Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New York City, USA

Big lights will inspire you, let's hear it for New York New York, New York... And how much those lights have inspired me. Although I only spent a few days in the city that never sleeps, I instantly fell in love with the hectic, skyscrapers, cultural differences and all the other things that it has to offer. As usual, I won't recommend any Empire State Building tour (although it is pretty impressive) or other touristic spots - no, I will show you how I experienced the Big Apple.


For more pictures click here.
  • The Element Times Square: Located in the heart of the centre, this eco-friendly hotel is the relaxing spot after a long and hectic day in the city.
  • Ink48: This hotel puts you near top theatres, shops and attractions while giving you a stylish urban retreat complete with destination spa, breathtaking Hudson River and city skyline views.
  • The Pink Hostel: Women always fear to take shared rooms in hostels, so this one is only for ladies! Situated in the North of Central Park it is not the best location, though. 
  • Manhattan Hostel: One of the cheapest ways to stay in NYC is the big youth hostel on the Upper West Side. With 700 beds it reminds of a factory but it is proper which is most important to me.
  • TRYP: NYC is full. However this hotel offers spacious rooms, decorated with New York chic and Mediterranean influences. Definitely one of my favourites!
  • Andaz Wall Street: Living in the historic street in the middle of the financial district, is already an experience. Mixed with this modern hotel your stay will be perfect. 
  • The French Quartera Guest House: It offers residential-style accommodations with a New Orleans flair, dining onsite and a wide array of services and amenities await you.
  • Trump SoHo:  If success hasn't spoiled you, this hotel will. You should expect nothing less from a luxury hotel in downtown Manhattan, situated where SoHo meets Tribeca and the West Village
  • The Bryant Park Hotel: Located next to Central Park, the Bryant Hotel is the hot spot for young Hollywood, fashion culturi and cosmopolitans.
  • As prices for hotels/ hostels are rather high in New York, I recommend some Couch surfing or renting an apartment via vrbo.com. Especially an apartment saves money when travelling in a larger group, more than 3 persons.  
  • Rue57: The mixture of a Parisian brasserie and sushi bar seems to be strange, but food is highly recommendable. 
  • Carnegie Deli: Located near Broadway their menu offers everything one can desire. I tried their New York Cheesecake and can only force you to have it as well.
  • San Loco’s Tacos: If you like Tacos, San Loco's are the place to be for you. And four times available in NYC - there is no excuse that you cannot find it. 
  • Supper Restaurant: The East Village is an area that becomes hipper from day to day - the supper restaurant follows this trend: prices are high, but food is extraordinary and really good.
  • Tom’s Diner: Since 1940 Tom's Diner has been a cosy place for all who just want to have some good food: burgers, fries, etc. Located near Columbia University many students pass their nights there. 
  • Pure food and wine: An organic restaurant in the middle of NYC with the high potential of becoming the place to be in the next years. Some celebrities have already passed as they are convinced by the restaurant's philosophy.
  • Black Duck Restaurant: Not only duck is presented here, but a variety of good dishes. Enjoy the atmosphere amongst locals while listening to Jazz concerts or James Bond screenings.
  • Peter Luger: This steak house in Brooklyn is a real secret - for 125 years it has been offering prime meat in a nostalgic atmosphere.
  • Yakitori Totto: If you have the desire to eat some Japanese food, I can only recommend the Yakitori Totto with its large choice of Yakitori (grilled chicken) and other tasty dishes.
Bars & Nightlife
  • Green House USA: Eco-friendly club with celebrity potential - well, it is situated in TriBeCa where all celebrities live. 
  • Part of the Nightlife is the life around Broadway: Visit a musical and buy your tickets at tkts on Times Square the same day. The queueing is worth the discount and the experience afterwards. 
  • Ajna Bar: If you are willing to spend a little more for your night out, I can only recommend the Ajna Bar. Not only the entrance is impressive, but it is also a club with really good house music. 
  • Le poisson rouge: This eclectic multimedia art gallery serves up art and alcohol, but the people-watching is usually just as good as the shows on display.
