When people ask about my trip to New York, these are the things I always mention and would totally recommend -
- renting a bike in Central Park. It took me two hours to ride completely around the park. I would recommend only doing the southern half if you're not really looking for a workout but I missed the turnoff. The northern part of the park is quite hilly and is more tiring, especially on a bike not made for hills. But it was totally beautiful and a great way to see just how huge this park is! There are tons of bike rental companies; I rented mine from http://www.http//centralparkbicycleshop.com/ - It cost me $8/hour by doing it online - and I kept it for an extra hour and they didn't even charge me for it. Honestly, they weren't the greatest people I've dealt with, but they like to be quick and get you on a bike fast. If you want something, you need to ask for it (helmet, bicycle, map, etc) but they'll gladly give it to you. I didn't have a problem with them. So much fun!
- The Frick Collection - my favorite museum in NYC. It's the old house of the late Mr. Frick (coolest name ever). Mr Henry Clay Frick used to collect art in his home, and they've now expanded it into a museum. The collection is great - full of European classics including Rembrandt, Turner, Renoir and Velasquez, so there's lots to appreciate there. But my favorite part was actually the house itself. It is so beautiful. Some rooms are decorated in French Revolution style, some have elaborate Oriental rugs, all have beautiful chairs and tables, and other vases and furniture. I got to go during the Pay What You Wish time, but usually the admission is $18 - I'd say its worth it. Such a nice place, and it includes a good audio tour as well.
- Promises Promises on Broadway. I went to the TKTS discount ticket booth, waited for just an hour and got a seat in the 6th row. It was fabulous. It's based on the screenplay The Apartment, which I had seen before. But this has music and singing and dancing! It was great to see the Mad-Men styles come alive. And there were big name actors in it too! Kristin Chenoweth (pretty much decided to go to this show because of her), as well as Sean Hayes, and Molly Shannon and Tony Goldwyn too. It was so much fun.
- Central Park in Autumn. I had hoped to see a real Eastern Autumn, and I feel like I experienced still only a taste. Obviously I didn't get to do any pumpkin picking and maple sugaring, but I did see some beautiful colours. Surprisingly (for me) many trees were still green! There were alot that had changed colour too but considering back home there were barely any leaves left on trees, it was rather shocking! Central Park is such a great place to see a season of colour. There are so many trees, and it is seriously so big! It took me nearly two hours to bike around the park! It's amazing
- High Line Park - I went to this park early (ish) one morning and was able to enjoy it in such a natural and quiet setting. This park only opened in the summer of 2009 so its relatively new, and many New Yorkers haven't even ventured over to see it. But it's so cool! It used to be a railway that they built above street level because it was very dangerous. They stopped using it as a railway and let it grow over. Now they have transformed it into an above street level park which will stretch to a mile and a half when completed (they are still working on section 2.)
- The food. Oh, food glorious food. A few years ago when I backpacked around Europe, we were such poor students that we didn't spend very much on food, (until our last stop in Greece where I think we were too sick of bread to eat any more!) I feel like I need to go back now, just to experience that huge part of the culture that I feel I missed out on! So my new travel philosophy is food is worth it. So here's some of the places I ate that I would recommend:
- Crumbs - oh my gosh the best cupcake ever. I don't even like any other cupcake in comparison
- Braai - a wonderful South African restaurant. Delicious food and wine and great staff
- Hale & Hearty - People stop at the Grand Central Terminal just to eat in the dining course. I tried this soup joint and it was delicous. There are at least 15 different kinds a day and you can test before you buy!
- Angelica Kitchen - my friend took me here on my first night in the city. It's a vegetarian restaurant and there was NO WAY I could have finished the huge portion of my dragon bowl. We had the famous cornbread, and the best chai tea of my life.
- Beckett's - on the beautifully quaint cobble-stoned Stone Street, I had the Maryland Crab Cake Sandwich in honour of my friend who came up from Baltimore to spend the day with me, as well as a very good Oktoberfest beer as well
- New Belgium Brewing Co. - This one isn't actually in New York and it sounds silly because it was actually in the Denver airport - but I'm telling you it was really good!! They have an awesome story of travelling by bike through Europe and developing their own beer recipe. I had the chicken tacos and Fat Tire beer. Very nice for en-route dining!!
- Cuba - This was part of my food tour and I had the best, most authentic mojito here as well as some delicious empanadas. Would love to come back here for a full meal.
- ETA - Vivi Bubble Tea - This place in Chinatown restored my faith in bubble tea. I had the strawberry green tea (without milk) with bubbles and it was so delicious. It was made with fresh, real stawberries even! I also had the popcorn chicken - a typical Taiwanese food. This would be perfect to share as it was too much for me! The chicken and the tea was less than $5! Amazing!
Those are just a few of the wonderful things I spent my time doing, seeing and eating while in New York. Have any of you done any of these things?