We spend our last day in New York on the water.
We found out about the East River Ferry just as we were about to head to the Subway. But, well, as it happens, a cruise to Brooklyn was a lot more appealing than getting down into a smelly, stuffy tube station…So up on the boat we went, leaving Manhattan and the UN Headquarters behind.Not only was the boat a much more weather-appropriate mode of transportation, but you truly get a hell of a view for your buck!Bridge after bridge, the waves slowly led us towards the financial district. Soon after, we landed in Brooklyn, where we walked along Brooklyn Bridge Park until we got hungry and raced off to the legendary Grimaldi’s.
The queues testify of how famous this family-run restaurant is with locals and tourists alike. But considering they served us that beauty of a pizza, can you really blame them? Fuelled up, we walked up and down the street, in and out of shops (including the more than adorable Dabney Lee stationary store!) while chattering happily.After beating around the
bush bridge for hours, we finally decided to cross it. It was on my ultimate New York bucket list (just like every other first time tourist to New York) and I must say it did not disappoint. Feeling as small as insects, we wandered around the financial district, marvelling at each of those giants of iron and glass.The World Trade Center Memorial was probably the most emotional part of this whole trip. The contrast between the towering skyscrappers and the two massive hollow fountains marquing the locations of the two World Trade Center Towers is truly heartbreaking.
We topped the day with another cruise aboard the Staten Island Ferry.A first trip to New York wouldn’t really have been complete without a look at the Statue of Liberty, would it?
Early birds will be rewarded if they visit New York in the Summer. Because it tends to get so hot in the afternoon, you can’t really beat an early stroll around the city.
We started off our day reviving some elementary school memories in the form of flag guessing at the UN Headquarters…
We then strolled through the streets and over to the Rockfeller Plaza for a bit of early morning shopping.
We strolled through the streets, pointing at every single building and taking in as much as possible.
After a quick pit stop at Ess-A-Bagel (831 3rd Ave between 50th and 51st Street) to pick up food for an improvised lunch, we marched straight up to Central Park to find a quiet spot to tuck in.Fuelled up, we continued our exploration and quickly stumbled upon Conservatory Water, where kids and parents alike gather to sail miniature boats. We sat to rest our poor worn feet and observed the boats dancing and racing on the pond…
… before leaving Wonderland behind to continue our journey.We headed North to the New York Public Library…… where we met this reading-addicted gent!We were taking a quick look at the Guggenheim‘s quirky architecture when we heard our stomachs grumbling in unison.We raced back to Broadway for a taste of the city’s best hotdogs at Gray’s Papaya (2090 Broadway), which is another of those New York cheap food gems you don’t want to miss out on. Certainly not the healthiest of meals, but that’s what holidays are for… right?After lunch, we zigzagged through the street to burn off some of the calories and tick some more iconic buildings off our to-see list.
As the sun set and fell behind the horizon, we reached Times Square.With our eyes wide open, we took as much in as possible until our head spinned, at which time we decided to beat a hasty retreat (or, as most people call it, dinner!)
After having spent much of the morning going through airport security and sitting in planes and buses, we were keen to explore more of New York. As soon as we arrived, we ditched our bags and we were off again!We started our exploration with a taste of the day’s big event: the Pride Parade!Taking place on the day following the countrywide legalisation of same-sex marriage, the atmosphere was cheerful to say the least! Following crowds of rainbow-dressed people, we slowly made our way south and to the Highline.A popular destination for families and friends alike, the 1.45 mile-long linear park is build on a former railway of the New York Central Railroad. With trees and flowers all around, it’s the perfect place to take a much needed nature break!
… But you can also choose to marvel at the views… New York skyline to the East…… and the Hudson river to the West!… Not to mention some of the coolest buildings in the whole of New York! (here the ICA building, which reminds me of Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum)!
After a little while, we came accross a small street food market, where we treated ourselves to the most delicious of ice cream sandwiches.Fuelled up, we continued our exploration… After a bit more walking and a lot more chatting, we reached the end of the Highline. And found ourselves at the very centre of the trendy Meatpacking District.
… just like every single person who took part in the parade earlier! We left the tempting sweet treats and devilishly long queues behind and went for a walk through the small streets of the Village instead.
We zigzagged through the area for a long while but we failed to find the Friends buildings despite all of the efforts we put into this quest.
As the sky tuned pink, we decided to call it a day and were considering our dining options when we came accross Dos Caminos. We managed to get a table on the sun-filled terrace and admired the light go from white to golden while perusing the menu. We started things off on a high with the Bacon and jalapeno guacamole.Did I mention there was pork crackling onthere as well? #BorderlineGenius
From then on, it only when from good to best with the Chorizo Mac n’ Cheese (a personal favourite). More cheese than mac, just as it should be! We also shared a plate of the goat taccos which were the juiciest taccos I’ve ever eaten in my whole life. The accompagnying rice & beans were delicious as well but made us achieve satiety a bit quicker than we had expected.
