The Last minute schedule
One day in March, Nick came home with news that he was traveling to New York for work in 3 weeks, and thanks to a collection of frequent flyer points, I was going too!
With our apartment lease running up, we made a bold decision for change, we packed our travel bags, put all of our apartment into storage and were on a flight to New York City!
FOODIE FINDS, LAPTOP TIMES, STEPPIN' OUT IN THE BIG CITY
This is the first of two parts, covering the first 2 weeks of our US excursion, from Sydney to New York (for the first time!), to San Francisco and back home again in April this year.
I've curated down from hundreds of photos of our trip, in the hope that I can help someone else's experience of NY be a little bit richer. This post is a collection of great food and coffee, work spaces and to-do's around Manhattan and Brooklyn.
With a couple of big plane trips under my belt of late, I've discovered a winning formula for snacking at +10,000 feet:
- Herbal tea bags - peppermint and sleepy lavender/chamomile blend
- Jerky (yep, what a treat this is when your Chinese beef and rice doesn't cut it)
- Fresh berries and or/chopped fruit
- Lemon - to add to water/freshen up plane meal, help with digestion
- Carob Bango Bears (peppermint)- pairs well with a rom-com and tea ;)
Day 1 - ManhattAn
We arrived at our hotel on Tuesday night. Keen to explore, we meandered through the streets of the Lower East Side to tick off the first local recommended eats of our trip Motorino Pizza (authentic Italian, soupy centred, chewy crust kind.)
The next morning we woke super early and took ourselves to the hotel gym to stretch our cramped plane legs and prepare ourselves to tackle the key tourist spots of Manhattan.
We walked to Wall Street to begin our backpack-ready journey from Battery Park up to Times Square via Broadway.
Strolling further up Broadway, Nick finally took his pick of sidewalk hot dog stalls -- hands down the freshest bread roll I’ve ever tasted.
We reached Times Square by mid afternoon to officially document our “NY tourist” snap.
With a little more walking, we reached Central Park, to take in the final light on a grassy knoll before heading off to dinner. Job well done for a couple of New York newbies.
The next 5 days were a Montage of city Wanderings...
The next day, we had a late breakfast at Russ and Daughters, an institution amongst classic jewish delis! The modern/retro restaurant front is paying a serious homage to their 100 years of tradition and classic NYC diner experience; white-jacketed bartenders, vinyl booths, hand rolled bagels, smoked fish, egg cream sodas, jars of pickles and sugar coated jelly rings.
Sunday morning we met Nick's client for breakfast at Butchers Daughter (fresh juices, matcha latte's, granola, eggs with sunny outdoor seating) then ventured out to Madison Square Gardens to tick off a New York Knicks game from the to-do list.
The afternoon was spent at the rooftop restaurant at Eataly, and while the weather was a sunny 20 something degrees, we peeled off our jumpers and opted for the antipasti tasting plate of a mix of hard cheeses, meats and sticky honey mustard.
ManhattAn - WEEK 2
As a fresh work week rolled in, we shifted accommodation (upgraded) to The Standard, East Village, edgy, urban glitz with green cardiganed bell boys with bow ties -- so much fun to stay here!
Nick switched gears into the city shuffle of 9-5pm, while I had the beautiful freedom to coach, write, and freelance at some great hangout spots meeting my personal criteria of exceptional coffee with the option of a nut milk ;), bright, beautiful space and fast internet - of course.
A top spot I visited often was Springbone in Greenwhich Village for broth, butter coffee or mushroom tea (so many exciting combos!). Springbone was a perfect stopover between our hotel and Google HQ to meet Nick for lunch.
Close by is Washington Square Park where I fought my way to find a vacant piece of grass to lay alongside New Yorkers making the most of the first few days of Spring.
Another favourite stopover was Bluestone Lane for their fresh almond lattes and avo toast topping talent. So impressed by their beetroot, matcha and turmeric latte sampler flight!
