Your first time in New York City is an unforgettable experience; nothing short of the movie magic they sell you on the big screen. I was expecting good things but I wasn’t prepared to fall in love with The Big Apple quite so much – a silly oversight really, considering the place has a 24 hour Sephora and more delicious food than I could even dream to eat in a lifetime.
I’m a die-hard city kind of girl, so I quickly found myself swept up in the fantasy of living and working there. I imagined my own little studio apartment where I could work on my writing, hailing yellow cabs to boozy brunches and going to art shows… Clearly, I’ve watched far too much Sex and the City to make an accurate judgement of what that life would be like, but it’s fun to dream. Sadly, that dream would require far too much money, so that’ll be put on the back burner until I either win the lottery or marry an oil tycoon…
But enough of my tragic life aspirations – I’ve compiled a list of favourites from the city. I’m also working on a post to follow dedicated entirely to #NYCeats. You didn’t think I’d go away and not be that obnoxious person in the restaurant taking 300 photos of their meal from different angles? Of course not.
Today, however, we’re talking sights. There’s a few classic touristy things (I was a total tourist for the week and unashamedly LOVED IT) but also some random things thrown in for good measure. Everyone needs an occasional break from queuing and hordes of selfie sticks, for the sake of their own sanity.
Top of the Rock
There are plenty of places you can view the city from above, but I think the Rockefeller Centre has some of the most impressive views over all of Manhattan – from the Empire State Building, right down to One World Trade Centre and even the Statue of Liberty (which admittedly, is dwarfed in comparison.)
I hate heights, but even I will admit it’s the only way to appreciate the size and scale of the surroundings. Everything is so big it’s impossible to take it all in from the ground.
In stark contrast to the lively, if not slightly chaotic atmosphere of Manhattan, Central Park is the perfect place to find some peace and quiet and leave the fast-pace of city life behind for a few hours. It’s also an ideal place to spot cute dogs – New York is home to many adorable Frenchies which I am instinctively hardwired to squeal at with excitement.
We took a horse and carriage ride around the entire park which was a welcome rest for my aching feet, but also came with a tour of all the spots that had been featured in TV shows and movies. I’m ashamed to say I had a fan girl moment when I saw the spot from Elf where Santa’s sleigh crashed.
The MoMA had been at the top of my list of things to do in NYC for the longest time, and if you’re into modern art I cannot recommend it enough. The exhibitions are spread over multiple vast floors, and it’s home to works by some of the most influential artists of our time.
There is currently an amazing exhibition on Japanese architecture, with some of the most painstakingly detailed scale models on display and an exhibition of work by Edgar Degas, which was interesting as I mostly knew him for his paintings of ballerinas, but his work is really varied.
It was their ongoing Painting & Sculpture collection that really blew me away though, as it featured instantly recognisable works by Picasso, van Gogh, Klimt, Warhol and many, many, many more. Unsurprisingly, there was quite a crowd gathered round Starry Night, but it was worth shuffling around like cattle to get a closer look and take a few photos. Even if you’re not a big art buff, it’s worth a visit. Also, get the cheesecake from the cafe. Just do it.
I know this post wasn’t supposed to be about food, but technically this is still a ‘to-do’ rather than a ‘to-eat,’ so I’m allowing it. I cannot visit somewhere new without visiting a food market, it’s an expensive and fattening habit of mine. Chelsea Market has pretty much every type of cuisine you could possibly want. Whether you’re craving a bao or a bratwurst, they’ve got it all. Just look at their Instagram and tell me you’re not salivating. Food porn at it’s finest.
It’s hard to believe the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is just over a mile long – having driven into Brooklyn the first time around, the constant New York traffic made it seem much further away. When the weather is good, taking in the sights by foot is far more enjoyable; there are plenty of opportunities to take photos of both the iconic bridge and the beautiful views of Manhattan on one side, and Brooklyn on the other. Look out for the charming portrait of Donald Trump by New York street artist Hanksy on the way over.
Just like food markets, if I find a cat cafe in a new place, I need to visit it; it is my cat lady duty to do so. Meow Parlour works differently to Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium though, as this cafe runs as an adoption centre too.
Meow Parlour is home to a host of adorable rescue cats and also has a bakery that sells kitty macarons. You can’t beat being surrounded by cats and sweet treats. I absolutely fell in love with Tang, an adorable little ginger with three legs, who I would have quite happily taken home had it not been for the flight back. All the cats were lovely and I think it’s great that they work so hard to find forever homes for all their feline residents.
What are your favourite spots in NYC?