New Balance x Concepts "City Rivalry" Pack

Now I'm not one for Concepts collaborations usually, plenty of people can vouch for my ramblings about their previous work with NB, and I don't own any of their collaborations, but their last few pieces have caught my eye, particularly the Trailbuster in all it's 3M glory, and the 998 from this very recent "City Rivalry" Pack. I've already taken a look at this pack here over on New Balance Gallery, but I got my hands on a couple of pairs thanks to my mate Joe, so I took them out for a spin.

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The New Balance x Concepts “City Rivalry” Pack is a two shoe pack which is inspired by Major League Baseball and the rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.

Concepts have stores in both New York and Boston, and in case you didn’t know, New Balance infact have a pretty big presence in baseball, and if you were to visit Fenway Park in Boston, you’d be hard pushed to miss the huge New Balance sign which resides there.

So pulling all that together, we have the beginnings of a great collaboration in the form of the “City Rivalry” Pack. As mentioned previously, the pack consists of two shoes, a 997 which represents New York, and a 998, which represents Boston.

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Let’s take a look at the 997 first, and for this model, Concepts have taken cue from the historic design behind the New York Yankees team’s logo, adopted in 1909 and originally a medal signifying the highest decoration for bravery exhibited by public safety officers.

Personally, I think this colour is a little played out, and it definitely isn't my favourite from the pack, but the devil is in the detail. I reckon if Concepts had the option at the time to do some of their previous 998 colourways on a 997, then I  might have bought into them.

Anyway, the 997 comes dressed in a premium teal suede upper with a pebbled leather reflective tongue, leather lining, and a Concepts-branded footbed and custom designed packaging modelled after the well known ballgame snack Cracker Jack.

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Next up is the 998, and most definitely my favourite pair from the pack, and one that I'm glad to have gotten a hold of. I've got a bit of a thing for red shoes to be honest, the Colette 1500's, SNS 577's, and so on, so these are right up there.

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For this shoe, Concepts have executed it in a rust red and green suede as a homage to the clay baseball diamonds around the league, as well as the low saturation greeney grey on the heel wrap inspired by the green facades along the historic Yawkey Way.

Shouts to New Balance UK for the kind gift, it is always greatly appreciated!

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2015 Highlights

First of all, a very Happy New Year to all who read my blog! I hope 2015 was a great year for you all, and I wish you and your families all the best for 2016! Secondly, I haven't had much of a chance to post regularly on my blog over the last couple of months, mainly due to the amount I've been working, but I wanted to do a post where I rounded up all of the highlights in 2015 for myself.

January

In January of 2015, I was lucky enough to be invited to a couple events, one of which was a special preview of the New Balance 1500 x Footpatrol "Encyclopaedia", which was held at Library on St. Martin's Lane in London. The event was attended by a small number of people, mainly press and loyal customers, and we were treated to a personal Q+A with some of the New Balance team, as well as an insight into the Footpatrol shoe, while being able to indulge in some fine food and drink. Shouts to all who were behind the event!

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The second event, which coincidentally enough took part on the same day, was for the launch of the New Balance C-Series. The event was held at the Tokyo Bike store in London, with over 300 people attending for a night filled with beer, food, great company, and a chance to check out the collection in person.

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March

My girlfriend is a little bit obsessive with travelling, and although we don't get to do much because of work and other commitments, we do try, and we decided to visit Iceland in March. Our time spent in Reykjavik and surrounding areas was beyond excellent, and we can't wait to plan our next trip there!

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There's one pair of New Balance that I've came to love, and is one of my absolute all time favourites - the 1300JP. The 28th of March was to see the release of the 1300JP2, 5 years after the 2010 release of the 1300JP, so this definitely warrants a place in my highlights. My only regret is that I wish I grabbed a second pair!

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April

I've grown up watching American TV shows, American sport, playing games like GTA, and just obsessing over all things America, so one thing that I have ALWAYS wanted to do is go and visit, and so we hit up New York City in April, and it was everything I had hoped it would be. I wrote a two part blog post (part one and part two) about our time spent there, but I'll definitely be back in the very near future!

