Turning up in New York on Boxing Day clutching customer recommendations and a lot of layers with high expectations. You grow up watching movies set in the streets of New York, so to step in to New York for the first time does feel a little like stepping into a movie scene. This place has a phenomenal energy to it and I think that has a lot to do with the New Yorkers. I had heard it was an intense city and you certainly witness enough that you can see it does feel a little on the edge, but it's probably all the better for it. When you sit on a tube in London I think you would have to go some to get anyone to chat with you, yet on the subway in New York you only have to make a sentence sound like a question and you receive a number of helpful responses with asked for or not.
This blog post isn't intended to be a detailed description of our trip but I did want to share the recommendations I received in case you happen to be making a trip there too.
Guggenheim - I knew this would have to be at the top of my list and it really was amazing. The building is simply enough on its own and it is the perfect backdrop for the many pieces of art on display. Afterwards we took a walk through Central Park.
Jack's Wife Freda - Just the most gorgeous restaurant.
Moma - Museum of Modern Art. I was very pleased to see a Frida Khalo that close up, plus I had no idea this is who owns the 'Starry Night'.
Soho Grand Diner - Soho Grand is a hotel and it has a rather beautiful diner attached. The best music and the best cocktail of the trip.
We stayed in Soho which I would highly recommend, it has a more chilled feel that the more tourist areas of Manhattan. We stayed in Soho Sixty which was lovely.
We spent many an hour walking all of the streets. Spring Street is lovely and Elizabeth Street was a real highlight for me.
Most days we had breakfast at this amazing Greek place. I mean who wouldn't want Baklava for breakfast. https://www.pibakerie.com/home
Tacombi, gorgeous Mexican restaurant in Elizabeth Street.
Brooklyn Bridge - You must do the walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn using the bridge, you can of course come back via the subway but it is definitely worth crossing the bridge and taking it all in.
Clarks - Once you have done the walk over Brooklyn Bridge you must be sure to visit Clarks. Not everything in New York with a queue is worth joining, but this I can assure you is one queue worth joining. The best breakfast ever.
We walked from Clarks to the Barclays Centre and found some rather lovely shops on Atlantic Avenue.
Jao Social was also a lovely curated store.
Barclays Centre - This is where the Brooklyn Nets Basketball team train. Unfortunately there wasn't an NBA game on while we were there so instead we booked tickets to see college basketball which was brilliant.
Timeout Food Market in Dumbo
Get here early as it's a great place to try Jacobs Pickles and the most insane pancake. A little like Greenwich Market but out of town and less busy.
Black Tap Burgers
Now I am the vegetarian of the household but my family assure me this was the best burger they had all holiday. But even if you just go for the over the top shakes it will be worth the visit. And even better I hear they are coming to London.
Williamsburg. Artists & Fleas and Bedford Road
We visited Artists & Fleas which is open at weekends and full of independent creative sellers. Continue along Bedford Road where there are lots of lovely shops. Check out Beacon's Closet for great vintage.
Cafe Mogador (East Village) - Gorgeous Moroccan inspired cuisine.
Little Italy - We walked from Soho to Little Italy (well to be honest we pretty much walked the whole of Manhattan every day it felt like) and stumbled into Little Italy. I didn't plan on going but actually it was nice to look around.
Museums - All worth a visit if you have time.
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
Ferries run about every 30 / 45 minutes beginning at 9.15am
Try to plan earlier rather than later in the day as the crowds are generally smaller in the mornings. Ferries leave from Battery Park, Downtown Manhattanwww.circlelinedowntown.com/statueFerry.html
John Derian - Independent store
A favourite independent shop I have admired from afar for quite some time. Gorgeously curated if a little expensive. I managed to purchase a calendar.
The High Line & The Little Island
A real highlight of the trip for me was walking the highline with a route that ends at The Little Island.
A very eery and important visit to the 9/11 site.
Top of the Rock Observation Deck
Amazing views from this observation deck.
We had a 16th birthday while we were in New York and we spent the evening at Buddakan. Amazing food (it featured in Sex & the City).