  • Bar Next Door: Hidden in the basement of a beautifully restored townhouse, this bar feels like a secret enclave. Low ceilings and stone-and-exposed-brick walls somehow provide superb accoustics for regularly scheduled live jazz performances.
  • Bemelmans Bar: Few bars combine wit, glamour and coziness as well as Bemelmans.
  • Van Leeuwen Ice Cream: They make their ice cream using only fresh hormone and antibiotic free milk and cream from local farms, cane sugar and egg yolks. Yummy!
  • Little Cupcake: You know that I love cupcakes, there is no city where I don't recommend a cupcake store. And in NYC it is Little Cupcake because their frosting and dough fit perfectly together.
  • Penelope: Admittedly, it is currently a trend to go to Penelope. I discovered it before the hype and knew why: good food, cosy atmosphere, lovely service.
  • Spot Dessert BarSpot is a perfect haven for all-natural desserts & beverages with an Asian twist on their sweet tapas, pastries and ice cream. 
  • Lady M Boutique: Stop by their boutique on Madison have, buy a sweet bite of cake and sip some coffee - some hours of heaven!
  • A second Chance: Shop designer clothes either online or in one of their boutiques in Manhattan. 
  • Roundabout: It's been a year that I have looked for a black dress. Finally I found it here in this store selling new and resale couture in SoHo. Why I love it? When talking about customer service, there are only few stores that catch up with Roundabout. 
  • Hollister: Everyone coming to NYC has a peek into Abercrombie & Fitch, the "big brother" of Hollister. Except me. I wasn't interested and went instead to Hollister on Broadway. Few people and nice service. You can SHOP here.
  • Chelsea Girl: Vintage clothing - hooray! “Old clothes are old friends.” is what Coco Chanel said and this is Chelsea Girl's statement. 
  • Beacon's Closet: Three stores in Brooklyn and Manhattan that offer women's and men's individual clothing. No brands, affordable prices and nice pieces.
  • Bird: Located in Brooklyn this store sells women's clothes by different worldwide known designers. A boutique where you get personal advisory.
  • Rags-a-GoGo: Crazy store (with crazy web page) that has to offer a large choice of vintage clothes. Back to 70's? No problem!
  • Buffalo Exchange: With new and recycled fashion to a social enterprise: the purpose of Buffalo Exchange is to lead the resale fashion industry, provide a livelihood for its employees, a fair return to its owners and achieve sustainable profitability.
  • SoHo & TriBeCa: Two districts I absolutely adore. Go to SoHo for shopping whereas Tribeca is a desirable neighbourhood for celebrities. You might cross one.
  • Little Italy: The district in Lower Manhattan is lively. Just soak up the Italian influences by wandering around. For now I couldn't find a really good restaurant because most of them are tourist traps.
  • Central Park: NYC is busy and Central Park is one of the few places to catch some nature. Walk around, play on the grass, have a date on the lake. It gives back some energy.
  • Chinatown: Another lively neighbourhood in which you feel like in Asia. As it is one the biggest Chinatowns in the world, you absolutely should see it and taste some of their specialities that are sold on the street.
  • Manhatten Kayak: Instead of taking a touristic boat to the Statue of Liberty, rent a kayak and paddle yourself.
  • Gossip Girl tour: Since young girls strive to be the Blair Waldorf of their city, New York offers the Gossip girl tour through the Upper East side.
  • The high line: Once it used to be a railway, now it is a park. The initiative to make the city greener, attracts locals and foreigners to gain some energy.
  • Farmer’s market: The two goals are to promote regional agriculture by providing small family farms the opportunity to sell their locally grown products directly to consumers, and to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to the freshest, most nutritious locally grown food the region has to offer. Achieved.
  • Tramway to Roosevelt Island: In order to visit the island take the tramway as it leads of the water and you can enjoy a fantastic view.
Special recommendation
  • Yellow cabs are typical NYC - but they are expensive. Better go for the subway system, a weekly pass costs 29$. More and more locals change their behaviour as NYC tries to become eco-friendlier. Help them.
  • Some food should be eaten in NYC: Hot dog on the street, fresh bagel and New York Cheesecake are the top three in my opinion.
More information
Personal data
  • Visiting Dates: Few days in May 2011
  • Accommodation: Hostelling International, Amsterdam Ave
  • Personal highlight: Billy Elliott Musical on Broadway and shopping in SoHo

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