Highlights in New York – Trendy Neighbourhoods and Hidden Gems
In my first article about the metropolis New York, I have already given you plenty of advice so that you won’t miss out on any of the cool highlights. The New York Pass gives you access to all major sights. A short trip to New York should not only be about where to find the best view and the best pieces of art. It should be about indulging into a very special world. Manhattan really is an urban jungle, which leaves you breathless from the very first second on. But when you can manage to spare a few more days – maybe even one week – you will be able to discover much more…
In the second part of my special I want to present you with the must-see areas of the big apple, that are worth a visit on its own. The switch between the hustle & bustle and the superlatives makes this metropolis so exciting. I will show you where Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw lives and that there are lovely tranquil places, next to the big touristy attractions, that a lot of real New Yorkers haven’t even discovered. Get insider infos and the best ideas for a unique trip to the city that never sleeps. You will experience the city in all its colours.
New Yorker Highlights
If you are adventurous and love taking in all the sights that a city has on offer then New York is just the right thing for you!
Time Square & Broadway
Leave your wallet where it is: Everybody can go see the famous Time Sqaure. Every year, the tourists and New Yorkers celebrate the New Year with a massive party that seems hard to top. Celebs like Jay-Z or Lady Gaga have already performed here. On the roof top of the skyscraper One Time Square you can see an illuminated giant crystal ball slowly moving down to the countdown of the new year. The crowd can be as big as one million! Head to Broadway and Times Square at night when you can see all the billboards lit up in their flashy colours. If you consider putting up an advert there you have to pay a lot of cash because the billboards are the most expensive ones in the world. You can’t actually decide where to look first, it’s that colourful and flashy. Also make sure to pop your head into the huge Toys’R’Us-Store. Here you won’t only find toys but also a giant carousel and plenty of other possibilities to kill a few hours with the kids :) But I simply enjoy strolling along the streets and the special glamorous atmosphere in the area.
Shopping on the famous 5th Avenue
NYC is a paradise for shopping and that not only for the ones who travel with a big spender… You will find numerous shops where you can get souvenirs for the loved ones at home and cool clothes for yourself. Especially Williamsburg and Soho are a little oasis for a retail therapy but more about these parts later. But to me personally, the 5th Avenue still spreads a very certain flair (the area also belongs to the streets with the highest rents in the world).
Get yourself a new iPhone in the huge Apple Store (remember the customs regulations…) or choose a trendy pair of Nikes or Adidas runners from one of the Flagship-Stores. And believe me, it’s going to be for a bargain price. I love the mix of affordable shops and luxurious fashion boutiques. Take a look at the latest collection of fashion designers and see what will be trending in the next season. Don’t forget to pay Macy’s a visit (151 West, 34th th Street). You can actually get lost there, it’s so big and a nice alternative to Pennys :D But not only the shops are an eye catcher, but also the people around you. You’ll be sure to meet the Naked Cowboy somewhere around that area ;)
Hidden gems and impressive bridges
New York has plenty of hidden gems, which can be hard to find when you’re there for the first time. Who would think to come across a waterfall in Midtown or discover a beautiful trekking path on old train tracks. I show you some more or less hidden gems in this beautiful city.
On some gorgeous sunny day it can quickly feel too crowded in a metropolis like NY. Then it’s time to escape to Paley Park (3 East, 53rd Street). Right in Midtown Manhattan you can find this wonderful oasis. Grab a take-away coffee and relax in the quieter places. The highlight in this park is the waterfall, which flows down a wall and gives this area such a special atmosphere. Take a seat wherever you like, as you can simply take a chair and find yourself the perfect spot for a bit of chill-out time.
The High Line
This relatively new project is not really a hidden gem anymore, but still a great destination when you need to escape the crowded streets of NYC. The High Line is built on former train tracks and serves now as a beautiful path for walkers, joggers and cyclists above the streets of New York. It is surrounded by green bushes and plants and protects you therefore from the hustle and bustle of what lies beneath :) Until now the city has transformed 2.5km of the tracks, but the plan is to enhance the pathway by a couple more kilometres. The park can be reached by stairs and elevators throughout many stages of the High Line, and don’t forget to check out the surrounding neighbourhoods with its art and interesting people. Here you can see how parts of Manhattan looked like prior to the building boom and the construction of all the skyscrapers. See the typical red-brick warehouses in industrial estates and on the corners you find many artists who exhibit their works.
Brooklyn Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge
You’re just strolling along Lower Manhattan? Then definitely cross the Brooklyn Bridge by foot or take a bike and cycle across. Both is great craic! The view from the bridge is stunning, especially if you’ve made it halfway across and look back to the skyline of the city and reassure yourself where you actually are. New York simply is gigantic and Brooklyn Bridge certainly is part of this. Beneath you can hear the cars rushing across and be careful not to be on the wrong side of the path. With the cyclists coming from Brooklyn it can get quite crowded.
