Visiting New York for a couple of creatives is like visiting a sweet shop for a kid, there was so much to see, do, inspiration on every corner and fascinating characters to talk to. We had six full days and only saw a fraction of what we wanted to explore. We are not typical tourists in that we prefer to uncover hidden gems, see the backstreets and go where others don’t head. We like to see how the true New Yorker’s spend their time. However we did almost get shot from wandering off beat….but hey this is the US and adds to the drama! We visited so many restaurants, bars, diners and have added some of our thoughts on the places we enjoyed and why. We went to see a band (Ok not American but Welsh) ‘Manic Street Preachers’ at Webster Hall to get a sense of partying with New Yorker’s – which was a lot of fun, we packed a lot in! This trip we seamed to spend a lot of time photographing and walking, so much so, Robs shoes literally wore out, walking on average 12 miles a day (yes that’s right and my legs felt it!), I just managed to hobble back to the hotel each day! We captured so many sights of New York and felt it was fitting to show a gallery of the best of our photographs, after all we are creatives and want to inspire you!
Places we visited:
Highline – well worth a visit a disused railway that has been converted into a walkway with beautiful planting managed by volunteers – the views walking literally through buildings is unforgettable – one of my favourite places. On 23rd Street if your into Art then you’re in the right place so many independent galleries to browse through.
Empire State Building – (I know touristy but it had to be done!) – great views and our recommendation is get there early – we had no ques and we could actually take in the museum bit too – we got there at 10am.
MOMA – Well worth a visit if your into modern art – we went to see Bjork exhibition which was an experience (one criticism sorry Bjork (!) but there wasn’t much on her background how she started, family etc which would have been good to know before we headed full onto into Bjork’s world). If you don’t get to MOMA don’t fret there is so much art to see on the street.
Greenwich Village, Ok we went in spring and I have to say it wasn’t really buzzing as I had imagined it to be, so this of all my trip was a bit of a disappointment – but I am told the summer it is so don’t let me hold you back – I found the Lower East Side, Chelsea and Meatpacking area more buzzy with creative types.
St Marks Place, Webster Hall – we went to St Marks to photograph the building which appeared on Led Zepplin’s Physical Grafitti album, (and sat on the step, it had to be done!) however, the area has an up and coming creative vibe with independent coffee shops, clothes shops, barbers, tatooists etc moving into the area. We went to Webster Hall and what a fantastic intimate venue this is – especially seeing a band, of which, in the UK fills stadiums, so seeing them so close was a big treat! Staff were friendly (especially the man who ID’d me to check I was over 21 years!!!! made my day but he couldn’t have been wearing his glasses !). Loved this old-fashioned music hall and so many bars, no queuing for drinks as someone even brings them to you on a tray, so you don’t miss the act what a great idea!
Tourist stops we also did Grand Central Station, Chrysler Building, New York Public Library, Macy’s,Brooklyn Bridge, China Town, Radio City Music Hall, Central Park
9/11 War Memorial – we wanted to visit and see for ourselves the scale of the site and it certainly doesn’t fail to impress. People are respectful and quiet allowing you take it all in- we didn’t get into the museum as their was a big que – but there are plenty of people telling their stories around the site which is fascinating. We were lucky to see the only surviving tree which was looked after the collapse and sits proudly in the centre of the site as a symbol of strength and hope – it was in full blossom.
Places we ate and drank at:
Bubby’s –defending the American table – 73 Gansevoort street. Just off the highline in the Meatpacking/Chelsea district – this was our favourite place – American diner fare made from local ingredients, all meat is cured on site, décor is modern/traditional and food large portions but well done. We went for a pastrami sandwich – it’s got to be done at least once in New York! Creative types eat here. If you don’t fancy a sit down restaurant lunch – there is an indoor food market over the road with deli stalls of differing foods – pizza, noodles, salads etc made fresh and I could have easily eaten my way through there too!
Hogs and Heifers Bar – near to Bubbys Washington street, ok we were desperate for the Restroom (to be honest) but they were pumping out some tunes so we headed in, with a curt bar maid, 100’s of bras hanging from the ceiling, a pool table in the back, moose heads on the walls and tunes that sang out ‘I like birds and bear’ belting out we sipped our bears politely, kept my bra and headed out! I read the reviews after it’s a fun place, the bar women get on the bar and entertain the crowd but the easily offended stay away! Has a Texan vibe.
The John Dory Oyster Bar – 29th Street/Broadway – as it says on the tin, Oysters are the thing here and all things seafood – we lodged ourselves at the bar and watched people having ‘Oyster shots’ yup a short followed by an oyster or was it the other way round – can’t remember! We tried the stuffed squid with Chorizo and it was delicious – this is more a cocktail bar with appetizers and can be pricey so don’t go to be full, go for a drink before eating! The décor is full of fish and the staff were errmmmm very easy on the eye!
Mc Sorleys Old Ale House 15E 7th Street – oldest pub in New York near St Marks Place – well worth a visit everything has been kept as it was with even sawdust on the floor and a choice of two ales – dark or light, you feel as if you have stepped back in time! The bar man is dressed in traditional clothing and is Irish with so much knowledge of the area, so get his advice before exploring NY we wish we went on one of his recommendations the ‘tenements tour ‘ a tour of NY Lower East Side, a walking tour taking you through the history of the immigration in New York, how they lived etc and best of all trialling the foods as you go such as Stroopwafels from Netherlands, tacos, knishes, dumplings ….stop Im drooling!
White Horse Tavern – 567 Hudson Street Greenwich Village – another old pub good for the literary community and even the Welsh Poet ‘Dylan Thomas’ frequented and it is said was where he had his last Whiskey (or was it 18 drams!), under 21 poetry pilgrims are welcome to sit and have a meal, so stop off for a bite and pint and soak up the literary crowd!
Rosemary’s Entoeca and Trattoria 18 Greenwich Avenue – Italian. we only stopped for coffee (and to rest our legs!) but food looked reasonably priced and freshly cooked. Lovely big warehouse with an upstairs rooftop farm where they grow their own produce, cant get fresher than that!
Shorty’s – 66 Madison Avenue near Flatiron – if you want to experience where the workers go for a lunch and see their favourite sports – baseball, this is it (if you’re a Philly fan!) – pull up to the bar and have a cheesesteak sandwich and cheesy fries (best fries ever!) – great atmosphere, strangers sit next to one another chat over a bear , exchange cards and are very friendly oh try the blue moon lager – lovely citrus taste.
Rue 57 Brasserie Parisienne – near central park – takes you back to France – bit pricy but portions are good.
Diner – near 31st street huge choice of food, affordable and bigger than could manage portions – we needed a lie down after eating our burgers!
We stayed at the Hyatt Herald Square 31st Street – and I can’t recommend it highly enough – it’s not a large hotel more boutique in size, exceptional service and decorated with quirky creative design features and gadgets. With only being a couple of blocks from the Empire State the roof top bar has some great views with such a lovely bar man, Jason and don’t forget to get him to make you a Manhattan cocktail after all you are in Manhattan !
We will certainly be back soon NY once we have recovered!