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Over the last couple of years, I've became great friends with the guys behind the UK's best and original sneaker event; Crepe City. The 25th of April saw their 13th edition of Crepe City, and of course, they absolutely smashed it. Shout out to those guys!

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May

Towards the end of 2014, I had heard rumours that New Balance would be sponsoring Celtic FC for the forthcoming season, so naturally, when my favourite brand are rumoured to sponsor the football team I support, I get a little excited. Anyway, fast forward a few months down the line and I'm sat at Celtic Park for the official New Balance kit launch!

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July

Emma and myself made it a point of trying to get out and explore as much as possible during summer, but we live in Scotland right, so we don't get much of a summer. Anyway, we managed to check out a couple of castles, Crathes Castle being one of them...

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And Castle Fraser being another...

 

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One of my fondest memories from childhood was Saturdays spent climbing Bennachie with my family, or with my school friends, and it had literally been years since I'd went for a wander up that way.

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The last Wednesday of July, as NB Gallery, myself and Rob headed to Cockermouth, a town in Cumbria, England, for the official global launch of the New Balance Real Ale Pack, and boy was it good. The hospitality over the few days that we were there was absolutely faultless, big big shout to all those involved for absolutely nailing the event, and great to see old and new faces!

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August

It had been long overdue, but finally, on the 1st of August 2015, Scotland had it's first ever sneaker festival - Solebloc, held in Glasgow, and it was an absolute banger. The event itself was held at the excellent SWG3, a warehouse in Glasgow's West End, and was the best setting for the event.

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We created our first ever NB Gallery Showcase at Solebloc with over 250+ pairs of New Balance on display!

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I got my hands on some never-before-seen New Balance x hanon shop samples!

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After what felt like a pretty hectic couple of months, myself and Emma took a little jaunt off to Italy for 10 days or so, and we visited some pretty sweet places along the way.

First up, Rome!

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From Rome, we took a de-tour via Naples to visit Pompeii and it's ruins.

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Heading back to Rome from Pompeii later that night, the next morning we packed up and jumped on a train to the lovely city of Pisa.

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Pisa was an absolute dream, but our time was up, and it was off to Florence we went.

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However, we both fell in love with Rome, so before we left, we had to re-visit that amazing city! If you ever get the chance to go to Rome, do NOT pass it up.

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September

From the tourist filled cities of Italy, to the tranquil lochs of Scotland with a bothy fit for the Queen, Loch Muick was a great escape for a day!

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Trying to fit in as much as possible before the dark nights truly set in, and we'd no longer be able to explore and take the dog on some adventures on the week nights, we headed north up the coast to Collieston.

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Now this is one trip that I had wanted to do for a while, and just could never get the time to do it. Sadly Emma couldn't make it along, but we'll be making a point of heading back this year or next now that Aberdeen fly direct to Warsaw. Anyway, it was great to head to Warsaw and catch up with my great friends Arek, Maciek, and Radek, along with everyone else I met. Huge thanks for the hospitality!

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Conveniently, my trip coincided with Warsaw’s edition of Sneakerness, and it was definitely the perfect event to pop my Sneakerness cherry, and a big shout out to all the great people who worked tirelessly to pull off the third Sneakerness in Warsaw, as well as the absolutely wild night out!

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October

One last castle before the year ends? It's only right! And New Slains Castle was the perfect one to end the year on!

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Apparently, if you visit the Bullers of Buchan at a certain time during the year, you can spot some Puffins nesting. Sadly, no puffins for us, just empty hidden rock beaches and miles of coastline.

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It had felt like an absolute age since the last hanon shop collaboration, I was certainly struggling to remember when I was last at an in-store release for one at the time of writing the post for this shoe, but anyway, the "Spirit of '83" was a massive success, and rightly so.

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The 14th instalment of Crepe City fell on Halloween and it was the most successful Crepe City yet, which included the launch of their first branded apparel and merchandise collection, as well as their inaugural magazine launch.

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November and Year End 

This might have been the most important month of the year for me, as I started working for hanon shop. Over the last year or so, I had already been doing bits and pieces for them, and helping out in-store at some of their releases, but I am now working for them officially.

