5 Reasons to love New York City
Your lovable galavanter extraordinaire has just returned from the most awesomest trip to NYC ever. Like seriously, this kind of fun and excitement should be tagged with warnings explaining the risk of spontaneous combustion.
This trip was all the sweeter because it had none of the hallmarks of my first trip to the fabled land. In short, I was staying with a dear aunt and uncle in Maryland in the indian summer of 2003. As part of our fun filled two weeks (yes, they gave me and my lil bro a full two week schedule on arrival), they decided we would drive the 4 hours to New York and spend a day there. Thing is, it was so hot, my uncle decided it was best we didn’t get out of the car, so we drove around looking at the city through the car window. My dissapointment and distress was almost impossible to hide. My aunt did manage to bag a stop at a service station off the New Jersey Turnpike but seriously, by that point I was too mortified to speak.
Fast forward 8 years and this time I did it right! 6.5 spectacular days in this awesome city that’s not that different to London, but I gotta say it’s got that edge…
So, Rather than just randomly ramble, I thought I’d mention 5 things I loved about this trip, if you’re already a yankee then this may be preaching to the converted. If you’ve never been, may this inspire you to go make the most of this awesome metropolis.
Disclaimer: I still consider myself to be anti-US, but my San Fran trip a couple of years ago and this trip are chipping away at the rock….but I’m still anti-US so there!
It helps to have a local on tap, fortunately for me, my local is a friend I met only once, up a mountain in Peru (Machu Pichu to be exact). Born and bred in Manhattan, this lady had her finger on the pulse, and first thing she invited us to was an event where jazz greats are reunited with contemporaries who are influenced by them. On this occassion, it was a dedication to G.U.R.U. who passed away last year. IT WAS AWESOME! Live performances from a lot of hip hop dudes (many whom I didn’t recognise), including the guy who sang “Uptown baby, uptown baby, I gets down baby…” and an appearance by DJ Premier himself (G.U.R.U.’s Gangstarr partner). The live jazz band was serious and the icing on the cake had to be the four tap acts who came on to tap to hip hop….go figure! All Revive the Live events are meant to be serious so look them up!
2. Greenwich Village – Bleecker St
It is much hyped, but this area is a goldmine. Small specialist shops, cafe’s, galleries, restaurants basically anything. I even ended my 6 month hunt for a new pair of glasses in an optician on the corner of Broadway and Bleecker. I made a personal promise to go back and visit the shop where they make bespoke leather handbags….(not quite in my budget just yet). And it’s not just commercial lifestyle stuff, this place apparently also rocks for accomodation as well. The quintessential Manhattan lifestyle.
3. The Meatball Shop – Lower East Side
I have no words. First time I went to this place was at 1am in the morning. Second time was at 3pm in the afternoon. Both times it was busy, both times my meatballs rocked the ocean and the world. They do every kind, and everything is delicious. You know it’s good when a vegetarian takes you to a meatball restaurant and both the meat and veggie options make your mouth water. Plus it’s extremely reasonable. Making me hungry just thinking about it…
4. Studio Museum – Harlem
Ofcourse we had to do Harlem, on Easter Sunday no less. Wish I took as many photos as I should have done of the gentry folk in their Sunday best. Those pimp suits serve as well for Church as they do for Friday nights. Best thing about this area is the hustle, everyone is selling and people watching has to be the name of the game. On our wanders, we came across the Studio museum which features art from African-American artists. And when I say art, I use that broadly, they had performance pieces, video, sculptures, letters anything. A small, inspiring corner on the busiest street in town. It’s also free, def worth a visit.
We wouldn’t have done New York if we didn’t go to Brooklyn. I have to say if I ever live in that city, Brooklyn will be my home. We went for brunch (seems popular over there) at Chez Ozkar. Lovely atmosphere, brilliant food (damn near licked the sauce from my mussels off my plate) and some pretty interesting art on the walls too. We finished off brunch by getting desert at the Cake Man Raven shop. It only sells Red Velvet Cake. Nothing else. They really don’t need to, the cake was so good, it nearly make my eyes water. I want some right now. Probably the best cake I ever put in my mouth.
Other notable activities, obviously the general tourist things, Times Square, Empire State Building (do not pay the extra $15 for the 102 floor, it’s a bump), horse ride in Central Park, High Line in Chelsea, Rooftop bar at 230Fifth, shopping in Soho….I think I’ve left out a lot, but I think you get the drift; I love this city!
Will I go back? Heck yeah! If only to make the most of the gazillion free concerts going on in the summer. I tell ya that place is so ripe for Lolobloggs….just don’t be surprised if I make movements….serendipity, do your thing.