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I was lucky enough to be a winner of an Air Canada/New York City Tourism + Conventions competition for the Flight Centre Travel Group.

Having previously experienced the ‘lovely’ transit via LA (can you feel my sarcasm?), I honestly could not believe how quick and easy it was to go via Vancouver as an alternative to getting anywhere in the U.S. instead of the known routes of LA and San Francisco.

The 28 minutes it took to get from one gate to the next was next level and made me re-think how I am going to book any future U.S. trips for my clients.

Once in New York, we got to experience some fantastic observation decks to really get a bird’s-eye view of the city skyline. Our group not only got to enjoy Top of the Rock VIP style, but also the SUMMIT and the Edge.

At Top of the Rock, we were taken to the express VIP entrance and were lucky enough to have a private viewing of the famous Rainbow Room – every famous person in New York and abroad has been to a function in this room.

If you are ever visiting New York City I strongly recommend that you pre-book any Broadway show prior to arrival. The lines at the Broadway ticket office were a mile long and the best shows sell out months in advance.

Michael Jackson (MJ) The Musical was the most amazing show I have ever seen. Everyone in the audience was amazed at the talent of all those in the show. Our group were so excited to have experienced a real Broadway show.

To understand the city’s diverse cultural heritage, we did the Greenwich Village Black History Walking Tour with Jojo’s Ventures. We walked the streets and were shown homes of famous authors and places of historical interest like The Bitter End, Washington Mews and Stonewall Inn.

A walking tour with Jojo is something to look up whenever visiting New York, especially if you want to get out of the main touristy areas.

With regard to our accommodation, Tempo by Hilton was our first stay and to be honest I didn’t think it would be a good idea to stay in Times Square as it is always so busy – but the hotel was amazing.

The rooms were quite a good size, surprisingly quiet and the location was just perfect, opposite Hershey’s – yes, as much chocolate as you can imagine across the road – and about 20 steps to the main part of Times Square. You could not get a closer property. I will definitely be recommending this property for at least a few nights.

Arthouse Hotel was a great little boutique property on the Upper West Side in a neighbourly area where locals walk their dogs and a lot of residential houses are situated. It was definitely nice to be outside all the craziness for a while.

The hotel hosted a few famous faces during our stay and boasts a great coffee shop and bar which a lot of the locals frequent at night, which is quite unusual for a hotel.

We also had the American Museum of Natural History and many great restaurants within walking distance, with a train station also nearby offering express services to Times Square.

This trip will remain in my memory for a long time. I loved every minute of the time I spent with the group and all the experiences we were lucky enough to enjoy.

Famil hosted by Air Canada and New York City Tourism + Conventions