New York City
At the beginning of March, my mother and I spent 8 wonderful days walking, drinking and eating our way through New York City. Initially, my list of places to check out in this city was astronomically long, so I am ridiculously proud of how many we checked off.
Our trips itinerary slowly grew as we selected the neighbourhoods we knew we wanted to explore. I would strongly recommend this approach as it allows you to experience local side of NYC. We had both been before, so that did let us to bypass focusing on the “big” sites (Rockefeller, Statue of Liberty, etc), which we had visited during our last trips.
Having said that, we did visit the largest art museum in the United States. In fact, we ended up spending over 6 hours wandering through the hallowed halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and another 4 hours on a later date of our trip. I highly recommend prioritizing this museum even if you have only a remote interest in either history or art. Having many important collections, it satisfies a broad range of interests. Unless you have real expertise, I would encourage you to join a few of the museum's tours (they are free) and the docents cover many of the gems of each collection, giving interesting background that most would miss in a normal peruse of a gallery.
One of my favourite days was spent at the J.P. Morgan Library. I may be showing worldly ignorance here, but I had no idea J.P. Morgan was such an avid manuscript collector. Some people even thought that his manuscript and art collection would bypass his renowned status in the finance world. He built the initial building to house his growing library in 1906 and a massive expansion was completed in 2006. If you enjoy libraries, then this will be your happy place. It offers an amazing reprieve from the bustle of streets outside, a welcome break for an introvert such as myself.
There are few places in North America that can rival NYC’s shopping scene and we took full advantage of it from Brooklyn to Chelsea to NoLita. In Brooklyn, Catbird, Mociun Home, and Pink Olive were outstanding. The Apartment by the Line, Roman and Williams Guild (feature photo at the top), and Michele Varian were my favourite stops in Soho. In Nolita, check out Sezane (if you love Paris, this feels like home), Oroboro, Westerlind, and Love Adorned.
We don’t have Lyft or Uber (or any ridesharing) here in Vancouver so it was my first experience using a ridesharing platform. I must confess I really didn’t have any expectations, but my experience was quite outstanding. It allowed us to meet local New Yorkers who were so generous in sharing a glimpse into their lives, their future plans, and their past experiences. We met people from all over the globe including Senegal, Morocco, and Bangladesh. If you haven’t had the opportunity to try a rideshare, I highly recommend it!
I am not even sure where to start with the food we consumed. But highlights included dinner at Aquavit and Dirt Candy. Aquavit is a two star Michelin restaurant that specializes in Nordic cuisine. To accompany their beautifully executed food, they have curated a collection of their own Aquavit's (a spirit distilled from either grain or potatoes and infused with a variety of herbs and spices). Additionally, they have a long list of their own Aquavit's as well as a few delicious imported varieties. I recommend trying a flight of them (my favourite was Anise, Caraway & Fennel). We did the Prix Fixe Menu (3 courses) and once we had begun we wished we had opted for the Seasonal Tasting Menu (5 courses) or the Chef's Tasting Menu (10 courses). This meal does not come cheaply (it has earned its two stars!) but if you are splurging on one meal, this is the one. Dirt Candy is a vegetarian restaurant that produced some of the most creative and fun food I've ever eaten. Our first course was a deconstructed salad that looked like a floral arranagement served on a three tiered tray. One of our last courses was table top bbq that allowed us to cook our own vegetables. All the courses were incredible and we walked out of that restaurant surprisingly the fullest we had been on our entire trip.
For a more casual bite, Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings were some of the best I’ve ever eaten. Also in NoLita, Mamman is a delightful Parisian cafe with excellent food. A few blocks over is Uncle Boon’s which many would say has the bet Thai food in the city. In Chelsea, Toro has wonderful Spanish tapas and of course the Chelsea Market has lots of great eats to choose from (I recommend Tacos Los 1). And of course, if you haven’t checked out EATITALY before, you really should. It’s a maze of markets, restaurants, cafes, wine bars, and even a cannoli station. We went twice and could have gone back a few more times.
We also sampled our fair share of libations during our time in NYC. Highlights included watching the sunset on the rooftop bar at the Wthye Hotel in Brooklyn, drink mind-bending gastronomic drinks at the Aviary, sneaking into several speakeasy’s including Bathtub Gin and Raynes Law Room, and sampling my way through the wine on tap at Lois Wine Bar (try the Wine Jell-O Shots!) We also checked out the world famous Dead Rabbit (world's best bar in 2015 and 2016) and while the atmosphere downstairs wasn’t really my thing, the upstairs area was lovely to enjoy their expertly crafted drinks.
As always, I would love to help you plan your trip to NYC! I save many gems for customized itineraries and love nothing more to get to know other adventurers. Please fill out this form if you are interested in working with me!