I am very excited about this Blog post since it’s dedicated to the city I love the most: NEW YORK. Ever since I au paired in Westchester NY, I am madly in love with this city. I visited plenty of American cities while living there, but to me there is just no place as awesome and amazing as “the city that never sleeps”. New York was actually one of the reasons why I extended my au pair time and it also made me realize that I am a city person. In the past years I revisited New York three times already as going there is just always a good idea. This city has a lot to offer and I feel like there is so much I actually haven’t seen yet. May I proudly present to you my personal New York favorites:
At this point I can’t even count how many plays and musicals I saw. Watching a show is a personal must do whenever I am in Manhattan. Most plays/musicals offer a student rush/general rush or a lottery which makes Broadway really affordable.
– What’s a ’student rush/general rush‘? It means that a limited number of tickets are available for purchase at the box office on the day of the performance. Sometimes cash only. Most of the time the limit is two tickets per person. You might wanna be there up to one hour before the box office opens as the line can get quite long. Often there is a valid (student) ID required.
– What’s a ‚lottery‘? It means that a limited number of tickets will be available via a lottery. Usually beginning two and a half hours before the performance, you are invited to enter the lottery; winners will be drawn about two hours before each performance. Each person will print their name on a card that is provided. Winners may purchase up to two tickets with cash only to that day’s performance. Of course it means that you need loads of luck, too.
Just check out the show’s website in question. Otherwise you can always get tickets at ‚the red stairs‘ (TKTS) on Times Square (not as cheap though).
This way, I got to see many amazing plays starring Daniel Radcliffe, Tom Hanks, Sigourney Weaver, James Franco, Helen Mirren, Maura Tierney, Jordin Sparks and many more. About half an hour after the show ends the cast usually comes outside and gives autographs. A good time for pictures with the stars.
Top of the Rock
Even though I am not a fan of touristy spots, I really like the view from the Rockefeller tower. You get an amazing glimpse onto Manhattan plus you can see the Empire State Building and Central Park. It’s also nice to go up there right before sunset. I guarantee you fabulous pictures.
You have to admit: Whether it’s Gossip Girl, Sex and the City or Breakfast at Tiffany’s we all have that favorite movie or TV soap that’s taking place in New York. Well, in my case it’s You’ve got Mail – the film I know by heart and can watch at any time and state. Thanks to Mrs. Google, you can find your fan spots in no time. I had a wonderful day strolling around Upper Westside, visiting ‚The shop around the Corner‘ and relaxing at Riverside Park. When my mom came to visit I took her to the Huxtable home since she really likes The Cosby Show. Find your spot, go there and freak out.
The lungs of New York City are a great place to hang out, relax or play some frisbee. Even though it’s quite touristy, Central Park is so huge that you probably won’t notice the crowds of people. My personal favorites are Shakespeare Garden, Bethesda Terrace/Fountain and Belvedere Castle.
This is probably the most awesome food market in all of New York. So far, I’ve only been to the one on the Williamsburg Waterfront, but it’s just great since you get this beautiful view of Manhattan. Every Saturday and Sunday, Smorgasburg showcases up to 100 food vendors. You better go there hungry!
This 2 km long park used to be a railroad track. It goes all the way from West 34th street down to the Meatpacking district. If you feel like taking a nice walk, this is the place to be.
Ellen’s Stardust Diner
It’s a very retro little diner close to Times Square. You don’t necessarily wanna go there because of the food, but because of the singing waiters. I guarantee a joyful diner experience.
American Girl Doll Place
No I don’t have some kind of weird relationship with dolls. The reason why I mention this place is simply because I personally consider it as one of the craziest stores I’ve ever been to. Why? Because I am from this tiny village in tiny Austria. When I was a kid I had 2 maybe 3 dolls, a few doll clothes and a doll buggy. In this store you not only find hundreds of different dolls, clothes and doll furniture but also a doll salon where people actually are willing to pay $15 for getting their doll a nice braid and there is also a doll cafe where you can dine with your doll. Oh and I almost forgot that they also offer doll ear piercings. What a jolly experience that is … It won’t get more American than that.
I suppose you already know that New York has some of the best museums in the whole world. I can’t give you a recommendation here since it really depends on what you’re into. Mrs. Google certainly helps you to find what’s best for you. Personally, I visit museums I haven’t been yet and exhibitions I am interested in. The MoMA PS1 in Queens for example hosted a Christoph Schlingensief exhibition in 2014. I was happy as a clam since he’s one of my favorite artists. So just do some research and have your own, unique museum experience. Always ask if they have a student discount if you carry a student ID.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
This beautiful park is subdivided into different sections. I can’t even describe how much I love and cherish it. I could totally spend a whole day there laying in the grass, watching people and starring at breathtaking Manhattan. You simply take the A or C train to High Street and after a 10 minute walk you are basically there. Especially the Empire Fulton Ferry section has been my favorite so far.
Let’s be honest, after a certain time you get tired of Times Square, Starbucks and all these other touristy spots and chain stores. That’s why I highly recommend the Shopikon New York App. Shopikon specializes in unique little stores and really introduced me to new areas and places in New York. I truly love it as it helped me find my two favorites: baked goods and children’s book stores.
This charming hall is located at the Meatpacking District and stuffed with delicious food and other yummy goods. No matter if vegan, vegetarian or meaty – you will find what serves you best.
Statue of Liberty
I can’t exactly tell you why, but Lady Liberty charmed me ever since I saw her for the very first time. If you’ve never been to Liberty Island you definitely should go. The Ellis Island Immigration Museum is absolutely worth a visit too. If you don’t wanna spend a lot of money you can always just take the Staten Island Ferry. It’s free of charge and gives you the chance to wave at lovely Lady Liberty.
I guess by now you already figured out how dearly I love Brooklyn. I can’t believe how much time I ‚wasted‘ at all these overcrowded touristy places in Manhattan during my au pair time. It took a while and a hint to make me realize what Brooklyn actually has to offer.
Hands down, they have the best doughnuts I’ve had so far. They offer doughnuts in all shapes and flavors. I guarantee you a difficult time choosing. You should probably just get them all 😉
You really should look into the history of Coney Island to appreciate it at it’s fullest. The theme park era is an outcome of the industrialization. At the beginning of the 20th century people finally achieved something like leisure time and had money to spend it on entertainment and diversion. Coney Island used to be the largest amusement area in the USA. Grab a Hot Dog at Nathan’s Famous, ask Zoltar about your fortune, attend the Coney Island Freakshow for $10 and have a nice stroll along the beach. I guarantee you a freaking awesome day. It’s just an easy 45 minute subway ride from Manhattan to Coney Island.
Walk the City
Put on your sneakers and explore the different districts of Manhattan. Walking is the only way to really get to know a city if you ask me. I just love strolling through the streets of New York, not exactly knowing where I am actually heading to, having a seat at a bench or at a little park, watching people passing by, watching children play, wondering if the ladies minding them are nannies, trying to guess what kind of job the man has who’s dandling his daughter on the swing, wondering if they live in a fancy apartment close by … Maybe I am weird for doing that, but it makes me feel very connected to the city, the culture and it’s people.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please comment and tell me about your personal New York favorites. I would love to expand my list.