So you have been to New York for business or leisure or shopping, right? (We’ll deal with the latter in Part 2). But have you been with an adult that has never seen the Big Apple before? I have. Twice. Highly recommend as, for me, it made the experience feel like my first time. I was 14 and in utter amazement every second. Last June, I took my boyfriend to New York City. Although from small town Tuscany, he is a pretty well-travelled dude, but this was his first time walking across the Brooklyn Bridge – and mine too (see, even after 12 trips, there are still firsts!). He was in absolute amazement. Every second.
Here’s how I recommend spending a few free summer days in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Doing a search on Airbnb.com for NYC will pull up everything from Midtown to The Bronx and Bushwick Avenue. Taking our pick from all five boroughs, we happened to settle on a brownstone in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The neighbourhood offers the essentials, and it was only a quick skip to the metro so we could zip to Dumbo, grab coffees, and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge every morning.
For a stylish downtown sojourn, Soho House New York deserves some consideration. Ideally located in the Meatpacking District, it offers posh for your dosh starting with their (30) expansive guest rooms. My favourite part is the full range of Cowshed Spa products lined up in the large rainforest-style shower. Exactly what one needs after pounding the pavement all day. And I can say, from personal experience, you will want to book the Cowshed Pedicure before taking off. Non-membership has its privileges too! Staying at the club also means you don’t have to go far for a great cocktail (Club Bar) or a delicious brunch (Pantry Bar).
Smorgasburg happens every Saturday in Williamsburg and every Sunday in DUMBO, 11am to 6pm. Get there by taking the East River ferry. We went on a Saturday (suggest going late in the day as it gets quite hot and there is no shade) and then cruised to Bedford Avenue for organic fro yo at Pagoto.
After beating the heat, I left the bf on the “grass” and popped into Catbird. Yes, they actually had the street closed down and plopped down faux green! Last stop was the Brooklyn Art Library to check out their tres cool Sketchbook Project.
After our first morning walk across Brooklyn Bridge, we hopped on the subway to reach Columbus Circle and easily walked into Central Park. The Apple Store on 5th Ave was next, then a couple hours at MoMA. By lunchtime we were ready to taxi to Chelsea Market and pick up lunch at The Lobster Place. Because it was a cloud-free day, we quickly found a shady spot on the High Line (coolest public park ever) to eat. We were refuelled enough to walk the entire 1.45-mile section of the former elevated New York Central Railroad – from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District up to West 30th Street.
Before walking the Brooklyn Bridge for the second time, we grabbed fresh juices at Siggy’s in Brooklyn Heights.
In the evening, train or taxi to Williamsburg for cocktails and plates of seafood in the garden at Maison Premiere. If craving comfort food, then Sweet Chick hits the sweet spot with everything from chicken and waffles to arctic char with sautéed greens. Or choose from any one of the cozy restos along Whythe Avenue, including Scandinavian Aska. Looking for action after? Brooklyn Bowl provides good clean fun and, with any luck, there will be an indie band providing the soundtrack as you show off your skills (or lack thereof). Another option is to sip and savour the views of Manhattan from the rooftop patio at Whythe Hotel.
My good friend and resident New Yorker Ivy Ackerman also suggests:
This was our food-filled Sunday; Ace Hotel on 29th Street for brunch at The Breslin…don’t miss the Momofuku truffles from the Stumptown Coffee shop (also in the hotel). After the Empire State Building we walked down Broadway and ducked in from the heat at Eataly, which has to be what heaven is like in the mind of my Italian. After shopping around a bit, we scooped up pistachio gelato for him and banana chocolate chunk sorbetta for me (OMG. The best!). We continued our walk through Greenwich Village, but our attempt to skip to Soho hit a rainbow-coloured roadblock – the annual Gay Pride Parade. Fun scene, but made for disaster detours! Eventually we hit Spring Street in Soho for late-day browsing and shopping before a lovely Italian dinner at Rubirosa on Mulberry Street. Grilled octopus, prosciutto di Parma, pizza and a bottle of Primitivo. The perfect end to our weekend in the city.
This month, get the scoop on NYC’s Lower East Side with Butter and Egg Road. On Saturday, May 11th, they are hosting an off-the-menu dim sum experience at Royal Seafood. Then on the eve of Friday, May 31st, food-lovers will sample the best of Essex Street Market.
Where will you go this summer? Gather info and inspiration on many desirable destinations at TheTravelPresse.com.