Each year Evolution rewards our high achievers with a trip to a far-flung destination.
This year the destination was Manhattan, New York City!
With attendees from the UK, Germany, Singapore and Australia – it was a real global experience.
Could The Big Apple top our previous trips? Well Miami, Cape Town, Las Vegas… and Leeds (we haven't always been a global company!) would all take a bit of beating.
We'd started planning the trip back in February… we knew we'd need to prepare as there's so much to do. We booked an 'access all areas' New York Pass giving us prepaid access to the major attractions.
Upon landing after a smooth and enjoyable flight, the first thing that hit us was the heat. America was in the midst of a heat wave with record temperatures hitting the high 30s.
The US welcomed us with a three hour process to get through customs. A computer error meant manual processing of each passenger… they might need some help recruiting some better software engineers over there!
We hit rush hour traffic into Manhattan, but the hotel was worth the wait. Wow! The Lotte New York Palace Hotel is amazing! Beautiful lobby, intimate bars and restaurants – a real piece of cool and calm amidst the madness of NY. We'd got to base camp – off 5th Ave. and opposite the Rockefeller Centre. Well situated to see the best Manhattan had to offer.
After a long day of travel we were ready for burgers, buffalo wings, Brooklyn lagers and bed!
After breakfast we got the uptown open top bus tour. Through billionaire row on 6th Avenue up to Central park and on towards Harlem and back down museum mile.
Our NY guide Jose delivered his spiel in a no-nonsense New York way and demanded our interaction from the get go…
Pointing out buildings, landmarks and the city's history. He seemed a bit obsessed with where the filthy, filthy, filthy rich lived. He didn’t seem to be Trumps biggest fan either.
Next stop – museums. Half went to the Met Museum of Art (bit of culture) and the others went to the Natural History Museum to check out the dinosaurs. Then a spot of lunch in Central Park followed by a stroll down 5th Avenue to check out Grand Central Station.
That night was baseball! The NY Mets were at home to Washington, so we jumped on the subway and rode through Queens to CitiField for the game. Do they know how to put on a show! The game is secondary to everything else that was going on. The Mets lost but you wouldn't have known.
Back into Manhattan after the game and we landed at an Irish bar for karaoke! Me, Gareth and Chris decided it was time for a sing song.
When Evolution played New York, we opened with a classic crowd-pleaser; Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond. Followed up by Oasis Don’t look back in anger, dedicated to the recent events in Manchester, and ending with Tom Jones Delilah… and agents clamoring for our signatures.
The plan for Saturday was a leisurely breakfast followed by a Helicopter ride around the Skyscrapers and up the Hudson.
Unfortunately the heat-wave had brought thunderstorms so they had to cancel our flight. It looked unlikely that we could go that day.
So with the rain starting to fall we headed to the 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero. The memorial is a truly moving tribute to the people and first responders who lost their lives on that clear sunny day in September 2001.
We got lucky later in the day with a break in the weather. We received a call and we could do the Helicopter flight after all.
Birds eye views of Manhattan's buildings, monuments and parks we had walked past the previous days – simply stunning.
That evening was our last night and we had a group meal at Wolfgang's Steak House near Times Square. Like everything in New York – big was best and most of the steaks were for two people to share. I had the biggest and tastiest T-Bone I had ever seen. Great Meal great service .
After this we went to a bar overlooking Times Square which is crazy on a Saturday night! Full of street entertainers and party-goers. We had a reservation a club that was a small fancy venue. A nice relaxed vibe so we made ourselves at home there for the rest of the night.
As the weather had been bad on Saturday we saved the 'Top of the Rock' until Sunday as our flight wasn’t until the evening. After some obligatory souvenir shopping we headed to the observation deck on the 75th Floor. Amazing views of the Empire State Building, Wall Street and the Statue of Liberty to the south. Central Park and Harlem to the North. An amazing feat of engineering and you know you are high when the helicopters are lower than you!
Sadly it was time to head home. Over the four days we had walked over 90,000 steps, drunk countless beers and cocktails, spent $1000’s of dollars and got by on an average of 4 hours sleep per night!
The consensus from everyone on the trip was that it was well worth it. The Big Apple will always be a favourite city and we only scratched the surface of.
It's fair to say that Evo ❤️'s NY!
But the next stop is… Tokyo 2018!
We reward our staff with fantastic incentives.
Monthly city lunches, quarterly trips to Europe and our big annual adventure (as detailed above!).
Do you want to be part of the Evolution?
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