Last September we embarked on a two month journey in New York City. E would work in the mornings and sometimes had business meetings to attend, but for the most part we were there together enjoying all the big apple had to offer. This wasn’t our first time in New York City for either of us, especially E because he goes often for the wine business, but it was our first time staying for such a long period.
We booked a beautiful, modern apartment off of Airbnb.com in Nolita. Small, of course, like most places in NYC unless you are a billionaire, but the size of the apartment didn’t matter to us because we were out exploring the city each day. The area was perfect because it was North of Houston street – (fun fact; not pronounced like the city in Texas), East of SoHo, South of NoHo, West of the lower East side and North of Little Italy. The area was not over populated with tourists and far from Times Square, which was exactly what we wanted. We wanted to emerge ourselves into the true culture of Manhattan.
After a few trial and error we finally got the subway down to a T. Oddly enough, I really enjoy the subway because you feel like you are real part of the city. All sorts of people ride the subway and I find beauty in that. No one get’s a fancier seat if you pay more, you are all the same in that moment, all connected in a strange way, just trying to get to your end destination.
Chelsea, Greenwich Village, West Village, Meatpacking district, SoHo and Tribeca are my favorite areas. One of the best things about being in the city is that you can walk everywhere and see different things each time, whether it is was walking twenty blocks to find the restaurant you looked up online or to walk two blocks to buy some flowers at the corner shop, there are always sights to see. It is truly the most exciting city in the world and it’s impossible to be bored. The unintentional beauty of the city like the graffiti on the walls, the dapperly dressed couple drinking coffee outside at the local cafe or the pissed off taxi drivers honking at each other. I find a peacefulness in the midst of the chaos. You walk down the street and you feel like you are in film, an unexplainable feeling of belonging to the city. You know if something important happened, you would hear about it here first. The city is full of people minding their own business; no judgement, no loneliness, just living. That fast pace way of life that gives you a burst of energy and refuels your fire.
I’m a sucker for the MOMA, I love seeing the art I studied in books in real life and color. Spending hours strolling through an art museum is my kind of rainy day activity.
Living in Italy I know first hand that the food is the best of the best, but we did find unforgettable places to eat in the city that we crave at home. One of those places is Ed’s Lobster Bar. Located just a few blocks from our Nolita apartment lies a tiny place that served all kinds of New England seafood. Although, it’s the glorious lobster that takes the cake in this place. Our very first visit I ordered the chilled Maine lobster and E chose the lobster roll. W-O-W. All I can say is that was not the last time we went there to chow down on New England cuisine. Don’t be afraid to rub elbows with your neighbor because it is so worth is. Check out their website here;
“I go to Paris, I go to London, I go to Rome, and I always say, “There’s no place like New York, it’s the most exciting city in the world now. That’s the way it is. That’s it.” Robert De Niro
Roaming the streets for hours is hitting a bird with two stones, not only do you get to see so much but you are also burning lots of calories. One of the greatest things is you can find anything you need within walking distance. Pictured below is a cute coffee shop called Iconic Coffee between Prince and Spring Street on Lafayette in SoHo that we stopped in to grab a nice warm latte. Another place I fell for was Dean & DeLuca, a gourmet food shop located in SoHo where they have the finest assortments of cheese and my favorite brands of loose leaf tea from Paris & London.
I have cousins who work in Manhattan and they recommended a pizza place that was conveniently a few blocks away from our apartment called Prince St. Pizza. Owned by an Italian, a tiny little spot and always pretty busy. The walls are covered with pictures of different celebrities having their share of a slice of heaven. Having lived in Italy for almost three years now and having an Italian boyfriend, I have probably become a little bit of a pizza snob, but this NY style pizza passes our test with flying colors and we stopped by quite often to bring home slices for a relaxing night in.
I have a soft spot for markets and Chelsea Market has to be my number one. It was October and so the inside was all decked out in Halloween decor. Oh, how I miss this place. This is one of Martha Stewart’s favorite spots in NYC and I have zero questions why. Oyster bar, meat shops, sushi, imported spice shops, italian products, Fat Witch Bakery where they make scrumptious brownies and so much more. Also check out Rana, (a famous Italian pasta brand) where we took E’s family there when they came to visit us for five days and the pasta is great but the brunch is where it takes the blue ribbon with their eggs Benedict and pandoro french toast. Don’t ask, just go. Walk that brunch off with a stroll through the High Line Park, a repurposed railway turned urban park.
The shops in SoHo are every fashion lover’s dream come true and right up my alley. Big names like Chanel share streets with small stores with their cast-iron fronted buildings and clean cobblestone streets. Acne, Joie, A.P.C and Rag & Bone are just naming a few of my faves. E and I share a big love for SoHo and so did E’s younger brother when his family came to visit us.
If you ever thought it was impossible to live in Manhattan with a family think again because I found the spot where families go to escape the busy streets of the city; Battery Park, with it’s huge grass fields and every game, playground or activity a child could ask for, (yeah, even mini golf). This is just one of the many reasons why NYC kicks every other city’s ass.
The last week we moved into another apartment across the bridge in Brooklyn. Williamsburg to be exact. Our friends from Italy were staying with us that week and one morning I left the apartment early and decided to run across the Williamsburg bridge and meet them in West Village once they were ready. I loved everything about that run, the view of Manhattan and slowly getting closer and closer to the noise of the taxis, listening to glimpses of other people’s conversations as I ran past them. I would not mind doing that again.
Walking or biking across the Brooklyn bridge is a definite must when you go to NYC. Coming from Portland, I do love my bridges, so it was a fun thing to do and reminded me of my homeland. Beautiful views of the city so don’t forget your camera. Thousands of movie scenes have taken place on this popular bridge and I can’t help but think about the scene from Sex & The City when Miranda and Steve meet in the middle. Fans of the show, you know.
There is a huge transition from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Brooklyn has more of a grunge and hipster vibe which is totally cool because I’m from Portland, city of grunge and hipster. It is definitely an up and coming area with rent growing higher and higher. We stumbled upon many cute places to eat and to shop but the one worth mentioning most is Marlow & Sons and their mouth-watering breakfast sandwiches.
A friend I grew up with lives in Brooklyn and he has a rad job making chocolate at Mast Brothers in Williamsburg. He was kind enough to give us all a tour through the factory, taught us how they make the magic chocolate and taste test. Not your average chocolate with flavors like vanilla & smoke, sea salt, maple and more. Needless to stay we packed our bags full with chocolate bars before heading back to Italia.
Here is a list of our top five restaurants in Manhattan to highly recommend;
1) Saxon & Parole
3) Pearl & Ash
4) The Musket Room
Okay, I lied, I have one more place to add to the list and that is In Vino in the East Village.
We had an extraordinary time and will definitely return. New York City is not just a city, but it’s the greatest city in the world, a nation of it’s own, the center of the universe and I have been bit by the bug.
“I love New York, even though it isn’t mine, the way something has to be, a tree or a street or a house, something, anyway, that belongs to me because I belong to it.” -Truman Capote