New York City is the most magical breathe of air that I’ve ever breathed! The city inspires you and you feel like you’ve stepped into an episode of every New York TV series while you bounce from block to block in Midtown and explore every number-named street there is, stumbling upon the best bagels, busy subway stations and being amused by steam filling the air from the manholes in Time Square, caressing the sky and blending in to the coloured charisma and dazzling city lights surrounding you. I can hear Alicia Keys singing “Empire State of Mind” with a grin so wide that I’m a second away from moving to an incredibly expensive and even more incredibly small apartment….in Brooklyn….just to live a life of a theatre artist on Broadway!
When you arrive in a city and within minutes your first instinct is to start window shopping apartments and hunting for permanency, it generally means you have traveled to ‘home.’ Exclaiming this to as many people that would listen in New York and hearing this exact response in return “Yeah, it’s fun to visit, it’s different to live.” To which I would nod politely, hurumph stubbornly inside my head and continue to let my mind wander aimlessly about what my life would be like as an New York City local.
IF I do ever move, I will be able to give you a lot more knowledge than today from my first trip but for now, if you’re like me and planning a first trip, I would recommend these sites to see in the city that never sleeps!
1. Times Square
Where else? People watch, stand still, move with the crowd, spin in a circle and try to get the look of amazement that you’re finally standing IN Times Square in actual real life New York off your face (you won’t.)
2. Top of the Rock
One of the best ways to view the top of the big city, personally a better view than the Empire State because then you can actually get an amazing picture of the Empire State in your beautiful New York City skyline photos. Very well run, tickets are purchases easily at the kiosks and the system of in and out is very smooth. I wish I had gone a little later to catch the sunset as I thought there would be a little more to do up there and unfortunately you can’t go back up again on the same ticket, that would be my recommendation for you, luckily though, it was a clear day but definitely a weather reliant activity – check before you go!
3. Coney Island
“I’m your little harlot, starlet, Queen of Coney Is. raisin’ hell all over town” – Lana Del Rey
Go on, getcha self a dawg! A hot dog that is. How’s this, I went and it was closed!! Despite signs and calendars showing it was open, alas, was not meant to spin on tea cups and walk through the hall of mirrors. I still had fun walking along the pier, running into a convenience store to buy stockings as it was cold by the beach and actually getting to see the EAST COAST of America! It’s beautiful simply just to be there. I think if I was ever so lucky to be a local of New York this would definitely be a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the big apple, it is total abandon town, at least when I went and you can walk freely in fresh air without bumping shoulders left, right and center!
4. Central Park
Not at night, but definitely go! Walk down the path full of people lined with trees that you’ve seen in oh-so-many movies, feed the ducks in the pond (don’t ask why it’s brownish-green) walk through to the Boat House and find hidden nooks and crannies to simply people watch. Fun Fact: there are nice life quotes on the park benches, they’re fun to find and read!
5. Brooklyn Bridge
Try early morning or mid afternoon as there will be less people and definitely go in through the Brooklyn park side up the stairs rather then from City Hall side as you won’t get harassed by street vendors as soon as you are trying to walk in, but they are nice to stop at on your way out for keepsakes! FYI – bike lanes are law on the Brooklyn Bridge LOL
6. Lombardi’s Pizzeria
The first pizzeria, in not only New York, but the United States, founded in 1905…and no, they don’t have wifi! This is old school, good ol, Little Italy located, pizza! It is huge portions and not pricey but definitely split share, going solo was slightly exy and wasteful considering the majority had to be boxed up and tried to cram into my hotel mini fridge, not as great cold but still great! The people were so nice and the atmosphere was amazing, definitely felt like you had walked into an older era – the street it’s located on also looked like it had some great pubs and lounges, one was Great Gatsby themed, would be a fun lounge hop night!
7. Anything on Broadway!
I had it coming, I had it coming, I only had myself to blaaaaaame, if you had been there, if you had SEEN it, I betcha you woulda done the same! CHICAAAAGOOO! What a dream come true! Can’t believe I saw Chicago on Broadway. Can’t believe I saw anything on broadway! I’m not going to lie, I was jazz kicking for weeks after this, singing in an obnoxious New York musical accent and calling everyone ‘doll’….still doing most those things actually. Ah! I love it! I would have seen 20 more shows if I had the time, I could honestly go to New York just for a binge on Broadway!
8. Shopping on 5th Ave
I mean, I shopped at Zara and Victoria’s Secret but I window shopped Tiffany’s, Harry Winston, Bergdorf’s and Dolce & Gabanna. Watching elite walk past with bags of shopping and thinking ‘One of you is real life Blair Waldorf.’ It’s definitely fun to get all dressed up and let your wallet take you for a walk and gloat inwardly that you are in fact shopping (even if it’s just for good bagel) on New York City’s 5th Avenue!
9. High Line
Need to know: My bestie is actually THE. BEST – she still takes me traveling even from miles away in Australia and sending me on a treasure hunt for the day with a list of goods to explore and one was this. The High Line is an old railway track that has been turned into a garden that sits 30 feet high above the streets and runs 1.45 miles long across the west side of Manhattan by Chelsea. For any Aussies in New York craving some aussie brekkie there is a great cafe called Citizens of Chelsea just down below The High Line – another bestie recommendation. Gotta love her!
10. Empire State Building
Now you’re in New York! No matter where you are, there she is to greet you Good Morning, to get your bearings around the city, to wish you goodnight! I had the pleasure of viewing her straight on from the Top of the Rock, a view from my bedroom window, in the early morning from my hotel rooftop and in the distance behind the Statue of Liberty when walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. The empire state stands tall and solid in the heart and soul of New York City.
Things I didn’t do that I wish I had more time for…
* Flat Iron Building
* Statue of Liberty ride
* Ferry to Staten Island
* Visited the Hamptons
* The Met
* Grand Central Station
* Walked the Hudson River
* Walked the Upper East Side
* Explored Brooklyn
* Found an apartment and moved in, never leaving except for holidays abroad…
Guys, I’m obsessed and it’s an issue, tell me all of your New York stories, your New York dreams, do you live there? Have you visited multiple times? Have you never been and what are you dying to do there? Let’s just talk New York and never stop!
Comment below your New York tales and suggestions for other travelers and first timers like me so that they too can fall in love with this magnetic city!
P.S. Still hunting for bagels and cawfeeeee…