Mainly due to work (I used to shoot here at least a couple of times a year for 10 years), I am lucky enough to have been to New York many times (although the first time was with my mum for my 21st birthday – thanks mum!) and although my knowledge of the city is not quite like a local, I can definitely navigate it pretty well.
I’m a strong believer that New York is not really at its best until you avoid doing too much touristy stuff (mainly because you will just become exhausted) and enjoy walking the streets and taking it in as you go.
I, personally, have a few rituals I do whenever I go to New York and it’s a routine I really look forward to so I thought I’d share them here:
1. SOMETHING TOURISTY
Okay, now I know I said skip the touristy stuff, but I would recommend doing at least one thing that’s fun, typical new York and potentially a little tacky. Queueing up for Top of The Rock this time, we didn’t exactly feel like ‘locals’ but it was something I had never done and I must admit, the views were spectacular.
At $35 each, it’s not a cheap ticket – which is also why I suggest only doing one touristy thing (New York definitely isn’t cheap, especially with post Brexit exchange rates), but to find something even I hadn’t done yet was rather fun. Make sure you buy your ticket in advance to save having to purchase and come back later.
2. SOMETHING CULTURAL
There are so many amazing museums in New York, I love the MoMa (try and take advantage of the Uniqlo Free Friday Night tickets) and the Frick Collection (which operates a ‘pay what you wish’ admission every Wednesday 2-6pm) but there are always new ones to try. This time, we stayed right by The Whitney so spent a tranquil last morning there before we flew home. It housed great works by Edward Hopper, Alexander Calder and Georgia O’Keefe and it had amazing views over the city – but at $20 it perhaps wasn’t my favourite gallery.
Brunch is such a huge part of New York culture and something I love – we usually end up just having brunch and a late dinner when we’re away as the food is always so filling. My favourites are The Fat Radish, The Butcher’s Daughter and Jack’s Wife Freda.
4. THE HIGH LINE
This is one of my favourite things to do after brunch, to walk off all those pancakes! A disused railway line which has now been transformed into a public park, it runs from the Meatpacking district and goes all the way up to West 34th Street. It’s a great way to get to know the city, there are lots of places to stop and take photos or just sit and read…and best of all, it’s completely free!
5. GO SHOPPING
I don’t actually do much shopping in New York…well, definitely not in the traditional sense of dashing through stores and carrying armfuls of carrier bags home. I don’t regularly go into midtown, to be honest. And I don’t really buy much, if anything (!). So what kind of shopping do I actually do? I have a few stores I love to browse, as it feels like traditional New York for me – these are J Crew, Madewell, Jonathan Adler, Reformation and Old Navy. It’s not really about buying anything for me, it’s just having a nosey and sometimes trying a few thing on – shopping for me, is just more enjoyable when I’m away and not thinking about what I’m going to blog about. The exchange rate this trip meant it wasn’t really worth buying anything unless I couldn’t get it in the UK….or as a birthday treat (I bought a Jonathan Adler cushion with my birthday money whilst out here a few years ago) – sometimes it’s fun to associate a purchase with a trip away. Old Navy has great baby and kids clothes, so I often get a few things for family and friends there, too.
I wanted to visit the Catbird boutique this time in Williamsburg but didn’t get time sadly, but have heard good things.
If you have any other New York questions, just ask!