The Local NYC: A Stunning Spring Day Exploring Chelsea & SoHo
Sometimes I forget I live in New York City. These moments last for about two minutes until I step on a ketchup packet on the sidewalk and get red condiment squished all over my black suede flats. Or when I dash into the very last .02 cubic square feet available in the subway car and effectively become a human sardine in a tin can. At these moments, it all comes rushing back- I DEFINITELY live in New York City.
But then there are days like this past Saturday, when the city opens up in all its glory and reminds me why I choose to live here.
Prompted by two visiting friends from high school, I was forced out of my Upper East Side bubble and got to play tourist for the day.
We started out in Chelsea, the contemporary and artsy neighborhood on the west side of Manhattan. Upon arriving, we discovered the Chelsea Street Fair was happening. Local neighborhood fairs like this are the best things in the city. Not filled with tourists or media, the street fair was laid back and gave us a perfect reason to slowly wander up the streets. My group was especially excited by the local talent show, which featured a Hip Hop Granny who I aspire to be when I turn 70 years old.
We stopped by Cafe Grumpy on 20th Street for a cold iced coffee. The coffee shop is set back on a quiet tree-lined street with beautiful houses where Carrie Bradshaw might be seen.
Doubling back down 8th Avenue, we visited Chelsea Market. A fun and unique indoor marketplace, and the home of YouTube offices, Chelsea Market is a popular stop for visitors. Today, it was especially bustling with visitors. I cringed, like a good New Yorker, at the fanny packs and selfies around me. But, I wanted us to eat at Friedman’s, one of my favorite brunch spots in Chelsea.
Local, farm to table fare is the draw at Friedman’s. We put in our name and while waiting, we decided to check out Artists & Fleas. An offshoot of the Brooklyn market, Artists & Fleas is a place for locals artisans and vendors to showcase their works. It’s always worth a visit.
A favorite recommendation of mine is the High Line, just upstairs from the entrance of Artists & Fleas. A former train line going through the city, the High Line is now a public park with stunning vistas of the city on the East and the Hudson River on the West. Amazing rotating art dots the path that takes you from Chelsea up to the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.
We enjoyed our lunch at Friedman’s and explored more of the food offerings in Chelsea Market. One mandatory stop was Doughnuttery, where we indulged in some teeny mini donuts dipped in delicious flavors! The big winner was “The Purple Pig” donut, flavored with bacon and purple potato!
Our next stop was the C Train down to Spring Street.
“SoHo” stands for “South of Houston” (pronounced House-tuhn) and refers to the street running east to west that marks the top of this chic and famously expensive neighborhood. (And yes, there is a NoHo- “North of Houston.”)
We emerged from the Spring Street subway stop into the bustling and wealthy SoHo neighborhood.
The best way to experience NYC, I always tell people, is to simply walk around and look at things. In SoHo, that advice is doubly true. The gorgeous architecture and the cobblestone streets are classic New York City. You can admire the window displays of Prada and Louis Vuitton or discover unexpected and clever street art.
When hungry from all the walking, my spots in SoHo are plentiful. I suggest Fanelli’s for a casual and inexpensive hole in the wall pint of beer. Or if you are looking for something more lavish, try Balthazar and their literal tower of seafood!
We came across a sample sale and spent a long time rummaging for the best deals. There are definitely ways to come out of SoHo with fashionable new threads without breaking the bank!
The beautiful weather followed us all day. By the end of our afternoon, we marveled at the perfect springtime day. There was no better way to spend in than in the Chelsea and SoHo neighborhoods.
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