By Theresa Christine
I should start off by saying this: one day in New York is just not enough. I was there most recently for three days and I felt like I barely had enough time to take it all in. How can you do and see all of the best things that the city has to offer? It’s certainly difficult, but I’d like to show you how…
The first thing you’ll want is a good breakfast — trust me, you’ll need the energy! The Smith is a perfect place to start the day. I’m normally not one to indulge much for breakfast, but the food here is absolutely divine. Four words: vanilla bean French toast. Oh, and don’t forget a mimosa to top it all off! After you’re done eating, don’t forget to head downstairs and take a few rounds of photos in the amazing photobooth. Pictures are on black and white film, they only cost $3 each, and they accept credit cards (which, for someone like me, is actually kind of dangerous).
Head downtown to the Brooklyn Bridge. You don’t have to walk all the way to the Brooklyn side, but at least head to the first pillar and admire the beautiful gothic architecture. Something about the bridge feels so special — you see it in images all the time, but it’s a different experience to be there in person. A big bonus is that you’ll also get some stellar views of Manhattan! Just make sure to walk on the correct side of the bridge (it’s clearly labeled), because bikers can sometimes get a little feisty if you’re taking over their lane.
It would be nearly impossible to spend a little time downtown without wanting to at least see the 9/11 Memorial. After viewing it, I don’t think it could have been designed any better. I won’t even try to begin to describe it, but it is undeniably saddening and beautiful. September 11th is an important event in recent US history and unforgettable for all New Yorkers, so make sure to take a moment and see this in person.
Now if you haven’t already planned on seeing a show, my big question for you is WHY NOT?! Seeing theater in New York is unlike theater anywhere else in the world, and with so many shows running there is bound to be something that interests you. And if you’re going to spend your money on something, this is the big expense you should put it towards.
If you’re looking for a traditional Broadway experience, check out the TKTS booth (the one at South Street Seaport rarely has a line). The booth offers discounted tickets the day of performances, and the day before for matinees. There will be folks working there who will happily help you to choose a show, whether it’s The Lion King or Hedwig and the Angry Inch. If you’d like something a little cheaper, check out the Off-Broadway options they have that day. Shows like The Blue Man Group or Fuerza Bruta are innovative and fun. And — a personal favorite — if you’re willing to splurge and buy tickets before your trip, look into the super non-tradtional, Sleep No More which is a great interactive show.
Once you’ve lined up your show for the evening, head up to Columbus Circle. Something about being right by Central Park and watching all the cars and people go by feels so perfectly New York to me. Take this opportunity to snap a few photos of one of New York’s most photogenic little spots (at least in my opinion) and to rest your feet! Your day is only halfway done.
If you’re starting to feel a little hungry, save yourself time and money and grab some street food. Seriously! The pretzels are a meal in and of themselves, and the dirty water dogs are a New York experience. If you’re lucky, you’ll see someone with a “Nuts 4 Nuts” sign, and you most definitely should get one of those little bags. When I’m out sightseeing in New York, sitting down in a restaurant for lunch doesn’t really appeal to me, so this is the best option to make the most of my day.
Although I’m not a big museum fan, I do adore the International Center of Photography. It’s easy to get through this museum in under two hours, and the exhibits are always amazing. On my last trip I saw an unbelievable collection by Sebastião Salgado, and if you can catch it before it closes in early January I highly recommend it! But whatever they have showing there is most certainly worth seeing.
Make your way to Chelsea to check out the High Line, a park that’s been built on a section of unused railway. You’re more than welcome to walk the entire park, if you’d like, although I don’t recommend it — I did, and my feet nearly died. Instead, grab a snack at the Chelsea Market, head up to the High Line and grab a seat at a viewing window. There are a few of these little windows throughout the park, and they’re basically tiny ampitheaters that overlook the city street. So, basically, it’s like watching a reality show of NYC cabbies!
Before you see a show for the evening, grab a drink at Barcade. I had an amazing whiskey ginger here, but the tater tots shaped like Tetris pieces were the real winner for me. There are some pretty rad arcade games to play if you’re into that — I most definitely am. I played quite a bit of Galaga and I think my wrist still hurts from that X-Men game.
After your show you’re probably jonesin’ for some nom. While it’s a bit of a trek from the theater district, Veselka is my ultimate and all-time favorite restaurant in the city. I won’t tell you what to do, but get the pierogies. Just do it. There’s a few different flavors you can get, and I think the arugula and goat cheese is my favorite.
After your late dinner, the East Village is your oyster. One of the best parts about visiting NYC is that you can walk around and, no matter where you are, you’ll find something amazing. St. Mark’s is your best bet if you’re looking for a bar. Seriously, you’ll have so many options. A few of my personal favorites: McSorley’s Old Ale House is a classic beer spot, Mark is a cute little place for beer and wine (and sliders, if you’re still hungry), and Phebe’s has a full bar with some amazing cocktails.
Enjoy your time in the Big Apple! I want to hear all about it. Tweet at @HaveHeartMag and @t_christine to tell us how your trip went.