Jon and I are staying in New York for a week- going to a New Jersy wedding and taking in the sights. We are staying in a small apartment in East Harlem . It is 4 floors up and very simple. The bed is clean and comfy and there is a new bathroom and kitchen – so we were disappointed to learn that the lady who owns it is stopping short rentals.
The area is culturally mixed with a variety of things to do. We are 5 mins walk from Central Park near Harlem Meet and the NewYork City Museum. The Guggenheim and the Met are a good walk down 3rd Avenue .
We have had coffee a couple of times at The East Harlem Cafe ( Jon coffee scale 8/10)
The weather has been fantastic , sunny and warm, though there was a humdinger of a storm a couple of nights ago. Jon and I decided to throw the guide book out the window after visiting the 9/11 memorial – which was incredibly moving – but so busy and noisey – there is loads of construction work and so many people .
>>>The Housing Works Bookstore Cafe (on 126 Crosby Street, New York, NY 10012). It is a volunteer supported bookstore and cafe. The place is tall and old and quiet and such a nice place to hide out for the whole day. I love it…. and many other people do to. Best to go on a weekday. They close early I think… maybe around 5 or 6. Skim through books or sit down and read one while you have a warm cup of coffee.
>>>DUMBO… in Brooklyn. Yes, I know I am sending you out of Manhattan, but getting to Dumbo is super convenient and Dumbo must be seen for it is what one dreams New York to be. Okay, so take to F train from Rockefeller Center toward Downtown/Brooklyn and you will get off at York Ave. Walk down York Ave towards the Brooklyn Bridge (thats the stone bridge) and the second or third street will be Washington. Take a right onto Washington Street and walk down it. You will get a too-good-to-true view of the Empire State Building framed by the Manhattan Bridge under-arch. This area called Dumbo because it is Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, feels like the authentic NYC. You get a sense of the industrial, metropolis New York is built on; you find history here which is rare in New York. There are tons of places to eat around here, or drink, or hangout. Sadly, only the rich can afford to live here and so even the places around the area are a bit pricey. Walk around because the views from Dumbo are you’re New York City dream-views in the flesh.
>>>>>>Side stop…. the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (on 1 Water Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201). While walking around Dumbo, you will cross Water St. Walk down it toward the Brooklyn Bridge and you will end up here at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. Alternatively, you can head to the shore, and walk toward the Brooklyn Bridge and you will still end up here. I think this place has been around forever, at least you get that sense when you are here. Get a scoop of whatever they have (it is very good American ice cream)… on a cone please. It may be freezing outside, but for some reason… the ice cream, the place, the enormity of the city in front of you… you feel childish here. So eating ice cream in make sense in a very childish way.
>>>Artichoke Pizza (on 328 East 14th Street, New York, NY 10003). This pizzeria is a small hole in the wall, so expect to stand outside while you wait for a slice of their Artichoke pizza. The slice is indescribably good…. I wouldn’t even describe it as pizza, to be honest. It is a thing of its own. The slices are normally steaming-hot, and because of its goodness one normally burns their mouth off trying to eat it. Be patient…. let it cool so that you can dive in and lose yourself in it without any ramifications in the end. The slice is huge so one will do.
>>>>>>Side stop…. St. Marks Place and Washington Square Park. From Artichoke you can take a right on 1st Avenue and walk down to E 8th Street which is actually called St. Marks Place. Take a right onto St. Marks Place. Here, is where the punk scene of New York lived. Now, not so much, but this is still the place for piercings, tattoos and all that jazz. Its a fun walk. And a good example of the East Village. Continue on St Marks and the street name changes to E8th Street. Continue on until you get to 5th Ave. Here make a left and you will see Washington Square Park. You will have seen the E 8th Street sign turn into W 8th Street, so you are now in the West Village. The difference between the East and West side of Manhattan is well experience from walking down St. Marks/8th Street. Washington Square Park is essentially the green-campus of all the NYU students. It is beautiful simple park.
>>>Louis 649 (on 649 E 9th St (btwn Ave. B & Ave. C), New York, NY 10009) I used to live in Alphabet City (so called because this is the only area in Manhattan where they use letters rather than numbers for the avenues). This place and the Brix Wine Shop across have a special place in my heart. You’ll find the greatest cocktails… High quality bartenders…. in a speak-easy environment. My favourite cocktails: the Hemmingway and the Writer’s Block. I don’t know if they are serving them anymore as they update their selection often. Also, on the corner is a outstanding Brazilian restaurant, and a block down a great Cuban restaurant.
And some more….
Frueza Bruta (at the Daryl Roth Theatre in Union Square)…. a show which you experience. Its an experience you won’t forget and an exciting one to be apart of. One ticket goes for like 100$ on telecharge or ticketmaster, but you can find a groupon or other deals that bring the ticket price down to 50$. I highly recommend it… HIGHLY! It is a bit pricey though so think about.
The Cloisters (at Fort Tryon Park up in Inwood)… A French monastery brought over and rebuilt in Manhattan. OUTSTANDINGLY BEAUTIFUL… the monastery, but more so the area. But it will take an hour to get here with the subway. It is now a museum dedicated to French art. Tickets to get in have a suggested donation of like 15$, but it is only suggested so you can pay what you would like. This goes for the Metropolitan Museum as well. I normally pay 2$… “Hi there, I would like a 2$ entrance ticket to the museum.”
High line views and Meat packing district
The Highline (on the West Side in Chelsea/Meatpacking District)… A old rail line they used to transport produce from the port to the rest of New York, now converted into a free public park. Nice sharing of nature and innovation in New York.
Murray’s Bagel (in Chelsea)…. You should have a New York City bagel while you are there. So you should go to Brooklyn for the best, but you don’t have time; therefore, Murray’s in Manhattan is the place. Choose a bagel, and a filling (you could go crazy and get a more complex filling… lox, eggs, etc.) and eat it. As a true bagel shop, they won’t toast their bagels, before if the bagel is fresh you wouldn’t need to. (Actually, real bagel shops do have toasters and toast bagels for their customers, but Murray’s got really busy all over a sudden and waiting for a bagel to toast was a problem…. so to keep up with the demand they stopped toasting saying “New Yorkers don’t toast their bagels.” Though this is true at one level, isn’t really not true).
It has been a great trip and Jon and I are well on our way to falling in love with the place