New York: 13 Things You MUST Do!
New York is one of my all time favourite cities in the world. It deserves the hype, the movies, and all those dreams people pin on it, as a city.
I’ve compiled 13 of my most sought after things to do in one of the greatest cities in the world! New York, New York!
NUMBER ONE: VISIT AT CHRISTMAS TIME
All those Christmas movies weren’t made for nothing. It’s more cliché than a turkey at Thanksgiving. But, guys, it’s for a reason! Christmas in New York is totally and utterly magical. Touring the department store windows, ice skating in Bryant Park, the sparkly lights, The Rockefeller tree! The atmosphere! The SHOPPING! It’s just fabulous. Seriously. Once in a lifetime.
NUMBER TWO: TENEMENT MUSEUM
One thing you’ll learn from this special museum is that the story of immigration is the same the world over. Different generations of immigrants moving in to poor conditions, to do jobs that others don’t want to do. The Tenement Museum does the decency of retelling the incredible tales of the families and people who lived in these buildings for several generations. No trip to New York is complete without learning this important part of the city’s history. Psst, don’t tell anyone but this museum has the best gift shop ever!
NUMBER THREE: GROUND ZERO MUSEUM WORKSHOP
Now built in to the very fabric of New York is the tragedy of 9/11. There are many exhibits to visit, and the newly built Ground Zero Memorial site is a showstopper. But, something about this intimate museum in Chelsea really struck a chord with me. The simplicity of a room, with lots of artefacts and a seriously gut wrenching audio track totally got me. It’s informative, it’s emotional and I think it’s one of the best ways to learn about 9/11 and how it effected New York, and the world.
NUMBER FOUR: CENTRAL PARK, OR SHOULD THAT BE BRYANT PARK?
New York is home to several beautiful and wonderful parks. We’ve all seen the movies, Central Park is where it’s at; with it’s meandering paths and dramatic city skyline framing the trees. Whilst I cannot deny that if you’re in New York you absolutely must visit Central Park, I would also vehemently argue the same must be said for Bryant Park. Sitting on the edge of the New York Public Library, Bryant Park is a gem of a spot. Compact and bijou it’s the perfect place for classic NYC people watching, best accompanied by a bagel. Bryant Park is also often home to markets and an ice rink at Christmas!
NUMBER FIVE: MoMA
New York has so. many. galleries. How is a girl meant to choose? There’s not really any bad pick in NYC. The quality of museums and galleries, as you’d expect from a city like New York, is top notch. But, MoMA struggles to be beaten, in or outside of the USA. Maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for the modern stuff, but I really believe this collection is just fabulous, and changing all the time, with world leading exhibits. With a good cafe to boot, it’s a star in New York’s city.
NUMBER SIX: THE HIGH LINE
Any garden you can visit in Winter when everything is dead and it’s still good, must be amazing, right? At least I think so. The High Line is a unique project of turning one of New York’s disused overground subway tracks in to a park. Most of all, it’s just a neat way to walk through a different part of New York. The only downside is it get ludicrously busy, but regardless of that, it’s absolutely worth it for the city views and unique design. Grab a coffee and stroll through, there’s plenty of places to sit and admire the view along the way.
NUMBER SEVEN: WALKING THE AVENUE OF AMERICAS
This is such a simplistic thing to do. Walk an avenue? Am I serious? How basic can this blog get. But, honestly. Walking this block, is like walking through a movie. I can’t recall the amount of times I’ve wandered through NYC on my trips there, and just walked. It is one of THE best things to do to feel this city. To watch the people. To soak in the atmosphere. And for some reason, I find 6th avenue just the absolute best place to amble aimlessly.
NUMBER EIGHT: EAT
So. Much. Food. I can’t really pick my favourite things to eat in New York since one of my best meals in NYC was devouring a pizza on an apartment floor. But, please. Eat. Eat a New York breakfast in a diner. Eat an everything bagel, laden with cream cheese. Eat every nationality of food you can think of. Eat takeout Chinese food in those funny boxes. Eat mac’n’cheese. Eat pretzels. Eat. it. all. New York’s food scene is phenomenal.
NUMBER NINE: BROOKLYN
Now, it blows my mind that anyone could visit Manhattan but fail to step foot in Brooklyn. Whether for a delicious dinner out, a drink in a trendy bar, or just a look at those stunning lights of Manhattan from Brooklyn Heights, it’s an incredible place to explore. I can’t do it justice in a paragraph and I reckon it’s one of the savviest spots to stay in, if you’re visiting the big smoke. But, trust me. Don’t hit the city without stopping by Brooklyn. You won’t be disappointed.
NUMBER TEN: THE FRICK COLLECTION
I couldn’t overlook this one. A little quirky and not your average gallery. I have to list the Frick if only for two reasons: 1) the name, like how good does Frick sound?? 2) the fact it is home to one of my all time favourite paintings (above). The Frick Collection is home to some pieces that will take your breath away. It’s collection is a refreshing a mishmash of all sorts, from many eras; art, ceramic sculpture, even furniture. It’s a real oddity, but so absolutely worth visiting if you’re in the market for not-your-average collection.
NUMBER ELEVEN: SOHO AND NOHO
Yes, they are a real places. For those who are less familiar with NYC, it might not sound like it, but trust me. They exist, two suburbs, next to one another. For me, these two little nuggets of New York represent some of the best shopping and quirkiest of trends. Worth an afternoon of anyone’s time, you can pick up a bite to eat in a cool cafe whilst trying your hand picking up some thrift store junk. There might not be bargains galore like you’d find in other parts of America, but the atmosphere in these suburbs is unparalleled, and that alone makes it worth the trip.
NUMBER TWELVE: RIDE THE STATEN ISLAND FERRY
This crops up in a lot of NYC lists because it’s a great free thing to do in NYC. But, heed the advice a homeless man once gave me (true story), and ride the ferry there and back at night. You’ll see Lady Liberty glowing, albeit from a distance, and all those stunning twinkly city lights of New York. It’s seriously special and will extract an ‘ooh’ and a ‘ahh’ even from the most difficult to impress travellers.
NUMBER THIRTEEN: EAT DINNER AT MIDNIGHT
Maybe it’s not novel to everyone, but for me being able to start my evening at 10PM, head to dinner at a civilised restaurant at midnight, then ride the subway home at 3AM. It kind of blew my mind. Riding the subway late at night is also one of the best feasts of people watching. Unlike some cities where I find the underground is mostly drunk revellers returning home, New York’s transport hums with every walk of life, going about their business, like 3am is nothing. Something about it makes for a magical feeling I’ve never experienced in any other city around the world. Call me crazy, but I say you can’t go home without trying it!
What other crazy things do you like to get up to in New York? Comment below and tell me all about it!
Phoebe Maddrell of PhoeTravels.com: Raised predominantly in Herefordshire (United Kingdom), left her homeland for the first time, after being bought a flight to The Netherlands as a 16th birthday present. 11 years later, she hasn’t looked back. Travelling to and around 29 countries, totalling over 700 cities. Funding her travels with a semi-nomadic life in England, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, France and Turkey.
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