It was hard not to feel at home when we visited NYC.
[ABOVE] The perfect noise cancelling wireless headphones; JBL. JD and I shared these on the long haul flights!
Here we are day four back into work for 2017 – I have a 90s playlist queued and I am on my 3rd cup of tea. Procrastination hasn’t set in yet, but I have been reminiscing a lot while writing this post. I have been working on this article on-and-off for weeks, formatting, editing and making sure I have included everything I love. I am bound to have forgotten a thing or two. If you have your own suggestions, be sure to write a comment! This post has proven to be an extensive one, so it will be a two part guide.
When we arrived in New York, I felt somewhat emotional. Not in the sense I had tears streaming down my face – more in the sense that I couldn’t believe I was here. I kind of had that lump in my throat feeling, which was a mixture between excitement and being overwhelmed by it all. I know it sounds ridiculous to have these feelings about a place, but New York has been on my bucket list for years. As my best friend would say: it’s my spirit city. I have never landed in a City and felt like I could live there immediately – if I could I would move there in a heartbeat.
I remember in year 11 and 12 watching runway shows and then later reality tv shows and being in awe of the bustling city. I only dreamed that one day I could visit. From it’s incredible food and culture to it’s fashion and people, New York was truly everything I ever hoped it would be. Without coming across horribly cliché – it was probably even more.
Our drive in from JFK had me people watching and pointing out everything to JD, Bec and Wade (friends that we traveled with). Even that brief drive to Brooklyn from the airport is beautiful – especially at that time of year with ember-red autumn leaves on the ground. We visited 3 -11 Nov 2016 and would highly recommend that time of year.
The city, home to over 8.5 million people, contains so much to see and do, you can barely scratch the surface on a week visit, but then again, I don’t think even a four-month trip would be enough to see NYC.
I am not one to travel with a daily planned itinerary as I love wandering around and stumbling across new areas and things to do. I will say though, I learned on day one that NYC without a loosely planned itinerary can be stressful. So for the rest of our time there, we had a loose idea each day. We did leave a couple of boroughs untouched, but I am sure we will be back in the not too distant future!
My list today is absolutely not all-encompassing, it’s simply the places we tried and loved. I don’t think anyone could have a definitive guide to New York – there is just so much to do and the city is constantly evolving.
My favourite places
- Village/West Village
- East Village
- Lower East Side
I will go into more detail about these place in part two, as well as a shopping guide, things to do etc.
WHERE TO STAY
I can only vouch for Brooklyn – we had an adorable AirbNb with two bedrooms in Brooklyn. Super close walk to a couple of subway stations, amazing coffee and food. We were close to the Brooklyn Museum. A few forums indicated it was a little sketchy at night, but we were fine. I think any City can become a little sketchy at night. Just be mindful and aware like you would in your own area. I would highly recommend staying in Brooklyn as it then allows you to experience another aspect of NYC. We found that we had a well rounded view of the city for our first visit.
I have had friends stay in Manhattan and loved it. A few friends live in Chelsea and Williamsburg which are both amazing areas to check out. Manhattan would be a lot more convenient if you’re wanting to be in a central location.
Subways is super easy. Unlike other cities, there are no zone restrictions. For the same fare,you can visit any part of the city. I think we paid $30USD for a 7 day pass Metrocard. A combination of subway and walking is the best way to see the city. We also Ubered as we were staying in Brooklyn and sometimes it was easier to use Uber – especially because UberPOOL is so cheap!
WHERE TO EAT
Okay, get comfortable because this is a long ass list. So many friends and family gave me recommendations ahead of our trip – it was impossible to fit them all in and believe me, I tried. We created extra meals per day just so we could try more places.
Bluestone Collective (55 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10014, USA): Our first place we ate was Bluestone Collective – after two weeks of travel I was craving some Australian inspired goodness. I ordered a salad and rosé and JD ordered an egg and bacon roll and Aust beer!
Lincoln station (409 Lincoln Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11238, USA): We spent a lot of time in Brooklyn – this cute cafe is based in Crown Heights, but well worth the subway ride there if you’re staying in any other place. Really good coffee, amazing sandwiches and also a great place for a cider at night. We actually watched the first half of the election unfold here! PS: they have free wifi.
