The first sight was the solar eclipse. When we realised a few months ago that we would be in the USA for the eclipse it was a pretty exciting moment. To witness it high above Fifth Avenue was really awesome. NYC didn’t have full totality but it was about 75% so when the clouds weren’t obscuring the sun there was quite a spectacle to be seen through our glasses.
On Monday night we moved to a hotel near Little Italy, so immediately our thoughts turned to pizza!
We headed to Il Picolo Bufalo and shared the “Doc” Margherita Pizza. This has a rich tomato sauce, perfectly stringy buffalo mozzarella, basil and a dusting of parmesan. It was one of the most delicious pizzas I have ever tasted (and I consider myself quite the pizza taster).
Little Italy has some beautiful little streets and some incredible bakeries with cannoli that I regret feeling too full to eat!
We headed to ABC Beer Co. to share some beer and New York chats.
We tried several of the beers but my personal favourites were the KCBC Straphanger Rice Lager and the ACB Easy Blonde.
The Rice Lager was super light with a tropical, citrusy feel. Extremely easy drinking and perfect for fun conversation. Book-wise I think you’d want this alongside a thriller to soothe your nerves without distracting you from the twists and turns.
The ACB Easy Blonde was really special. A brilliant, full caramel with just enough spritz – I was very sad that this was my last drink because I would have enjoyed this twice if I could!
We also loved ABC because of the way they labeled our bar tab!
There are a few places where we’ve got a bit of attention for being British but this was the first time we’d noticed it and it really made us giggle!
On Tuesday we did a fair amount of wandering and exploring before heading to see The Book of Mormon on Broadway in the evening.
This show has everything you would expect from a fabulous Broadway show – huge musical numbers, mind-blowing choreography and even the odd costume change – with some absolutely outrageous comedy thrown in for good measure. This is not one for the faint of heart. In some ways, I wish that we had seen a more traditional show, but this was still a really fun experience.
By now we had explored Times Square at night and in the day. I have to say this was my least favourite part of New York. The intensely touristy nature of it combined with the sheer volume of people, even late at night, made it all a bit much for me!
We finished off our evening with dinner at Haru Sushi. The sushi was brilliant – especially the Hell’s Kitchen roll – but the real star was the Lobster Tacos.
Perfectly sweet lobster, avocado and incredible slightly spicy, citrusy dressing encased in Haru’s own gyoza shells made this the most incredible starter. Our only regret was that we got these to share!
We spent one of our days heading to the really classic sights – The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Empire State building.
The Statue of Liberty really is an iconic sight and it really surprised me how moving I found it. One of the most fascinating things was reading about how the Statue was first assembled in Paris and displayed at the Paris World’s Fair in 1878. The pictures of the separate pieces of the statue were strange to look at but it was an incredible story. When they completed the fundraising 80% of the donors sent in less than one dollar!
We took the ferry to Liberty Island and then headed over to Ellis Island. This was really the surprise of the trip – it is steeped in such history and the museum there is fascinating. Standing in the Registry Room and imagining the 5,000 who would have travelled through every day hoping to find a new life and the American Dream was just astounding.
The museum tells you all about the conditions that those immigrating experienced. Considering the amount of money they paid, the gruelling time at sea and then sometimes a wait full of uncertainty and confusion at Ellis Island, it is a true testament to human strength that so many people came in search of something new.
Just as a note in case you are thinking of visiting – the ferry is $18.50 to access both islands and overall I would say it is well worth it to see both of these sights. Allow yourself a good portion of the day if you want to see both islands properly. If you want to pay more you can go onto the pedestal or even climb into the crown of the Statue. Be sure to book well in advance if this is your desire as there are very limited tickets for this experience. My boyfriend and I both agreed that we didn’t feel the need to go in the statue and I don’t regret that choice at all.
My other top tip: get the lemonade! It’s pricey but worth it for the fun torch cup alone! (or is that just me?)
We then took a long, long walk up through Manhattan all the way to the Empire State Building, with a stop off to admire the Flatiron Building.
This is a good 1 and a half hour walk but we’re all about getting the steps (#fitbitlife) and just walking around is one of our favourite ways to see a city.
