Before going to New York, me being me, did all the research I could do, putting together a ‘must do’ list of all the sights I wanted to see, whilst somewhat resisting the urge look up too much, saving myself a few surprises. For weeks, probably even months, all I could think about was exploring the wonderful city that is New York and with so my list became longer and longer.
It only took a couple of weeks in before I started to tick the sights off, with each one I had done getting a green emoji tick (for Americans by ‘tick’ I mean check, thank you for the children who informed me of that one). I did not manage to tick all off my list, which I am surprisingly happy about, as it kind of makes going back all the more exciting, not that it is needed. New York is filled with things to do and see, as you will see from my list.
In no particular order and with a few thoughts and photographs to, here is my list of all things New York.
A little naive I know, but I had no idea how big Central Park would be. There is ever so much to see and it is very easy to get lost, I highly recommend getting a map! Strawberry Fields’ Imagine Mosaic, Alice in Wonderland statue, Balto and Conservatory Water, just to name a few of the sights I saw. There is much more on the list of things to see hidden amongst Central Parks beautiful trees, fields and lakes. My favourite Central Park memory has to be picking up a WholeFoods salad box from Columbus Circle, sitting one of the many rocks and watching the world go by.
American Museum of Natural History,
At the top of all our to do lists, admittedly influenced by Midnight at the Museum, we could not wait to explore the museum, setting out early to beat the que, which surprisingly went down quickly. We decided to do attempt each floor and visit the exhibits to, of course these change but I recommend looking at what is on, this was slightly ambitious considering the size of the museum. Little tip, take snacks and have rests, the museum takes a full day and all that learning is very tiring.
As said about many NY sights, Grand Central is like walking into a film set, with it being in so many, it is hard not to escape that feeling, almost waiting for somebody to run through and declare their love for another. The building itself is truly beautiful, the celling being my favourite part, the photographs do not do it justice, filled with people, shops and food stops, it is hard to believe it is a train station.
911 Memorial & Museum,
A must see, at first I was a little spectacle about visiting, with worries of how I would be effected by such heart-breaking loss. Yet reminded that no matter what I would feel, how the people who devastatingly experienced this tragic act of cruelness, felt and continued to feel, I decided to go. Of course, each person is different and I would only ever suggest going if it feels right with you. It is hard to explain how the memorial and museum made me feel, I was moved with emotions from sadness to respect. I felt both heart-break and pride for each person involved.
This is one of my favourite spots in New York, walking across the bridge, both day and night, filled me with a feeling of gratitude. I cannot explain why but Brooklyn Bridge made me feel truly there, present. When most my summer felt like a dream, Brooklyn Bridge gave me a feeling of ‘this is real’, ‘you are here’.
Similar to how I felt in Grand Central, after seeing so many iconic photographs of Dumbo, I was taken back with actually being there. Walking the cobblestoned streets, seeing the bridge caught between side streets and seeing Manhattan from the other side of the bridge, another one of my favourite moments, just watching the world go by. Also, visiting the Brooklyn Flea, filled with all kinds of hidden treasures, if you like antiques and vintage finds I highly suggest popping by one of Brooklyn Flea’s markets.
Visiting Hoboken, New Jersey was such a lovely day, feeling a lot more relaxed than Manhattan. We spend time wondering boutiques, side streets and cafés, not to forgot visiting Carlo’s Bakery, before stopping off at Pier Park to see the beautiful view of Manhattan.
It is hard to believe Coney Island exists amongst the sky scrapers of NYC, yet, there it is. We spent a whole day there, leaving camp early with our backpacks filled, it felt like a childhood beach day. Arriving early, we were able to get a good spot on the sandy beach, enjoying a couple of hours sunbathing before the crowds of people started to come. Spending time exploring the amusement park, pier and traditional gift shops. The colours, smells and sounds each making me feel like I had gone back in time.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art,
The Met has to be at the top of my recommendations list, if you are an Art lover or not, wondering this beautiful museum is worth a visit. Walking up the iconic steps (if you can you call Gossip Girl iconic), exploring all there is to see and of course going up to the roof to see the view. Again, with exhibits constantly changing I can only suggest looking what is on, for me, my former fashion student was filled with excitement to know Irving Penn was being exhibited. To see his truly beautiful work in person was breath-taking, after years of using his Audrey Hepburn photograph in scrapbooks, research pages, at one point even my wallpaper, I may have shed a small tear. To not be looking at something through a screen but to see it, another one of those ‘this is real’ moments.
The Modern Art Museum,
If I am completely honest, The Moma did not make me feel the same as The Met did, not being a huge Art fanatic and finding the modern art displayed quite difficult to understand, or even feel much towards it. Do not get me wrong there is some beautiful work here and it is worth going but for me it did not compare to The Met. Although saying that seeing Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night was also unbelievable.