My role involves photography and social media, as well as some other things, but basically the two main things I have been doing seriously for the last few years.

My first main project would be the Asics Gel-Lyte III x hanon shop "Lyte Night", where I was shot all the images for the press release.

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The second project I shot the week after was the Le Coq Sportif LCS R1000 x hanon shop.

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If you want to follow my work at hanon, be sure to check out @hanonshop on Instagram and Twitter.

Since November, I have been working full time for hanon shop, as well as my other job, and on top of that, doing NB Gallery and other bits, so I haven't had much time to myself which is why this blog has been neglected a little. I hope you can understand, and I promise I won't be so infrequent with the blog posts going forward!

Anyway, I am super excited about what's to come in 2016 and look forward to sharing it with you all!

New York City - Part Two

Rather than making one really loooooong post about my time in New York City, day 4 and onwards of our trip can be found right here! If you have ended up here and not already read part one, then click here.

Day 4 -

I was really looking forward to what we had planned today, as we were going to check out the site of One World Trade Centre, as well as hopefully taking a wander across the Brooklyn Bridge.

But, like the past couple of days, the morning had to be started off with some pancakes!

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After we had finished at breakfast, once again, trying to embrace the public transport system, we headed to Grand Central Terminal and caught a train to the nearest station to One World Trade Centre.

It was opening day for the New York Yankees against the Blue Jays, and the MTA New York City Transit sent a special “Nostalgia Special” non-stop from Grand Central-42 St to 161 St-Yankee Stadium. This was totally unexpected for us so it was cool to see the platform full of Yankees fans and then the train arriving.

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As we all know, the World Trade Centres were an iconic part of the New York City skyline, and New York City itself, but are sadly no longer there, however, where they once stood is a very impressive memorial, and within metres is now the One World Trade Centre.

If you do anything with your time, or have a few hours to spare in NYC, then please check out the World Trade Centre Memorial and Museum, it's an absolute must do.

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We spent a good few hours in the World Trade Centre museum, and I didn't use my camera here, just my iPhone, and in all honesty, I don't want to post too many pictures or spoil it for anyone as it really is just one of those things you need to check out in person.

You must remember that the World Trade Centre Museum is built underneath where the Twin Towers stood, and much of their foundations remain here, as well as staircases, and girders, etc.

So it is pretty damn eerie, and upsetting in some parts, but it's a must do, as for many, what happened on September 11th 2001 is firmly imprinted in our memories forever.

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After spending a few hours at the museum, and making our way around all the exhibits, we headed out and wanted to go to the Brooklyn Bridge next, but first, we took a detour down Wall Street.

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From here, I think we may have taken a few wrong turns as it turned out to be a bit of a detour to get to the Brooklyn Bridge but we eventually made it... after stopping at Dunkin' Donuts that is!

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Once we managed to navigate our way onto the pedestrian walkway, we took a wander across the bridge, but we definitely underestimated just how long it was!

We left my mum and sister at one end, but I was desperate to get to the other side and try and take some pictures looking back onto Manhattan. The sun was just starting to set also!

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The area just across the bridge is Dumbo, and I wish we had longer to check it out, and also stay and catch the sunset, but we just headed down to the riverfront to snap a few pics.

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Next time I make it back to NYC, I'll be sure to spend some more time this side of the river for sure!

Anyway, back across the bridge we went.

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As you might have realised by now, we planned very little in the evenings, and just left them as time to grab some food and chill, as by the time we were getting back to the hotel, it was 8pm or so anyway, and man, we were tired.

I'm sure we just grabbed something to eat from one of the Five Guys which was just a block or so away from our hotel, then my dad wanted to have a pint of Guinness at P.J. Clarke's on 3rd Avenue.

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DAY 5 -

In a lot of my posts about travel, you'll notice I've got a bit of a thing for sightseeing buses, and I get that from my mum and dad, so it was inevitable that there'd be some of that in NYC... I'm just surprised it took until the 5th day before we got on one!

If you don't already know about City Sightseeing, then click the link and check those guys out. There's a direct link to their NYC page here, where you can check out all the sightseeing tours they offer. I can't recommend them highly enough, and you can hop on and hop off the majority of tours which is perfect.

