New York, I love you xoxo

Top of The Rock New York Empire State Building
Top of The Rock New York Central park
Washington Sq park

Chances are if you know me for more than 10 minutes I’ll start rattling on about my undying love for New York City. I’ve been incredibly lucky that I’ve visited New York quite a bit of the past few years. My first trip there in 2008 was when I got bitten by the travel bug and although I’ve been trying to spread my wings a bit New York always pulls me back again. I find that there’s an infectious energy in the air and I just love the buzz and feel of the city. It’s also a pretty city but come nightfall it’s a stunning city. I thought that it was high time that I put together a little city guide to help if you’re planning a trip to the Big apple whether if you’re a newbey or an old veteran like myself. 

Shopping

Tell me about the shopping I hear you cry. New York is amazing for shopping especially with the currency conversion. Cosmetics tend to be a lot cheaper as well as brands like GUESS. Generally most American brands are better value. Soho is probably the best area for shopping in the city. 5th Avenue is legendary but it’s quite spread out whereas in Soho everything is condensed into a small area. I’ve listed my top stores below.

1. Sephora
2. Strawberry
3. Century 21
4. H&M
5. Macy’s

High end
1. Tiffany and Co.
2. Henri Bendels
3. Saks 5th Ave.
4. Bloomingdales
5. Charlotte Olympia
The high-end stores are fascinating to have a look in but generally end in weeping over how much you want everything but alas you just can’t afford.

Fun stores

Dylan's Candy Bar New York
1. Dylan’s Candy Bar, 60th st. 
2. FAO Schwarz, 58th St.
3. The Disney Store, Times Sq.
4. M&M World, Times Sq.
5. Toys’r’Us, Times Sq.
If you’ve ever seen the film Big staring Tom Hanks you will know all about the floor piano and why it’s a must see in FAO Schwarz. The M&M store literally has M&Ms everything. Other fun places to have a nose at are Toys’r’Us and Dylan’s Candy Bar, which is like being in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.  My personal favourite, The Disney Store, which stays open until 12am.
Where to stay
The Library Hotel New York
1. The Library
2. The Morgan
3. The Grand Hyatt
4. The New Yorker
5. The Edison
Hotels in New York are notoriously pricey. I’ve stayed in a different hotel on each visit which I’ve rated one to five above. The Library is currently one of the top rated hotels in New York on Trip-advisor. We got a great deal on it because it was early January, which is the best i.e cheapest time to hit up NYC, and it was incredible. Breakfast was included plus every evening they hold a managers reception with all you can drink wine and snacks. Plus they have free tea and coffee during the day. The daily weather reports left on our pillows each evening with a chocolate were a plus! I think I would seriously consider an apartment on my next trip to try cut costs. Check out airbnb.com for some amazing options.
Where to eat
Serendipity 3 New York
1. Serendipity, 60th st.
2. Hing Won, 48th st.
3. Cafe Edison, 47th st.
4. Pershing Square, 42nd st.
5. Gruppo Thin Crust Pizza, Avenue B

I HAD to visit Serendipity on my last trip and boy it did not disappoint. The line outside was crazy but we put our names down for a table and then walked down to the corner of the street to see Dylan’s Candy Bar and then Bloomingdales where we bought Magnolia cupcakes- three birds, one stone. I ended up having a burger which was amazing but I regret not getting the Frozen Hot Chocolate in Serendipity. There’s always next time! My little secret place in New York is Hing Wong. I don’t know how I come to be in this place because it looks nothing on the inside but the food is incredibly tasty and so cheap. I stayed in the Edison Hotel on my first visit and although it was perfectly alright I wouldn’t be rushing to return yet I always try pop into their cafe for some sausage pancakes in the morning or a burger in the evening. Another delightful spot is Pershing Square where their lobster roll is divine. Their garlic mashed potato in is also incredible. Another little spot worth a visit is Gruppo. Their meatball pizza is odd but delightfully tasty.

