A month in New York has come and gone and whilst I will be returning home soon I have a feeling that I will be unable to shake my empire state of mind. I was always one to claim my love for Europe and the UK, never once listing the USA on my travel bucket list. However after my month in none other than New York, New York, I am publicly declaring that I love NYC. My love for this culturally diverse and enchanting city is unparalleled to any other and its effect on me was truly surprising.
Perhaps it was because I survived a month in an unfamiliar city, living alone and more often than not exploring alone, that made me realise that I am, for lack of a better phrase, truly growing up. I’ve learnt skills and things about my abilities in New York city of all places, which I think is one of the main reasons it will now forever hold a spot in my heart. So thank you NYC. I will be back on your soil soon.
Now on to the good stuff. I’ve already told you a few things you can do in a week in New York, but after a month, here’s my favourite top 10 things to do in New York. I only managed to explore two boroughs – Manhattan and Brooklyn so keep that in mind.
In no particular order: My New York Top 10
Held in Williamsburg, Brooklyn every Saturday and Sunday, Smorgasburg is every foodie’s dream turned into a scrumptious reality. With over 100 food vendors your taste-buds will be awakened to all kinds of cuisines. My favourite pick of the day was a sweet and crunchy serving of buttermilk fried chicken and waffles.
A must, of course. Natural beauty, brilliant buskers, artists and the likes.
Empire State Building
If you go during peak hours I would imagine visiting the Empire State Building could be a total nightmare. However, I went early one weekday morning and got up to the observatory deck in no time at all. Whilst some people think it’s a major tourist attraction and therefore a waste of time and money, the view you get from the top really makes you realise what a concrete jungle the city of New York is, and a beautiful one at that.
Statue of Liberty
There’s some indescribable feeling that overcomes you as Lady Liberty starts growing larger and larger as the ferry approaches Liberty Island. It’s one of New York’s biggest icons and she truly is a remarkable statue. Again, morning time is best to visit as the Island isn’t too crowded and you can get some alone time with the Lady.
Smalls Jazz Bar
Located in the East Village, Smalls Jazz Bar is an escape from NYC’s hustle and bustle into a world of woody saxophones and brassy trumpets. Playing jazz all night, it’s best to go on a Monday because that’s when it really kicks off.
Forget the Upper East Side, the West Village is where you want to be at. With quaint cafes and plenty of boutique shops, the West Village is another quiet escape and a place to grab a cup of coffee and a good feed. Don’t forget to try the chocolate chip and sea salt cookies from the Sweet Corner Bakeshop – mind-blowing doesn’t even come close to explaining how good they are.
Every Sunday in Williamsburg is the artists flea markets. You’ll find anything from paintings and furniture to jewellery and knick-knacks. Then, spend the day exploring Brooklyn – why New Yorker’s snub this borough is beyond me. Maybe because it’s more ‘suburban’ than Manhattan. Nonetheless, I loved Brooklyn and all its quintessential charm.
Why New York is dubbed the City of Lights is very apparent when you visit Times Square at night. Neon lights and colours burst in every direction and the buzz is palpable.
Washington Square Park
One of my favourite things to do in my down time was to read and write in Washington Square Park. One of New York’s smaller parks, Washington Square Park is the perfect place to relax, cool off in the fountain or just listen to some fantastic jazz music that’s always echoing throughout the park. Or, try your luck at a chess game. There’s always a local willing to play.
Brooklyn Night Bazaar
Another Brooklyn beauty – Brooklyn Night Bazaar offers artisan products of all kinds, food vendors and fantastic live performances. My advice is to find a nice dinner spot in Brooklyn and then wander over to the Bazaar – it’s free entry and definitely worth a gander!
So there you have it. New York’s Top 10. Whilst I didn’t get to explore every crevice of the city and discover some of its more hidden charms I know I will be back soon, and I can’t wait!