Where do you even start with New York? Arguably one of the most famous cities in the world, the city that never sleeps, the one labelled ‘if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere’.
It’s also a city that both lives up to and breaks all its stereotypes. Yes, its busy, the people walk at a million miles an hour, the tourist’s spots are exactly that, touristy, and it never sleeps. Literally never.
But it also has this peaceful side to it, a side that until this recent trip I’d not really experienced before. A side where the people are friendly and want you to love their city as much as they do. Proud New Yorkers, whether they’ve lived there all their lives or they moved there two months before.
It was the fourth time I’d been to New York and all of them have been hugely different experiences. My top ten things to do largely focus on my most recent trip that I went on in the Spring with my bestie Amy but there are a couple of gems in there from a trip last Autumn.
These aren’t really in any particular order and I never know whether to start from 1 or 10…
- The 9/11 Memorial and Museum – This is my favourite museum in the world. Which sounds a bit macabre given the subject but it’s truly the most incredible place which not only remembers those that were lost but inspires you with the sheer genuine acts of kindness shown by the emergency services and volunteers who worked tirelessly to help those in need. An absolute must visit. Eat at nearby Hudson Eats – in particular at Black Seed Bagels (opens at 10am at the weekends)
2. Top of the Rock. I’ve been up both the Empire State Building and to the top of the Rockefeller Center and both give you spectacular views of the city. If I had to choose though, I’d choose Top of the Rock, due in part to the fact you can see the Empire State Building but also because the queuing process is much simpler and quicker.
3. Central Park – An absolute oasis in this hectic city and a must do in my eyes. As soon as you enter the park, once you get past everyone trying to get you to hire a bike or go on a carriage ride, a sense of peace washes over you. You feel a million miles away from the busy city which can be a welcome break. You can only cycle in certain parts or around the edge so we opted for rowing on the lake.
4. Grand Central Station – Probably one of my favourite buildings in America. It was our nearest subway station on my most recent trip which made catching the subway that bit nicer! Stop here even to just admire its grandeur. The food court is handy too!
5. MoMA – Museum of Modern Art – I’m not one for galleries, but Amy works in the arts so dragged me here on a hangover (I know right?) But despite my protestations I was pleasantly surprised. Beautifully set out with hugely impressive collections I can honestly say it’s worth a visit. Even if it is just to go to the gift shop.
6. DUMBO, Brooklyn (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) – One of the best places to see the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline. Take note of the cycle lanes…
7. The Highline – Well worth a visit, a unique piece of New York history brought to life after decades of interstate goods trains travelling through the industrial districts. Adorned with trees, plants, reflective spaces and architectural sculptures the space is truly unique. Eat close by at Chelsea Market.
8. Catch a Broadway Show – I’ve seen Caberet and The Lion King in New York as well as dozens of shows in London’s West end but hands down, the best thing I’ve ever seen on stage is The Book of Mormon. Tickets are available here.
9. Boss the subway – The subway, in my humble opinion, is not as easy as the tube in London. And I’m no Londoner. So, when I worked out some of the routes (there are numbers, colours and names…what?!) you really feel a huge sense of achievement! It’s such a good way to get around and inexpensive.
10. Hail a yellow cab – how many films have you seen where they wold whistle a yellow cab, or pensively drive away from the love of their life or need a quick get away? Well we just needed a ride from the airport to the hotel but there’s something about hailing a yellow cab that really makes you feel like you’ve arrived in New York. Oh they’re no more expensive that Uber.