Top 5 for NYC
- See a Broadway show. You have have HAVE to go!
- Visit at least one of the great museums in the city.
- Wander through Greenwich village for your fill of quaint little shops, boutiques, and coffee.
- Do a city walking tour- a great way to learn a ton about the city.
- Have a classic New York cocktail at a classic New York bar.
- Tribeca Blu Hotel
- Viceroy New York
- Monkey Bar
- Jack’s Wife Frida
- City Bakery
- Artichoke Basille’s
- Doughnut Plant
- Anywhere in China Town
Ahhh, NYC. I did not make my first trip here until the ripe old age of 28 and heard so many proclamations of “you will love it” and “It’s the best” and “you’ll want to move there immediately!”. OK, I really liked it. It’s a great city, with SO much to do and see. And I thoroughly loved everything I did see. But despite being there a week we still missed a huge number of sites. So I have to go back someday 🙂
Our first experience was New York traffic – the shuttle ride from the airport was LONG and filled with honking, many near accidents, bumper-to-bumper roads, and general stress. We made to the Tribeca Blu Hotel – clearly located in Tribeca, adjacent to China Town, and we were pleasantly surprised by our huge room and bathroom and the overall cleanliness of the hotel. We had heard horror stories about grotty Manhattan hotels.
After a good long sleep, we woke up ready for our first day – NYC outlet shopping! We had booked a shuttle to the Woodbury Outlets for a day of serious American discount shopping. We were successful and returned to the city exhausted and happy, with many bags. That night we met some relatives of my friend close to Broadway, for dinner at La Pulperia. While the cocktails were fantastic the food was mediocre- the biggest disappointment being the Queso Fundido appetizer, served with grilled bread. The queso was tasteless and the bread was burnt. Sorry, but when a restaurant can mess up bread and cheese. . . not much else can be saved. However, we had lots of laughs and enjoyed the evening. The next day, despite frigid temperatures, we started roaming – winding a path from Canal street to 54th, scoping out Greenwich village and Chinatown.
On the way, we went to Jack’s Wife Frida for breakfast – a tiny little diner with bottomless coffee and tables pushed close together. The “eggs and soldiers” tided us over until our next stop – City Bakery and the famous Hot Chocolate! This was heeeeeaaaaaven on Earth, really. The most decadent and delicious hot chocolate of my life, topped off with a cloud-like homemade marshmallow. I wanted to lick my cup.
We continued on, with intermittent shopping, window shopping, picture-snapping, etc. We arrived at Times square and marvelled at the dizzying lights, billboards, and costumed people around us. Next, we ventured to the Museum of Modern Art – I have to say one of the best museums I’ve ever been to. They have a vast collection of my favorite little time span – Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Cubism, and dabbling into Fauvism and Matisse. Starry Starry Night is on display here in all its glory, and I spent the most time with the many intriguing cubist and futurist pieces. There was a delightful little exhibition on Lautrec as well, showing his incredible prints and talents, and lots of information about his life in Paris, where I must say he lived a pretty ideal existence.
After a long and lovely cultural day, we brought it down many levels by going to TGI Friday’s for some grub. An American classic.
The next morning we were up early to catch our walking tour of the Financial District and 9/11 memorial, but not before stopping for another American classic- Donuts! Doughnut Plant was “on our way” to the walking tour meeting point and we stopped to try some of the new twists on classic flavours – Pecan Beignet donut with chicory coffee for me, and Lemon Poppyseed with normal coffee for my friend. Now, this was a damn fine donut. Sweet but not over the top, cloudy on the inside with a nice crunchy outside. Better than Tim Hortons, by far. Sorry Canada.
We raced to catch the walking tour and had a really interesting but frigidly cold tour around the financial district, learning a lot about this tiny little Island called Manhattan. I will be the first to admit I know very little about American history, and was surprised to learn that the south tip of Manhattan was once New Amsterdam, a 17th century Dutch settlement. We also learned a lot about immigration to New York, Wall Street, and 9/11. Definitely worth it, however a little pricey compared to any other walking tour I’ve done ($45 a pop).
In the afternoon, we stopped for another classic – thick greasy New York pizza and beers at Artichoke Basille’s Pizza, and topped this off by drooling over Christian Laboutin shoes and Diane von Furstenberg dresses in the meat-packing district. Back at our hotel, we got a bit prettied up and headed to Apotheke in Chinatown– definitely in the top 5 bars I’ve ever been to. The concept is obvious from the name – a selection of “Stress Relieving” or “Health & Beauty” cocktails are expertly brewed up by the chemists behind the bar. There are vintage apothecary shelves and drawers behind the bar and organic compounds drawn all over the walls. There was only standing room, and barely even that. Super fun!
On our last day, we did some last wandering around the city, checked out of our hotel, and headed to a little spa in Tribeca for a manicure and pedicure. Following this we moved our luggage for our final night – a splurge at the Viceroy New York – directly beside Carnegie Hall and Central Park. The hotel room was miniscule but GORGEOUS, with its own Nespresso coffee maker, huge TV, luxe linens, plush bathrobes and thick carpet. We went back to Times Square to wait in the last minute TKTS line – where you can buy same-day tickets for Broadway shows at as much as 60% off. We scored two great seats to Jersey Boys – a completely PHENOMENAL experience. The singing, dancing, stage, and music was out-of-this-world. I cannot say enough times that everyone should go see a Broadway show here – it will knock your socks off.
After the show, we headed to one last NY classic – the Monkey Bar, as seen in Mad Men and Sex and the City. Walking into this bar, you really can picture a swarthy Don Draper character moodily sucking back Scotch in the corner. In fact, there were a couple such characters there. I had a “Perfect 10”- strong and delish.
On our final morning, we walked to the Subway to take the line back to the airport, and had an uneventful flight back to Germany. New York was a great experience – be prepared to do a lot of walking, a lot of siteseeing, and a lot of money-losing. 🙂 🙂