In the last 4 months I was fortunate enough to visit the amazing city of New York two times! And believe me, New York is a place which you will never completely have explored, as it has so many things to offer! It truly is the city that never sleeps, thus you find yourself wanting to take in as much as you possibly can and at the end of each day you fall totally exhausted but happy in your bed. New York has so much to tell and whether you’re an art enthusiast, a foodie, a shopaholic or a modern hippie – this is the place to be, this is the place where every kind of different character can feel comfortable. It is simply amazing how many different cultures, ideologies and backgrounds can find a way to live peacefully in the same place.
In this first part of my NYC-guide I would like to focus on things to do and where to stay. The next part will focus on food and yes, for NY-food spots you need an own post! :-)
Where to stay:
1. Novotel at Times Square
The hotel we stayed in in late December was the Novotel at Times Square. The room was spacious with a beautiful view over Hell’s Kitchen and the Hudson River in the far end. The beds were very comfortable and the service was excellent. Also we tried the restaurant Supernova one night and their food was very good (Burger was top!), plus the view on Times Square is just perfect! The location is definitely the ultimate privilege of the hotel: Situated right above Times Square, you can reach a significant amount of sights by foot. Central park, 5th Avenue, Rockefeller Centre are just a few minutes away, as well as all theaters offering Broadway shows. The nearby subway stations are: 7th Avenue and 50th Street. All in all, I would totally recommend this hotel for future trips!
2. Sheraton at Times Square
In March we stayed at the Sheraton at Times Square, right across the Novotel, on 7th Avenue. The location again was perfect with all the perks of the above one. The rooms were not that big and we were four in a room, so that got a little tight. But the bathroom and the service were very good, as well as the receptionists. Depending on where your room is, the view is also really nice. The hotel has an own coffee bar, which is a welcoming option when you have to wake up early in the morning. So I would as well recommend the Sheraton hotel, although the rooms at the Novotel are definitely a better choice.
What to do:
1. Metropolitan Museum of Art
For the ones who are interested in museums, New York has plenty to offer! I, myself have visited several ones (MoMA,Frick collection,..) but the most impressive one remains the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Located on the east side of Central Park, the building itself is already a work of art. When you walk up the met steps, you immediately think of the infamous scenes of Blair and her crew from Gossip Girl. And once you’re inside, you get blown away by the countless works of art from past centuries, located throughout the museum. Whether you’re more into ancient history or into European paintings, the museum has an incredible collection regarding all sorts of fields. I dare to say, I found it even more impressive than the Louvre in Paris. In order to discover all the exhibited pieces you would have to visit the museum for a whole week every day; still in one day we were able to see quite a few collections. It is safe to say, you have to calculate a minimum of 4 hours, but it is surely worth it!
2. Metropolitan Opera
Located at the Lincoln Centre, the Metropolitan Opera is a must if you are into this kind of musical art. We had the chance to go there and see Aida, a classic by Verdi. And it was definitely worth it! It is the best opera I have ever seen: the costumes and the décor were exquisite and the performers too, of course, were amazing.
3. Central Park
Well, I don’t think Central Park needs any introduction. The park is a must! Every time I decided to take a stroll, I went into different directions, in order to discover new parts of the park. I loved taking walks through the park at different times of the day. At sunset i liked it the most, as the light was beautiful, the raccoons came out and the serene atmosphere calmed me down, although I was just steps away from the crowded and life-filled streets.
4. Soho, Chelsea, Upper East Side, Upper West Side
These are my favorite neighborhoods to walk through, while discovering Manhattan. Each one has its own architectural style and some of these buildings are really impressive. In Soho, I loved the boutiques, Bleecker Street, the old buildings and the breakfast at the Nespresso shop, as well as the lemonade at Pain Quotidien. In Chelsea, I enjoyed walking on the High line, passing the DvF headquarters and I fell in love with Chelsea market, which offers an amazing variety of little shops and great food places. The Upper East Side explains itself, especially when you are a Gossip Girl-fan like me! I loved looking at the people that walk on the streets, peeking at the collection of Barney’s, sipping Hot Frozen Chocolate at Serendipity 3, strolling on Madison Avenue and of course on 5th Avenue (Henri Bendel!). The Upper West Side has also its own charm: again, loved the architecture, as well as the shops, the Lincoln Centre and the Magnolia Bakery with its renowned cupcakes, which are definitely worth a try!
5. Staten Island Ferry
The easiest way to pass Ellis island and the Statue of liberty without paying a dime! On a beautiful day the ride is really enjoyable and from Staten island you have a wonderful view over the Manhattan skyline.
Brooklyn is worth a visit, as it has its own style, its own flair. We went to an indoor flea market with amazing street food. From Brooklyn heights you have a nice view of Manhattan and a stroll over Brooklyn Bridge is a must!
7. Broadway show
If you are a musical fan like I am, you will have to go to a Broadway show. TKTS booths offer tickets at very interesting prices. I saw “On the town” and “Gigi” and both were amazing. The theaters at Times Square have beautiful indoors, the performers are excellent and the music for both shows was fantastic! You can feel the fun the artists have on stage and the shows are just pure magic! If i could I would have gone every night to a different one! A Broadway show is definitely something that you have to do, if you want a complete NYC experience!
8. Top of the Rock
Best place to go and observe the city from above the clouds! Be sure to book your tickets in advance.