Friday, 8 July 2016

My Guide to NYC

In June I was lucky enough to spend a week in the Big Apple with one of my best friends and truly, a better decision has never been made.

While I know from NYC locals that the city is not without its drawbacks (tourists being chief amongst them) I have to be honest and say that it has been a long time since a place has wowwed me in such a beautiful way.

My week there more than lived up to my expectations, so if you're planning a trip there sometime, this post is for you: the BHM guide to New York.

The Brooklyn Bridge


June in New York is hot; intensely so. Thankfully I was prepared for this to be the case, but if I were to book another trip I'd go for a cooler month (autumn being my preference).

These are a pre-paid debit card that mean you're no longer stuck with wads of cash or faced with the embarrassment of your home bank blocking overseas transactions. Mine was from Caxton and made life so much easier.

I love Airbnb; when I lived abroad we stayed in them for a number of our trips and I've been a fan ever since. I prefer them to hotels because the locations and prices tend to be amazing; however, this trip we stayed in a hotel after Googling our chosen Airbnb's address and finding it was in a seriously rough area... Long story short: it pays to really do your research.

Compared with London, NYC felt surprisingly compact. Many of the landmarks and spots on my travel wishlist were within walking distance from one another, so it meant that I was able to tick off a few things on the same outing... But the subway is a help for longer treks.

The view from the Highline


We went for the Chelsea Inn, a small hotel with an incredible central location that was offering deals as it was undergoing refurbishments. The hallways had yet to be re-done, but the rooms themselves were great. It was walking distance from Union Square (which had a fab market on Saturday and Wednesday) and the Empire State was visible from just down the block.


I'm no longer much of a shopper, so my time was spent visiting as many of the landmarks and must-sees I had been eager to visit.

I visited some of the clich├ęd spots that you'll no doubt be familiar with already, so I won't go into masses of detail on these ones:
Central Park
The Flat Iron building
The Brooklyn Bridge
Central Park
Tiffany's on 5th Avenue
Times Square
Grand Central
American Museum of Natural History
All were beautiful, but here were some of my absolute favourite spots...

New York Public Library at Bryant Park
A huge and stunning space, this marble building made me seriously consider postgrad study for purely archaeological reasons. I wish I'd spent more time wandering around as it was pretty spectacular.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Another place I wish I'd had more time for! It was filled to the brim with great exhibitions and like many museums, the entry fee was a suggested donation. In particular I'd recommend seeing the Temple of Dendur (it features in the background of the paprikash scene in When Harry Met Sally).

Chelsea Market & The Highline
Great for foodies with an empty stomach, Chelsea Market is said to feature some of the best food in NYC. Eateries from all over the world rub shoulders with one another but even for those that are just wanting to have a nose around (like I was), it was a sight to see. Just nearby is the Highline, a former freight train track that has been turned into a little park above ground level. If you're a hipster, you're going to love it.

The Rockefeller Center
While many choose to go up the Empire State Building, I chose to go up to the Top of the Rock as I knew the views were amazing, with the added benefit of being to see the Empire State too. (The top photo of this post is one that I took from the observatory there.) It features three levels; the lowest is mostly indoors; the second is outside but with large transparent barriers to shield from the wind; the third is completely exposed (and for me, a bit scary... not the one for a windy day!) In the Rockefeller's basement are a variety of eateries if you are after some convenient lunch options and its plaza is recognisable from Elf and 30 Rock. I loved it.


It's hard to go hungry in the Big Apple - I can safely say there wasn't a single meal that left me disappointed or even remotely hungry during my stay! Again here are some of the places I ate, with a few honourable mentions detailed below...
La Petite Abeille
Juice Generation
Dig Inn

A great recommendation from my bestie, this place offers thin crust pizzas that are at a great price and fab quality. Apparently this place is adored by NYC locals, so you know it must be fab.

I went to Dough three times in seven days and I regret nothing. The most delicious doughnuts I've ever tried, they are know for the Dulce de Leche flavour and it was a dream. Gorgeous as a pick me up treat after a proper New York downpour.

Big Daddy's Gramercy Park (or any damn fine US diner)
I knew I wanted to have a diner experience during my stay and again, this was a recommendation that lived up to expectations. I'm aggressively passionate about breakfast and if you love the sound of chocolate chip cookie pancakes, this place is for you.

And there you have it... The By Her Mirror Guide to NYC. I had an amazing stay there and can't wait to head back for a few days at the end of my USA travels! If you've been and you have some recommendations, please share them in the comments!


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