Posts Tagged ‘things to do in New York’

Trips & Tips: New York

So you’re off to New York. You’ve got your flights sorted and a list as long as your arm of all the typical tourist spots (and an even longer one for those “off the beaten track” places that friends have recommended), but you’re not sure where to stay, where to start, or what order to do them in. These are just a few tips that were passed onto me before my NYC adventure, plus a few I discovered for myself along the way.

Stay with Airbnb
I couldn’t recommend Airbnb any higher – I even wrote a review about it over at The High Tea Cast which you should totally read.

Get a New York Pass
If you’re heading to the big apple for 5 days or more, this is for you. It’s a great way to save money and get free entry attractions and/or queue jump at certain hot spots. The only downside is that you have to use it on consecutive days, but if you want to make your dollars go further and cram in as much as possible, it’s worth it.

Hire a bicycle
When you’ve been doing that slow ‘museum walk’ combined with looking up in awe all day, then trust me; every part of your body going to ache, particularly your lower back. Midway through our trip we hired a bicycle for the day from Blazing Saddles and it was the best thing we could have done! It gave us chance to really see the city in a new way (we picked ours up from the pier and rode up the Manhattan greenway to Central Park) PLUS you get a free 24 hour hire with your New York Pass (another example of how awesome the pass is).

Bike hire in New York

Network
Twitter is a fantastic resource for travelling – I stumbled across some great bars and restaurants by simply asking around. Think about it: most of us use Twitter every day for catching up with news stories and for recipe ideas etc, so why not utilise your ‘hive mind’ for tips on places to stay, eat and do stuff? If you’re already following someone who’s already been to New York (or even better, lives there) then chances are you’re going to enjoy what they recommend – otherwise you wouldn’t be following them.

Eat whatever you want
You’re on holiday. You’re staying in a city where every flavour imaginable is on your doorstep. I’m not saying eat yourself into a food coma (which I totally did, but hey, we’re all different) but if you’re on a diet, give yourself a break. Check out some of my favourite spots here!

Walk The High Line
The High Line is a disused freight rail that has been transformed into an aerial park, running along Manhattan’s West Side and ending in the Meat Packing District. It’s a beautiful and unique walk with benches along the way should you need to rest (or take in the view), a sun deck, and some great food vendors too!

The High Line in New York

Top of the Rock VS The Empire State Building
The trouble with the Empire State is that when you’re at the top of it, you can’t see it! The best advice I can give you is to visit the Rockefeller Center during the day – it’s less crowded, plus you’ll get a clearer view of New York – and go to The Empire State Building at night. As the last lift is at 1:15am, Charlie and I decided to go for dinner and drinks first – when we arrived around midnight we couldn’t believe our luck as we walked straight through! No 4 hour queues, no school trips, no screaming children, and a breath taking nightscape; yes, visiting one of the worlds busiest Observatory’s out of peak tourist hours definitely had it’s perks.

Top of the Rock in New York
Top of the rock view, New York
Empire State view at night
Empire State Building view

Harbour Cruise
I’m not a big boat fan, but somehow Charlie managed to convince me we should add a Circle Line River Cruise to our list and I’m so glad he did! We opted for the ‘romantic’ 2 hour sunset trip around the island which is timed to perfection – it was light on the way out, the sun went down as we reached Lady Liberty, and it was pitch black by the time we reached the pier. Perfect.

P.S Yet another freebie with your NYC Pass!

Circle Line River Cruise
New York river cruise

Ten Lovely Things: Eating & drinking in New York

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may have noticed the few (hundred) photos of New York recently. Charlie and I spent just over a week in the big apple, and, to coincide with all of the usual tourist attractions, we made a seriously long list of places we wanted to eat in/drink at along the way. Isn’t that what being on holiday is all about?

Unfortunately we didn’t manage to hit every spot, however, there were a few stand out places that I wanted to share with those who might be planning a trip to NYC, or those of you who’re lucky enough to live right around the corner from the following awesome restaurants and drinking holes. Enjoy!

Best food in New York
 
Artichoke

If you’re visiting New York, you have to eat a slice of pizza – it’s basically the law. Artichoke is a straight up independent pizzeria that deals in excellent slices for less than $5.

The Standard Grill
This beautiful bistro situated inside a boutique hotel is the perfect place for dinner – especially if you’ve worked up an appetite walking The High Line, which runs underneath the belly of The Standard. Popular with the Meatpacking District/Chelsea crowd, you’ll be met with excellent service, strong cocktails, and the best duck bolognese ever.

KATZ’S Delicatessen
Famous for it’s huge sandwiches (and Meg Ryan’s fake orgasms), Katz’s deli is THE place to go for a lunch you’ll never forget. You won’t be faking anything when you sink your teeth into one of their huge pastrami on rye sandwiches – Charlie and I had to split it as we couldn’t handle one each!

Lanterns Keep
Lanterns Keep is a wonderful gem of a cocktail bar, tucked away inside the Iroquois hotel. The secret salon is open when the lantern on the exterior of the building is lit and delivers everything a girl could want; excellent service, the best cocktails, and attractive staff.

P.S Let the barman suggest a drink for you, you won’t regret it.

Beauty & Essex
A slightly more expensive eatery that’s well worth the hype. I heard about Beauty & Essex through Dawn Porter on Twitter and after doing some research (and drooling over hundreds of tweets of recommendation) we decided to give it a whirl. Situated on the Lower East Side, you’ll enter into this dark and stylish restaurant through a real pawnshop, be handed champagne in the Ladies, and feast on small plates of everything from lobster tacos and bone marrow, to bacon and tomato soup dumplings.

Balthazar
In the lead up to our trip, a couple of friends grabbed me by the shoulders and said “OH MY GOD, YOU HAVE TO GO TO BALTHAZAR”, and it didn’t disappoint. Charlie and I went here for our anniversary dinner and throughly enjoyed ourselves as we tucked into beautifully cooked French cuisine and worked our way through the extensive wine list. If you can’t afford a trip to New York just yet, you can find Balthazar in London now too!

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
A glittering unicorn muriel painted on the wall, She-Ra defending the Universe on a shelf near by, and an ice cream called ‘the salty pimp’. Do you need any other excuse to visit Big Gay Ice Cream?

Death & Company
Impossible to find at first, this cocktail lounge turned out to be just a 3 minute walk from our apartment! Death & Co is a dark-as-hell exclusive bar with a no reservation policy. As you step inside, you’ll see why they don’t accept groups large than 7 (it’s small, narrow and almost pitch black) but if you can secure a seat at the bar, the cocktails will soon knock you off it.

Bareburger
In our experience, the service wasn’t as great as we’d heard (however the place was rammed and our waitress was fairly new to the job) but the flavoursome food was definitely worth the wait! Check out Bareburger‘s super cool website and you’ll soon be transfixed by their mouth watering organic burgers.

McSorley’s Old Ale House
McSorley’s was the last ‘men only’ pubs (it only started admitting women in 1970) and is, according to local legend, the oldest watering hole in New York. E.E. Cummings apparently drank “the ale which never lets you grow old”, and there’s even a photo of Abraham Lincoln drinking at the bar! There’s also sawdust on the floor, newspaper cut outs, bottle caps and photos covering the walls, and you’ll only find 2 drinks on the menu; light or dark beer. This snug ale house doesn’t have a website (!) but you can read more about it here.