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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Things to Do in New York City

Every month or so I get a Facebook message from a friend, former colleague or classmate telling me they are coming to New York and they'd love to know the must-do's from an insider. Since it's not a quick or easy answer, I promise to get back to them....and well...job, baby, dogs, husband...boom, I forget, and I don't think about it again until I see their posts from Times Square or the Empire State Building.

Doh. Then I feel like a real jerk.

So here you go...for all those who want to know, here are my favorite things to do and eat in New York City. Enjoy!

To Do

  • Central Park- One of my favorite ways to spend a few hours in New York is to walk around Central Park. I've been there 100 times, and I still find myself on a new path, seeing new things. It's particularly gorgeous right now with the trees blooming. Most people start near Columbus Circle and walk north or east from there. Tip: The farther north you go, the less busy it is. If you want to take a carriage, they are lined up along Central Park South.
  • Brooklyn Bridge- Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is also so fun and again, free! Tip: Take the subway to the entrance near City Hall (Lower Manhattan) and walk from there. It's also really fun to take the ferry back to Manhattan. Tickets are available on the Brooklyn side, where it departs. Tip 2: While walking on the bridge, stay off the bike path. They go super fast and are a bit loco.
  • River Cruises- Some of my favorite NYC nights have been cruising around the Hudson and/or East Rivers! The views of the city are spectacular, plus they'll take you up close to the Statue of Liberty. One of my favorites is this Classic Harbor Line Sunset Cruise. Discounted tickets available on Zerve. It's quaint and the staff is so friendly. 
  • Broadway Show- Yes, they are wildly overpriced, but people love a good Broadway Show. My faves: Jersey Boys, Motown and A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder (no longer playing, I think) :-( Kinky Boots is also on my list. Tip: Check out sites/apps like Goldstar or TodayTix to get discounted tickets. 
  • Empire State Building- Spectacular views and great photo other thrills. Tip: Splurge for the Express passes. It will save you hours in line. 
  • 9/11 Memorial- I haven't been since the museum was finished, but I hear it's just beyond touching. (I'm not far enough post-baby and emotionally ready. The memorial itself made me have the ugly cries.) I also hear the views from the observatory are simply amazing.
  • Brunch- If there's one thing New Yorkers love, it's having brunch. Usually around 12 pm or 12:30 pm so we don't feel guilty drinking. Do it! There are so many great restaurants in this city.
Where to Eat
This is such a tough question! I've heard there are between 25,000-30,000 restaurants in New York City. Here are some of my faves:
  • Upstairs at the Kimberly- My favorite brunch spot. Great for drinks too! Super beautiful views (Midtown)
  • Catch NYC- Amazing dinner location and usually good celebrity spotting! Fun fact: My girlfriend and I were there the same night as John Legend's birthday party and I used the bathroom stall right after Chrissy Teigen, so my butt touched where hers did just seconds before. Winning! (Meatpacking District)
  • Almond- There are a couple locations, but I've been to the Tribeca one for dinner. Super great ambiance and wonderful food (Tribeca)
  • Park Ave Spring (Summer, Fall, Winter)- This restaurant on Park Ave. changes its menu and ambiance every season and it's gorgeous! I recently had the Maine Lobster dish that made me want to cry happy tears. (It's expensive) (Flatiron) 
  • El Centro- Super amazing place nearish to Times Square. The best Mexican food I've had in the city. (Try their steak burrito and flavored margaritas.) It's small and they don't take reservations, so get there early! (Hell's Kitchen)
  • Remi- This is another good one closeish to Times Square. Their bread with goat cheese sauce is to die for. Drinks are reasonably priced too. (Theater District)
  • Mandarin Oriental- This is a really fun place to do afternoon tea. Great views of Central Park! Near Columbus Circle. (Midtown)
  • Molly's Cupcakes- The BEST cupcakes in New York City. Try the cake batter. (West Village)
  • The subway really is the best, easiest and cheapest way to get around NYC. Uber is good too, unless they have surge pricing, then run far, far away. Cabs are great and are usually easy to hail, unless it's raining. Tip: Download the NYC Subway App (with the white train and red/black background). It works even when you're underground and you can see what trains to use. 
  • I don't have a ton of insights here, but I do know that most in Times Square are good. People seem to love the Marriott Marquis. Other good ones (not in Times Square), Empire Hotel, Hotel Hugo and the Lucerne. 
I think that's about it! Now go enjoy this crazy, fabulous city! (And don't get mugged. Ha!)