Still left with a long spreadsheet of to-do and half a week remaining, we picked up our tourist game and made the early call for an 8am Top of the Rock experience - WOW! (local's say Top of the rock beats Empire State Building views!)
Mid week, I met Nick during lunch to explore The High Line, capturing the city from an elevated view along abandoned train tracks, now a walking city park.
After work that day we jumped on a couple of bikes for a sunset ride through Central Park.
With just a few days left in New York, we were hitting the checklist hard, including catching a Broadway show (Book of Morman), and absorbing the night time spectacular that is, Times Square.
Nick's search for the best New York burger landed us at Corner Bistro, West Village and although I'm not a burger gal, I totally appreciate the fried onion pieces and perfectly layered melty cheese pattie.
It took some coaxing, but I followed Nick into MoMA and came out much more appreciative of modern art.
Other stand out Manhattan experiences we ticked off the list were:
- Sleep No More, McKittrick Hotel -- interactive theatre (a must do!)
- Smalls Live or Mezzrow Jazz Club, Greenwhich Village -- Jazz, speakeasy bar (loovvee a Jazz bar)
- Comedy Cellar -- Buffalo Wings and sharing a booth with locals
- The Flat Iron Room -- Whisky sampling, Jazz (a bit fancy)
Food Spots (not photoed by sooo worth the mention):
- Cosme (contemporary Mexican, where the dishes have their own hashtag, apparently)
- ABC Kitchen - roasted Lobster and seasonal brussels!
- Minetta Tavern - quintessential NYC bistro with a long history. Eat the Bone marrow at the bar (one of our favs!)
- Bar Primi -- unsuspecting 'savoury' ricotta toast with hazelnuts, honey, rosemary
- Bar Sardine -- mid afternoon wine, cheese on marble open air counter tops
- Sweet Chick -- when in NYC (chicken and waffles - really!)
- Bluebottle Coffee - know's how to latte.
- The Infatuation - super handy pocket guide app for foodie reviews by location
And during a late afternoon stroll, I got talking to a friendly retail assistant who shared her recommendations on daytime cafes/bar hangs/great spaces:
With the long weekend ahead of us, we shuffled over the Brooklyn Bridge into our Williamsburg Airbnb accommodation.
Early in our Brooklyn travels we ventured along Brooklyn Bridge Park to take in new perspectives of New York.
Not far from the bridge, we stumbled upon Gran Electrica, an outdoorsy, Mexican staples restaurant (with major chic flare), ordering some seriously-stand-out tacos, quac, and mojo's.
Our long weekend was filled with coffee shop hangs. One to note was Devocion, columbian specialty coffee in an industrial, light filled space with green creepers up the exposed brick walls. This space made me so damn happy!
On Sunday, we filled our boots at "Smogasburg" farmers markets. Wandering through Prospect Park, we reached an open field of over 100 local creators of things like mozzarella sticks, lavender & chamomile kombucha, beef brisket and "eggs on a stick".
Our quick glimpse of Brooklyn was a truely diverse experience of music and foodie heaven, industrial grit, and outdoor beauty.
Places to eat, things to do in Brooklyn (mostly in Williamsburg):
- Paulie Gee's Pizza - I had the 'sake reduction' pizza -- recommended by our Airbnb host, we're told better than Roberta's!?
- Freehold - great reading/workspace - music is on point, happy hour
- Maison Premier - Late night oyster bar that gets the "expensive but worth it" stamp
- Butler Bake Shop and Espresso Bar - I didn't make it here but I wish I did!
- Extra Fancy - we went here for a late night feed, as far as late night eating goes this place was definitely, extra fancy.
- Westlight - panoramic views of Manhattan island in all it’s glory!
Next time we make it back, we'd love to visit Harlem (cultural vibrance, Jazz and soul food classics).
If you have a trip planned to New York, let me know in the comments below! I'd love to hear if the above was helpful!