This is going to sound super cheesy but it was a childhood dream of mine to live in NYC. I visited my aunt and her family in the city several times growing up and spent my sophomore year winter break, senior year spring break and also my honeymoon in NYC. I really do love NYC!
My husband and I made the big move to NYC from Florida in the summer of 2006, and after almost 5 years of living here I've barely made a dent in checking out all the things on my "must see/do/eat" list!
However, because I host so many out-of-town guests and frequently get asked what to check out, I thought I'd blog about my top 10 list of favorite things to do/see/eat in NYC (I also thought this might come in handy for some of the out-of-town folks coming in for the Xanga Meet Up).
In no particular order...
- Hang Out on the High Line: This is an elevated park built on an old abandoned railway that starts in the Meatpacking District and will eventually go up the west side all the way to 34th St.
July 2010: There are these cool wooden recliners along the High Line. Here my friend Mimi is taking a Coke break and catching some sun.
The High Line is so different from any other green space in Manhattan. You can see some cool views of the Hudson River, lots of modern architecture of new buildings in the area and also lots of native plants.
Check out those crazy looking buildings in the background!
On the same day we saw a photo shoot with Jessica Szohr, an actress from Gossip Girl, in progress.
-Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge: This iconic bridge, one of the oldest suspension bridges in the US, is awesome to walk across from the Brooklyn side toward Manhattan.
You can get great shots of the Manhattan skyline with the Brooklyn Bridge in your pictures. Here's some info on how to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge from BK to Manhattan.
Oct 2005 -Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge on my honeymoon, imagining what it would be like to live in NYC.
-Shop or Window Shop: There are tons of unique boutiques in NYC and pretty much every chain retailer out there can be found here. Lots of bargains can be found in NYC, but the reason I suggest shopping in NYC to my friends from Florida is that the sales tax on clothing (4.357%) is lower in NYC than in FL for clothes under $110 (until recently there was no tax on clothing less than $110). I love checking out the stores in SoHo (not during the weekends when it's packed) and window shopping in the West Village.
-Bike, Run, Picnic or People Watch in Central Park: Renting a bike and taking a spin around the park (about 6 miles) or taking a stroll through the lower half of the park is a must do when you visit NYC! In nice weather, pack a picnic, bring it to the park and sit in the grass and people watch. On hot days you'll see tons of people sun bathing, on snowy days you'll see families snow sledding and building snowmen -every day you'll see joggers and bikers doing their thing.
Central Park is by far the most frequented place on my list. I'm in the park probably at least 3 days week biking, running or just drinking coffee and relaxing. It's my oasis in this crazy, busy city.
My birthday picnic in Central Park last year. My birthday fell on the same day as the NY Philharmonic's annual Concert in the Park.
-Snack and Sip at a Bakery & Coffee Shop: I have a serious sweet tooth and addiction to caffeine! Luckily for me there are great mom and pop shops throughout the city and a Starbucks on practically every street corner.
Momofuku Milk Bar's Crack Pie packaging
Here's my short list of frequented coffee shops and bakeries:
Levain Bakery (Upper West Side and Harlem) -best chocolate chip cookies in NYC
Sweet Revenge (Greenwich Village) -awesome cupcakes and beer & wine cocktails
Momofuku Milk Bar (East Village) -try the Crack pie, simple, yummy goodness in your mouth
Joe: The Art of Coffee (multiple locations) -coffee, expresso, teas
Think Coffee (East Village, SoHo, NYU area) -coffee, expresso drinks
-Appreciate the Art at a Museum: I love visiting art museums. There are so many in NYC. Some of my faves are the Frick Collection, Neue Galerie and the enormous Metropolitan Museum of Art. I hope to check out the Whitney, the Museum of Moving Image and PS 1 this year.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Roof Desk Exhibit from Oct. 2009.
-Brunch!: The weekends from 10a.m. to 3p.m. are all about brunch in NYC. I never "brunched" in Florida but here it's practically a way of life. I actually don't have a favorite brunch spot but I love to try new places with my girlfriends. NYCers -what are some of your favorite brunch spots? Always looking for new places to try.
-Escape to Governor's Island: I visited Governor's Island for the first time last summer and loved it! You take a free ferry to the island from South Ferry station and are literally transported to a deserted island. The island is only open from May to October but during those months there are tons of events. When we visited last summer we rented bikes for several hours and loved touring the island on our cruisers.
You can rent single, double or quad bikes on the island.
The day we visited there was a massive game of Capture the Flags: Zombies vs. Aliens going on
There's a fun man-made beach with great views of southern Manhattan and a cafe that sells food, snacks and drinks. We can't wait to go back when the season opens!
The man-made beach with an awesome view of Manhattan
-Learn and See More of NYC via the Empire State Building Audio Tour & Manhattan Harbor Cruises -This is actually two separate tourist attractions in one category but I love the self guided audio tour you can rent at the Empire State Building and also the tour the guides on the harbor cruise ferries give as you boat around the island. I've probably heard both tours over 6 times each but it's still entertaining and so educational. You end up learning so much about NYC! I highly recommend seeing the city from up high (you have to pay a little extra for the player) or from the water and listening to the tour guide (make sure to tip him if you liked his presentation).
June 2010: Circle Line's 90 minute Harbor Cruise Ferry. Those passengers look bored but they're having a great time!
-Create Your Own Food Tour -I don't mean actual food tours you pay for (although the Greenwich Village Food Tour is great and highly recommended!) but I mean self-designed tours you can put together for any neighborhood. For example, my friends and I love to hang out in the East Village for the delicious and affordable hole in the wall restaurants/cafes. Instead of eating one meal at one restaurant we'll visit 4, sharing meals at each place so we can sample all our favorite dishes at each of the places without going broke or getting too full. This is also great for out of town guests, so they can try out a bunch of restaurants in one neighborhood in a short period of time.
Here are two "food tours" I often take my out-of-town guests on:
East Village: Baoguette, Pommes Frite, Ippudo, Caracas Arepa Bar and dessert at Momofuku Milk Bar or Sundaes and Cones
Chinatown: Joe's Shanghai for soup dumplings (or Joe's Ginger if it's too busy), Nice Green Bo for scallion pancakes, New Malaysia for roti canai and mee goreng, Chinatown Icecream Factory for unique flavors of icecream and Banh Mi Saigon for banh mi
For more info on these restaurants, and other favorites you can check out my foodie list (always under construction) here.
Ok this post is massive! Hope this helps anybody that plans on coming to NYC or that's look for new things to try in the city.
What are your favorite things to do/see/eat in NYC?