Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I heart NY

From the bush (see You Can Take the Girl Out of the Country...)to the Big Apple - my loves couldn't be more different!

Nearly two years ago I spent ten days in New York (January 3 to January 13, 2008) and fell in love. Not only with the city but it's people, culture, architecture and general 'aliveness'. Following my trip, I put together a list of New York Favourites, which I recently updated to share with some friends who are heading off on their own New York adventures. So, I thought I'd share it with everyone.


  • Nikki Beach - 151 E 50 St - like stepping into a bar that belongs at Byron, good for celeb spotting
  • W Hotel on 49th & Lexington in Midtown - Oasis Bar and Whisky Bar, ultra cool, very trendy
  • 'Neal's Speakeasy - 174 Grand Street - great bar, cool cocktails, smooth service (this was "Scout" in Sex and The City)
  • Planet Hollywood in Times Square is also cheap and great people watching - kind of tacky but worth a look and good for a late night snack
  • Waverly Inn – very exclusive, get there early, amazing celeb spotting, very low key suprisingly. 16 Bank St, Greenwich Village
  • SoHo Grand Bar – 310 West Broadway. Gorgeous.
  • Gansevoort Rooftop in Meatpacking District is HOT! 18 9th Ave.
  • Bungalow 8 – of course. 515 w27th in Chelsea. The bar itself is more famous than the people you’ll see there…
  • The bars in the boutique hotels are fantastic – check them out, you might just find a hidden gem!


  • TAO - 58th and Madison - largest and most popular Asian restaurant in NY, great for star spotting, awesome cocktail bar out front, definitely need to book ahead
  • De Nico's - 164 Mulberry Street - best Italian in Little Italy, cheap and awesome service. Sit out the front section so you can watch the people traffic, two young brothers own it and they are typical New York Italian mafia!
  • Sushi Samba - 245 Park Ave Sth - great Japanese food with awesome sushi bar and ultra cool cocktail lounge (as seen in Sex and The City when Samantha throws the cocktail in Richard's face)
  • Sarabeth's - 40 Central Park South - beautiful views of the park, right next to the Plaza, good place for breakfast
  • Cupcakes – Magnolia Bakery, of course. Bleeker St in Greenwich Village
  • Pastis for Sunday brunch is a must! 9th Ave Chelsea
  • Kytofu - like Freestyle, NY-style! Voted as best cupcakes in NYC so make sure you compare against Magnolia! Chelsea Clinton is often spotted here… 9th Ave Midtown (48th & 49th)
  • Check out www.nymag.com for some great restaurant recommendations and a page of “cheap eats” too!
  • Gourmet Garage – 6 locations around Manhattan to pick up nibbles and snacks for the days you can’t be bothered eating out


  • Can't go past Abercrombie & Fitch on 5th Ave for guys stuff - and the hot boys standing out the front with their shirts off (get a photo - I chickened out!)
  • Apple Store on 5th is also really cool and open 24hrs. The biggest in the world.
  • There's heaps of boutiques down on Bleeker Street in the West Village like Marc Jacobs and some very trendy designers (it was my favourite shopping spot)
  • For department stores, can't go past Macy's for the bargains and Bloomingdales is definitely worth a look. Seriously can't go wrong with any of the department stores, they are phenomenal. And if you need to buy presents for girlfriends, Victoria's Secret across from Macy's is very cool and sure to win brownie points!
  • Toys - can't go past FAO Schwarz on 5th or Toys'R'Us in Times Square.
  • Ok, now the serious ones - Manolo Blahnik on 34 W 54th Street, Jimmy Choo 645 5th Ave, Sergio Rossi 694 5th Ave, Bergdorf Goodman 754 5th Ave, Bloomingdales 1000 3rd Ave are all in Midtown and AMAZING!
  • There is Diane Von Furstenberg for gorgeous dresses 440 W 14th Street in the Meatpacking Dist, not to mention Alexander McQueen and Stellar McCartney's flagship studios on E 14th Street
  • I LOVED Sephora in Times Sqaure for cheap cosmetics and also the FREE makeovers - you know how they charge for those here (redeemable on product) - over there, they are free, no obligation.
  • Henri Bendels was beautiful, slightly more pricey than the other cosmetics stores, but the service was impeccable.


My best pics were the Guggenheim, the Frick, and the MoMA. There is also the Museum of Sex - interesting... I also loved The Met but it’s so huge. In summer they have great rooftop sculpture gardens apparently!

Other tips

  • Jump on one of the Red buses that takes you on a loop of NY. Great info on different spots and history on NY. Also great way to get your bearings and see where the major spots are and how far to walk etc.
  • Despite the lines, the view from the Empire State Building is awesome. Do the Top of the Rockefeller Centre at night time - it's totally empty and extremely romantic.
  • MUST walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. I suggest getting the subway over, grab a coffee or something and then walk back to Manhattan across the bridge. Stunning.
  • Central Park is amazing and has some really interesting guided walks. The best spots are the Bethesda Fountain and Terrace (where all the movies are filmed) and the Mall (avenue lined with trees) and the Literary Walk of all the famous writers.
  • The subway is really easy to navigate - get taxis when the weather is bad or you can't be bothered walking otherwise - but walk as much as you can to take it all in!
  • Get a hot dog from Grey's Papaya - there are lots of them all over the city.
  • If you like ice cream, grab a soft serve from Tasti D'Lite - tastes amazing and nearly guilt-free!
  • Definitely get down to Ground Zero and Wall St but there really isn't much to see so you could spend maybe two or three hours here, tops
  • Jump on the free Staten Island Ferry when the weather is good to see the Statue of Liberty
  • Whatever you do, don't dine in any of the restaurants in Times Square - they are poor quality and a total rip off on tourists. There was a really great pizza place at the top of Times Square just a short walk from the Gershwin Theatre that I can recommend - cheap and tasty and all the celebs have been in and signed plates on the walls so that now none of the walls can be seen!
  • If you are looking for somewhere to get a blow dry, there's a place called BLOW on E 14th St down in the Meatpacking Dist which is purely a blow drying salon. The guy that did my hair when I went had just done hair for a Victoria Secret shoot.
  • Do either a helicopter tour of Manhattan to get a really amazing perspective on just how incredible the city is, or do a walking photo tour – they look like so much fun and you get some great touristy and not-so-touristy shots to take home!
  • Check out www.onlocationvacations.com to see which movies are filming in NY when you’re there
  • And of course if you’re a SATC fan, the bus tour is a MUST! Lots of fun.

1 comment:

Sleepydumpling said...

Wow, you were in NYC about a week after I was, little more. I was there the week before Christmas 2007 (Greyhounded it to friends in Michigan on the 22nd Dec).

It's such a wonderful city and I can't wait to go back in Jan/Feb 2011.

The thing I can recommend most for NYC? www.bigapplegreeter.com - I had the most awesome lady take me all over the city.