Tuesday, January 28, 2014

NYC favorites

As thousands descend upon NYC this weekend, with their newly emptied pockets and puffy coats, I can't mock their willingness. Sometimes, it's just worth it. 
NY was the coldest city in America the weekend we were engaged, 11 years ago this week. Warmed by our flaming hot romance and fueled by our first visit together, I ran him all over we ran around my favorite city.
Luckily for us, because of the bitter cold temps, we had the bridge to ourselves for the fateful moment he asked me to marry him. It's nice to relive the moment every time this place pops up in films and photos, The Plaza Hotel, where we stayed, in the background.
Isn't new love grand? Now, he'd never walk around, freezing and I'd never agree to spend as much on a hotel room.

While I appreciate the iconic NY moments to be had atop the Empire State Building and standing in the incomparable, Times Square, I generally avoid touristy spots in favor of a more "local" experience when I visit. I love that every day things feel extraordinary when done in NYC and I enjoy being amidst locals, treating public spaces as an extension of their living rooms.
Sometimes a line out the door means more than just "this place is on screen"; it's simply, the best. Conversely, there's so much to uncover, every visit feels like a search for hidden gems.

Here are some of my favorite ways to experience NYC.
A NY bagel (no toasting, that's insulting. perfectly crisp on the outside & chewy inside):
Arguably, one of the best is, Ess A Bagel, 831 3rd Ave Midtown
I order whole wheat everything with scallion cream cheese
ess a bagel | photo: detailgalblog.com

If ice skating tops your list, consider Trump's rink in Central Park, since it's typically less crowded than Rockefeller center & about half the price-CASH ONLY.

Avoid the wait for frozen hot chocolate at Seredipity3, and warm up with Hot Chocolate at City Bakery:
City Bakery Hot Chocolate | Photo: gothamist.com

Dodge the cronut & cupcake cults, for a chocolate chip walnut cookie at Levain Bakery . If you fell for NYC while watching Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks fall in love, than nothing feels more "NY" than a walk in the UWS, along Columbus or Amsterdam, and shopping at Zabars on Broadway.
Levain Bakery chocolate chip walnut cookie | Photo: foodspotting.com
I like to stay outside of Midtown, just a few stops on the Metro away. This way I can enjoy the touristy excitement in Midtown, but leave it all in favor of a more neighborhood-y experience. Chelsea is great in the warm months for walking to the Market and the High Line (more on this area here), and it's an easy Metro ride up to Times Square or down to the village. Recently, we stayed in the Murray Hill neighborhood, at The Roger, with a rooftop terrace & a view of the Empire State Building.
the roger hotel nyc | photo: detailgalblog.com
The lobby is chic, the rooms are tiny but well-designed, with everything you need for sleep & a shower (just bring your own ____ , because they charge extra for pretty much everything but the bed & faucet. Thumbs way down for that, folks.) Since we drive in from upstate, staying outside of Midtown on weekends means we can find street parking, for FREE! Woot! Woot!

In this neighborhood, you can take your morning jog in Madison Square Park.

Head left from the front doors of the hotel for good coffee at Perk Kafe, 162 E 37th just before you hit Madison Square Park.
perk kafe murray hill | photo: detailgalblog.com
If you head up Madison, you won't be able to resist a walk through the doors at Olde Good Things on Madison & 32nd.
olde good things: ogtstore.com
Also in Murray Hill:
Try Penelope for comforting brunch.
And Dry Bar before your big night out. Seriously, no matter where you're staying, get on your smartphone & book yourself a blowout at Dry Bar, whichever location is available. It's simply the most feminine experience; I'm hooked!

More NYC favorites: 

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  1. Love this!! My first experience has me dying for more!! I want to try and go to NY for Christmas with my family but go to NYC again with Pauly for a few days while there and see the TREE! :)

  2. perfect timing! heading there in less than six weeks and feel like we need to hit some new places! thank you!


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