It’s no secret. I am obsessed with New York. And it’s all thanks to my mum (you can read more here). Since my first trip in 1995, I’ve visited over 15 times since and counting – as a backpacker, for New Year, Thanksgiving with friends, to see spring time and autumn, for Christmas shopping… and the odd work assignment. I try to visit at least twice a year and I’m always, as my tagline says, ‘planning my next trip’. I hope you find my blog entertaining and useful.
Quick-fire Q&A round:
Favourite time of year in New York: ‘New York is always a good idea’ as the saying goes and each season definitely has something going for it. Christmas time is magical and an excuse to wrap up and drink mulled wine on a rooftop bar. Come spring and autumn you can get out, walk around, have a picnic, see some art outside, go to a rooftop cinema – so I’m torn. I would visit in spring, autumn and just before Christmas each year if I could!
Favourite New York neighbourhood?: At the moment, it’s the West Village for the beautiful tree-lined streets, historic brownstone houses and places to eat. It’s a residential area which makes it easy to feel less of a tourist. It’s also easy to get around town from here, and close to some interesting sights including The Whitney Museum of Art, the Hudson River and the High Line – a stylish urban park built on an old elevated railway line.
Best brunch spot: Cafe Cluny in the West Village (where else?!) because you’re guaranteed a memorable unpretentious experience and won’t get ripped off. It’s a little expensive, but I’ve never had a bad meal here. Insider tip: try to arrive before 10am to guarantee a table. If you wait any longer, you’ll have to join the queue which ends up around the block on most weekends.
Best coffee shop: I’m a nostalgic soul at times, so I love going to Cafe Reggio on MacDougal Street, Greenwich Village’s oldest coffee shop. It’s like stepping into a time machine, the decor unchanged since I’m guessing the 1950s. There’s also an amazing old coffee machine in the corner, which was used to make the first espresso in the USA, apparently.
Best date-night dinner spot: I’m not just saying this because I’m from England but it’s got to be The Spotted Pig (its chef and owner April Blomfield is English, too) because it’s cosy inside, always packed out and the food exceptional. Never mind romance – those shoestring fries, though…
Best mid-week dinner spot: Definitely Frankies 457 Spuntino on Hudson Street. I’ve never tasted Italian food like it, and the plates are little (‘spuntino’ means little plate in Italian) so you get to try a few things at a time.
Best quick lunch spot: Again I’d go for a little nostalgia here and head for Eisenberg’s sandwich shop. It’s an old-fashioned luncheonette with stools lined up along a long counter and booth tables. There’s everything imaginable on the menu, all of it made fresh and it’s not expensive. Or there’s Barney Greengrass, a similar old-world establishment for gigantic delicious bagels. I think it’s really important to support these New York institutions so they don’t disappear for good which would be awful.
Best bakery: It’s got to be Glaser’s Bake Shop – if only to see the mid-century dark-wood and white-tiled interior. It was opened in 1902 by a German ex-pat and is still going strong today run by his grandsons! You can’t sit inside, so grab some strudel or one of their black and white biscuits and a coffee and head over to Carl Schultz Park to enjoy.
Best bar: Arthur’s Bar to see the Grove Street Stompers play jazz on a Monday night. I quite like The Rusty Knot by the Hudson River, too. It’s a nautical-themed bar serving dirt cheap beers and wine from a box!
Favourite thing about New York: It’s cliched but I love the constant noise and pace. Then there are all those New York institutions and family businesses I’ve mentioned that have survived since they started in maybe the 20s or 30s that tell a story about New York’s heritage but are in danger of disappearing.
Best way to spend an afternoon: I don’t think it’s well known that there’s a little bar on the Metropolitan Musuem of Art’s rooftop, so I would head here to sip wine while I admire the art and that view over Central Park…
Most memorable New York experience: Walking out onto the rooftop observation deck of Two World Trade Centre, 400 metres up, in 1996. What an incredible feeling to look down below at Manhattan in miniature, the usually loud sounds of life in the city completely muffled. Time stood still and it’s an experience I will never forget. I feel lucky to have visited and still cannot believe 9/11 actually happened.
Favourite book set in New York: Choosing one would be like choosing my favourite child! Edward Rutherford’s New York is a page-turner and entertaining crash course in New York history rolled into one. Then there’s Mario Puzo’s masterpiece, The Godfather, which I’ve read countless times for the absorbing writing that sucks you into the passionate world of big Italian families and the mafia to the backdrop of 70s New York and Long Island.
Favourite film set in New York: Woody Allen’s 1977 Annie Hall because even 25 years after it came out, it’s still witty and familiar, although I tend to get distracted by Diane Keaton’s incredibly stylish off-beat costumes and spotting locations I’ve been to, which is why I’ve watched it so many times…
TV show you always watch: I love comedies and Curb Your Enthusiasm is one of my all-time favourites – we all have Larry David moments at some point! I’ve also recently got into Girls for Lena Dunham’s sense of humour and how she nails the awkwardness of your 20s.
Random pet peeve: I’m not in New York long enough to actually get annoyed with anything about it. So if we’re talking daily life where I live then I have issues with that time the person in front of you in the swimming lane decides to practice their ‘kicks’ with a float for the whole length. Argh.
Irrational fear: That I will fall off any bridge I walk over. Don’t make me walk over the Brooklyn Bridge because seriously I just couldn’t do it. You can tell me all you like how much I’m missing out on a great view and experience, but you won’t convince me.
Best thing a New Yorker has said to me: “I love your accent and you seem like a really sunny person.” I’m not sure what ‘sunny’ means, so I’ll take it as a compliment.
Why should I read your blog?
Whether you’re planning a trip to New York or live in the city, my blog is a place to share ideas and inspiration on the greatest city on earth.
But you don’t live in New York?
You’re right, I don’t live in New York. I don’t want to be anything other than completely honest about this. I do not have a better knowledge of the city than a local could. What I do have is a lot of passion and curiosity for the city and travel in general, which motivates me to always want to read about what’s going on in New York, find out what’s trending, where’s good to go, and talk the people of the city to inspire my holidays, because I enjoy it so much.
Do you take sponsored posts?
Yes, I’m happy to consider sponsored posts, so feel free to contact me here.
Will you feature my product?
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