I’ve got a whole load of posts coming up with a photo diary, ALL OF THE FOOD and of course, the beauty haul, but I wanted to do a bit of a brain dump while it’s all still fresh in my head. New York is such an amazing place, but I feel like you could go there for a whole year and only just scratch the surface. There’s so much to do, to eat, to see – it really is the city that never sleeps. So if you’re planning a trip sometime soon, here are my five things you NEED to do. Promise.
1. Brooklyn Bridge – join the 24 million other tourists and cross the Brooklyn bridge. If you have more time, avoid going on a Saturday morning like me, as you will literally have to fight your way through the thousands of other people with the same idea, but the iconic views and Instagram opportunities are well worth the tussle. If you’re pushed for time like we were, walk halfway across, take your photos and walk back again. Not *quite* as fulfilling, but hey, a girl’s got to make the most of what time she has.
2. The High Line/Chelsea Market – the High Line is a beautiful place for a wander with a cold drink from Starbucks. It’s a series of raised up gardens and walkways that take you through the old tram line that used to supply the meat packing district when it actually packed meat, rather than trendy underground night clubs. It’s very chilled, so take your time and wander down towards Chelsea Market, which is just off the High Line at 16th street. Chelsea Market is full of dozens of delicious places to eat (from full on restaurants, to little pop up booths) as well as a craft/artists market stuffed with unusual gifts and souvenirs that you will struggle to find anywhere else.
3. Eat a LOT- New York is not the place to be on a diet. I mean, there are some great places if you want to go healthy, but for me, this trip was all about the stuff we don’t get in the UK. I’ll do a separate post about some of my favourite places to eat, but it’s safe to say I ticked off a lot: fried chicken, slow cooked BBQ, cookies, the nicest pizza I think I’ve ever had and a whole lot more. Expect to put weight on and just enjoy it. I have a NY food baby and I’m quite ok with that.
4. Top of the Rock – I’d pre-booked tickets to Top of the Rock’s observation deck before I went as it can get pretty busy at the weekends so I wanted to make sure we’d be able to get in at a specific time. For $32 you get the most unbelievable views of the entire city, crossing out the New Jersey and Brooklyn. You can also see the Empire State Building, which makes it a slightly better option for me than the Empire State Building’s view, but I’d recommend doing both if you have the time (and money) – aim for one in the day time and one at night. The views are well worth it.
5. Times Square – there really isn’t anywhere else quite like Times Square. It weirdly seems to get busier that later into the night you go, so if you hate crowds, avoid it at all costs. Embrace being a tourist – I was making a total prat of myself by taking photos outside the Hello Kitty store, posing with some NY mounted police and generally just being an over excited child.
And a few tips…
1. The toilets are weird and the toilet paper is nasty. I swear the sewer system must be rubbish as everywhere only seems to stock horrible thin toilet paper – there’s no Andrew Quilted here ladies. The large gaps under the doors are also very handy if you lock yourself in as you can just crawl out, but take some getting used to.
2. Take ID with you. As an *almost* 32 year old, getting asked for ID at a bar on Friday night literally made my holiday but apparently they do this to anyone who looks vaguely under 40. So go prepared.
3. Expect to tip EVERYONE. The tipping culture out there is just crazy. 15 to 20% is the norm, so make sure you allow for that when it comes to cab fares, bars and restaurants.
4. Sales tax. Unlike the UK, they add the tax after you get to the counter, so you might have added up your Sephora purchases and think you’re still in budget and then get to the checkout and find out it’s actually $10 more. New York tax seems to be about 8%, and gets charged virtually everywhere, so factor that in to any purchases.
5. The subway is confusing, but actually really cheap for getting around. They don’t have as many maps posted in the stations as you get on the London Underground, so work out where you’re going and which subway line you need to get BEFORE going to the station. There aren’t many interchange points either, so you might have to walk a bit in order to get to your final destination.
I’ll be back later this week with some more New York posts – let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see. And tell me your favourite locations to visit!