Manhattanville Coffee (167 Rogers Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216, USA): I pick my coffee shops by seeing how many people on laptops there are. I love the USA coffee culture – I wish Sydney embraced it. Manhattanville was absolutely packed every day we visited. It’s funny how quickly you can find yourself in newfound rituals. JD and I picked up a coffee most mornings on the way to the subway. In fact, this place was one of the reasons I loved our neighbourhood so much. We also went there one rainy night, post walking 20,000 steps – it was perfect!
Emmetts Pizza (50 McDougal St West Village): This was a recommendation, so now it’s a recommendation of a recommendation – therefore you know it’s good, right? It’s a cute bar and pizza place – the Chicago deep dish pizza is probably one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten. I am drooling just thinking about it. It’s a great place to share a pizza with friends. They were super friendly too – the owner let me use his mobile to phone our friends to see what time they’d be meeting us!
La superior (295 Berry St, Brooklyn, NY 11249, USA): We were wandering around Williamsburg one afternoon and didn’t really know the area whatsoever. I quickly Googled Mexican food and Foursquare users suggested this it rated a 9.1/10, so I was sold!! I am SO, SO glad we went there. The tacos, guava margaritas and spicy avocado sauce is to die for.
Hinterland bar (739 Church Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11218, USA): I am getting all nostalgic thinking of Hinterland Bar. JD really wanted to go there as he listens to a podcast called The Flophouse and one of the guys from that podcast owns Hinterland. Wow, that was a really roundabout way of explaining that. We literally were here for hours. We got far too drunk. We met some amazing people. WHAT A FUN NIGHT.
Sweatshop (232 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211, USA): For an afternoon pick me up, this place was awesome. I dragged JD here because I was craving donuts so bad – ha! When people say there is “no good coffee in America” I just don’t think they have done their research. There is plenty of terrible coffee in Australia as well, but you’d never go there, so why go there in the USA when there is a tonne of fantastic places offering A+ coffee?
Shake Shack: Because; Tasty. I rate this better than In-N-Out.
The Up & Up: The Up and Up was a place we just lucked into and from the street it looks like it would disappoint you. You have to go underground and it just looks like it may be a little dingy – boy were we wrong. It’s a quaint and incredible upscale bar – it truly is a hidden gem boasting floral wallpaper and small white marble tables. We left it up to our bartender “Cheddar” to surprise us from their inventive cocktail menu. He also gave us a host of other suggestions (some of which will make this list).
Magnolia bakery (West Village – 401 Bleecker Street (Corner of West 11th St & Bleecker St)
New York, NY 10014): I made JD walk here on our very last day – I wasn’t the best with directions that day and took him the most roundabout way – ha! It was well worth it after all it’s a proverbial institution, right? I went to the one off Bleeker St, but look up which one will be closer for you when you visit. I think there are three others!
By Chloe (185 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012, USA): By Chloe is usually packed and it is so beautiful! The decor and fit-out is simply amazing. A great place to mix things up when you are sick to death of heavy, fried American food.
Osteria Morini (218 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012, USA): We ate here on our final night and it was delicious – nothing beats freshly made pasta! We chose this one based on proximity to where we were. There were so many other good ones to try that sadly we didn’t get to this time.
The Bowery Market (48 Bowery, New York, NY 10012, USA): We didn’t get to go here but I want to include it as I really wanted to go! It was closed for renovations and we made our way there as it wasn’t too far from where we were. Their website and social media didn’t mention it was closed! If you get a chance, please go and tell me how it was! The silver-lining for this being shut is we found the most incredible place which I will list below!
Mild End (97 Hoyt St, Brooklyn, NY 11217, USA): Mild End was a happy accident. We weren’t able to go to the above place, but we were both becoming increasingly haaaangry so I quickly Googled what was nearby and luckily this little gem popped up. It was absolutely packed when we walked in – we had to wait 15 mins for a table, but man was it worth it!
Saxon + Parole (316 Bowery, New York, NY 10012, USA): I had this written down in my phone as Saxon + April after mishearing a suggestion, then I saw the sign when we were walking down Bowery St and it clicked – I am including this as it was on my list but when we went to go there it was a little overwhelming due to how busy it was. It reviews really well and based on how busy it was (if crowds don’t overwhelm you like they do me) go there!
Again, this list is in no ways all-encompassing. I have so many more incredible places on my list,I could seriously keep typing, but I will leave this blog post right there. Be sure to swing by in a couple of days for part two. I also have San Francisco, Vegas and LA guides on the back-burner!
Please do comment with suggestions so we can all swap stories and tips!