Ever wanted a New Yorker’s opinion on something? Where to go? What to do? Where to eat? How to get away from everyone? This week, Emma Tuccillo, creator of the beautiful travel guide, And North, talks adventuring and exploring in upstate New York, her quaint Queens neighbourhood and rummaging around Manhattan’s finest thrift shops.
Are you a native New Yorker?
I grew up 30 minutes north of the city in a little town called Hastings-on-Hudson. I went to college in upstate NY, which is how I developed a love for the area. I now live in Queens and travel upstate every weekend to research my blog, And North.
What neighbourhood do you live in and why?
I live in Sunnyside, Queens. Coming from upstate New York, I was looking for a place to live in the city that felt quiet and community driven. Sunnyside is only a 15-minute train ride to Manhattan but feels quite far away. Just a block from where I live is a historic neighbourhood called Sunnyside Gardens where little houses connect through alleyways and gardens, it feels like a little pocket of London and I love it.
Favourite time of year in the city?
My favourite time of the year in the city is spring. After a long, cold winter in New York City, there is nothing like those first few warm days where the air smells like soil and the sun seems to be shining just for you.
Best brunch spot?
When I’m in the city, I love going to Buvette for brunch, a special little French café on a residential street in the West Village. When I travel north for the site, I love going to Table on Ten. Set in the heart of the Catskills, this restaurant-come-inn serves impeccable food and sources from farms within a 30-mile radius.
Best meal ever?
The best meal I ever had was in Upstate New York, at a place called Brushland Eating House in Bovina. Brushland’s focus is on farm-to-table American fare. I cannot visit without getting their roasted carrots, which are as photogenic as they are delicious.
When I’m in the city, I love shopping at Adaptations, an antique store in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. When I travel north, I love to visit Red Chair on Warren in Hudson, NY. Their selection of French antiques is exquisite. I can stare at their shelf of ironstone white pitchers all day.
Building you’d most love to live in?
I would gladly move into the top of the Chrysler Building tomorrow!
City’s most overlooked site?
The New York Botantical Garden in the Bronx is spectacular. I visited last year for my birthday and was shocked that I hadn’t visited earlier. Their massive glass greenhouses and flowery trails are not to be missed.
If you could choose only one museum or gallery to go to, which one would it be?
The Neue Gallery on the Upper East Side is my favourite. It has a beautiful collection of German and Austrian art, including my favourite painting of Adele Bloch Bauer by Gustav Klimt.
If you were to be a tourist for a day, what would you do?
I would start my day on The High Line then head over to the West Village for brunch. After a delicious meal, I would jump in a cab and head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to visit the Egyptian section. After a few hours of wandering around the museum, I would head to Central Park for a lay in the grass and a walk around the pond.
What inspires you about New York City?
New York City can be a very difficult place to live. It is busy and loud and sometimes unbearable. However, there are those perfect moments throughout the day when the city seems to come together and show you something beautiful that you could never have imagined. Those moments are so special and make living here seem like the most natural thing to do in the world.
Is there anything you’d change about living in the city?
I would certainly add more Subway lines and cars. During rush hour, the subways are not fun to navigate.
A word of advice for tourists…
Don’t pack too much into one day. You will discover more and enrich your trip by just wandering around the streets and people watching. When visiting the city, make sure to leave a few days to travel north. There are amazing regions in upstate NY that are so rich in culture.
Visit And North, here.