IT is 22 years since I last visited New York, just weeks after the horrific terrorist attacks of 9/11. I’m back introducing my daughter to a city she has mythologised through Instagram and TikTok – in a similar way I did at her age via TV – wondering if the city of a thousand songs, and still more cliches, is still up there as one of the world’s most thrilling cities.

Getting here brings a bonus as I don’t trudge through Heathrow connecting with another disappointing British Airways flight. Instead, we’ve just arrived with Icelandic airline PLAY, who offer tickets to New York via Iceland, with the option to stop off.

Their prices and beamingly positive attitude are a breath of fresh air.

READ MORE: How a Kintyre town came back from the brink

There is only one place to start – the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. When I visited the Twin Towers in 1998, I took that photo of my friend Dave larking around “holding them up”.

The last time I was here, it was just the twisted foundations of two unfathomable gaps with the air scarcely cleared of dust. I cannot begin to imagine how it would feel if Edinburgh Castle was blown up by a plane and thousands of people were massacred in Edinburgh’s capital district.

I was nervous that I would find the World Trade Center site brushed over; somehow erased. Instead, they have managed the impossible task of creating a tribute that informs, educates and includes too.  Tara and I walk around in utter silence, drawing each other’s attention to bits of the story we didn’t know, or knickknacks left by parents and siblings gone forever. Two massive waterfalls form literal and metaphysical spaces where the towers once soared.

It is hard to gee yourself up after visiting a site of such loss and tragedy. But New York has managed it. The city picked itself up, dusted itself down and bashed on –  the greatest show on earth refused to be subdued, nor cowed. 

New York is a city where the main sights still scream to be seen. On our first night, we head straight to ogle at the forest of skyscrapers with King Kong atop the Empire State Building.

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We’ve got the handy CityPASS as an app so we also seamlessly ease out to the Statue of Liberty on a cruise, check out the Guggenheim, and walk the decks of the Intrepid aircraft carrier.

I’ve split the trip. First the obvious; then the more esoteric. Broadway beckons for my keen dancer daughter. Through the Broadway Collection, we’ve snared good tickets for Moulin Rouge and thrill our way through a rollicking, life-affirming musical that has us singing the songs as we spill out back into the bright lights of Times Square.

When I first visited in 1992, this famous hub had lost its lustre, but now it beams brighter than ever.

Our hotels beam bright too. I meet Tara halfway. I want a slice of comfort; she wants buzzy. The 612-room Moxy on Times Square is both. We have comfy beds and a delicious steak and seafood feast in their Legasea restaurant. There is NYC’s largest all-year hotel rooftop bar, dubbed their “urban amusement park”. We’re talking DJs, table football and Instagram locations aplenty  for Tara.

We swap Roxys for the second half of our trip – the more esoteric. The 303-room  Moxy Lower East Side is a buzzing newcomer that reflects the positivity of the up-and-coming surrounding district. We’ve great views of the Manhattan skyline (below) and a spacious bedroom you’d struggle to get Midtown in  this price range. 

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There are DJ bars and, in Sake no Hana, one of the city’s finest modern Japanese restaurants, with plenty of cool cats playing all over. Both of us are happy.

There is an unmistakable buzz about the Lower East Side and its bleeding into the surrounding districts. We learn more through an ExperienceFirst walking tour. Alex is a superb guide who sweeps us through Little Italy, Chinatown, and Soho.

There are tales of mafia bosses not only taking out hits, but of their families haranguing tour guides for talking about them! There is time for a proper slice of pizza too and layers of history of how New York first emerged when it was named Manna-Hata by the indigenous people.

We’re not done with the tours yet. Dad always wants to learn more; Tara now has a taste for the Big Apple too. We push on to the Tenement Museum. It’s a style of living familiar to us Scots, with many of the tales of tight-knit families and communities coming together to deal with the privations of such cramped communal living all too familiar. Utterly fascinating for a Scot, as is much of a city that we helped forge.

There is never enough time in New York, a city that really does refuse to let you sleep.  My heart is tugging back as we cross the Hudson and see the skyscrapers defiantly soar into the heavens one last time. Tara feels exactly the same. 

We vow to come back, hopefully together, to a city that refuses ever to lie down to anyone.