlooking Broadway and 42nd Street from an enviable fourth-floor corner perch in the heart of Manhattan, Charlie Palmer at The Knick brings together two of the most iconic names in hospitality. Inspired by the rich history of The Knickerbocker, a 1906 landmarked New York City treasure recently reopened as Times Square’s premier luxury lifestyle hotel. Chef Palmer adds new twists to his acclaimed cuisine to create the hotel’s signature “Honest American Cuisine” in an open-action kitchen.
Address: 6 Times Square, New York (Broadway and West 42nd St.) www.charliepalmer.com/charlie-palmer-at-the-knick Instagram: @cpattheknick Facebook: @cpattheknick (Transfer time to National Geographic Encounter – Ocean Odyssey: 4 minute walk)
14:00 Visit National Geographic Encounter – Ocean Odyssey The National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey is a first-of-its kind immersive entertainment experience that utilises ground-breaking technology to transport audiences on an incredible underwater journey. Embark on a breath taking odyssey across the Pacific Ocean and encounter its greatest wonders and mightiest creatures. Come face-to-face with an undersea world teeming with life – from great white sharks and humpback whales, to Humboldt squids and sea lions. Without getting wet. All in the heart of Times Square! Please note this experience is not yet open to the general public and is expected to be so in October 2017. Please check dates for confirmation. Address: 226 W 44th St, New York (7th Avenue and West 44th St.) www.natgeoencounter.com @NatGeoENCOUNTER (Transfer time to MoMA: 15 minute walk)
15:15 Visit The Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is not only devoted to presenting the best in contemporary art, but also to promoting the understanding of modern art and expanding the definition of what is considered “art” in the first place. Whether it’s showing you something you’ve never seen before, or showing you how to see something familiar in a new way, the MoMA is always an eye and mind-opening experience.
Address: 11 West 53rd Street; New York (6th Avenue and West 53rd St.) Twitter: @museummodernart Instagram: @themuseumofmodernart Facebook: facebook.com/MuseumofModernArt www.moma.org (Transfer time to Times Square: 11 minute walk)
16:30 Visit Times Square – big, bright and unforgettable. Its main junction is filled with popular retailers — plus the TKTS discount booth, which offers up to 50 percent off theatre tickets. Walk to the top of its red steps—you may know them from the “Empire State of Mind” video — for a sweeping view of the area, including One Times Square, the building from which the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. People-watchers will love the pedestrian-only zones furnished with tables and chairs.
Address: 7th and West 47th (Transfer time to Bar SixtyFive at Rainbow Room: 8 minute walk)
18:00 Informal dinner (shared snack plates) and cocktails at Bar SixyFive at Rainbow Room The Rainbow Room offers impeccable service and refined contemporary cuisine, bolstering its standing as a quintessential New York venue. Guests are transported by world-class dining, entertainment and dancing, all set within one of the City’s most elegant and elevated spaces. The views alone are breath taking, and the landmark design and grandeur of the room are equally unmatched.
Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, 65th Floor (6th Avenue and West 49th St.) www.rainbowroom.com/bar-sixty-five (Transfer to airport will collect from this location) (Transfer time: 60 mins by car). Directions to access Bar SixtyFive: – Enter 30 Rock at 49 West 49th Street (between 5th & 6th Aves) – Enter where the marquis reads “Rainbow Room / NBC Studios” – Follow the RED CARPET to the escalator – Take the escalator up the mezzanine level where a hostess will greet you and call an elevator to bring you to the 65th floor
19:45 SuperShuttle transfer from Midtown Manhattan to JFK
21:00 Arrive JFK and check-in to London Gatwick
23:00 Depart JFK for LGW
11:00 Arrive at LGW