With 3 days left of the trip, I was starting to realise that my time in New York was going to be short-lived. Asides from wishing for warm weather, If I could have wished for anything else at that moment then it would have been for a time machine to slow down time, as things were going in far too quickly and I didn’t like it one bit.
By this point, I was familiar with all things New York and could easily see myself being classed as a local, this was the kind of world I wanted to live in. I was confident navigating the metro, getting around, finding good food spots, and getting to know those fortunate enough to live there, and yes I can confirm that Americans are some of the friendliest and most outgoing people on earth.
Anyway, day 5 of the itinerary took a little bit of an unexpected turn, as the previous night on our visit to The Skylark we were warned of a snow storm that was headed to New York that weekend. We were advised to move any outdoor activities we had planned for the Saturday to the Friday, as it was likely that we would have to be indoors for most of the Saturday if the storm occurred. We had a lot planned but we decided we would at least try and squeeze it all into this day, and by try, I mean we did.
First stop that morning before getting the train to Brooklyn was back to the Turnstyle Underground Market to try out another of their eateries. What I didn’t mention in my previous posts is that although this is located underground at 56 St – Columbus Circle subway station, you do not require a metro card to access this. I grabbed a ham and cheese croissant and a homemade organic lemonade to give me a boost before we set off for the day. After our first visit to this market a few days before, I knew it wouldn’t be our last and that we’d end up working our way round its eateries over the coming days before we flew home.
BROOKLYN – DUMBO
That Friday was the coldest I had felt the full trip, and despite how silly my cheap and chirpy extra large baby pink earmuffs from Primark looked, they were an absolute Godsend. I looked as though I was headed to Disneyland rather than DUMBO but that’s a different story.
DUMBO is a trendy neighbourhood in New York, what with its cobbled streets and cool places to pop in for a bite to eat or something to drink. Many tourists swarm this area for the typical picture with Manhattan bridge in the background, a picture that involves standing in the middle of the road so beware of traffic. Luckily we went first thing in the morning so things were on the quiet side, allowing us to take in the view and admire the warehouse style buildings, including Dan Humphrey’s Gossip Girl apartment.
We had fully intended on exploring more of Brooklyn but with the freezing temperatures putting us at a disadvantage, we decided to stop in for a coffee. One place you MUST visit for coffee when in the area is Brooklyn Roasting Company. Not only was my mocha absolutely delicious and just what the doctor ordered to heat up my frozen hands, but the Brooklyn Roasting Company actually “source sustainable coffees from the world’s most renowned growing regions”. This coffee done the trick and prepared me for walking the length of the Brooklyn Bridge which was up next.
Brooklyn Bridge is a cable-stayed suspension bridge which has been around since 1883, and a hot spot for tourists from all over the globe. Apparently it takes around 60 minutes to cross the bridge, but I’m guessing this is the tourist estimate and would take New Yorkers that little bit shorter, especially when in a hurry. The views are incredible walking back across to the heart of New York, but the bridge itself is a wonderful work of art also. One thing I didn’t get involved in was taking one of the daring pictures sat on edge of the bridge because 1) I couldn’t get up there in the first place and 2) the thought of potentially falling onto the traffic below just wasn’t worth it, if it could happen to anyone then it would no doubt have been me.
This was the first day in New York were I really struggled to deal with the temperature and I’m sort of used to it given that I live in Scotland, but this was too much. I ended up buying a NYC hat at the end of Brooklyn Bridge to keep my head and ears from freezing over, and I can confirm that this stayed glued to my head for the remainder of the day.
WALL STREET AND TIFFANY & CO
The symbol of Manhattan’s Financial Distict is Wall Street, an area that has became even more well known after the release of The Wolf of Wall Street in 2013. We decided to go check this out since there was a Tiffany’s nearby that I wanted to visit. Now originally we had planned on having afternoon tea or breakfast at the Blue Box Cafe in Tiffany’s flagship store in New York, however after psyching ourselves up for months, patiently waiting to book a spot, the cafe ended up being closed during our trip for refurbishment, typical. Fact: they have now opened up one of these cafes at Harrod’s in London, so a trip down there might be on the cards to experience this. Anyway, despite this disappointing factor, a visit to a Tiffany’s store is a must when in New York. I had been saving hard for this trip given that it was my first trip to America, never mind to my dream city, New York, so I really wanted to treat myself and I decided I would do exactly that in Tiffanys. Everything just screamed class and sophistication as soon as we walked in the store, but I headed up to one of the woman that worked there with an idea of what I wanted (can you tell I done my research prior to my visit). 10 or so minutes later and a couple hundred dollars down, I walked out of the store with my little blue Tiffany’s bag in hand and feeling quite proud that I was able to treat myself to something like this. For those curious people, I bought myself a ring. I’m not the type of person who is big on names or labels and I’m not designer obsessed when it comes to buying clothes or accessories so this was a one off for me and so it was really special.
