New York City will always be one of the most popular, loved, AND hated cities on earth. Of this I’m sure. It’s one of the few cities that will never lose its essence and almost always live up to the hype. I always imagined myself living here at some point but those were just dreams, who knew those things came true? Now in those dreams I’d be living in a high rise, loft-esque apartment in TriBeCa, but Bushwick totally works for now.
One thing you’ll immediately notice upon arrival in the Big Apple is the amount of tourists. You know, those people doing touristy things? They’re easy to spot with their brand spanking new dslr cameras dangling from their necks and holding up sidewalk traffic either walking down the opposite side of the sidewalk or in a horizontal line with their entire tribe. Side note: HOW is walking on the right side of the street at a reasonable pace not a semi-universal concept? But I digress.
I don’t want you to look like a tourist and I don’t want you to leave this city having ONLY done the touriest of the tourist. Sometimes that’s okay. So, I’ve compiled a list of tidbits and gems to guide you through this amazeballs city.
Go with Airbnb! Stay anywhere in between Harlem and downtown New York. It’s really that simple. Williamsburg, Brooklyn is also uber cute too. Plus there are gorgeous views of Manhattan and it’s often times quicker to get to Manhattan from Williamsburg than coming from uptown or downtown. You’re welcome.
If you’re set on a hotel, and I bet you are, then a hotel comparison site such as cheaptickets.com may just be your savior. Because I work in/do ALL the things in midtown and below, when I booked a hotel for a parental visit, I put them up in midtown near Madison Square Garden for a couple nights thanks to cheaptickets.com and some percentage coupon code they had. I compared it to other sites like Travelocity and kayak and even Groupon. DO NOT sleep on Groupon. Yes, I’m naturally frugal, but NYC hotels cost a few hundred dollars a night all year round. In the summer it’s where everyone wants to be because it’s not the winter and it’s pretty much dope as hell. In the winter it’s where everyone wants to be thanks to the Rockefeller Center tree (unfortunately right outside of my office) and special holiday events.
You are not too good for the subway. I repeat. YOU ARE NOT TOO GOOD FOR THE SUBWAY. I shouldn’t have to mention how many celebrities ride the subway every day. I can’t promise you’ll spot any, but the point is, even they’re smart enough to avoid infamous NYC traffic. Now I know the subway systems could seem a bit confusing. We won’t talk about my many mishaps that happened when I first visited this city, let alone the mishaps that still happen today. I like to think that thanks to google telling you every step to take and every which way to walk, you can navigate the subway pretty easily. If not, just ask someone. Even when it comes to walking around the city, if you think you’re going the wrong way (I still do this on a weekly basis), before you have to turn around and walk 100 miles toward the other avenue, ask someone which what towards “insert street or avenue here.”
By now you know I love to walk. I’ve walked from my job in midtown all the way to Harlem and from my job all the way home to Bushwick, Brooklyn. The latter took 2 hours, if you were wondering, bridges and all. It’s my favorite way to get around the city and if you visit me you’ll be walking too. You WILL hate me afterwards, but appreciate all the sites you’d be missing if you were underground on the subway or cooped up in an uber. Speaking of which, if you must be chauffeured, opt for uber (promo moniquew291ue) or lyft ($15 promo: MONIQUE28069) as yellow cabs may be classic New York but are also classically expensive.
WHERE TO EAT
NOT TIMES SQUARE, I know that much. Why on earth would you want to try and grab a table to enjoy a nice meal in the most populated and congested area of the city? Also, why do people jump to eat at places that are all over America. What makes New York so amazing is how unique it is. Sure, you can probably compare it to another city, specifically certain aspects. But there is only ONE New York. I was just talking with someone about how many unique restaurants there are here and why I need a bae just so we can eat our way through the city so I don’t have to do it alone. Now I won’t list my favorite restaurants but if you have any questions I’ll be happy to help. For now, I’ll say this:
I’ve been brunching a lot in Brooklyn. I kind of always have even though I used to hate Brooklyn. My favorite brunch spot is in Williamsburg (right across the river) and when I tell you it’s probably the most delectable chicken, waffle, and bourbon infused Arnold Palmer I’ve ever had…chile, I tell no lies. For the infamous unlimited mimosa brunches I tend to head downtown around the Washington Square Park area. You want the best soul food in the city? Harlem, baby. This has to be one of the most animated areas of the city so you’ll probably get a show outside the window of your restaurant, but you’ll never forget it. When I want Asian fusion then I head to my old faithful spot on the lower east side. This grimy area is packed with a younger crowd and tons upon tons of little restaurants with a hip ambiance. Looking for something a little fancier, upscale, and where people probably floss daily? I’d say check out any restaurant on the west side, preferably around 20th St and below.
WHAT TO DO
Whatever the hell you’re into. I know I love hookah, my friends love hookah, and whenever they visit it’s something we end up doing. Luckily I’ve found my holy grail (there’s one in every city) where the drinks are cheap, the hookah is very reasonably priced, and I can sit around for hours puffing that delectable shisha without having to pay for coal refills. I also try to take guests to Central Park and either have a picnic and people watch, or just walk around.
When my parents visited I took them to a ballet. Not because they love it, but because I do. I’m a selfish host that way. I love anything happening at the Metropolitan Opera House whether it be opera’s, ballet’s, or play’s. I would also take someone to a Broadway play if I scored cheap enough tickets. All of these things usually have discounted tickets if you check their sites. I stay looking for $20 opera tickets. It makes me no difference if I have to sit in the nosebleeds. The view’s lovely from up there. It’s also said to have the best acoustics.
In addition to walking, museums are my thing. So if I have a visitor on the same day that a museum is having a free day, you best believe WE IN THERE. I took my niece to the Brooklyn Museum for their free first Saturdays and she loved it with her teenage self. When did she get so old and why am I still so young? Weird. The movies and shopping were also on our itinerary.
You can also opt to do fun activities such as laser tag, bowling, mini golf, and Dave & Buster’s. I’ve done all those things for no reason at all and still would. I don’t typically look for things exclusive to a city, I just look up what I like to do and where I can find those activities in whatever city I’m visiting.