For the 25 years I have had the privilege to be on Earth, landing in New York JFK airport marked my first time in the USA (but it will definitely not be the last).
I had seen the city so many times on commercials and movies, but nothing could compare to experiencing New York live. I did not feel like I have already been there as I thought, despite the familiarity that the media has created. Well, I still felt as if I was in Sesame Street or Sex and the City at particular places, but that is part of the magic!
Unlike the cozy, traditional and fairy-tale-like buildings, gardens, castles and parks that I love about Europe, New York brought a very unique feeling with its captivating skyline views and “on-the-go” culture. Jasen and I spent a week exploring the Big Apple. It is true what they say that this city never sleeps. Coming from Copenhagen where the city has practically shut down at 6 pm on a week day, we were amused to find out how many people were constantly on the streets, riding the tube, going out, or simply being outside at any time during the day and night. Walking with my head up in the sky stopped after the 2nd day – you stop noticing the skyscrapers, believe it or not (and also I imagine for the New Yorkers it must be so annoying having to pass by constantly all the tourists staring up in the clouds while they walk).
While I enjoyed the dynamic vibe of the city, what particularly stood out was how everything was revolving around practicality, efficiency and functionality, especially the food and dining experience. As much as I loved New York, I was also extremely happy to be back in Denmark and enjoy a quiet cup of coffee, in a cozy setting with dim light and candles.
I have prepared a selected list for newcomers of what we liked the most from all the sightseeing, bars, roof-top restaurants, markets and shopping places, culture, museums, neighborhoods, things to-do and more. I hope you enjoy New York as much as we did:)
Food and drinks – Restaurants, bars, cafes:
*Amity New York (Madison avenue) – popular burgers place
*Good Restaurant (West Village)
*Chipotle – nice fast food place for wraps (burrito). Very popular in USA.
*Amy’s Bread in Chelsea market – one of the best cafe au latte I have ever had
*Dough Doughnuts – recommended by a good friend of mine, it was totally worth the million calories. As my friend told me: You simply must try the doughnuts!
*Brooklyn Bridge Cafe
*Whole Foods (retailer) – has great salads
*Pasticceria Rocco (on Bleecker st.) – fantastic assorted cookies and Italian pastries.
* Pret A Manger – we like this place also when we are in London – it is perfect if you would like more healthy or organic food fast-food
*ESSEN – delicious salads to go, and also a great yogurt (6th Avenue)
*Shake Shack burgers (it is everywhere) – must try, typical American burgers, but beware there might be long queues
*Made Fresh Daily – nice place for brunch (Lower Manhattan, Seaport District)
*Gregory’s Coffee (Broadway) – great smoothies
*Bill’s Grill (close to the One World Trade Center, Washington street, a good place to go for dinner, if you are close to Wall Street)
*Magnolia Bakery (6th AV, 50th street)
*Haven Rooftop bar (47th street, 6-7 avenue) – nice cocktails, great view and good music
*Birdbath neighborhood green bakery
Sightseeing, Parks, City Areas:
*Empire State Building. Goes without saying. We went twice up the Empire State with our city pass ticket (the second time during the night). Buy the tickets online in advance if possible
*Top of the Rock (You get a stunning view towards the Empire State Building)
*Liberty Island (Statue of Liberty) and Ellis Island (they usually go together with a boat tour)
*The One World Trade Center
*Walk the Brooklyn bridge
*Upper East Side
*Walk in Central Park
*Washington’s Square park
*Times Square by night
*Battery Park in Lower Manhattan
*Grand Central Terminal
*United Nations Headquarters
*Natural Museum of History
*MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
*INTREPID museum of sea, space and air
*Gallery of Peter Lik in SOHO – we found it randomly, but it is very small and cozy
*5th, 6th and 7th avenues
The one thing that we did not do (one more good reason to visit New York again!) was to see a Broadway show. On Times Square, you can find half-price tickets for particular shows.