Sweet treats
Magnolia Bakery New York
Dylan's Candy Bar New York
Magnolia Bakery New York
1. Dylan’s Candy Bar
2. Magnolia Bakery
3. Sprinkles Cupcakes

I’ve already talked about Dylan’s Candy Bar, the ground floor is crazy but up stairs you will find some delightful treats. I’m a big cupcake person. I love them. I had heard so much about Sprinkles Cupcakes and when I saw the lines for the store I knew that they must be good. Try the chocolate and coconut. Another must was Magnolia. Their were crowds in here too especially at lunch time but oh God they are so tasty. Go for the chocolate, you won’t regret it!

Things to see/do
Top of The Rock New York Empire State Building
1. Top of The Rock
2. Brooklyn Bridge
3. Grand Central Station
4. Times Square at night

5. City lights from Brooklyn

Anytime I know someone heading to New York I always get asked what they should see do and no one listens when I tell them to skip Empire State building in favour of Top of The Rock at night. Most people listen to the first half and not the second. I think that Top of The Rock and Empire State are wasted during the day. NYC is at it’s best at night. I did Empire State on my first trip and although its great to say I did it there was nothing to really look at during the day. I’ve done Top of The Rock twice now both times going up about an hour before the sun sets and then I hang around until it’s dark to see the above view. It’s the best thing to do in New York. It’s my favourite place on earth plus you get to take awesome pictures like the one above and the opening photo in this post! (Thanks to Desiree for helping with that one!)

Freebie Fun

Bryant Park Ice Skating

1. Bryant Park Ice Skating Rink
2. Staten Island Ferry
3. New York Public Library
4. Central Park
5. Tiffany and Co.
My one and only attempt at ice-skating didn’t go so well, just ask Lady Theodora. I have avoided the rinks in NYC because who wants a broken leg on the long flight home? Ice skating in Central Park or Rockefeller Centre is the dream but it’s pricey. Contrast that with free ice-skating in Bryant Park, yes I said free, I know which one I would pick. I adore Bryant Park. This pretty park backs on to the New York Public Library and with views of Empire State it’s setting is perfect for skating or chilling with a hot chocolate and observing all of the fun from a safe distance. The Staten Island Ferry is also free. It brings you quite close to The Statue of Liberty and is a great alternative to the tour to see the lady in person. I suppose I should put a * beside Tiffany and Co. in that it’s free, if you want it to be. On my first trip I did make a very bold purchase in here but since then I’ve gone in just for a look and kicks (that ring is how much?!?). And of course the best and most prudent thing to do in New York City is just to stroll around and observe. I love Central Park and downtown in Chelsea and The Village.

Getting to the city

how to get from airport to new york
I think every first-timer makes the mistake of getting a taxi to the city but choosing the shuttle buses located right outside every terminal are a much cheaper and easy option. $28 gets you to the city and back. A train and then the subway for $7 each way is also an option if you’re confident with navigating trains and okay with carrying your luggage. The shuttle buses drop to hotels and collect you if you ring them 24 hours in advance of leaving.

Things I want to do the next time
Top of The Rock New York Empire State Building
1. Royal Bangladesh
2. Alice’s Tea Cup
3. Statue of Liberty
4. 230 Fifth
5. Sleep No More
6. Pommes Frites 
7. Day trip to Niagara Falls
I always feel like I still have a million things to do in new York. Every time I come back from a trip I realise that I still haven’t done a lot of things. My last visit was pretty hectic as it was for business but I’m hopping that I’ll get the above list ticked of pretty soon!
See you soon New York!
Note: All photos in this post are mine. Please do not use them without my permission.

3 Comments

  1. December 18, 2013 / 3:23 pm

    Thanks Michaela! I know, just writing this post made me wish that I was back. I miss it! x

  2. December 22, 2013 / 2:50 pm

    Thank you for the great list, Danielle! It makes me wonder if there is really a very special NYC spirit, which is to be found nowhere else. It's just something in the air. I've changed 4 countries and 6 cities in the past 10 years and almost every bigger city has something different in the air, but it's never the same as in NYC. Maybe it's the lights, the people, I don't know. Anyways, your post makes me miss those times. Greeting and have a nice Christmas!

    Marco

    http://new-york.hotelscheap.org/

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