New York Public Library,
With the other sights on this list highly recommended in most blog posts and books, I was surprised to see the public library not, not as much anyway. Encouraged by my love for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, visiting the public library to feel like Holly Golightly was a must. To my surprise the building was beautiful, so elegant and peaceful. The library becomes art itself and there was so much to see I had forgotten all about feeling like Holly Golightly.
After visiting the New York Public Library, we popped into Wholefoods for some snacks before stopping at Bryant Park. Surrounded by all kinds of people, all admiring the surroundings of the green amongst the grey, what felt like another hidden natural beauty of New York. One of my favourite (I keep saying that!), spots in the city, imagining where people were going, what had brought them to the park that afternoon, I could have sat here all day.
First visiting Times Square in the morning, my expectations a little disappointed, with its business, bright lights and smoky air, I could not understand the hype behind it. After visiting at night, I began to feel like I was walking through a stage show, the lights felt more glamourous, the street acts more alive and the possibilities endless. Each time after that I felt more energy, from all that makes Times Square, Times Square. Looking back, I think my first perception was due to anxiety, a little tip for people who are hypersensitive, I wore my sunglasses each time I visited and I felt much more at ease.
Visiting an American movie theatre was on all our lists, after seeing so many in the films we could not wait to see the difference. It turns out there really is not much difference, I guess with British cinemas often very Americanised the only huge difference was the snacks!
Again, wanting to feel like Holly Golightly I had hoped to have breakfast whilst gazing into the window of Tiffany’s, this did not quite happen as we ended up walking around, looking at jewellery we could not afford. I spend most of my time watching people who could afford them, both amazed and confused as to why but I guess we are all different and that’s what makes us great. Anyway, I could not believe how welcoming and friendly each of the employees were, expecting to be looked down on. The same for Macy’s and Bloomingdales to.
Recommended by an American friend, Chelsea Market is filled with all things foodie, also spotting a few vegan treasures, I could not resist Pineapple Expresses chocolate soft serve. Go hungry, you will not be disappointed, this place has a very chilled atmosphere with something for everybody. It kind of reminded me of London’s Camden Market, very hipster and another great spot for watching the world around you.
After exploring Chelsea Market, we decided to walk the Highline, watching the sun set over the city. This place is filled with people enjoying the unique spot and admiring the city.
The Statue of Liberty,
Only viewing from the Staten Island ferry, where our camp was, losing count how many times we sailed past. The ferry is free and gives you a perfect view, sometimes closer than others, if you get the ferry just before sunset the view is perfect.
Originally going to see the view of Manhattan, not realising how much there was to see and do in Governors Island, we were pleasantly surprised. We spent a whole day wondering the island, looking at the creative spaces, history and enjoying a relaxing walk around the island. There is plenty to see, get involved in and is perfect for families and children to.
Visiting Williamsburg with the intention to go thrift shopping, only being turned away by the price tags. Williamsburg was another very hipster place, whole food like places on each corner, a lot of bicycles, dogs, green juices, coffee spots, streets filled with art and shop windows with creative displays. A great place for wondering around, exploring and taking those arty like photographs.
The Flatiron Building,
One of the first sights we saw, filling me with that walking into a film feeling, the building is so iconic, I wish I could have seen this more but with limited time in surrounding are (long story).. Another on my list for my return.
A short walk from our hotel, we visited Soho towards the end of our trip. Not a favourite but I enjoyed wondering the pretty streets, fancy shops and being amongst the very fashionable crowds.
Not knowing a thing about baseball or sport in general, yet I couldn’t visit NY without going to a baseball game, can you tell I have watched a lot of films? We went to see a Mets game, each of us most excited about the foam finger than the actual game. I could not tell you a single rule, or who won but the atmosphere was great!
Roof top bar,
Finding an affordable and not so fancy roof top bar proved rather difficult, until we came across Salvation Taco Rooftop Bar, situated on top of the hotel, Pod 39. Of course, another iconic thing to do in NY, we couldn’t not. Enjoying one of our lasts nights together with a cocktail, before going up to the roof we enjoyed a drink in the lower bar which is filled with creative décor, music and board games, what more could you want?
A special kind of sky,
As you know, I am a lover of the sky and I put this on my list because I wanted to see a sky so beautiful I would remember it forever, and that I did. Our first night at camp was very stormy, until around nine o’clock, when the storm began to settle, the rain stopped and the sky turned a soft lilac, pink like shade, unlike anything I had ever seen, out of nowhere a rainbow filled the sky, covering the whole of camp. One of my fondest memories.
I hope you have enjoyed this post, have you been to New York? If so, what was your favourite place?
For more of my New York photographs see my Instagram.