Do New York as the Locals Do
It’s weird to say that I know Nicolette from her blog Culture With Travel and the #CultureTrav Twitter chat, but actually she is from a village close to where I am from. Now she lives in the Big Apple for quite some years already, and is happy to share her insider’s knowledge on the City That Never Sleeps.
Known for its many nicknames as the “City that Never Sleeps,” the “Big Apple,” and formerly New Amsterdam, New York is home to millions of people from all over the world. The beauty of NYC is that no day here is quite the same. This culturally-diverse city has something for everyone whether you enjoy the arts, want to take a walk in one of the many parks in Manhattan or the boroughs, plan to catch a sports game, or try a new dish. Though, the city might get overwhelming, especially if you’re looking to maximize limited time you have here, there are countless opportunities to enjoy its calmer sides, too. It’s not uncommon to hear from born-and-raised New Yorkers that they haven’t yet seen everything there is to see, but don’t worry about that!
Here’s what I’d recommend, if you only have one day this autumn to see this vibrant city:
Morning in the West Village
If you’re anything like me, you can appreciate the peace and quiet of mornings. Start your day by heading over to the West Village and picking up some coffee at either Jack Stir’s Brew Coffee or at the Roasting Plant. Both of these local spots have cozy atmospheres, spaces to briefly sit down, and a variety of drink blends to choose from.
See the city from a different angle: The High Line
With a cup of coffee or tea in hand, you’ll have some fuel to start your day as you walk over to the High Line. While The High Line is popular among tourists, locals alike continue to enjoy views of the city from above. As you walk along this historic, converted out-of-use railroad track, you still catch a glimpse of traffic and daily life in the city, but you’re a bit more removed from the crowded streets below. Be sure to dress warmly as it can be brisk, and check the event calendar to see about ongoing activities – including a fun opportunity to stargaze on weekday nights!
Grab a bite to eat in Hell’s Kitchen or on the Upper West Side
After walking along the High Line, you’ll likely be ready to grab lunch, and I know two fun areas that can cater to lots of different flavors. I’d either head to The Upper West Side near Lincoln Center for an amazing French lunch at Bar Boulud or explore Hell’s Kitchen for its wide variety of choices. No matter what you’re in the mood for (Asian cuisine, Italian food, American or pub food, and more), you’ll likely find it in Hell’s Kitchen, but I’d highly recommend it for Thai. My favorite spots there include OBAO and the Yum Yum restaurants, but there are plenty of options in the area.
If you do opt for the Upper West Side, you’ll also have the chance to walk around Central Park after a meal, and I’d recommend starting at Columbus Circle. Though this area will be busier, it’s still a wonderful part of the city that both locals and travelers frequent.
From there, you have a few options to continue your day…
If you’d prefer to continue traveling uptown, you should venture to Harlem. As a Central Harlem resident, I can tell you that it’s easygoing to explore the neighborhood around the famous Apollo theatre and embrace its history. You can always easily walk back down to Central Park North, where you’ll again have the opportunity for some quiet reflection.
If you’d rather stay downtown, you can always head East and take the ferry to Brooklyn! It’s amazing to see the Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn Bridge Park, and you can explore the area there, as well.
End the day with drinks by Union Square
After a whirlwind day in New York, you’ll be happy to wind down in Union Square. This historic intersection connects different areas including the Flatiron District, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, East Village and Gramercy Park. Surrounding Union Square, you’ll see lots of nearby cafes, and can also walk over to the East Village for drinks. I like to like inside or view the menu and find my way into cozy bars that way. An interesting stop would be ABC Kitchen NYC’s restaurant, as well. Grab a drink at the bar, or simply pop in to view what it looks like inside.
Bored is something you won’t be as you visit this energizing city. From the museums to galleries to ‘touristy’ must-sees and cozy restaurants, NYC really has a little bit for everyone.
Nicolette Orlemans grew up in a multicultural, bilingual home in The Netherlands to a Polish mother and a Dutch father. She is currently based in New York City, where she works as a communications strategist. When she’s not working, Nicolette loves to travel, and has visited much of Europe, seen many of the U.S. states, and traveled to Egypt. In November 2014, Nicolette founded #CultureTrav, a Twitter chat that focuses on how travelers personally experience travel – adapting to cultural differences, bridging any language gaps, creating new homes as expats, and much more. Don’t forget to follow Nicolette on social media:
Great post and lovely to have tips from someone who lives there – thanks Nicolette! The High Line is one of my favourite things to do in New York when I’m visiting!
I’ve never visited The High Line myself, but I would love to after having read Nicolette’s piece!