We booked tickets in advance for the Empire State Building which I highly recommend. They are $34 (cheaper than buying when you get there) and allow you to skip the ticket line. Tickets are valid for one year from purchase so you don’t have to cancel if the weather gets bad or you change your plans.
You’ll head through security and then into the line for the elevator. We arrived at around 7 pm and were very quickly at the top. The ESB website has a running update on how long the lines are so that you can make the best choice for your trip.
I have to admit that at first, I found the experience pretty stressful. When you see pictures from the Empire State Building you don’t see the absolute hoards of people vying for the view at the top. We thought we were very clever deciding to go at sunset so that we could see the daylight view and then see the lights of New York twinkling into view. Let me tell you – everyone else has had that idea too!
Once I had calmed down a little from the overwhelming crowd, it was still a pretty magical experience.
The only problem with the view from the Empire State is that of course, you can’t see the beautiful building that you’re standing on! We will definitely be heading to the Top of the Rock when we return, as then you get the view of the ESB as well.
We finished off our day with an incredible dessert tour of the East Village led by a friend who was determined to indulge even the sweetest tooth!
First, we headed to ChickaLicious to try the dough’ssant – their take on the infamous cronut.
I had the crème brûlée which was just incredible. The top had the perfect burnt sugar caramelisation, with the smoothest vanilla-flecked custard inside. It really did taste like a crème brûlée!
Next, we headed to La Newyorkina in Astor Place for a paleta – a Mexican style ice pop. I had the Lemon Verbena Raspberry and it was exactly what I needed. Tangy with the lemon, just the right amount of herby verbena coming through and whole raspberries bursting forth from the ice.
We then headed to il laboratorio del gelato where I had one scoop of pistachio ice cream and one of peach sorbet. The pistachio ice cream was good – it’s a favourite flavour of mine – with plenty of real nuttiness and the creamy texture that you expect from gelato. But the peach sorbet was great. I love, love, love peach flavour and it really smacked you in the face with this sorbet. Delightful.
Unfortunately, it seems that I was in too much of a sugar coma to take a photo of my ice cream, but I’m sure you can imagine it.
Our last stop was Oddfellows, where I had to bow out of proceedings for fear that I was about to cause myself some kind of cream-based illness.
Luckily, Joseph was prepared to soldier on so I got to try this incredible Miso Peanut Butter ice cream sandwich. It was intense.
On the subject of food, we ate a lot in New York. I’m going to write another quick blog post covering our other favourite places because there is too much to say here, so look out for that!
We spent a fun Friday night at a Yankees game. After my crash course in baseball rules in Central Park the week before, I actually had a pretty good understanding of the game.
We booked tickets through the Yankees website which takes you through to Ticketmaster. You get an e-ticket on your phone which gets scanned to allow you into the stadium. We found the easiest way to travel was to jump on the subway – there’s a station right next to the stadium.
I unintentionally booked tickets that were ‘cafe seating’ rather than in the main seating but this was actually pretty good. It meant we had a little table and could move about easily to get treats without disturbing others. It does have a slightly limited view when the ball goes up, so bear this in mind when booking!
Of course, we had some beer and I ate one of the most incredible mac and cheeses I have ever eaten. It was like a cup of saucy, smokey heaven! The atmosphere was really fun although we were pretty sad that the Yankees actually lost the game to the Seattle Mariners.
Our last tourist spot was visiting MoMA. I definitely want to head to the Met at some point but this was our choice for the time we had. You can buy tickets online but they are the same price at the museum. We visited when it wasn’t very busy but if you’re keen to avoid a queue booking online might be pertinent.
The Collection Galleries house some absolutely stunning works, with highlights including Starry Night by Van Gogh and Monet’s Water Lilies. The former was beautiful but the latter really took my breath away. I had no idea it was such a huge painting! Give yourself lots of time from MoMA – it is massive and there is so much to see. Aside from the Collection Galleries , e visited the Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive Exhibition, which is on until October 1st 2017. This was a fascinating insight into the Guggenheim architect’s work and also covers aspects of the archiving and restoration process taken to put together the exhibition. I highly recommend it if you are visiting.
We spent our last days shopping, eating more at milk, hanging out in Central Park with a friend unexpectedly in the city and packing to head to Boston.
Look out for my next posts on more food in NYC and Massachussetts.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my adventures in New York. Have you been? Do you have questions? Leave them in the comments!