If asked what my favorite place in the world is, Istanbul, London, New York and Chicago come to mind. Evidently then, I’m a city person. I love the energy of cities and the fact that they are always changing. I love that cities offer convenience and easy access to everything and that they provide endless choices from bars and restaurants to sights and events. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine not living in a city and usually my holiday plans include visiting a city. So when friends from Johannesburg were going to be in New York on honeymoon, I jumped at the opportunity to see them and spend time in one of the greatest cities in the world – it doesn’t matter how often I go or how long I stay for, I don’t think that I will ever tire of New York City!
We arrived early on Friday morning and headed straight to Bluestone Lane Collective Cafe where the coffee is strong and the avo smash absolutely divine. Top of my list of things to do in New York on this trip was The Met. It was a perfect Autumn day and I had time to spare so I decided to walk, the almost 70 blocks, from Greenwich Village to the Upper East Side. I arrived at The Met and started wandering around, ignorantly assuming that I would stumble across some of the highlights and pieces that I wanted to see. When, after an hour, I hadn’t made it any further than the Egyptian Art collection (which occupied the first few rooms I entered), I quickly realized that I wasn’t going to get through even a fraction of the museum in the time that I had and so decided to stop wandering and head straight to the exhibition that I wanted to see (Leonardo to Matisse: Master Drawings from the Robert Lehman Collection) which turned out to be a great idea and definitely worth a visit. Surprisingly, I still had time to take in the views from the Roof Garden and catch a glimpse of a few other collections before lunch.
Exhausted from my morning activities, I grabbed a subway (initially one headed in the wrong direction) and met my hubby for lunch at Via Carota where we indulged in delicious hearty italian pastas. That night we went to Mr Purple in the East Village for drinks with friends, who also happened to be in town, and although it’s a hotel bar (it’s located on the 15th floor of Hotel Indigo), it offers great views, relaxed music and delicious drinks.
On Saturday morning we headed to SoHo and popped into Felix for brunch before grabbing Citi Bikes and peddling off to explore a little more of the city. I absolutely loved cycling around SoHo and Greenwich Village (we even cycled past the “Friends” apartment which was, well, an apartment and pretty underwhelming although I’m not sure what I expected) and then we headed towards the Hudson and cycled 5 miles along the recently regenerated Hudson River Park. Finally, after my husband had had quite enough of cycling and I had had a few too many ‘near misses’ (as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not the best cyclist), we decided to ditch the bikes and head to 230 Fifth for sundowners with our friends who had arrived from Johannesburg. I had quite enjoyed 230 Fifth when we had been there previously but was less impressed this time around. None the less, we had a wonderful time catching up and taking in the view of the Empire State Building.
Earlier that day I had spotted the dreamiest looking restaurant, Little Prince, on Prince Street so I convinced everyone that we should head there for dinner. Unfortunately though, it was full, so we ended up at The Dutch, also on Prince Street, which actually turned out to be a great choice.
On Sunday morning, after sharing a few pastries at Rosemary’s (a block down from Bluestone Lane Collective Cafe which was my first choice for breakfast but unfortunately completely full), we hopped back on our Citi Bikes (you pay $12 for 24 hours of Citi Bike access which is pretty much the bargain of the century given that a single subway ride will set you back $2.75) and headed for One World Trade Center. On previous trips to New York we had been to the top of the Empire State Building and to the Top of The Rock (which I really like as you get a view of the city with the Empire State Building in it) so this time we decided to go to One World Observatory. Unfortunately it was a bit overcast but the views from the Observatory, especially over the water, are beautiful although, I think I still prefer the views from the Top of The Rock.
We then all met up to walk over Brooklyn Bridge, which is also something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. Initially I had wanted to cross the bridge and head to DUMBO but while on the bridge we spotted 1 Rooftop which looked like great fun and so headed there for drinks. Not feeling up to walking any more and wanting to get back as quickly as possible, we decided to take the subway but between the subway station and line that we were supposed to take being down for maintenance and Google Maps not offering any alternatives, we resorted to using a good old paper subway map and much time and confusion later we finally surfaced in the East Village but by then it was pretty late so we grabbed a quick dinner before calling it a night.
On our last morning in New York we wandered down 5th Avenue and past Bryant Park, where they were putting up the ice rink, and then through Central Park – along The Mall, over Bow Bridge, through Shakespeare Garden to Belvedere Castle and to the Great Lawn and ended up having lunch at Le Pain Quotidien before having to say our good byes. But luckily I know for sure, regarding both our friends and New York, it wasn’t actually good bye, it was just ‘until we see you again’!