A family member of my boyfriend’s joked that I’d be singing Alicia Keys ‘Empire State of Mind’ the whole time… And she wasn’t wrong; I was singing it as I was walking off the plane. I fell in love with the concrete jungle almost instantly and I know I said in the previous post that I almost thought I loved LA more, however writing this is making me change my mind (again.) We ran out of time to see and do everything we wanted, and we were there for a week and a half, so that’s why this post is on the longer side. As an avid Sex and the City and Gossip Girl lover, I was in constantly in awe of New York and thought I’d just try to be this cool combination of Carrie Bradshaw and Serena Van Der Woodsen (Everyone’s dream, right?) I mightn’t have pulled that one off successfully, but here’s what I did do, and what I’d recommend:
We stayed at…
The hotel interiors, incredible guest services, perfect location in the Meatpacking District and the amazing bars on the top and on the bottom all make this a hotel worth staying at, and I haven’t even started on the floor to ceiling glass windows of each room.
So, we found out that subletting apartments is actually illegal in NYC and as such, a majority of the Airbnb listed apartments are against the law. Let it be known that we didn’t find this out until our last day though, so I feel like we are morally exempt. This was an amazingly spacious, cost effective form of accommodation that lets you live as the New Yorkers do. We found a studio apartment in Hells Kitchen, that placed us closer to Times Square and Central Park and we’d definitely stay there again, if the law allows us. Tip: Find one with an internal laundry; nothing beats finally being able to do your own washing when you’re a week and a half into a holiday (If you also get weird about anyone other than your Mother or your partner washing your underwear, you’ll understand my point here.)
We ate at…
I’ll be honest in saying I booked this purely because it’s where they had the rehearsal dinner on Sex and the City, but it ended up being the best dinner we had during our entire holiday. It was phenomenal and we were pleasantly surprised when the bill arrived. To summarise: It’s a Chinese/ Asian Fusion style of dining, the waiters go above and beyond to be helpful and the interior is sexy chic. This place will be first on my list when I go back to New York.
There is vegemite and avocado on toast on the menu and the coffee rivals that of Melbourne. Need I say more? These Australians (No wonder we liked it so much) have taken the best of Aussie cafes and plunked it right in Greenwich Village. You’re welcome, New Yorkers, you’re welcome!
We drank at…
We had friends from Sydney in NY at the same time as us (see Basketball photo above), so we all went here for a night out together. It has amazing views of The Empire State building and they give you dressing gowns if it gets cold! Tip: There’s a hotdog cart just outside the exit. #winning
This place is iconic in New York and the interiors are almost as incredible as the views of the city and the river. Upstairs, there’s also another bar on the roof top which looked amazing but unfortunately if it’s windy (like it was the day we went upstairs) you’ll feel like your going to blow away and have a face full of your own hair.
The memorial is completely surreal. It’s quiet, eerily beautiful and seeing the names of all those who passed is incredibly moving. It’s one of those things you need to see at least once in your lifetime. Tip: Book your tickets for the museum before you go to avoid the long lines.
I won’t lie; the bike ride around Central Park turned into one of those days we literally almost broke up, and friends of ours said exactly the same thing. But don’t let that put you off it! If you’re both completely capable of riding bikes (like I wasn’t), dress appropriately for the weather (like I didn’t) and cycle in the correct direction (like our friends didn’t), I think you’ll actually enjoy it. Tip: Rent the bikes from the shop around the corner- the guys with the flyers at the entrance to the park will tell you where to go (Link is above as well!)
We love comedy, so it’s no surprise we went here here… Twice. They throw surprise acts in to some shows and we saw Louis C.K. our second time around. It’s a laugh ‘til you cry kind of night. Tip: Pre-book tickets if you can, otherwise get there early so you can put your name on the standby list.
I was insistent on visiting this particular landmark whilst the sun was setting, so I spent my first few afternoons in NYC observing exactly what time the sun began to set so I could time my visit accordingly. Many questioned our decision to visit the Top of the Rock, as opposed to the observation deck of the iconic Empire State Building; but you can’t appreciate the beauty of the Empire State Building when you’re standing inside of it. Tip: Book your tickets online before you go to save you waiting.
We shopped at…
To be honest, we shopped at every opportunity and all over the place. But my main recommendations would be:
We sort of visited Soho accidentally on our first day when we were walking back from the 911 memorial and financial district, but if you’re going to accidentally find something in NYC, make it Soho. We had no real intention of shopping while we were out, but we both came home with bags in tow after what we found. Put this on your list of places to shop.
We popped back to some part of 5th Ave every second day. Nike town, Victoria’s Secret, H&M, Banana Republic, Intermix, Macy’s… You name it; you’ll most likely find it on Fifth. Solstice Sunglasses is also worth checking out, as is Nordstorm Rack. And obviously, you are morally obligated to visit Barney’s New York.
But, the highlight…
I booked this before we left on a recommendation from a girlfriend who said it was ‘the best thing she did in NYC,’ and I now say exactly the same thing. It was beyond breathtaking and so much fun. My boyfriend and I were seated up the front (which clearly made us co-pilots) and our flight took us over the Statue of Liberty, over the city and Central Park, and then back with a quick peak at Queens as well. Seriously, the best thing I did on the entire trip. Please, for me, make sure you do it. Tip: We flew with Liberty Helicopters and you can book your tickets on the day.