NEW YORRRRKKKKKK, CONCRETE JUNGLE WHERE DREAMS ARE MADE OFFFF, I sing in my Alicia Keys voice and boy do I understand now what she sings about. It took me a while to make my visit to New York considering one of my good friends has been living out there for nearly three years. But this year we decided to just stick to it and get it booked, and when I found great flights for £390 return we took it as God’s sign to go forth and fly.
And there we were, 9 hours later and a Lyft taxi ride to Washington heights (TIP – download the Lyft app, it is way cheaper than an Uber). I am really happy with my trip to the big apple, not only did I get to do the more touristy things like seeing the statue of Liberty (take the Staten Island Ferry for free to sail past it) and going up the Rockefeller center to take in the infamous views of the city, we also got to experience the city like true locals thanks to our host. My friend’s who had been to New York before mentioned how pleased they were to have seen the real side of New York this time around, the side that isn’t filled with tourists and their flashing camera’s on time square. I always try to get the raw experience when I travel, yes I still see the must-see’s but then I just get talking to locals and asking for their recommendations. I thought I’d list some of the things we did so that any of you planning a trip to New York can try and plan these in too 🙂
Boozy Brunchin in Hell’s Kitchen
Now we all know I love a good brunch (if you’re in London looking for bottomless brunch I have a great list of my favourite’s here) and lucky for me, bottomless brunch in New York City is in abundance. Infact, I believe the concept was birthed in Brooklyn so it would have been rude not too celebrate it’s existence. Hell’s kitchen is such a great area of Midtown Manhattan, it became known as Hell’s kitchen mainly because it use to be a very rough part of town however, it is really up and coming now (some people refer to the area as Clinton now too so don’t get confused) and also very gay friendly.
Bottomless brunch options are great here. I would still put Brooklyn as your no.1 option of having brunch but if you want something in Manhattan then head here. HK was a good location with typical american food (the burger was OK not spectacular, I would recommend the asian chicken salad).
Jazz in Harlem
Row house in Harlem was one of my highlights of the trip. It took me back to sitting and listening to Jazz in New Orleans while eating the amazing southern food. Here, there was a young, extremely talented jazz band playing in the corner while we chose our brunch options from the southern menu. For $18 you get a meal and mimosa… not bottomless unfortunately but can I just say it was one of the best fried chicken’s I have ever had, hands down and that spiced maple syrup that came with my chicken and waffles …… speechless. I probably spoke about that meal the rest of our trip.
Rooftops of New York
There is no better way to take in the city’s scenic views than to visit the many rooftop bars this city is proud of. Here are two of my favourite rooftop bars that I visited which also give you a great view of New York City:
- Le Bain (rooftop of the Standard hotel near the Hudson river)
- Mr Purple (great views of the city and empire state building – with a pool)
Watching the Yankee’s in the Bronx
Baseball isn’t the most exciting game in my opinion, but the atmosphere at the games is so vibrant and full of character. If you get the chance, I highly recommend getting a ticket, grabbing a hot dog and taking part in the fun. Hopefully you catch a baseball while you’re at it too! I would also say, read a few rules of the games so you know why people are cheering or getting worked up.
Being Hipsters in Brooklyn
I wish I had more time to spend in Brooklyn because the streets were full of personality, not that any other part of New York isn’t, it just felt familiar and relaxed in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It felt like walking down my favourite streets in Shoreditch. If you get the chance to wander and get a little lost, then do that and I am sure you will find plenty cafe’s or bars that call your name. Freehold bar is a good shout if you want yummy cocktails, mixed crowds that aren’t only made up of hipsters, and an outside garden.
If you are in the big apple on Tuesday then you shouldn’t miss a good Taco – who doesn’t want a reason to celebrate great food? Here are some of the recommended spots I have gotten from New Yorkers:
2. Dos Caminos
3. Rosa Mexico
If you are hungry – I recommend getting about 4 Taco’s as I was still hungry after my two miserable pieces and started craving a dollar pizza 😉
Take in the Local Street Art
Brooklyn is covered in street art, it reminds me of east London’s unique street art and you get a glimpse of the wide variety of colours and arts, some telling a narrative that you instantly connect with. My eyes are always on the look out for street art in any destination I go to, it just gives you a connection to the place instantly and allows you to get a sense of what the people are about.
New York is a beautiful city, according to my cousin who moved there from Singapore, it is the greatest city in the world and imagine it would take a long time to see every corner of it. I still havn’t been to so many places in London and I’ve nearly lived here for 3 years so nevermind conquering New York! But the people are so full of life here and always ready to help. Have you been to New York or lived there? What were some of your favourite things to see or do?