Standing on top of the Empire State, looking out over Manhattan through the haze of early morning fog; waking up in New York City is exactly as good as I’d always hoped.
(It’s also where the photo you see above was taken).
I actually don’t even know where to begin with this trip. Words are failing me a little so I’m hoping this is where the many photos you’ll see in this post will step in and help iterate the things I’m not managing to say.
I have always wanted to go to New York. For as long as I can remember it’s been at the top of my travel hit list. I’m a city mouse – my favourite cities being Paris and Singapore – and I imagined that when I finally made it to NYC I’d fall in love with that city too. I wasn’t wrong.
I’d delayed it for years though. This was largely because I’d always assumed that when I got round to flying out to JFK I’d bankrupt myself in a matter of hours, spending my hard earned cash on artisan donuts and slices of pizza bigger than my head.
It will come as no surprise to you to find out that I did indeed do this, and so much more.
And, as I’d guessed, I was desperate to go back pretty much as soon as we got on the plane home. Even the perk of being in my little business class pod wasn’t enough to pull me out of my lovesick funk. Take me back already!
I spent a glorious 5 days soaking up the city that never sleeps. I meandered around the city, I hailed yellow cabs, I grabbed ‘quaffee’ on the corners of ‘blocks’. I strolled around Central Park in the snow, walked The Highline in the scorching sun, and admired Brownstones on the Upper West Side. I skipped from Madison to First, from Midtown to East Village. I explored as much of Manhattan and Brooklyn as I possibly could. I felt like I was in the movies.
But, unsurprisingly, it was the food that became the main focus of the trip. I think we ate 5 meals a day just in an attempt to eat as much as we could.
Highlights included the chef’s tasting menu at Spice Market in the Meat Packing District, Fonda – a neighbourhood Mexican place with the best guacamole recipe I’ve ever tasted (I have now stolen it and claimed it as my own), Dough for the afore-mentioned artisan doughnuts, Egg Shop, Maman and Jack’s Wife Freida for extremely instagrammable brunches.
Macbar, a tiny takeaway near Madison Sq Garden that just sells different types of mac and cheese served in a big plastic macaroni (see the photo for the lobster mac and cheese), and the famous Magnolia Bakery are also both well worth the trip.
I really like live music, and jazz in particular, so if that’s your kind of thing too I would whole-heartedly recommend Small’s. We stumbled across this gem and climbed down the stairs into a cramped basement where the bands play all night and musicians join in and drop out as the night goes on.
Or if it’s gin you’re after (and why wouldn’t it be!) then try Bathtub Gin. This speakeasy is hidden through a 24 hour coffee kiosk. Rather than going to the counter you’ll want to pass the big guy lurking in the corner your ID, and he’ll open the wall for you to step down into the darkness of the bar downstairs which boasts a plethora of gins to tickle your fancy, and an actual bathtub taking centre stage for some entertainment later in the evening.
It’s definitely worth the trip over to Brooklyn too. The walk over the MASSIVE bridge is a must, and on the other side you really need to visit the Brooklyn Brewery for a knees-up, Mable’s Smokehouse for a proper stateside family BBQ joint, Juliana’s for the ‘best pizza in Brooklyn’, the River Cafe for the most beautiful views (maybe dress up and book for this one though!) and, in case you’re not dressed fancy enough for the River Cafe, ShakeShack because sometimes you just can’t beat and burger and a milkshake.
I could go on forever but you’ll stop reading sooner or later so instead I’ve put some of the places we went on the map below. If you’re over there definitely check them out.