Before making my first trip to New York City, NYC baby, I read so much about others’ reactions to the place. It’s the city that never sleeps! It’s alive and its buzzing and its overwhelming and its amazing. All true. All TRUE!
To encapsulate this city into one sentence is a farce and impossibility. Imagine the amalgamation of all cultures, all art, history, music, influence, ages and eras. People and treasures from all corners of the world, following their dreams, chasing those vibes that engulf you as soon as your plane lands.
Here I have collected but a few of my favorite experiences of New York, New York. Eating, seeing, touching, feeling and of course… eating.
Midtown is where you are going to hit most of your Tourist To Do List. My advice: walk around to each place. Get lost and get found. Chill out. ‘Tourist Crazy’ is contagious and probably the most un-fun affliction to hit you on your holiday. See what you can but don’t sweat it if you can’t do it all.
Magic. Enjoy.Listen as you read.
Take in Times Square and its complete and utter madness of cars, lights, ads, living statues and Jesus preachers. Get an oversized bag of MnM’s in every flavor and color and buy tickets to see a show for that night and every other night you’re there. Ah, paradis.
Get a view
It is a toss of the coin as to where you can find the best panoramic view of the city. I went with the Empire State Building, because my Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan obsession couldn’t have it any other way. The views from the Rockerfeller are similar, so see how your loins feel on the day and trust them. BUT! Be aware: lines. Longlonglonglongggggg lines. Inevitable, unless you pre-book a ticket… then maybe you get a shorter line. Sigh. Tourist lyf y’all.
Another way to get a view: get on a rooftop, get yourself a delicious cocktail/beer/NYC bf.
My Top Picks for rooftop drinks:
Gallow Green. 542 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001 (Chelsea)
Le Bain. 444 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10014 (Meatpacking District)
The Pod 39 Hotel. 145 E 39th St, New York, NY10016 (Midtown)
See a show
See theatre, see The Metropolitan Opera and Ballet, see Musical Theatre. See performance of all kind: branch out. If you have never been to see an opera, the Met(ropolitan) is the best place to start and finish. If you’re more into musical theatre… well Broadway are two syllables uttered and wet dreamed about all.over.the.world.
Book tickets online in advance for more popular shows, but for cheap tickets you are best to wait until you arrive and go to a TKTS booth (find addresses online- there are many about but the Times Square one has the longest line- Brooklyn the shortest). Opera, musical theatre, plays, stand-up comedy…. Tickets to these shows are not always cheap, however the caliber of these performers is quite plainly, world class. Breathtaking… and whichever other adjective used to describe mind explosion.
Kinky Boots. Music by Cyndi Lauper. Aforementioned mind explosion awaits, as well as so many happy tears I would advise no mascara as we could have a joker situation on our hands.
Grand Central Terminal
This is a truly special experience. Wandering through this station you feel as though you have been transported to a past of pretty and wimsy. The roof is emerald green and covered in constellations. The train schedule is exactly the same as when you saw it in that movie. It’s nostalgic and ever-moving. You will definitely meet husband number two here.
New York Public Library
This library is a romance novel in itself. There are many rooms in which to wander, and the whole library is romantically lit as if setting the scene to the love story of everyone’s life. Really. I cannot tell a lie. Sit about outside and admire the beauty from afar, or delve deep inside for a more intimate, yet satisfying experience.
Outside: (ohhh, ahhh)
Inside: (ohh, yeahh)
The park located just behind the New York Public Library. Filled with wooden chairs and tables which are perfect for when you have tourist legs, or need a place to read your Haruki Murakami. Sit alla table or lounge in the green grass. Blend in a bit, hide your hideous junners (jeans worn with unfashionable runners).
Madison Square Park
A lovely little patch of green amid the bustle of the city and just opposite the Flat Iron Building which is a site to behold on its own. This is a good time to take a seat, take a breath, inhale a thick shake (Shake Shack) and just love your life. Just how amazing is it to be here? Mm, yes it is.
Radio City Music Hall
1260 Avenue of the Americas, New York City NY
Check who is playing here well in advance to get yourself some sweet seats to whomever you are lucky enough to be crossing paths with. This venue is as beautiful inside as it is out (as are you).
This was (one of) my absolute favorite gallery experiences. Among the top galleries in the city, it has most certainly earned its rank. One of the best parts of the museum: the gift shop. I have been waiting years to buy weird clocks and calendars and gadgets from this very MoMa shop, and I was.not.disappointed. Enjoy Andy Warhol, Matisse, Picasso…Klimt… the list goes on and you will breathe art in and out and love it. Have fun!
Street T-shirt Cart
These carts litter the streets surrounding Times Square, all stocked with one thing and one thing only. I (L) NYC merchandise. And just like your Mum says; When. In. Rome.
1600 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
The aforementioned afternoon snack of rainbow lollies. So many flavors, so little stomach space. Pace yourself.
Shake Shack, Madison Square Park
Heaven in a burger and fries. Indescribable feeling of ecstasy upon consumption. Get a shake as well, because they call is the shake shack for a reason guys. And that’s because their milkshakes will change your life forever.
Oyster Bar, Grand Central Station
This bar is absolutely stunning and a little bit secret, hiding underneath Grand Central Station. Even if you’re not actually waiting for a train, you can come here and indulge in a cocktail with oysters. Delicious and wholesome and tingly happy feelings ensue.
Accommodation is by far your biggest expense while in the big ol’ NYC, however there are ways to get it cheaper without (entirely) selling your soul.
You can find some sweet deals here. If not entire apartments, single private shared rooms are available at a reasonable price. These can be excellent value if the person who hosts you is fun/funny/sexy and willing to take you out and about to all the cool hangs.
Here you can find share rooms all over Manhattan Island. Although, unlike in Europe, this can still be pretty pricey even when looking at biggggg share rooms.
The general consensus is not to do it in NYC. Not only because its semi-illegal, but also because there have been some creepy one-legged men sleep watcher stories floating about. Roll the dice at own cost. *note: this does not apply to the rest of the USA; have done it all over and loved it to death and back twenty times.
new york city: part two coming soon
Do you have any tips or recommendations that you would like to add? Do it gf, this list is not complete and nor will it ever be!