On the way back I can recommend you something quite on the contrary. When you have explored Brooklyn and the trendy Hipster Area Williamsburg, make sure to go back via Williamsburg Bridge. It’s a bit more rough and you can take great pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge. Of course a picture of the bridge belongs into every photo albums of New York. Both bridges have their own Facebook pages, where you can find the most important updates. Last year it was cleaned properly (a huge project) and I found a Facebook post that reflects what I have always admired when I visited the NY. Not only does the post mention the workers on the bridge, but you can also read a special thanks to the four responsible construction workers, who are named here. These little personal ‘Thank Yous’ are found all over the place in New York; to builders, fire fighters, chefs, etc., the appreciation is a stable part of the community as the work itself.
Our crews have been busy cleaning up the Williamsburg Bridge today. Graffiti removal is an annual and extensive…
New York does not only consist out of Manhattan, which you will quickly notice when you cross the East River towards Brooklyn. If you only know this part from the movies you might have a rather unflattering imagine in your mind. However, Brooklyn really isn’t unpretentious but an important, modern and authentic part of the metropolis New York.
If you have visited Central Park already a hundred times but still want to spend your afternoon in the nature, you should definitely consider making your trip to Prospect Park. Go for a run or a walk, rent a boat on the lake or simply soak up the sun and live the good life. The great thing about Prospect Park is, here you can hang out with real New Yorkers, in contrast to Central Park.
Pick a sunny Saturday for visiting Prospect Park because that’s when the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket is on. This is only one of many farmers markets where you can buy fresh fruit & veggies and loads of other delicious foods. You find these kinds of markets everywhere in the city and if you like you can visit a new one each day. You can find the locations and hours here. There is a whole community organising workshops and academies about regional products and Urban Gardening.
Brooklyn is trendy and modern. All right, we got that. But also Williamsburg is one of the places-to-be in New York. The rents have massively increased and are almost comparable to Manhattan, and life is like a dream for the ones who want to avoid the stressful parts of New York. The atmosphere is a bit like Berlin’s Kreuzberg and London’s Shoreditch, so very Hipster :)
You will quickly notice the quirky outfits the people wear in Williamsburg, and everybody has its individual style. Hipster, intellectuals and artists who long for everything but mainstream, wander to the numerous little cafes, rummage through old vinyl collections and enjoy the special atmosphere. The unique thing about these neighbourhoods is the variety of little shops, bars, cafes and restaurants. Everybody will find something here according to his or her own taste, this I guarantee you.
On Sunday’s you can visit the Smorgasburg Flea Food Market (Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5), where you can enjoy the best snacks from all over the world. The choice is massive and make sure to try out things that you would not get anywhere else.
Another neighbourhood where it’s worth to spend some time is surely Greenwich Village. Right in the middle of Manhattan, around Washington Square Park you will find the village. It is a rather relaxed atmosphere and it could be that you spot a celebrity in one of the many cafes, who reside here. Especially the fans from Sex and the City will have the feeling to have walked these streets many times. Carrie Bradshaw herself is a resident of Greenwich Village. Her house is some eye candy not only from the inside but also from the outside. If you have the chance to stay here during your holidays you will see how relaxed and unique this area is.
Soho is another neighbourhood which you will probably discover by chance. The façades of the houses with their fire escape stairs are legendary. You will find a great selection of luxurious shops and boutiques, which you can tick off one by one. I’m sure you come across a great bargain to take a bit of New York home for yourself. By day it is an absolute paradise for shopping with boutiques from well-known designers, but it’s at night when Soho really awakens. I can recommend you a cocktail bar called The Ship (158 Lafayette St). You will get delicious drinks and amazing snacks here. The ambient, is pretty unique!
Go out: 3 of the best Roof Top Bars
If you’re in the Big Apple of a hot Summer’s night you simply have to visit one of the famous roof top bars and enjoy the view from up there across the glimmering skyline of New York. I picked out three different bars for you that will provide you with such a fantastic view. The roof top terrace of the Metropolitan Museum of Art The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden is one of them. Here you will have a stunning view across Central Park and the Skyline surrounding it. In addition, every year in Spring you can gaze at a new and exclusive exhibition of an artist. You get access between May and late Autumn, depending on the weather. Art, cocktails and a wonderful view – what more could you wish for?
You’re going up high with our next one 230 Fifth, and the long way up will definitely pay itself off! The queue to get inside is already quite long in the early evening and drinks are relatively expensive. The views from the bar will comfort you though and you won’t regret going up. There is no better place to be for a sunset in the Summer in New York.
Close to Columbus Circle you find my favourite spot in the city. The Sky Terrace at Hudson can be found on the 15th floor of the Hudson Hotel and simply is a dream come true. Take a seat on the loungers and make yourself at home on the balcony. It’s is not as cramped on this terrace as in others and you can even reserve your own bed or hammock to have a nap above the rooftops of NY before you hit the night life of Hells Kitchen.
The perfect hangover brekkie including pancakes and bacon you will find at Johny’s Luncheonette (124 W, 25th St). After that you’ll feel like a newborn and can get back to exploring the urban jungle.
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