For years, I had been dreaming of going to New York – especially during the Christmas season. Thus, after nearly two weeks in a warmer climate, I hopped on a red-eye flight from the West to the East Coast for one last stop in New York. Once I arrived at Newark Airport, I took the train to NYC and got to the Nap York Hostel, where I stayed for the last five days of my trip. Just a short walk from Broadway, the hostel’s location was perfect for sightseeing in Manhattan.
As it was still earlier in the morning and I couldn’t check in yet, together with some people I met at the hostel and Eva, whom I met on Oahu, I headed out to explore the neighborhood – from Times Square to Central Park, to the Plaza Hotel and 5th Avenue as well as the Rockefeller Center. Since it was December 1, later that day, we went back to Rockefeller Center for the Christmas tree lighting there, which happened again after being paused for a year due to the pandemic. And although we waited for nearly four hours, seeing the famous Christmas tree being lit was something special for sure.
The following day started with a classic New York breakfast: a bagel and coffee. Then I met Eva again to discover some more corners of the city. But after walking across Manhattan the whole day, we needed a sweet treat and enjoyed another New York classic: a slice of cheesecake. In the evening, some people from the hostel and I had drinks at a closeby bar before going out together. Friday morning, Eva and I finally got tickets for the 9/11 memorial and spent the morning there before doing some more sightseeing together. Back in Upper Manhattan from our ferry ride to see the Statue of Liberty, we strolled along Times Square and saw the Christmas lights and decorations at Rockefeller Center again. And while I then said goodbye to Eva as she was heading back to France the following morning, I still had some time left in the Big Apple and, in the evening, went out for drinks again with Madison and some other guys.
On Saturday, I then slept in. And since I’d been around people nearly all the time for the past weeks, I decided to spend the day by myself and visit two of the many museums in New York – first The Met, where you could probably spend a whole day, and then the Museum of the City of New York. Before it got dark, I took the metro to Hudson Yards, where I watched the sunset from an outdoor sky deck with 360° views of New York. Although Sunday was my last day in New York and the last one of my trip to North America, my flight would leave until the evening, so I still had enough time left in the city. So, after breakfast, I saw some more sights around Manhattan and spent my last dollars shopping at Times Square afterwards. Later, Leigh and I met at the MoMA and spent some time there before I went back to the hostel again to grab my stuff and head to the airport with two other guys from the hostel. Although New York has most likely been the busiest place I’d been to in the past month, I had a great time there – although it passed by in a New York minute. However, I promise I’ll be back during another season for sure.
Heading to New York and curious to find out what to do around the Big Apple or where to eat and trink. Check out the list below for some inspiration!
Things to do
Hop on the metro to Dumbo in Brooklyn and get back to Manhattan again crossing the Brooklyn Bridge
Try some NY classics such as cheesecake, a bagel, a hotdog, or a slice of 1$ pizza
Escape the bustling city and enjoy nature at Central Park in Manhattan or New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx
Take the ferry to Staten Island from the Whitehall Terminal for a great (and free!) view of the Statue of Liberty as well as Manhattan’s skyline
Visit known movie sets, e.g., FAO Schwarz, the toy store in Home Alone 2 or The Museum of the City of New York, the school building in Gossip Girl
See the classics, such as Flatiron, Empire State and Crysler Building, Financial District and Wall Street, World Trade Center, Grand Central Terminal, SoHo, etc.
Enjoy a glimpse of New York from above at one of the observation decks, e.g., Top of the Rock, The Edge, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, Empire State, or One World Observatory
Visit one of the city’s many museums such as The Met, MoMA, and Guggenheim Museum, or learn more about the events of September 11 at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum
Enjoy a bit of local life by visiting one of the three neighborhoods: Greenwich Village, SoHo, and West Village
Eat & drink here
Magnolia Bakery: Bakeshop chain famous for its homemade cupcakes, pies, and banana pudding
Pick-A-Bagel: Conventional bagel shop serving coffee, a variety of bagels, omelets and more at a reasonable price
La Pecora Bianca: Italian eatery featuring local cuisine, regional wines & aperitifs
Jungle Bird: cocktail bar offering tropical as well as classic cocktails paired with Southeast Asian & California-influenced fare
GERTIE: hip Jew-ish diner in Williamsburg serving breakfast, lunch, and brunch
Smør: Scandinavian eatery featuring open-faced toasts, breakfast & beer
Café Alula: A small Lebanese-inspired all-day café with front and backyard seating
The Butcher‘s Daughter: plant-forward restaurant, cafe, and juice bar with a changing 100% vegetarian menu
Five Leaves: hipster bistro with chill New American fare and an Aussie accent serving brunch options
Attaboy: speakeasy serving innovative, creative cocktails & classic drinks mixed up in a trendy industrial-style space