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A short but sweet go list highlighting some of my favourate places to shop, eat, stay and see.. take your walking shoes and a BIIIIG suitcase!
As any New Yorker will tell you, having Brunch with your friends on a weekend is a BIG deal, and EVERYONE has their favourate brunch spot. Not wanting to miss out, i've tried out many around the city, and have always ended up back at this one as my very very favourate. I warn you though it gets REALLY busy Saturday and Sunday mornings- queues out the door, so get there nice and early!
Good Enough To Eat, 483 Amsterdam Av (at 83rd Street) New York, NY 10024
What they serve? They do lunch, dinner and everything else as well, but the breakfast/brunch is the best!! A whole range of panckes and waffles with different fillings, fruit butters and syrups, muffins, french toast, crispy bacon, eggs, omelettes, full breakfasts, fruit breakfasts, granolas.. as well as a huge range of fresh cakes!! The whole shebang. Go hungy, stuff yourself and spend the rest of the day walking it off!!
I first went here New York in "1999, with my well travelled sister who introduced me to the marvels of Woodbury Common. Many people come to New York for the shopping, Whilst every other street in NYC will have a Banana Republic or Gap , and the large department stores are huge and impressive looking- they arent that cheap. If you are looking for a real excuse to hit the cerdit cards and get some bargains, Woodbury common cant be missed.
What is it? Well it is a large out of town outlet Mall, about 1.5 hours (inc bad traffic)upstate of New York. When i tell you that i've never been able to "do" Woodury in less than 6 hours, and that was having planned my attack and not stopped for a break, you start to see the scale! There are a Huge range of outlets- including ap and Banana Republic, as well as a SAKs 5th Aveneue Discount Outlet (see the listing on the website), and i have always found lots of really genuine bargains with big discounts. If you present your self a the information booth, with a ticket for the bus there (more in a moment!) you can get a big discount voucher booklet, which is WELL worth having, giving you either Dollars discount, or % discounts on spends. In fact every time i go i have to buy a suitcase from a shop there, just to transport my purchases back!
How to get there:
If you are brave enough to be driving yourself, you can drive there (Route 32 in Central Valley, NY. One hour north of New York City) using the directions on the website, this has the advantage of you being able to dump armfuls of purchases in the boot periodically..
However for most visitors driving is not an option. In this case, you need to go to the Grayline office in the Port authority Bus station, New York City (42nd Street & Eighth Avenue) and buy a return ticket- $39 per adult, $20 per child (age 3-11). Note you MUST buy the ticket BEFORE you go up to the Gray Line Bus stop- they do NOT sell tickets on the bus.. There is a bus approximately every hour..
I would highly recommend this to all shoppers, and it is quite safe to do alone, so if you are in a couple or group who want to do separate things- i,e you dont fancy a day of museums or sport etc, then you can go it alone and indulge your inner shopping diva!
If you fancy injecting a bit of culture in your stay, this is the place to go.. The Museum of Modern Arts (MoMa-11 West 53 Street,
between Fifth and Sixth avenues) I stumbled in through the doors out of desperation one soaking wet Wednesday, just keen to find somewhere dry to spend an hour or two.. Fours hours later i had just about seen 1/4 of what there was! The general exhibits are awesome,. I have never seen so many paintings up close and personal that i had heard of and seen in books, films, etc. Their collection of impressionist works was amazing, i was totally blown away by one HUGE painting from the Monet Waterlillies series covering the entire length of a very big wall.. I spent about 10 minutes just moving backwards and forward towards and away seeing the seemingly random brush strokes turn into meaningful picture. Also loved seeing the Renoirs, Manets, Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky,
They also have regular special exhibits including in depth on one artist, gallery talks and film screenings.
Admission is $20 and is worth every penny, or you can enter free of charge after 4pm on Friday (Target Free Fridays!)..
11 West 53 Street,
between Fifth and Sixth avenues
One if by Land - 17 Barrow Street, West Village between 7th Ave and West 4th.
It is always great to know a special place to go for Dinner- and this one certainly didnt disappoint me. Great for (grown up) family or friend dinners, Romantic soirees, business diners, any occassion more on the formal side.
I was taken here for a romantic evening, and the decor, food, service and atmosphere were all fantastic. Reservations are absolutely required if you want to be sure of getting a table, even though we had a reservation, we still had to wait in the bar area for a while before our table was ready...
Surprisingly, when i went, there was no A'La Carte Option, just a choice of two or 3 special 3- 8 course menus with choices for most courses. Some including sommeliers choice wine, some are food only. The food is modern, gourmet, slightly nouvelle cuisine style but not tiny sized portions. We ran out of time and couldnt stay for the dessert, but with the Amuse Bouchee, starter and main, i was plenty full. Prices ranged from $70per person through to about $160- which with the GBP:USD exchange rate is really very reasonable for the standard of food. Compared to places of a similar calibre in the Uk, you would be looking at more like £70- £150 per person..
