It’s hard to believe, but I’ve lived in New York for eight months. Time flies!
I really love this city. I’m not going to pretend that it’s been all candy and rainbows since we moved here – it’s pretty darn expensive for one thing – but it’s been a lot of fun exploring different neighborhoods, restaurants, parks, etc.
I thought I would do something different this Friday and share some of my favorite things to do and see in New York.
Riverside Park follows the Hudson River on the west side of the city. The views are great, and walking along the riverfront path is the perfect way to spend a lazy day. When it’s time for a break, I love to drop by Boat Basin Cafe for a drink, food, and people watching.
My other favorite park, of course, is Central Park. I love to loop around the Jackie Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, get lost on a winding path while eating hot roasted nuts from a vendor, or enjoy a picnic and bottle of wine.
One of my favorite memories was walking around the park (with what felt like half of New York) after a snow storm. It was such a great atmosphere with people cross-country skiing, sledding, and just generally enjoying the day!
My husband and I like to go on long walks on the weekend. One day we were exploring Morningside Heights (one of my favorite neighborhoods), and we came across a White Peacock at St. John the Divine Cathedral. I’ve never seen anything like it!
The Cathedral itself has a really interesting story. It was designed in 1888, begun in 1892, and remains uncompleted. During it’s history, it has undergone radical stylistic changes, the interruption of the two World Wars, and a fire.
New York has lots of great food. Some of my faves are tortas at El Mitote, amazingly light and delicious cupcakes and tempting baked goods at Magnolia, steamed buns and cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar, yummy Ukrainian food at Veselka, babka, rugelach, and strudels from Zabar’s, and chalupas from Noche Mexicana.
Walking the High Line is the perfect way to spend a beautiful day. It’s a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. You’ll have great views of the surrounding neighborhood, which is pretty fun to explore, too.
Straying from Manhattan, the Brooklyn Greenway (waterfront) is another great walk. If you are looking for amazing views of Manhattan, head there.
For another unforgettable view, take a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. It does get very crowded, so I recommend an early start, but it’s worth it. The bridge itself is gorgeous, and you’ll get a great perspective of the East River, Manhattan, and Brooklyn.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park is a really cool place to explore in Queens. It was the site of the 1964 World’s Fair, and you can still find fair remnants there. It’s a huge park, and the day I was there was freezing, so another visit is definitely in order.
Nearby the park is a huge Chinatown (one of the largest outside of Asia). It’s fun to visit, and we ate at a really good restaurant (the name of which escapes me).
The Unisphere, theme symbol of the 1964–1965 New York World’s Fair.
One of my favorite places, which I just discovered recently, is Governor’s Island. It’s a former military base that the government sold to New York in 2003.
Governor’s Island is the perfect place to spend a beautiful, sunny day (it’s only open on summer weekends). You can pack a picnic or buy food there, ride a vintage French carnival ride, cruise the island on bikes, or just enjoy the views of the city. I’m hoping to spend a lot more time there next summer!
There aren’t a lot of bargains to be found in New York, but the Staten Island Ferry is one of them. You won’t have to pay a dime to take in views of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
Upon arrival at Staten Island, you can turn right back around and ride the ferry back to Manhattan, or you can explore a little bit. The area where the ferry lets you off isn’t very exciting, and it’s even a little rough, but it’s worth checking out for a few minutes.
If you do decide to explore, make sure to stop at Enoteca Maria for some amazing Italian food. We ate there on a whim, and the meal and hospitality were unforgettable. It’s within walking distance of the ferry terminal.
Finally, my list of New York favorites wouldn’t be complete without Coney Island. It’s equal parts seedy and old-fashioned fun!
I love to walk the boardwalk, eat deep fried food, and people watch (some of the best in New York). You can also ride vintage amusement park rides – like the Wonder Wheel and the Cyclone – and even see a freak show. My favorite time to visit is the off season – it feels like you have the whole boardwalk to yourself!
That wraps up my list of favorites. Have you been to any of these places? Let me know what you think!