Oh New York, New York… I am definitely not the first, and I will absolutely not the last to fall in love with the streets, the atmosphere, the people, the buildings and everything in between.
I have been so lucky to have visited this wonderful city twice, once in 2011 and 2017. Both trips were dreams come true. I know, I know, this post will be filled with cliches about NYC – I apologize in advanced. The first time I went with my family as part of a five weeks trip around the US, while the last time I went to visit one of my close friends. She had a three-month internship in the city, and it was so lovely to go and visit her. As she worked during the day, I explored the city by myself. It was freeing to be able to go wherever I wanted, stop at cafes, listen to music and take in the city at my own pace.
Looking back I wish I had done and seen more, even though I covered a lot. I can’t wait to go back soon and experience new sides of the city. I did a few of the typical “touristy” things, such as taking the Staten Island ferry boat to see the Statue of Liberty and walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. But I also managed to see neighborhoods I hadn’t seen the first time around.
I went the last week of October/first week of November and had six full days in the city. I got to experience Halloween there, which was super fun with tons of people walking around in costumes and getting to see the Halloween Parade! The weather was a little cold and cloudy, but there were a couple of days with lovely sunshine – one day it was warm enough to wear a t-shirt and have a picnic in Central Park. I am not going to write a whole NYC guide as there are so many good ones out there, but I thought I would share some of my favorites!
Favorite food places: New York is filled with wonderful independent cafes, restaurants, food markets – the list goes on and on. My list was way too long to get to them all in only six days (one of the main reasons for why I want to go back…), but I managed to stop by a few. Here are my top three!
Jack’s Wife Freda, SoHo – When looking for food places to visit, Jack’s Wife Freda was on every list I found – and with good reason! The SoHo location was a lovely, little space on Lafayette St, with a delicious (and very “hipster”) menu. The serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the food is “American-Mediterranean”.I had the poached egges with grilled tomato and haloumi, which was wonderful. Other dishes they have are mediterranean breakfast, rosewater waffles, chicken kebab and couscous. We had to wait a bit to get seated, as we went on a Saturday afternoon… I recommend not going in the middle of the brunch/lunch hours on a weekend. They also have a location in the West Village.
Magnolia Bakery, Bleecker Street – This one is for the ones with a big sweet tooth! Magnolia Bakery is famous for their divine cupcakes and cakes. I had to stop by as I love everything cupcakes, and as the bakery has had its famous moments in several movies and tv-shows! Magnolia Bakery have many locations throughout New York, I went to the one on Bleecker Street – highly recommend as it is such a lovely storefront and location. I was very lucky with the weather that day and got to enjoy my cupcakes (yes, plural…) in the sun!
Max Brenner, Union Square – My friend took me to Max Brenner on one of my last days, and it was on of my favorite places we went! Max Brenner is known for its chocolate and sweet desserts, but their restaurant is just as good! We shared a flatbread pizza, the best waffle fries and ended the meal with the most delicious chocolate fondue. We chose the “Classic European Fondue” and got to indulge in dark and milk chocolate, strawberries, marshmallows and cookie bites! The atmosphere of the restaurant was very cool and the location was great – so definitely stop by if you have the chance!
Favorite museum: I have to admit, I am not the biggest fan of museums. I would much rather see and explore a city outside, than in a gallery. I had plans to visit the Metropolitan Museum, but the day I went it was the warmest day and the museum was crowded – so I only stopped by the gift shop (does that count…?). However, I did go to one museum and I could not recommend it enough.
National September 11 Memorial & Museum – Visiting the 9/11 Memorial and the Museum was a very powerful experience. I went on a Tuesday afternoon, as admission was free, but it is definitely worth it to buy the ticket. I got the audio guide, narrated by Robert De Niro, which really helped seeing the museum as a whole. Even though I was only 5 years old when 9/11 happened, I still remember the aftermath of the tragedy, and getting to learn more about it and the extraordinary stories was an unforgettable experience.
Favorite Walks: I could walk around NYC for hours (which I did…) and not get sick of looking around, seeing new buildings, new streets and people passing by. I didn’t use much public transportation, so I pretty much walked across all of Manhattan. Here are my favorites:
Greenwich Village to SoHo – Following all of Bleecker Street, starting from Hudson Street/8th Avenue to Broadway, was so lovely. The buildings are beautiful, it is not too crowded and you get to see a more local/residential side of the city. Ending up in SoHo is perfect, with loads of shops, cafes and restaurants.
The High Line – The High Line follows 10th Avenue from 30th to around 12th Street (Gansevoort St), and I highly recommend walking the whole distance, but there are several points along where you can “hop on or off”. Being on the High Line, you are walking the midst of all the skyscrapers, and away from all the noisy traffic.
Williamsburg to Dumbo, Brooklyn – We spent quite a few hours exploring Brooklyn, getting all the Instagrams of the Manhattan Bridge and visiting quirky, little coffee shops. Walking from Williamsburg to Dumbo allowed us to see neighborhoods we wouldn’t have seen had we taken the subway, and it was lovely not to be surrounded by other tourists. Of course, we had to be tourists ourselves and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, which was extremely nice with the sun shining over the Manhattan skyline.
New York is one of a kind. I don’t know what it is, or really how to describe it. Maybe I have watched too many movies with a story magically unfolding in the NYC streets, but being there allowed me to breathe and relax, be myself and get lost, yet found in the city of millions.
I hope you enjoyed my (a bit long) post about the wonderful city and found some inspiration!
All the best,