I can’t help it. Every time my plane is near minutes away from landing into John F. Kennedy Airport, I play the song, “Welcome to New York” by Taylor Swift. I plan activities and restaurants weeks in advance, knowing I would never check off the entire list but trying my best to do so. Can you tell? I love Manhattan.
Here were some of the highlights from the most glorious week in New York.
Best Skyline View
I try to visit New York at least once a year, partly because I am obsessed with this city, but the greater reason is because many of my friends and my brother are currently attending New York University. Every time I’m interested in exploring a new part of the city; this time I visited Brooklyn Bridge Park. This park is beautiful. Even during the winter, there are so many families gathered around the frigid cold; I’m sure the summers would be flooded with New Yorkers. Why make the trek to Brooklyn when its 20 degrees and raining? The stunning city skyline. You get to see all of New York City and Staten Island.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a must visit when you come to the city. Tickets are pay as you wish, and there’s just so much to explore. On a rainy day, I like to come here and get lost within the hundreds of galleries. Surprisingly, I always find a new time era I was unable to venture into before. It’s fun to be lost within different realms and be inspired by art from generations. There’s also free wifi at the museum, so grabbing a book or your laptop is a great place to get some work done!
Best Rooftop View
There are so many attractive observatories in New York. Many decide to go up the Empire State Building, the recently opened One World Trade Center, or the Rockerfeller. My personal favorite is the Rockefeller because I like to see the Empire and the One World in my rooftop view, not be on it. However, I discovered a new personal favorite this break, the Whitney Museum. Many museums in New York are pay what you wish on Friday; it’s the same for the Whitney Museum, but it’s only after 7pm. The eighth floor of Whitney provided an gorgeous view of the Meat Packing District; I felt totally immersed in the city.
Juicy Spot Cafe. I stumbled upon this dessert cafe by mistake. My friends and I were looking for smoothies, and this cafe seemed to offer some (stated on Yelp). Upon entering the cafe, we were enticed to try the desserts. Recently, I’ve been seeing many cafes implementing a thai-style ice cream rolls. They’re extremely popular in my hometown, but they seem to have made their way to New York! They have an option to order the base, flavor, toppings, and drizzle; however, I chose one of their popular go-to combinations. I was not disappointed; the watermelon lychee ice cream roll was heaven. This cafe isn’t too popular yet, but I’m hoping more people will realize how delicious it is.
Best Brunch – Jack’s Wife Freda
Hands-down the best brunch I have ever had in New York City, possibly even the world. I heard the wait can go up to two hours on weekend; therefore, I’d recommend coming during the weekday. I only had to wait ten minutes, but my friend and I were seated at a communal table. This quaint Mediterranean- American restaurant had friendly waiters and phenomenal service. I ordered the popular, green shakshuka. The menu describes it as 2 boiled eggs in a green shakshuka served with challah toast. The shakshuka had notes of picco de galla, and the challah bread was perfectly toasted. Although the meal looks light, I thought everything was balanced and filled me up just right. My friend ordered the Madame Freda, a pressed sandwich with duck prosciutto, cheddar béchamel, gruyere, and a sunny side up egg. If you’re feeling something heavier, I’d say this option was pretty ideal. I have no complaints about this restaurant; the food was delicious and I would recommend anyone living/visiting New York to come and visit.
Best Vegan Restaurant
One of the biggest restaurants that have invaded social media platforms is by CHLOE. This was the first restaurant I visited when I arrived in New York City, and I was starving. The design of this restaurant is adorable, but there’s limited seating. After waiting in a long line, my friends and I ordered the guac burger, quinoa taco salad, and air-baked french fries. by CHLOE is a vegan-free, plant-based, kosher-free restaurant, and usually any salad without chicken or any burger without meat lacks flavor, but this time, I was pleasantly surprised by the food palate. The french-fries were soft, crunchy and perfectly complimented the wasabi aioli condiment. I loved the quinoa taco salad; it had so much flavor and the quinoa, chorizo, black beans, corn, avocado were a perfect fit together. I wasn’t able to find seat at this restaurant, but Washington Square Park is nearby and not a bad choice for a picnic in the park.
Best Social Atmosphere
Burger and Lobster. I celebrated a birthday celebration at this restaurant, and I thought it was a great place! The environment is very lively, and the menu is so simple. Everything is $20. You can order a burger, a lobster, or a lobster roll. Each entree comes with a side of fries and salad. The simplicity of this restaurant is so amazing; I love a restaurant without a complex menu because looking at all the options can make it difficult for an indecisive person (like me).
I just had to place this (healthy) dessert option in somewhere. I’m huge on desserts, and yogurt isn’t usually a go to option for me, but if I lived near Greecologies, it might as well be. My brother loves this place, and he’s been asking me to try it countless of times. I remember being terribly confused on what to order, but here’s my recommendation: Strained yogurt with rose petal preserves and muesli. So good. The rose preserves weren’t strange; it tasted divine, and the muesli added a necessary crunch. The yogurt is on the pricier side, $7 for one, but I would try it at least once if you’re on the edge of deciding.
I spent a lot of this trip alone, and loneliness is one of my biggest fears. If anyone is familiar with this anxiety, I believe New York City is a great cure because everyone here is roaming alone, and there’s nothing wrong with it. I learned a lot about independence from this trip and realized how quiet can be beautiful. New York City might not always be so glamorous, but then there are many more moments when it is. I definitely want to live here for some time (hopefully in the near future) because New York City will never stop being wonderfully beautiful for me.