“New York, New York, a wonderful town…”
When I visited New York for the first time, I expected it to be life changing. I’m not sure why – I’d been plenty of other places and come back as little old me but for some reason I thought the Big Apple would be different. It wasn’t. It’s a great city and there’s so much to do and see however I think I probably overplayed it a little bit in my head and was let down as a consequence. I’ll also fully admit I wasn’t the super planner I am now when I visited so I kinda feel like NYC is a missed opportunity in some ways. Don’t worry though, I’ll be back.
New York is definitely a city you need to visit at least once in your life time. Manhattan is tiny and therefore infinitely walkable, so everything feels like it’s right within arm’s reach. The shopping is easily the best in the world and the food and museums are pretty great too. Trust me, if you want it then NYC probably has it.
1. The shopping
I cannot rave enough about this. For a starters, US shopping is the best and then you pack the best of that into a couple of square miles and it’s heaven. Chain retailers like J.Crew, Gap, Zara, Old Navy, Madewell, Joe Fresh, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and Club Monaco, the dazzling array of drug stores, designer boutiques, department stores from Macys through to Bloomingdales, Bendels and Barneys – it’s all fantastic and the prices are generally great for Australians, even with a fluctuating dollar. Plus no trip to New York would be complete without a souvenir from Tiffany, bought from the flagship in the shadow of Central Park.
2. Brooklyn Bridge
The walk over this iconic bridge is a good one plus it’s easy and not too long. It’s such a great spot for photos of the city and souvenir snaps of yourself on the bridge. When you arrive in Brooklyn it’s a little bit of a walk to anywhere interesting but it’s definitely worth setting aside at least half a day to walk over and see what all the fuss is about (plus Brooklyn has Target!).
3. Museum Of Modern Art (MoMA)
My favourite modern art museum in the world. It’s a joy to look through and has an enormous collection of work to keep you occupied. I was pretty disappointed with the Met (beautiful but boring) and this kinda revived my love for NY museums. Warhol, Pollock, Lichtenstein, Matisse, Rothko, Mondrian, Picasso and so much more in a really easy to navigate building. The museum store is amazing and worth a visit while you’re there. MoMA is also close to Rockefeller Center (so you can do Top of the Rock), a Magnolia Bakery and a J.Crew so you can eat and look good after you visit.
4. Breakfast at Balthazar
This came recommended to me by a friend and now I’m passing it on to you. Balthazar is a bit of a cult hero on the New York restaurant scene, somewhere elegant and fancy. However they do a fantastic breakfast and so you get to enjoy all that wonderful ambience at a far lower cost. I had one of the best breakfasts of my life there – sour cream waffles – and so I recommend it to anyone paying a visit. Plus you can walk it off in Soho afterwards and check out all the cool shops.
5. The Highline
The Highline was listed in my travel guide but I’ll be honest, if I hadn’t stayed right alongside it in Chelsea then I probably would have passed. Which is a shame because a Highline walk is one of NYC’s underrated gems. It’s a disused railway line that has been converted into a garden and it’s a little slice of heaven running above the city. There’s plenty of places to stop and rest or take happy snaps and it truly is one of the loveliest places in the city. Sure, Central Park is totally charming but the Highline’s quiet elegance and hidden location gives it that little something extra.
PS I also have a full list of NYC tips here.