“And New York the most beautiful city in the world? It is not far from it. No urban nights are like the nights there. I have looked down across the city from high windows. It is then that the great buildings lose reality and take on their magical powers… Squares after squares of flame, set and cut into the ether. Here is our poetry, for we have pulled down the stars to our will.” —Ezra Pound
All of my life I’ve been hearing: there is no place like New York City. I finally had a chance to see it for myself. It’s a city of many colours. Lose yourself in Central Park and you’ll enjoy the towering trees that canopy pathways, secret waterfalls, and vast empty spaces of rolling hills and wide ponds. From upper east side to Greenwich village, I discovered quiet neighbourhoods with well-maintained green spaces that have you forgetting where you are. In the city centre, I traversed the symmetrical streets with mouth open wide and eyes constantly facing up, trying to fathom how buildings could be built so enormous. The city wouldn’t be without its people though: a vibrant energy, many with a focused determination to arrive at their destinations, and an overall feeling in the air of being able to take on the world.
Although it was a very brief two day stay, I tried to fit in as much as possible. Here is some of my itinerary:
Famous New York bagels at Absolute Bagels
Walk the entirety of Central Park (from North-West corner to South-West corner)
Visit to Book Culture bookstore, near the Natural History Museum
Rockefeller Plaza, Nintendo World, Legoland
Dinner at Tertulia, Chef Mullen’s award-winning Spanish tapas restaurant
Les Miserables at Imperial Theatre (starring Alfie Boe)
After-theatre cheesecake snack at Junior’s
Delicious brunch at Community Food & Juice
The world’s best chocolate chip cookie pick-up at Levain Bakery
Lunch at April Bloomfield’s Michelin Star winner, The Spotted Pig
Walk the The High Line, elevated walkway made from a disused railroad line
A visit to Chelsea Market, full of shops, grocers, and eateries
Stop by New York Public Library
Dinner at Totto Ramen for a warm soup before a long bus ride home
An Unforgettable Lunch Break: The Spotted Pig
Game meat love at Michelin Star winning restaurant from April Bloomfield. The must-try is their burger with roquefort sheep’s milk blue cheese and a mountain of shoestring fries. Nothing but the roquefort is needed to make this burger an unforgettable one. The shrubbery-covered restaurant is worth a look for the decor alone: there is barely a spot on the burgundy walls that isn’t covered in an illustration of a pig, deer, or cow.
Something Old, Something New: The Highline
The Highline is a a 2.33 km linear park built in Manhattan on an elevated section of a disused New York Central Railroad. It opened in 2009, with extensions still being built. I walked it from South to North, which allowed me to see stunning views down the city streets and include a stop at the Chelsea Market. The Highline is a beautiful construction: fountains, art, and some small shops are among the decor, with plenty of trees and plants to fill the space. The railroad tracks have been preserved, benches and look-outs have been added. The space is wheelchair accessible by elevators throughout the walkway, and provides some of the best views of Chelsea architecture.
Sustainable and Seasonal: Community Food & Juice
It’s surprisingly difficult to find a brunch place when you’re in NYC on a weekday. Thankfully, I lucked out. My upper west side brunch pick was an organic, sustainable, local and seasonally-inspired restaurant. My meal was delicious: chicken-apple-rosemary sausage with carrot hash browns and free-range eggs. The coffee was organic and fair-trade, from Brooklyn Roasting Company. The milk is sourced from Battenkill Valley, a family-owned dairy from Salem, NY.
Spanish Tapas: Tertulia
Chef Seamus Mullen’s award-winning Spanish restaurant is a taste of Spain on 6th Avenue. The ambience alone will lure you in. Coloured brick, wood tables with wild flowers, and an open kitchen at the back with a sophisticated, colourful menu transports me to Spain — New York-style. The ibérico ham croquettes, beef & pork meatballs, and grilled corn on the cob that I had were enough to have me wishing I could come back and try the rest of the menu. They also have 5:30-7:00pm $1 oysters, served up with celery fino mignonette.
Sights for Sore Feet: From UWS to Soho
While walking more in 48 hours than I did the entire week following, I was able to see many of the NYC sights: the statue of Liberty (from afar), Radio City, Nintendo World, and turtles in Morningside Park. Manhattan is one of those places you could explore for a lifetime, and barely scratch the surface.