New York is such a magical city, but I guess this is not something which needs to be discussed. Coming to New York for the first time and being able to experience it like a local was such a treat. Discovering the city from all its different angles, not staying in hotels, going from secret little spots to different rooftops and also seeing the attractions without it being too touristy made it an unbelievable experience. This little New York travel guide shares all the little gems we found and tells you where to go, what to see and where to eat. Of course there is always more things to do, however we just had about 6 days to explore the city – but maybe next time!
Our trip to New York started in a rather unusual way. After landing at JFK we got on the Hamptons Jitney, which is a bus that drives between NYC and the Hamptons. We were invited to stay with family friends of my boyfriend, which have a house on Shelter Island. Starting the vacation with a relaxed weekend was definitely the right decision. After the bus ride we got on a quick ferry to get to the island. We were greeted by Chester and Atticus, the most handsome Golden Retrievers I have ever seen. The weekend was just like we had hoped, with good food and walks at the rough beaches – I even tried my first oyster ( and I loved it :D)
Our week in the City started in the lower east side where we were going to spend the first half of our stay. My boyfriend wanted us to stay in this part of the city because he knew it well. In general he luckily knew his way around because of his internships he had a few years ago.We decided to walk around after checking into our hotel and get to know the surrounding neighborhoods. After walking down the iconic Orchard Street we got some Chinese golden buns in the Sunkist Bakery, a hole in the wall that my boyfriend used to get breakfast in when he worked in the area.
After a quick tour through Chinatown, Little Italy, and SoHo we started walking towards Ground Zero. It was such a breathtaking sight to see and think about what had happened here, but also how much the place must have changed ever since. The Oculus, an amazing structure with a huge underground mall on the side of ground zero had just opened – Definitely worth a visit. We continued our tour down to Wall Street and ended at the charging bull.
The next day we stayed in Lower Manhattan, passed through Washington Square Park and Greenwich Village and headed down to china town to have lunch at Vanessa’s Dumpling, a must if you like Dumplings, but than again, who doesn’t :D.
For the rest of the days we decided to split the different parts of the city into segments that we wanted to see.
The Midtown day had to include an early visit to the Rockefeller Centers rooftop Top of the Rock ( detailed post here), which is an open secret by now to have superior views compared to the Empire State Building. After a quick stop at Grand Central Station we headed up 5th avenue towards central park and Columbus circle and even headed uptown for a bit. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to go to Roosevelt Island, which is just a quick gondola ride away.
Upper East Side
On the fourth day we decided to go uptown, because my boyfriend wanted to go back to the place he stayed during his internships. The Kolping house is a great tip for guys (unfortunately male only dorm) looking for a place to stay during an internship over a long period of time. We continued passed the Guggenheim Museum and walked around Central Park and just enjoyed the sun. In general we were very luck with the weather during our week. We ended our day at the touristy rooftop bar 230 Fifth. The views of the Empire state building are amazing and the feeling of being right in the middle of the city is spectacular.
The second part of the trip we switched location and stayed with friends in Chelsea. The cute neighborhood with the High Line Park next door was definitely one of my favorite places. After a short walk down the highline and a stop at Chelsea Market for some amazing Oysters we ended up on the rooftop of the Standard hotel for sunset, which is a must in my opinion and was one of the nicest moments of our trip. For dinner we went to a place called Kenka on St. Marks. We had to wait for a while to get in but it was defiantly worth it. A crazy tapas-style Japanese restaurant with amazing food is the best way to describe it. It was probably my favorite restaurant of the trip.
Saturday was reserved for Williamsburg in Brooklyn. We got up early to head over to Smorgasburg, a weekly event that is heaven for foodies like us. A great place to try different amazing things in a great scenery. Williamsburg is known as a hipster hot spot with all kinds of flea markets and young artists creating art and jewelry. Afterwards we wanted to go to Brooklyn Brewery for a tour but the line was crazy.
Our last morning we went back to Brooklyn for some quick pictures from the iconic sights of the Brooklyn bridge and DUMBO before we got everything packed for our flight back.
Where to Go
Top of the Rock
Brooklyn Bridge / Dumbo
Washington Square Park
Le Bain – The Standard Hotel – http://www.standardhotels.com/new-york/features/le-bain
230 Fifth – http://www.230-fifth.com
Wythe Hotel – https://wythehotel.com/the-ides/
Where to Eat
Vanessas Dumpling – http://vanessas.com
Kenka – http://kenkanyc.com
Bao House – https://www.baohausnyc.com
Smorgasbourg – https://www.smorgasburg.com
Chelsea Market (Los Tacos No1, Seafood market) – http://chelseamarket.com/index.php/Shops
Spicy Village – http://www.spicyvillageny.com/index.html
Fette Sau – http://www.fettesaubbq.com
Sweet Chick – http://sweetchick.com
JG Melon – http://jgmelonnyc.com
Dudley’s – http://www.dudleysnyc.com