Big Sal at the corner bodega told me the “Big Apple” was just a small time crabapple until it got in cahoots with the Gangs of New York, and badda-bing badda-boom, someone’s all of a sudden a big-time mascot with a theme song from a local boy named Frankie. I don’t ask questions but something smells like the South Street Seaport in that story!
Sinatra had it right, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. And by “there” he meant “a table at that new impossibly cool restaurant”, apparently the latter didn’t go as well with the music?
New York is a city where food is king, shopping is queen, and the bars make jesters out of us all. So don’t fear the concrete jungle, conquer it in style!
Day 1 = Experience NYC as an Insider
- Wake up at The Nomad Hotel and mosey downstairs to enjoy breakfast at Nomad, the lobby restaurant known for swanky people watching and cushy seats. (Tip: Their chicken is the best in NYC, have it as a sandwich during weekend brunch or for dinner. All other chickens are underachievers by comparison).
- Next up, enjoy NYC’s version of the outdoors by walking the The Highline starting at the 26th and 10th Ave entrance. An abandoned freight rail turned public park is as close to “trail running” as downtown gets.
- Hop off the Highline at 16th and 9th to stroll through the culinary overload that is Chelsea Market. Just try not to get Chopped as many Food Network shows are filmed right upstairs.
- Unless you can make that food on your cheek look chic you might want to wipe it off before walking through the trendy cobblestone streets, high end stores, restaurants and clubs of the Meatpacking District. Fancy a mid-morning tipple? Check out the Beirgarten at the Standard Hotel for a little German ping-pong or visit Untitled at The Whitney, which will let you feel artsy by proximity.
- New Yorkers are always hungry for something (their friend’s apartment usually topping the list). But since you’re visiting, keep your hunger to food and fashion as you stroll through the hip West Village towards your lunch at The Meatball Shop.
- Walk your balls off in Washington Square Park on your way to shop in Soho. Locals can smell tourists like drunken college kids can smell pizza, so attempt to blend in by at least pronouncing the street names correctly (Houston = HOWSTEN, not HEWSTEN).
- Hopefully by now you’ve picked up on the New York pace and are walking at about 1.5x the normal speed, which will get you down to the 9/11 Memorial in no time with your pre-booked tickets in hand.
- Charge right on past the Charging Bull on Wall Street to Battery Park where you’ll sit on a bench and take in the view of the first lady of New York City (and her very flattering draping), the Statue of Liberty. Now catch a taxi or subway back uptown.
- Feel like you’ve walked your buns off today? Lucky you, we have a suitable replacement! Hit the pork buns at Momofuku Ssam Bar and it’s sweet sister Milk Bar in the East Village for seriously delicious food. Then bounce around the East Village bars for the evening. And remember, as the Beastie Boys said, NO SLEEP TIL BROOKLYN.
Day 2 = Experience NYC as an Outsider
- Wake up and drag yourself to the buzzing floor of Mario Bataly’s Eataly where you’ll buy an overpriced juice or seriously caffeinated Italian espresso (I heard if you drink both simultaneously you get awarded a pair of Mario’s orange crocs…ok that’s a lie…or is it?). You can also grab some amazing breakfast pastries or gelato (it’s your vacation, we don’t judge!).
- Then head north up 5th Avenue and make like Tom Hanks as you race to the top of the Empire State Building. Forget Sleepless in Seattle, you’re peering down on the city that never sleeps from 102 stories in the sky!
- Lost your voice from last night’s big night out? Have no fear, you can be heard crystal clear in Grand Central Terminal’s Whispering Gallery.
- Get promoted by Liz Lemon to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck and take in the best views in the city. (Tip: if you’re deciding between ascending the Empire vs. the Rock, take a cue from the WWE and choose The Rock)
- Cold weather brings ice skaters and a Christmas tree that would never fit in any New York apartment at Rockefeller Center (maybe Monica’s apartment in Friends…that place was suspiciously large). Spring and summer often bring artist displays and installations.
- Channel your inner Audrey Hepburn as you stroll past Tiffany’s on 5th Avenue to your next destination, the crown jewel of Manhattan, Central Park.
- Join Alice’s tea party with the Mad Hatter, kick back at one of Central Park’s free summer concerts, or sit on the Great Lawn for some primetime people watching. Just don’t go all Home Alone 2 and get frightened by a pigeon lady – a subway rat lady, now that’s what I would run from.
- Next up on the bill? Broadway! I mean who doesn’t love a good show tune right? (Tip: discount tickets are sold at the TKTS Discount Booth in Times Square for same day performances). If you manage to score Hamilton tickets, you have surpassed even a local’s level of inside access!
- Exiting Broadway feeling like Funny Girl Barbara, you hit the epicenter of New York City tourism, Times Square. Forget the Las Vegas strip, Honey I Blew Up the Kid’s Adam Szalinski would have a field day in this high beam playground.
- Now take a seat back at The Nomad Bar, order a strong drink, and congratulate yourself on surviving 2 days in the world’s greatest city (yep, I said it, NYC is truly the city that demolishes all other cities, and I dare you to argue that fact with any New Yorker).
There’s no shortage of more things to see and do such as the 80+ museums, music venues (check out Brooklyn Bowl), local boutiques, restaurants, bars, and 4 other boroughs (not all of which are worth visiting. I’m not going to name names but it rhymes with Schmatten Highland).
“Nobbin’ with all the muckety-mucks, you’re blowing your dough and going deluxe. And there you’ll be, ain’t you pretty, it’s your city, you’re the King of New York!” (make your day and click on this final link…you’re welcome)
P.S. – Click the BOLD items for further links and the map markers for detailed information!
P.P.S. – No Newsies were hurt in the making of this blog