We skipped dessert and walked home with very full bellies and a big smile on our face, chatting happily about the great day we had just had and how excited we were for the next one… before falling in a food-induced coma the second we passed the doors!
Manhattan’s skyline is one of New York City’s most iconic features and was probably one of the things I was most excited about when we started planning our trip.
New York is often presented as a city of skyscrapers, and I can’t really say my experience changed this impression. It truly is all about the heights! So much so that after my first day there, my neck ached from looking up so much!
But when there are so many cute details to see, you don’t really have much of a choice do you?The iconic Flatiron building is one of my personal favourites. Despite it being triangular, it seems flat due to skewed perspective. Pretty mouldings + optical illusion, how could I not be in love? Metal and glass giants everywhere…And some smaller, older buildings that are just as fascinating!You know what else is everywhere? Flags!From time to time, you’ll find one of those perfect spots where you can admire both & new mixing up together. No matter what city I’m in, I always find those juxtapositions fascinating. More flags (and some eye-shapped windows…)The iconic Empire State building (aka tourist hell)… I must say I’m not sure I get what the fuss is all about. Yes, it is a very tall building, but there’s really not much that’s so special about it, is there?Another passion of mine: reflections! I could stand there for hours watching stuff reflect in those bright, shiny buildings!Grand Central Terminal looking rather nice both from the outside…And from the inside!But my favourite of them all has to be the Chrystler building, with its elegant Art Deco roof!A bit of a shame we were not hungry while walking through Koreatown… I would have loved to try the dumplings those two lovely ladies were making!After a day of walking, we took a well deserved break on the roof of 230 Fifth, which prooved itself to be an ideal observation deck to admire the sun setting on that skyline we had been looking up at all day!
The Empire State doing its illuminated trick (a bit of a shame I didn’t have my camera the day of Pride Parade, as it was all rainbow-like!)
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend… and I’ll take mine in the form of buildings, thank you very much!And last but not least, the Chrystler building at its very best… My friend says it’s every New-Yorker’s favourite building, and once you’ve seen it at sunset, I suppose there’s no way back.
Do you like skyscrapers? Which one is your favourite?
Our first day in New York was quite a benchmark of how much we were going to walk during that whole American trip. Google maps might say 6.5 miles, but with all the zig-zaging, it was actually closer to 10…On our first day, we decided to go explore the Lower East Side of Manhattan with the (unspoken) objective of finding my dream house (with one of those lovely fire-escape staircases, of course!).Doesn’t that one look stunning? Who wants to move in with me?The red bricks are so caracteristic of this part of the city. Red, red, red everywhere! Not that I mind it at all! It is a major part of the atmosphere in this part of the city and gives it this homely feeling that made me want to move in almost instantly!We took a little break in the shade of Tompkins Square Park, together with many local schoolkids and dog owners (there’s a bone-shapped pool for dogs in the park! How cool is that?)South of the park, it was all about street art and I might have fell in love with a few pieces…(yes I know I’ve already shown you that picture, but it might well be my favourite of this entire trip!)En route, we stopped for a bit of shopping (who wouldn’t?)…And seriously considered a glass of wine for added wisdom…… before heading to Katz’s for a (big) bit of lunch!
With very full stomach, we decided to head North to get up-close with New York’s iconic skyline… But more on that tomorrow!
I truly believe that the best things in life are the ones you don’t plan too much for. And our first meal in NYC happened to be one of those.
We had been walking all morning (we walked A LOT, but more on that later) and stumbled upon the legendary Katz’s Deli just as we were getting hungry. Taking that as a sign, we settled down for lunch. And god, what a good idea we had then!Neon signs and loads of happy customers welcomed us in. It was still relatively early in the day (I blame jetlag for our unusual lunchbreak timings!), but the restaurants was positively busy already!We grabbed a couples of drinks to try out while reading the (extensive) menu…The kitchen team is amongst the nicest we’ve met in NYC and will happily let you try anything. I think it’s meant to help you make your decision, but I’m not sure it really helped me as everything was absolutely delicious!Having taken a peek over neighbouring tables’ plates, we finally settled for the (gigantic) Reuben sandwich with fresh & pickled gerkins. Not only did it look epic but the meat was seriously smokey and very more-ish. The accompanying pickles freshened the whole thing up quite nicely. All in all, a beautiful beast of a sandwich and one of the best I’ve ever had!
Once the billion necessary pictures taken, it was (finally) time to tuck in! Somebody was really excited about it!
And me? Oh, just like every other time I eat a gigantic sandwich, I was a true lady! 😂
What? The best sandwich I’ve ever had (Reubens on Rye).
Why? Katz’s Deli is an institution for a reason. It’s a no-nonsense, cash-only sort of place, but they definitely know their way with meat.
How much? About $20 for two with drinks. Portions sizes are GIGANTIC, so you’ll have more than enough if you share, which makes it one of the best deals I’ve ever came accross!
Where? Katz’s Delicatessen, 205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002