After our short but sweet visit to Wall Street, we took the train to Chinatown and picked up some souvenirs for our friends, family and for ourselves. You can definitely haggle in terms of prices here as we managed to get two New York jumpers for a decent price, as well as key rings, snow globes and magnets. We could have probably set up an “I love NY” shop when we returned to UK soil. After strolling in and out of shops, we headed through Little Italy to reach Mimi Cheng’s for some well deserved lunch.
I came across Mimi Cheng’s on Instagram and I couldn’t have been as happy as I was to have found it, this is definitely one of the more positive aspects of social media. Tip: If you’re going on a trip and looking for some good food spots then definitely search on Instagram. A couple of hashtag examples I used on Instagram for New York were #newyorkfoodie #nycfoodie and I continuously screenshot any places that looked good, and then narrowed them down depending on the areas we were visiting.
Mimi Cheng’s is the home of the dumplings, and each month they offer a special dumpling for the WHOLE of that month as well as their normal dumplings that are always on offer. Previous specials have included CBD Mac and Cheese, and the March special is currently a classic Chicken Parma. During our visit, seeing as it was January the special was the Lunar Dumplings, with garlic cured lamb, budding chives, labne, cilantro and chilli oil. I went for the 6 pieces as I had a strong feeling I was going to enjoy them too much. One thing I loved about Mimi Cheng’s was the fact you could see the dumplings being made fresh in front of you, it also made it that little bit more authentic. We also ordered a rice to share, which was a great idea as we covered it in Mimi Cheng’s special sauce which is placed on each table. The food was amazing, full of flavour and so tasty. Just a few days prior to our visit super model Bella Hadid was actually eating in this place, and it’s no wonder why.
WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK
With a content stomach after the most amazing dumplings I have ever tried (literally) we headed to Washington Square Park. I hadn’t heard much about this park, I had only seen it featured in a few episodes of Impractical Jokers and a recent and really great Netflix movie called Someone Great featuring Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriquez. This influenced my decision to add this to the itinerary.
The park itself is lovely, nothing compared to Central Park but unique in its own way. We sat on the edge of the empty fountain and just people watched and let the sun defrost our numb bodies. Someone was roller blading along to their music in the empty fountain, people were just going about their business and it was just nice to sit back and watch New York life unfolding in front of our eyes.
TIP: Just beware in the parks as people may approach you and try to sell you things. Yes, we were one of the gullible victims of this. We ended up purchasing a poem from someone who had told us a very believable story behind it. Long story short, he took the money and handed us a copy of the poem, which was just a photocopy of a poem from the internet with the very visible website on the bottom of the page. We just laughed, that’s all you could do.
COFFEE N CLOTHES
New York has some very ‘Instagrammable’ coffee shops, usually for the decor and themes but Coffee n Clothes makes the perfect Instagram shot for other reasons….designer lattes. This was another Instagram find, honestly, I mean it when I say that you can come across some cool places that you usually wouldn’t find otherwise if you do a little search on Instagram. Coffee n Clothes is all about designer lattes. You head up to the counter and choose from a number of designer labels, from Prada to Louis Vuitton, from Dior to D&G, you name it… they have it. They also have designer cupcakes and biscuits to enjoy with your coffee. I went for a Gucci coffee and a Chanel biscuit. Everything down to the napkins was so aesthetic and I felt like I was drinking the most expensive coffee in the world, despite it actually only costing about 3 dollars and the biscuit even less.
After spending time taking the standard Instagram shots, I tucked in to my coffee and biscuit, although I was reluctant to do so as I didn’t want to mess up how pretty they both looked (I’m weird like that). Like I’ve said before, city breaks call for plenty of rest stops or coffee breaks so doing it in places like this makes it even more enjoyable – it’s not everyday you can customise your own coffee to suit your style.
CARRIE BRADSHAW’S APARTMENT
Now I can’t say I’ve watched The Sex and the City Series, however as my trip to New York grew closer I ended up watching any movie that featured even a hint of the city, so it made sense that I watch the Sex and the City Movie. I loved it, falling in love with the fashion, New York life, the characters, the friendships, and I experienced every emotion watching the movie too.
With Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment being situated in Greenwich Village where we were headed to, it only made sense to give it a visit. Obviously these apartments are occupied by residents, so the fact this is an iconic apartment, it must get frustrating having tourists and individuals sat on your steps all day every day taking picture after picture – this is why there is a private property sign and chain across the steps. Given that so many big movies and series are filmed in New York, I just couldn’t quite get used to seeing these locations in real life, New York itself was like a real life movie set to me.
Just around the corner from Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment is Magnolia Bakery, another original location famous for starring in the Sex and The City Series. Despite it only having around a 30 second cameo in one of the episodes, it has attracted many, including myself and Sangeeta. Originally we had planned on just passing by, grabbing a few pictures and then heading to the next stop on the itinerary, but we really couldn’t say no to a cupcake and so stepped inside to the smell of cupcakes being freshly baked in front of us.