I developed a bit of an obsession for Snapple while in NYC, and that pink lemonade flavour is the one, so I stocked up for the day. Sadly, the Snapple in the UK isn't nearly as cheap, it's a bit of a rip off to be fair, and the flavour selection ain't great.

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The first tour that we went on with City Sightseeing was their Uptown Tour which visits Manhattan's northern region, and goes through Harlem also.

As you know, Central Park is huge and has a lot of crazy real estate around it, so the fact that these sightseeing buses go up either side of Central Park is great, definitely one of the best ways to check out how the rich and famous live, and also get a point of view which you wouldn't usually get if you were walking.

If I remember correctly, the tour was around 2 and a half hours long, but there's plenty of sights along the way, so here's some shots below -

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The tour ends in Times Square where you're able to hop on one of the other available tours.

Trying to squeeze in as much as possible, we waited at one of the City Sightseeing bus stops just off Times Square and hopped on the Downtown Tour loop. We had already checked out most of Downtown over the previous couple of days, but once again wouldn't hurt anyone, right?

After all, sights such as the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Centre, One World Trade Centre, Flatiron Building and so on are pretty special, but I'll try avoid posting those pictures below as there's plenty above and in my previous post.

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Day 6 -

Our last full day in NYC, and our tickets for the City Sightseeing tours were for 48 hours, so of course, after doing the Uptown and Downtown loops the previous day, we were going to do a couple more. Gotta get your moneys worth and that!

First up was the Bronx tour, as me and my dad wanted to see Yankee Stadium, and this seemed like an easy way to get to it.

However, to get to the Bronx tour, you needed to get to Grant's Tomb on 122nd Street, so we took the Uptown bus to get there.

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The above picture is of Grant's Tomb, which is where the Bronx tour bus dropped us off. No shame, but most of us were absolutely bursting for the toilet, and there was a church across the road so we went there in hope of finding a toilet.

Thankfully there was one, but moving on from the toilet scenario, the Riverside Church is pretty spectacular.

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I'm sure you'll agree, a pretty amazing spot, and one which we stumbled upon purely in sheer desperation for the toilet, I'll certainly take that.

In terms of pictures from my DSLR, that's pretty much where they ended, but I have some iPhone shots left over, so I'll be ending the post with those.

From the Riverside Church, we headed back by foot to the Natural History Museum because I've wanted to visit this since forever, and I still have NEVER been to the one in London.

I said we should walk from where we were to the museum, but I totally underestimated how far away it actually was. Apologies to my mum, dad and sisters, it was a distance, my bad! This meant we arrived quite late, and it was closing soon, but we started from the top, and rushed around as much as we could see, and grabbed a quick look at the HUGE blue whale there.

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Whenever I make it back to NYC, I'll definitely be coming back to the Natural History Museum and spending many hours here, so much amazing stuff in this place, feels like we only managed to check out a tiny amount!

We literally couldn't walk any further, so we hopped on the subway and headed back to Grand Central Station and then the hotel. After we grabbed some food, I had some plans to meet up with a bunch of guys I know through sneakers. It still amazes me that something like sneakers has given me the chance to meet so many great people, whether it's in the UK, Europe, or the US.

After getting lost on my way, I eventually made it to Brother Jimmy's where we grabbed some food, lots of beer, and spent a few hours chatting about everything and anything. A big shout out to Lou, Dennis, Adrian, Marcos, Nicky, and Doe for making the effort, you guys are the shit!

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The next day was our last, and we were flying back to London overnight, so we just done some last minute shopping, well, my dad and sisters did, I just got a long lie!

It was inevitable that our first trip to NYC would be filled with all the tourist things, but I can't wait to come back as there's still lots to check out. Need to visit all the stores I never got round to visiting, and also need to get to some sporting activities... Basketball, ice hockey, baseball NFL, need to experience it all!

Until next time New York City!

