New York – The Concrete Jungle where dreams are made of… Ben and I were invited to New York to see the Eagles live in concert at Madison Square Gardens ahead of their European Tour later in the year. The concert was fabulous and it was such a treat to see a legendary band in such a renowned location.
While in the city, we took the opportunity to explore as much as possible and had some incredible tips from friends, followers and family. I thought it only fair that I shared them with you!
We stayed in two hotels during our stay. Hotel Hendricks was brand new and glamorous with an amazing roof top bar, but could have done with more in the way of communal spaces. Kimpton Eventi had good size rooms (if a little dated) but a fabulous bar, two restaurants and a large seating area in the middle.
What to See
I’m going to start by saying what I always say. The best way to see a city is to walk it. On one of our days in the city, we clocked up over 28,000 steps. There are so many iconic buildings and sights to see in New York. We definitely didn’t get around all of them, but we did all of the below in the six days we had.
Times Square – It was cold when we visited, so there weren’t many street performers but the big screens make the whole place glow with colour. Times Square is also misleadingly, more of a street than a square. Nevertheless, it’s so worth seeing with your own eyes!
Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridge – Walking the Brooklyn Bridge to end up in DUMBO is just spectacular. It’s hard to appreciate just how vast Manhattan is until you see it from the Brooklyn side. The bridges are a sight for themselves too and you can easily get to the iconic Instagram spot on Washington Street with views of the Manhattan Bridge behind.
The Vessel – A brand new piece of architecture to New York. The Vessel in Hudson Yards. It comprises of 154 interconnecting stairs, 2,500 steps and 80 landings creating a labyrinth of copper. We chose not to go up, but you can climb for free, as long as you book a slot, on the day, ahead of time. You can also turn up and pay $10 for immediate entry.
New York Skyline – Getting up high and seeing the New York Skyline is a must in New York. The city can feel a little claustrophobic as the buildings surrounding you are so tall, but it’s only truly appreciated when you’re at the same level! I’ve seen so many fabulous photos from The Empire State Building’s Observation Deck, but we thoroughly enjoyed the view from Mr Purple. The view was free and we got to enjoy a cocktail as we watched the shift from day to night.
Grand Central Station – Walking through those iconic arches, all I had going through my head was the Gossip Girl theme tune. The image of Serena Van Der Woodsen standing at the top of the stairs was forefront of my mind as we made our way to one of the imposing stone staircases. An American flag fluttered over the main entrance and drew our eyes up to the stunning turquoise ceiling littered with stars. It really is spectacular.
What to Eat (and where to drink)
Apotheke – After a fab dinner with friends, we ended up at Apotheke. Hidden down a side street in China town, behind an unmarked door. Live music, fabulous mixologists making cocktails as a science and the best live music! Not to be missed!
GATO – The restaurant is owned by Chef Bobby Flay and Laurence Kretchmer. Who previously owned the Spanish restaurant BOLO, before the building was torn down to make way for a new development. The name GATO came to Flay whilst he was waiting to be shown around the space, before they created the restaurant. A ginger cat walked through Flay’s feet and the name came to him. Whilst the cat hasn’t been since, the name stuck. Flay decided to adopt a ginger Maine Coon who has since become the official face of the restaurant. Fabulous mediterranean inspired foods. Healthy, fresh and so many vegetarian options.
Cafe Dante – Dante recently achieved the status of World’s Best Bar. A pretty epic accolade considering the totally unpretentious, friendly atmosphere that greets you. During lunch there is a set menu of three courses for just $25. The food is incredible and Throughout our meal, we chatted away to other diners. When we’d finished eating, we swivelled our chairs around to face the bar and tried as many of the cocktails as we could!
Mr Purple – On the 15th Floor of Hotel Indigo on the Lower East Side, Mr Purple has uninterrupted 180 views of the New York Skyline. The space is flooded with light, with the inside and outside spaces split by just a pane of glass. Créme Design brought the space together with reclaimed wood structures, free hanging lights, concrete and metal. If the view isn’t enough to draw you out onto the terraces, the open-air pool might be. Possibly one of the highest pools in New York, I can imagine this space really comes alive in summer. Drinks with a view is exactly what you get here. The snacks are delicious too!
The Butcher’s Daughter – A plant-based restaurant, cafe and juice bar. The Butcher’s Daughter prides themselves on seasonal menus and buying produce from local and organic farms. The fruits and vegetables that come through the doors are treated like meat in a butchers; being chopped, filleted, and carved into healthy vegetarian and vegan dishes with gluten-free options too. We knew we wouldn’t be disappointed as we’d heard so much about it previously. All with rave reviews.
Plum’s – Plum’s is a little bit of a walk from Brooklyn bridge, but so worth it. The staff were absolutely lovely and having just opened, there was just one other busy table when we arrived. We were seated immediately and handed menus. Plum’s Restaurant and Bar is owned by Frank Defalco and Michael O’Keeffe who also opened neighbouring River Cafe in 1977. It sits in a spot that used to be an old working gas station. Pop Group Bananarama even shot their music video for ‘Cruel Summer’ outside the location in the 1980’s. In fact, many features of the old garage are still in tact, including the doors. Painted in a retro turquoise, with vintage cars parked outside, it’s such a cute spot. I’m sure we’ll be seeing it pop up across the ‘gram very soon.
The Loeb Boathouse – An institution based in Central Park, I’ve seen it in so many films that it would have been criminal to not get lunch or dinner there. We visited on Valentines day and it was fabulous. Delicious food, great wine and beautifully sunny. I can imagine in summer it’s even more enjoyable with the windows pushed all the way back and the birds singing as you tuck in. A boat house has stood in the spot since 1872. But it officially became the Loeb Boathouse in 1954 when Carl M. Loeb and his wife Adeline donated $305,000 to turn it into the venue it is today. New Yorkers have been boating on the lake since the 1860’s!
Eataly flat iron – Not a particularly iconic restaurant as it is a chain, but brilliant baked goods and fabulous views of the incredible Flat Iron building. In summer, the food and drinks shed is open and you can sit on the terrace for breakfast surrounded by birds. We still decided to sit on the terrace even though it was the middle of winter.
What to Do
Walk the Highline – Something I’m so glad we did while in New York. Packed with art installations, subtle planting and snaking right through the middle of the city, the highline is a perfect activity for all the family. It’s accessible and a relaxing spot away from the craziness on the ground.
Go shopping on 5th Avenue – There are a few iconic shopping streets in the world and 5th avenue is arguably the most famous. The shops are incredible, the buildings are stunning and the fashion is vast.
New York Public Library – Another spot that’s been the backdrop for many a film. A stunning building both inside and out and a breath of fresh air, detached from the skyscrapers surrounding it. The interior is incredible, so grab a book and find a cosy corner to curl up in and spend a rainy afternoon in the library feeling like a local.
Central Park – Have you even been to New York if you haven’t taken a stroll through Central Park? We didn’t even cover a quarter of the park, it’s incredible vast. Filled with a zoo, lakes, woodland, nature trails and surrounded by the iconic New York Skyline, it’s so different to any other park in any other city.
Restoration Hardware Rooftop – The perfect spot in the Meatpacking District to just sit and relax. In the New York sunshine with a glass of wine. As the district’s buildings are so much lower, the sun sticks around for longer and it hits the terrace perfectly!