In Life, Travel

Things to do in New York City – Must Visit Places.

I love NYC! I lived there with my parents and siblings for 3.5 years of my life when I was a child. 

One of the many things I remember about our time there is how my twin and I would walk to school from our apartment on East 89th Street. How we would walk to Sandy Park and play in the sand…. Daddy took us to many places of interest like the Twin Towers, Empire State Building, Coney Island, Staten Island, Statue of Liberty to name a few.

There’s just something about New York City that draws me. I’ve made several trips back since we left, trips with my family (husband and children), trip with my 2 sisters, business trips alone and my last trip was with my two children who are now grown. I don’t want to blow my own trumpet but, I am a great travel companion and my children had so much fun on this trip. 

Prior to travelling, I’d asked the children for a list of things they wanted to do whilst they were there. My son had a small list and my daughter came up with nothing other than buying a pair of Timberland boots. 😂 I’ve probably been to all of the main NYC tourist attractions over the course of my life, so I was quite keen not to visit only the popular ones on this trip. We stayed on 34th Street and we walked past the Empire State Building every time we walked in that direction.  Interestingly, neither of them had the desire to venture inside and because I’d been in there at some point in my life, neither did I.  However, I recommend going there. 

Here is a short list of my favourite things on my last trip to NYC.

The High Line

This was on Kash’s list and it was a very good choice.

The High Line is a park built on an old elevated rail line. The railway line was once destined for demolition. The community came together to brainstorm what could be done with the line instead. A “what to do with the line” ideas competition was put out and 720 ideas came from from 36 countries, and that’s how the line was transformed into a park that could benefit others. Aside from the gardens and public space, the park also features world class artwork, hosts  performances, and public programs. For me what really stood out was the sheer creativity it took to transform an old ugly railway line into a place of beauty, where plant life can grow. 

We started from W34th Street where we got a view of the Hudson and walked through the park to the end at Gansevoort Street (near 12th Street).  The line cuts through the back of buildings, and you get a great view of the city. One thing I regret not bringing on this trip is hubby’s DSLR camera. My then old iPhone camera had it’s limitations. If you love nature and art, then you will love seeing how what had become an eyesore is transformed into a 2.3km beautiful park with 500+ species of plant life. The maintenance of the park is funded by supporters of The High Line conservation group. We visited in April, this would be a lovely sight in the summer months! 

For more information and to visit go to https://www.thehighline.org 

Red Rooster

On a trip to Macy’s, I got back from the changing room to find the children chatting with an America lady. I think their British accents must have caught her attention. She gave them a list of places to visit and The Red Rooster was on the list. I suggested we go there for Kash’s 19th Birthday. I must say, American soul food is not something I would usually go for but wherever we travel to, we try and sample some local cuisine even if just once. 

The Red Rooster is the brain child of award winning chef Marcus Samuelesson. It’s situated in Harlem on Lenox Avenue between 125th and 126th Street. I heard that after Barack Obama visited, it’s popularity soured through the roof. I expected the place to be full of black people. I guess I wrongly thought, Harlem + soul food = lots of black Americans. I was quite surprised to find it full of white people. We went on a Tuesday, the day after Kash’s birthday and it was jam packed. We were just lucky to have gotten a space because initially we were told we had to wait about 1hr.

The food was nice but I wasn’t blown away, maybe because I’m not a soul food fan. I had some crispy fried fish, jerk chicken, ribs and collard greens. What I loved about Red Rooster is the live band Jazz music. My gosh! The music, the band, just tooooo good and super cool!  The musicians dressing  took me back to what it must have been like in the 1920’s Jazz era. You really do feel the Harlem Jazz vibe. This was one part of our trip that I knew my husband David (who didn’t come) who have really enjoyed. This is a must visit for some Harlem Nights vibe, and soul food. For more information, visit  https://www.redroosterharlem.com

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MoMa 

Museum Of Modern Art.

In another life, I might have been an artist. I don’t know why but I love art museums so it’s always on my list of things to do when I go away on holiday.  Some would say you visit one art gallery, you visit all. Yes yes yes, it’s exhibitions of paintings, sculptures, and other types of art work. I love looking at the creativity, imagination and expression that goes into art. My favourite art is the work done by 19th and 20th century artists like Magritte, Monet, Matisse, Boccioni, Degas, Picasso, Van Gogh, (all pictured) which were exhibiting at the time.  I also include in my picture gallery, some architectural designs made from paper by Japanese Artist Akihisa Hirata.

For information about the current exhibitions and how to get there visit https://www.moma.org.

Magnolia Bakery 

A cake lovers delight! 

We went to Magnolia bakery with the aim of getting a birthday cake for Kash. When we got there, the queue was a quite long so we decided to go to Rockefeller Centre and back. 

The cream cupcakes (red velvet, chocolate and vanilla) we bought were very nice, delicious and moist. I particularly loved the mini cheesecakes, one of the best I’ve had. Not cheap price wise, but worth a visit. I will definitely go back the next time I visit NYC especially for the cheesecakes. https://www.magnoliabakery.com

Central Park

Okay, I last visited this park with Kash before his sister was born. We walked to the park’s 59th Street entrance from where we were staying on 34th Street. Central Park is the most visited parks in America. There is so much to do in the park like just taking in it’s beauty, eating at the restaurants, events, fitness activities and play areas for children. A visit to NYC is incomplete without a Central Park visit. The park is about 840 acres, it’s just under 10km to go round it. One day, I hope to go back and walk the 9.8K round the park. https://www.centralpark.com

Other places we visited.

Rockefeller Center for a spot of ice skating. Madison Square Garden sporting arena (best seen at night) if you’re into American sports, Woodberry Common outlets NJ for some designer shopping. For someone coming from Europe, it would be American designers because European designer goods are cheaper in European outlets. Don’t make that mistake.

To conclude, for me, any vacation where I can walk, explore the city, take pictures and eat good food is a perfect one. Our days were pretty straightforward, after a good nights sleep, the children and I headed to the hotel gym, worked out, got ready for the day, had breakfast and hit the streets till night time mixing shopping, eating with sightseeing.

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