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Thursday, July 27

NYC: Top 10 Favourites

I had the opportunity to explore New York City for 6 months and it truly is an overwhelming city. There is constantly so many events and things to do that I had such a hard time compiling my top 10 favourite things to do in New York City. Good news though, I did it.
  1. Attend all the shows

I’ve had the privilege to watch all my favourite late night shows live. Some of my favourites include Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Trevor Noah and John Oliver. However, this is highly dependent on luck, and you may have to plan ahead if you want to snag tickets. Although, queueing up for shows is an option, (read my post on queuing up for Jimmy Fallon here), most visitors in NYC have a limited time in the city. Therefore, an indirect alternative that I absolutely love too is catching a broadway show. Three main ways to get cheap tickets

  • TKTS at Times Square / Jay Street Brooklyn
  • TodayTix app
  • Queueing up for last minute tickets right before the show.

I’ve personally used TKTS and TodayTix and both are great avenues to get discount tickets. However, do compare the two agents to see which one is cheaper on the day! Personally I prefer TodayTix just because they often have cheaper tickets, and I can buy tickets in  advance on the app without having to wait in line.


The weeks ahead of the Tony Awards are the most busy, so make sure to also plan ahead if you want to catch the best musicals!

  1. Walk the Manhattan Bridge

I'm sorry this has to be at least in my top 3 just because I walked across it almost every day and enjoyed every single moment (even the rainy evenings after an 8pm class in winter). Yes, the Brooklyn Bridge is iconic and beautiful no doubt, but the Manhattan Bridge doesn’t get enough credit for its views. The Brooklyn Bridge can get extremely crowded during summer, and angry New York cyclists will be delighted to run you over when you get pushed out of the narrow pedestrian sidewalk by crowds of tourists. On the other hand, cyclists have a designated lane on the other side of the Manhattan Bridge, so I've enjoyed the luxury of strolling along the bridge without almost being pushed off.

 


Sure the Manhattan Bridge gets noisy from the Metro running right next to you, but the views of FIDI, Brooklyn Bridge and Dumbo does not disappoint. Personally, it is hard to top watching the sunset from the Manhattan Bridge as the most magical moment in my life. 
  1. Top of the Rock

Many travellers ask the same question. Is it more worth it to go up the One World Trade Centre, Top of the Rock or Empire State Building? Here’s my verdict : Top of the Rock has the best views.

I’ve been up the One WTC and yes, it does give you a panoramic view. However, all of NYC’s iconic structures will only be a tiny speck from the tower. The only part I really enjoyed was the elevator ride that takes you through the whole construction timeline of the structure. However, if you prefer the panoramic view, you do you!

View from the One WTC

I didn’t go up the Empire State Building because lets be honest, what Manhattan view is complete without the Empire State Building? Top of the Rock is great. There are two viewing decks that provide magnificent views of the Manhattan skyline with the Empire State Building in the centre, as well as views of the Central Park. Yes it is pricey, but the trip to Top of the Rock was hands down one of the most worth it entrance fees I’ve paid.

  1. Venture out of Manhattan

Before arriving to New York City, all I knew about was Manhattan due to media portrayal of NYC. The beauty about New York is that it has no one single definition. Many people come and expect to be drowned by glossy towers but really, that is only mid town and the financial district. 

Williamsburg is ranked the most hipster neighbourhood in the world, and one of my favourite places to grab a cuppa. The place to be for good coffee, cute brunches and bars.


Not forgetting Smorgasburg that happens every weekend where you'll find quirky food like fruit juice in the fruit itself, mozzie sticks, ramen burgers, sushi tacos and the like. During summer, its Saturday location is across the Hudson River and serves up a mean view of Manhattan. However, in winter the market is moved indoors, into a building that used to be a bank. In its basement, you even get to walk through old massive vaults.

Brooklyn Heights is another beautiful part of Brooklyn. Although many New Yorkers would agree it is an extension of Manhattan rather than a part of Brooklyn. It is an expensive neighbourhood no doubt, but the tree lined streets and occasionally quiet streets does separate it from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan.

Coney Island! It may not have the prettiest beach, but it does have the oldest amusement parks. It's where the first Luna Park stands! While you're there, grab some Nathan hotdogs and enjoy the feeling of being in a traditional American amusement park.

Coney Island


Or you know, what about a day trip to Jersey? This is already a popular activity but many people don't actually realise they crossed to a different state to see Lady Liberty. 
  1. Source out restaurants with genuine reviews. Not everything on Insider food is the best.

You know all those endless videos about cool food creations such as the rainbow bagel, the monstrous milkshakes and cookie doughs? I went to New York thinking I would love being the first to try these delicious food. It didn’t take me long to realise that it was just hype, and doesn’t actually taste good. Although we have American food in Australia and Malaysia, I was not used to food that the Americans were used to. Cue the grease and the over the top sugars. 

My favourite restaurants ended up being hole in the walls, or cosy bars tucked in little streets. Like right now, I will give up so many things just to have a bite of my favourite Pio Bagel in Brooklyn.


  1. Jog along the Hudson

I know, you get a view of Jersey but it was one of the most enjoyable things I’ve done in New York. My route usually starts from Chinatown, curve along to the financial district and then up the west towards Chelsea. If you are not jogging, stroll from Battery Park up North-West. This route always gave me a peek of “living in NYC”, as recreation activities dot the banks. Families on bicycles, kayaking, and teenagers at the basketball court. 

  1. Take the Q train over the Manhattan bridge

If you’re in NYC, there is no avoiding the subways. The Q train over the Manhattan bridge is my favourite. From brooklyn, look to your right and you will see subway flip art evolving in front of your eyes, in the midst of the dark tunnels. To me, it is such a masterpiece. I tried capturing it on my GoPro but to no avail. You'll just have to catch it yourself!

  1. Get lost in Central Park


Because you really can. There is so much to discover in there that it can easily take up a whole afternoon. Winter or summer, Central Park is magical all year round. Yes, there is a castle and a zoo in there. Go ice skating during winter, or take a romantic walk through the snow capped park. Or row a boat with your significant other and check out the free Shakespeare shows in summer. I watched Julius Caesar, the one sponsors pulled out from because it portrayed the POTUS being assassinated. I personally loved the Trump scenes.

  1. People watch in Washington Square Park


If you have the leisure of taking it slow in New York City (not many people do), don’t take it slow on the streets because New Yorkers trying to get somewhere will internally (or somethings very publicly) curse you for blocking the narrow sidewalks. Instead, head to one of the beautiful parks (my favourite being Washington Square Park). If it is summer, which I hope is the time you chose to visit NYC, sit in the fountain and watch performers surround you, children playing and people having lunch. 
  1. Get lost in New York City

Really, this city has so much character, so much energy, and one of the most diverse places in the world. Posh upper east to the bustling midtown to the young and hip SOHO, every neighbourhood is so different. So I’ll end this post with a tip of my style of travel: Experience the city.

I strongly believe that a traveller does not have to see all the touristy things, or post the same picture as every other traveller on Instagram. Get lost in New York City. Walk through random streets and feel the hustle and bustle of the city. Walk through each unique neighbourhood and observe the different cultures that make up this amazing city. 

Just remember to walk a little faster. Aint nobody got time (or space) to stroll.



Oh I miss New York so much. Till next time! xoxo