New York City - Part One

Back in April of this year, I went with my family to New York City, and for whatever reason, I never ever got round to writing a blog post about our trip, so 6 months later, here it is! I've spent the last week or so re-editing all the images from the trip, I wasn't massively impressed with a lot of them to be quite fair. There was a lot of haze and harsh sunlight in some of the shots, but I'm more happy with the images now I've had a chance to re-edit them. Really looking forward to going back to NYC though now that I have my new camera, forever wanting to shoot everything I done before with my D750.

Anyway, let's get to it!

The first part of our trip to New York City begins in Aberdeen.

The Journey -

Aberdeen airport is tiny, so we had to get a connecting flight via London Heathrow, but thankfully I had the breakfast of champions (sarcasm..) in the Aberdeen BA Lounge, consisting of a rowie, a bag of crisps, and apple juice. Can't beat that.

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So my first ever time to the United States of America, and to say I was excited was an understatement, the whole trip was an absolute buzz, from getting on a B747 for the first time, to thinking the toilet was overflowing when apparently the toilet water is just really high in America? The tiniest of things were getting overly excited, and I hadn't even stepped foot out of JFK yet.

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Big shout out to British Airways for the smoothest 7 hour flight ever, and the constant supply of as much orange juice as I wanted. You'd be surprised how many films you can watch and orange juice you can drink in 7 hours! Shame about the dirty windows...

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DAY 1 -

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Arriving at JFK at stepping out the main doors and seeing the yellow cabs was definitely a pretty cool moment! My whole knowledge of and thoughts about America are purely from years and years of American TV shows, and movies, so it was great to see it in the flesh.

We arrived in the evening, and got a Dial 7 car to our hotel which was the New York Marriott East Side on Lexington Ave at 49th Street. Really couldn't have asked for a better place to stay to be honest, right in the heart of Manhattan, ideal!

After we had unpacked and chilled out for a bit, as with every place we go (I get this from my folks), we went a wander to get our bearings, and by now it was quite late in the evening, our first taste of New York by night. The streets and avenues setup was really easy to grasp, but damn, walking a block can feel looooooong sometimes!

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By this point we were absolutely starving, and had reached Times Square, so if I remember correctly, I think we just dived into one of the first places we found

down a street off the square which happened to be a TGI Fridays. Filling food and a lot of cola! No complaints from me.

Times Square was absolutely heaving, as expected I guess, but really cool to see all the lights, billboards and giant TVs, definitely blows London's Leicester Square out the park, that's for sure.

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After a full day of travelling, it was time to hit the sack, and prepare ourselves for all the tourist shit tomorrow, and the next day, and the days after that! But I think I was more looking forward to eating pancakes for breakfast...

DAY 2 -

First full day in NYC, and it was going to be a long one, so I had to lace up my New Balance 991's for ultimate comfort.

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We asked the reception where a good spot was to get some pancakes, and they recommended the Comfort Diner which was relatively close to the hotel.

PANCAKES FOR BREAKFAST @ The Comfort Diner!

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They don't look like much, but man these pancakes were good... and you can tell everyone else had the same idea! You've gotta love that American style diner too!

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We decided that the first "tourist" thing we would do was check out the Empire State Building, and this wasn't too far from where we grabbed some breakfast, so we walked a few blocks and then joined the inevitable queue.

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Finally, after an hour in the queue outside, we reached the front door, but only to be greeted with more queues. You've gotta be pretty patient with these types of things, even in off-peak times.

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It was very rammed at the top, and obviously everyone wants to get close to the barrier on each side, but with a little argy bargy, I made it to each of the sides. Big shout to my mum for holding my camera bag and swapping out my lenses when I needed them, haha.

There was a lot of haze that day, so some of the shots didn't turn out so good, but there's a bunch below.

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After the Empire State Building, we needed to refuel, so went to one of the million Starbucks in NYC and done just that, and it's always a good place to grab wi-fi.

I have two sisters, so naturally, being in NYC, they wanted to go shopping, and with the Empire State Building being on 5th Avenue, shopping was next on the agenda!

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Madison Square Garden

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One World Trade Centre in the distance

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Instore custom booth at New Balance NYC

Before I went away, I made up a list of all the stores in NYC that I wanted to check out, but sadly, I only managed to get to the New Balance Store where I picked up the New Balance 997CCF, pictured below.