The Magnolia Bakery is definitely proud of its 5 minutes of fame, and so it should be, with pictures of the Sex and the City moment on the wall and them even selling a ‘Carrie Cupcake’, which is just the one I purchased. All boxed up, I couldn’t wait to tuck in to this at the hotel later on and when I eventually did I quickly found out why everyone loves Magnolia Bakery.
The whole reason for being in Greenwich Village in the first place was to visit the very famous, and globally loved Friends Apartment. I’m a big fan of Friends, I’ve watched every episode back to back, sobbed my eyes out at the finale and even attended FriendsFest in the UK so it only made sense to visit the iconic Friends Apartment. Although Friends isn’t actually filmed in the apartment (sorry to disappoint), the exterior of the apartment was filmed and featured in the episodes, and this is what makes it a popular spot in Greenwich Village for any Friends fan.
Simply put, it’s just another normal apartment building like any other in this area of New York, but still so many people crowd the sidewalks getting that iconic picture, and even I myself got many candids walking across the road with the building in the background and my handbag swinging in one hand. These are quick 5 minute stops during the trip so they are worth it if you’re into that.
PATSY’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT
Friday night in New York called for some Italian food and we had found the perfect spot. Patsy’s Italian Restaurant is a famous family-owned restaurant, which was actually founded in 1944! In terms of its celebrity clientele, I don’t want to name drop but of course I’m still going to…some of its famous visitors include Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Ben Stiller, Tom Hanks, Madonna, George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey and many, many more – I think you catch my drift. With a clientele like this, surely it’s got to be good?
Italian food is always a must, I could never say no to pasta so when in New York a visit to Patsy’s is a must (give me all the carbs). I ordered the Linguine al Pesto, washed down with a glass of some delicious wine. Some people may be turned off with how green this dish is but I absolutely adore pesto so this main course was a yes from me. It’s just a shame that with all the eating in America and the portion sizes that I couldn’t manage a starter or dessert as I can imagine just how delicious they would have been too. The restaurant itself was classy and every seat was taken, which made me wonder which famous person had sat in the seat I was sitting on, or dined at the table I was dining at.
EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
After a quick visit to Pandora for a New York charm to add to my travel bracelet, and Disney Store to purchase my State of Liberty Minnie Mouse teddy, we were all set for our visit to the Empire State Building. This was included in our Go City New York Explorer Pass as was the Top of the Rock so I would highly recommend buying one of these depending on how many attractions you plan on doing, you can save yourself A LOT of money.
After visiting the Top of the Rock earlier on in the week during the day, we had planning on doing the Empire State Building in the evening. This was done on purpose as it’s amazing seeing New York from above, however we wanted to make sure we seen it from above during broad daylight and on a dark evening, as the city is completely different depending on the time of day you see it in. I was also curious to find out which would be my preference out of the two attractions, as the Empire State Building is one of the most famous buildings in the world, but would the Top of the Rock do as the title says and come out on top?
That night was particularly cold so you can only imagine how cold it was on the 86th floor observatory. Luckily there was heaters outside on the observation deck, however these were being hogged by many of the individuals up there enjoying the views.
I can’t even begin to describe the view, New York from above looked like twenty billion stars twinkling with all the lights from the thousands of buildings and from the constant flow of traffic and yellow cabs. It really was breathtaking, partly due to the temperature taking my breath away but mostly due to the incredible views. I remember looking around me and reminding myself I was finally in New York after so long of ‘wander lusting’ over this city. Unlike the Top of the Rock (TOTR) we didn’t last long up there as it was far too cold and Chuck Bass wasn’t waiting at the top with a bunch of peonies for me (you Gossip Girl fans will understand this). In terms of my preference, I have got to say that my head and my heart swayed more towards TOTR, and this is purely down to the fact that the view from it INCLUDES the Empire State Building.
230 FIFTH ROOFTOP BAR
Rooftop bars are a thing in New York so my aim on the trip was to find some of New York’s popular drinking spots when it comes to rooftop bars. After the Empire State Building we headed straight to 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar and this was definitely my favourite, for many good reasons. Not only did it have the most incredible views of the Empire State Building, but it had little igloos with fake log fires and cute decor, cosy blankets, bars with amazing beverages (hot and cold), and these igloos meant that you were sharing with strangers so they were great for socialising. Again, I’m not going to go into any more detail about this as I will be covering New York’s best rooftop bars in a later post, however, all I will say that this is a MUST if you are visiting New York between November and May.
As you can tell we packed A LOT in to Day 5 of the trip, it definitely shows in the length of this post but it was completely worth it. Stay tuned for Day 6 of the trip which involves a snow storm and a pizza party in our hotel room.