A beautiful venue, great food- somewhere that seems a eral treat at resonable prices!
Now that Krispy Kreme Donuts have hit the Uk, you may not see the point in indulging this one.. but trust me, a UK KK is NOT in the same league as a true NYC Krispy Kreme. Over in NYC if you go to one of the 2 official Krispy Kreme shops (NOT one of the many concession or street vendors) they make their donuts fresh constantly through out the day, and even promise a fresh "original glazed" donut hot of the line within about a minute or you set it free.. The end result being a perfectly light fluffy sweet but not sickly dough with an ultra thin layer of crisp icing. the perfect combination!
I defy anyone with a remotely sweet tooth not to get totally converted on the first bite! You will never look at the Uk sugar topped jam doughnut in the same way again!
Yes calorific, but if you stop in on one of the marathon walk abouts you cant help but do in NYC, you should be able to burn off at least one or two!!
The official KK stores are :
2 Penn Plz, New York - near Madison Square Gardens- 7th and West 32nd St
280 W 125th St, New York - 7th and West 125th St
Now, this might be a strange one for you.. Most people only go to a pharmacy on holiday if they get sick, and yes, on a trip to New York you may need to find somewhere to buy headache pills for a hangover, blisters for all the walking, and most likely indigestion tablets from eating to much..
However i always love to have a mooch round the pharmacy/chemist where ever i travel. You never know what you might find! Whether you are an avid shopper, a frequent traveller , looking for sweeties and goodies for little gifts or are a closet hypochondriac, i would suggest looking out one of the larger stores and going on in! There are Duane Reade stores on nearly every block, and large ones in the area of Times Square amongst others.
Things to look for are items you cant get over in the Uk, or things that are much more expensive... For example, frequent Longhaul travellers might like to stock up on Melatonin tablets which can help your body adjust to time differences and thereby reduce jetlack/combat sleep problems. These cant be bought in the UK at all. In Duane Reade you will usually find you have to ask for them as they are kept locked away but are still over the counter meds. Also popular buys are advil- aircrew swear by them as being fast acting and effective- now available in the UK, but cheaper and bigger boxes in the US.
I also like to stock up on tooth whitening strips. My favourates are Crest Whitening strips, which gave me fantastic results and at a fraction of the cost you get them in the UK, and much cheaper than going to the dentist for whitening treatment.
You will also find a great selection of cookies and candies, Oreo cookies and reeeses butter cups make great buys to take back from work colleagues and youngsters- its not easy to find a supermarket or grocer in NYC, so this is your best bet to find some, and a fraction of what they will charge at the airport or News stands.
Lastly, its worth having a browse of the cosmetics sections. I have picked up some bargain Rimmel, L'oreal and other brands-its not all cheaper, but it can be!
I would be surprised if anyone didnt know the Statue of Liberty, built as a symbol for all those arriving to start lives in America.. What is less known but possibly more eye opening , is Ellis Island. This island just a short boat ride from Manhattan and The statue of Liberty, was the gatepost for Millions of immigrants hoping to enter the USA in the early part of the 20thCentury. Over Half of the US population today can trace their ancestors as arriving in the US through Ellis Island. The sheer scale of people arriving and being processed through the facilities on this small island is awe inspiring and the stories you can read about on the island are hope inspiring as well as sad. The island is reached by boat- which then goes on t the statue, and the island houses the original buidlings used- some of which are now open as an exhibit giving facts, ficgures, a film, and lots of exhibits, pictures and stories. Even without immigrant relatives t the US i spent a really interesteing few hours mooching round. If you do have realtives who migrated to the US during this period, then it is even more interesting- there is a wall with all the names fo those who passed through, as well as a searchable archive you can use to trace people. Well worth a trip, and in my opinion outclasses statue of Liberty and Empire State Building
Where to stay in New York? Well to some extent your hotel is just a place to rest your head, but in a city so large, having stayed in various locations around Manhattan, finding the right spot can make the difference between having an OK trip, a good trip or a great trip.. Too far out - cheap but you end up feeling isolated and knackered from all the traipsing around. Too close to one particular spot, and to see anywhere else you go miles, some areas are more than a little iffy, so you need to find the best of all worlds.
Of all the hotels i've stayed in so far in NYC, the Millenium Broadway hotel has been the best for me. The location is the best selling point. Right near Broadway and Times square, easily walkable to almost everywhere in central manhattan, a few minutes walk from the Port Authority for shopping (see number 2!), lots of bars and restaurants nearby, and excellent transport subway connections all over the island.. the hotel itself is clean and quite grand with lot of shiny marble and lights.. The room was rather large and on the 34th floor, had great views. The bed was IMMENSE! Nearly got lost in it- made my King size at home seem tiny! The bathrooms again, lots of marble and plently of room.. It may not be the cheapest but nor is it the most pricey, it may not be the grandest, but it is certainly nicely done and not shabby, the staff were as helpful as we needed to be, but as i said, the location is the big selling point.
Millenium Broadway Hotel- 145 West 44th Street