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New Balance 997CCF

New Balance NYC was our last stop in terms of shopping for this day, and as it is in the Flatiron District, what do you go and see next? The Flatiron Building!

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We walked through Madison Square Park which is in front of the Flatiron Building, where the above pictures where taken, and there were loads of squirrels which were all extremely tame. If only we had some nuts to give them!

As we had done the Empire State Building during the day, our plan was to check out Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Centre in the evening, so we could see New York by night, but we had to go sort out tickets as you have to book for a certain time in the evening, so we made our way back up 5th Avenue.

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The Rockefeller Centre itself is a pretty impressive complex, and as it was Easter time, there was a giant Easter bunny made of flowers.

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The world famous ice rink was also still up at the Rockefeller Centre.

It was an absolute nightmare to try and get tickets for the Top of the Rock, but after getting lost a few times, and asking a couple of people, we eventually found the ticket office and sorted out tickets for an evening slot.

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St. Patrick's Cathedral in on 5th Avenue opposite the Rockefeller Centre and is a really breathtaking building, especially when it's in the middle of Manhattan and has all the giant buildings surrounding it.

As above, the same can be said for St. Bartholomew's Church which is on Park Avenue, and as you can see from the image below, it is almost totally dwarfed by all the huge buildings.

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 I honestly can't remember what we done next, I know we went back to the hotel to rest for a bit, but after that and before we went to Top of the Rock, I have no idea. It was 6 months ago, my bad!

Anyway, let's jump straight to Top of the Rock. We headed back to the Rockefeller Centre in the evening, and this was a much quicker and less stressful process than the Empire State Building.

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Empire State Building and One World Trade Centre

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Central Park

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Empire State Building and One World Trade Centre

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After experiencing Top of the Rock, we headed back to the hotel to get an early night as the travelling and busy day had caught up with us!

Day 3 -

Honestly, if I could start every day with pancakes for breakfast then trust me, I would!

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Another pairs of the 9xx series for today, in the form of the New Balance 990HSN x hanon shop, one of my favourite pairs and again super comfy.

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We're always ones for embracing the local public transport system, and on this day we wanted to pay a visit to the Statue of Liberty, and the best way seemed to be to get the underground from Grand Central Station to Battery Park.

Sadly though, the underground is shocking... certainly in comparison to London's underground, big up the Oyster cards.

At least it gave us a reason to check out the amazing Grand Central Terminal.

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We sent my mum and one of my sisters to go and join the queue, while the rest of us went to get the tickets. Again, a bit unorganised, but what can you do? Doesn't help either when you ask a bunch of people and they all tell you different things...

At least there's a pretty neat view of the One World Trade Centre while you're queuing.

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We got on the Miss Ellis Island boat which would first take us to the Statue of Liberty, and then we would have the opportunity to check out Liberty Island.

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Straight to the upper deck to grab some seats, but damn, that short boat ride to Liberty Island was windy!

Some of the views leaving the dock, and then approaching Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty.

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We spent some time on Liberty Island checking out the Statue of Liberty and of course, taking in the pretty awesome views that you get of New York City. Sadly, we never had the opportunity to go up the Statue of Liberty to the crown as you have to book it well in advance. Here's some views of NYC and some close ups of Lady Liberty to make up for it!

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Once you're done on Liberty Island, you head back to where you got off one of the boats, and hop back on a boat to take you to Ellis Island, where you are free to have a look in the National Museum of Immigration, a really cool place for sure.

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Combining a little bit of jet lag, with long days filled with walking and queueing, some of us were pretty drained, so another chilled night was on the cards but the Lindie family are big fans of the Fast and Furious franchise, and the 7th film had released while we were in NYC, so we figured we'd find somewhere to watch it.

Maybe a strange thing to do when you're on holiday, but a good way to pass some time and chill out in the evening for sure!

We found a cool little spot to watch it at Cinema 1, 2 & 3, which had reclining seats and all.

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And that was it for day 3 in NYC!

This post is already pretty lengthy, so I'm going to continue this post on a part 2, rather than making this one even longer. Be sure to check the second post here.