My holiday in New York is but a distant memory now but I’ll be back. I always cram in as much as I can and try to find new places, whenever I return to this forever changing city. I usually travel there alone but this time I was delighted to be with my friend Joanne who also enjoyed the unexpected snow day (more of that later!).
The first night was a quiet one after a long day traveling so we went for an evening walk around my favourite place; Greenwich Village. With food from every part of the world in one area, it’s the perfect place to be when hunger strikes. I had been dreaming about New York pizza so we went for some classic pizza in Village Bistro Grill. A post dinner walk to East 5th St led us to The Scratcher, a down to earth and cosy bar that I could get very comfortable in. Jet lag struck and it was time for bed.
With Central Park only a few minutes away from where we were staying, it would be a shame not to have a Sunday morning walk. I finally found the Alice In Wonderland statue and had fun spotting the squirrels. I booked a Sunday Funday Brooklyn Tour with likealocal tours for the afternoon. After meeting our lovely tour guide and the rest of the group, we headed to The Brooklyn Brewery. On Sundays the brewery’s beer hall is open to the public. The place was hopping and some groups had settled in with a board game. I’m not a beer drinker but I found one I liked here called The Defender, brewed especially for Comic Con.
As well as pointing out the cool street art we also visited Mables Smokehouse, a Banquet and Beer Hall for pulled pork sandwiches (melt in the mouth) and more beer (oops). We tasted multiple hot sauces in Marshall’s Haute Sauce and brought a tasty BBQ hot sauce home for the family, which went down very well. We cooled down the palette with a visit to Old Fellows, an ice creamery with a view of the Manhattan skyline (fog completely obscured our view) and lots of unique flavours. I chose a coconut flavor. This was the best I’ve cream I have ever tasted. A visit to a Brooklyn Flea Market brought me to this great find: one of my favorite songs on vinyl. The tour wound down in a winery for some wine tasting and then finished in Mast Brothers for chocolate. You could see the chocolate being made in site at the back of the store. I highly recommend the salty sweet chocolate chip cookies. Divine.
I found Eisenbergs, an authentic New York deli that’s been around since 1929, for breakfast. A tuna melt and coffee (none of your fancy mochas here thanks). I sat at the counter to soak up the atmosphere and watch them at work. This place was constantly busy and the delivery guy was on the go the whole time. This will be my first stop off the next time I come.
I browsed the surrounding area and found some quirky shop fronts.
That night we went to Night Train With Watt Cenac, a comedy show held every Monday at Littlefield in Brooklyn. The voice of Bob’s Burgers himself, Eugene Mirman was there and did the whole show on a hover board. Hilarious.
I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw that the Star Wars & Costume Exhibition was on during my stay. I spent hours here fully immersed in the Star Wars world and got so excited when I was confronted with the costumes from Episodes IV,V and VI. BB8 was even there! It was cool to see the origins of each of the characters looks and how some of the special effects were done. I didn’t know that George Lunas sketched out a lot of Queen Amadala’s looks. It’s unbelievable how many people work behind the scenes.
I know it’s touristy but they don’t have all these M&M flavours back home so I had to fill up. Almond and mint are particular favorites. I also stocked up on accessories in Charming Charlie, a jewellery emporium that resembles a doll’s house, which was organised by colour.
That night we went to an underground comedy night in Union Hall, Brooklyn and we spent the rest of the night upstairs for wine and nachos. (Sure why not, we were on holiday!)
We plotted out a more cultural walk on day five going from Chinatown to Little Italy and St Marks. Chinatown was bustling with workers and shoppers with supermarkets, fishmongers, herbal remedies, ramen and decorations. It felt like another world.
Upon entering Little Italy, Christmas Cottage caught my eye. At first I thought it was closed because Christmas was over but then I realised it’s a Christmas shop open 365 days a year! Every type of Christmas theme was covered. It will be featured in the new season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which I am so excited to watch.
Next was St Marks, a new up and coming place. Well, new to me, at least. Broad City based a whole episode there so I just had to visit. It’s kind of grungy and cheap but I like that. Lots of quirky places. The Candy Emporium is heaven for anyone with a sweet tooth. Presidential Pez anyone? I visited Barcade twice. It’s a bar surrounded with old school arcade games and Tetris shaped tater tots. Had loads of fun here.
Another exhibition I was very lucky to see was the Saturday Night Live Exhibition. For anyone that hasn’t heard of this American TV institution, it’s a weekly live sketch show that has been running for 40 years and is hosted by a different celebrity each time. I am obsessed so it was a must. From the sets and writing process to the costumes and make-up and, most importantly, the writers and performers, it gave me a real sense of what goes into making the show.
We ended the night at Brooklyn Bowl, a bowling alley that also hosts live music, a great bar, the tastiest fried chicken and some quirky decor like personalised bowling pins.
Day 6, 7 and 8 (aka Snow Day)
OK, you heard in January about one of the biggest snow storms in New York history? And that it grounded flights for the day? Well, some would think that would be a nightmare but it was actually the best fun. At first we thought the news channels were overreacting but the snow just got heavier and heavier. Transport was stopping and stores were shutting down early. We relocated downtown. Luckily the subways were still running but what should have been a five minute walk took about an hour when wheeling our luggage through the snow. I haven’t laughed so much in a long time.
We holed up in one of the few places open, Spitzer’s Corner, a bar restaurant in the Lower East Side and then kept refilling the wine as we watched the snow building up and adults having snow fights. The only places open that night were a few bars so we joined in and enjoyed the night. Everyone was in good spirits.
It was definitely a trip to remember.
For all my tips on where to go in New York, here’s my guide to New York. Feel free to share any of your New York finds below in the comments.
For a complete rundown on all the places to go in New York, here’s my New York Guide.