we lived in the city of dreams for a few months one summer while stephen was in job training. my job was to be a full time tourist. we have been back to visit a few times since. now, i don't profess to be a professional on the streets of manhattan but i know the basics.
1. walk the brooklyn bridge from brooklyn to manhattan. while in brooklyn explore the brooklyn heights promendade and the cool piers. food you must try: juliana's pizza, it is literally underneath the bridge and will change your life. brooklyn ice cream factory. walk a few blocks to DUMBO to check out the underrated manhattan bridge! DUMBO is coooooool. hi dan humphrey!
2. walk the high line. it is an abandoned railroad that they turned into a city garden. start at the top around 29th street and walk until you get to end around 14th street. this is my FAVORITE part of the city. go to the outdoor rooftop bar at the STANDARD hotel for the most insane views of the hudson river, new jersey, and lower manhattan. it's gorg. head back to 15th street and go to chelsea market for the BEST food experience. option 1: head back to the hudson river greenway (gorgeous walking path) and wander as far as you want. it will lead you to the financial district/battery park. OR option 2: (this is the option i would choose) after going to chelsea market head back to 14th street and head east towards greenwich village. you will never see cuter apartments in your life. the friends apartment is in greenwich village, and so is NYU. "the village" is a no honking zone. so its quiet and charming. while in the area I would definitely make an effort to go to washington square park. which is like middle gathering spot of campus for NYU. stephen and i spent many hours sitting on the fountain listening to the musicians. washington square arch is in lots of movies. august rush, I am legend. walk around bleeker street for some amazing vintage stores and killer records. if you're a fan of rice pudding there is a place called From Rice to Riches kind of around here that is like gourmet rice pudding. sounds weird i know. but it's good. i would spend the majority of one day doing this!! it's worth it i promise!! for dinner/lunch go to The Meatball Shop. get it all. especially the meatballs over mashed potates with gravy. and the cookie ice cream dessert. you'll thank me later.
3. top of the rock at dusk. get those tickets early! unbelievable views!!
4. madison square park + the flat iron district. you are literally only here for the food! 1st stop: dough doughnuts. creme brulee doughnut!! please mail me one. 2nd stop: shake shack. there are conflicting opinions but you have to try it and you have to try it at the original location in the park!! crinkle fries for LIFE. i miss them so much. i personally think the burgers are amazing and if stephen had a choice he would eat shake shack for the rest of his life. 3rd stop: EATaly. there is a nutella bar, gelato that is insane, such good pizza, cheese tasting. whatever hits the spot, go for it. its an experience! 4th stop: sweetgreens. I don't know if you are salad people, but if you're not this will convert you. thee best salads i have ever had. I went probably twice a week. the flavored lemonades are also a must!! blueberry basil for the win. and then obviously the main attraction is the flat iron building and people watching in the park. its a pretty central area of the city so split the food up, or don't. i support binge eating.
5. rooftop garden of the metropolitan museum. here's something so sneaky about the met. ITS FREE. they have a "suggested admission price" of 25 dollars. no thanks. that means donation. sit on the steps like blair waldorf and serena van der woodsen and then walk in that place and donate a dollar, you're in. the rooftop garden closes at 4pm so go earlier in the day. i'm telling you, its thee best kept secret in the whole city. the skyline view is just so good. and you feel fancy. and then obvoiusly enjoy the museum. from there i would either wander around the upper east side (find kathleen kellys apartment building) or head to central park...
6. rent row boats in central park!!!! it's 15 dollars for an hour. and i'm telling you it will be the best 15 dollars you spend!! you will pass bathesda fountain on your rowing adventure, make sure you walk through it as well. it was an old station that they closed down and its this gorgeous mosaic lit ceiling. always good musicians in there as well. its my favorite place in the park (pretty close to the boat house if that gives you a point of referece) you can also rent remote control sailboats on the pond. its darling. (they do it on gossip girl. basically just watch gossip girl 24/7 until you go.) gosh spend hours in the park. it's so magical.
7. obviously a broadway play + times square. its so crowded but it really is so cool. i can send you my secrets on getting into a play for cheap if you're interested.
8. starting at Central Park South (or just 50th street where rockefeller is) walk ALLLL of 5th avenue. stop at the giant Topshop (duh), the flagship H&M (biggest in the US), and obvi all the fancy stores, take a detour two blocks to the east to go inside grand central station, head back to 5th and stop at bryant park (42nd street) and new york public library, and then i would walk alllll the way to 4th street. yes that is 50 blocks total. but it will pass the empire state building, madison square park, the flat iron, and end at washington square park. all my favorite things!! there isn't a better walk to do.
9. 9/11 memorial and museum. you HAVE to do the museum. I spent 5 hours in there one day, you don't have to spend that long but i'm not exaggerating when i say it will change your life. it is the most emotional inspiring thing i have experienced. it just unreal to be there and still feel the destruction.
If you have time some really fun things to do that are a quick subway ride away... the seinfeld cafe on the upper west side, its also a couple blocks from Columbia University. find Frat house row...coolest frat houses ever. the garden that joe fox and kathleen kelly finally meet is on the upper west side as well. they call it the upper best side!
the financial district is fascinating. wall street is cool! the ONLY reason i would do the statue of liberty tour (it's not worth dealing with the tourists and takes like 6 hours of your day) is if you buy tickets to the top of the crown. It has been closed since 9/11 and just reopened. that is the only reason i would go. otherwise just look at her from the edge of the hudson. she's just as pretty from far away with much less tourists!!
Rock of Ages
Phantom of the Opera
Dear Evan Hansen
Sound of Music
The Lion King