“New York, New York, I want to wake up in a city that never sleeps.” – Frank Sinatra
There are songs to listen to, movies to watch, and plays written all about it. People far and near alike rant and rave about its infamous fashion week, extravagant holiday parades, unbelievable skyscrapers, and the never-ending city lights that appear to go on for years. The Big Apple evokes feelings of nostalgia reminiscent of the city’s pre-industrial years, while simultaneously offering a perpetually energetic atmosphere a long ways ahead of its time.
On my trips agenda, I heavily prioritized hitting every major shopping district in the city- fortunately I was successful in doing so! Each individual part of the city possessed its own unique vibe that could only be adequately described by feeling it yourself. The Upper East Side, shopping made with the fashion-conscious in mind, is a neighborhood carrying stores of only the highest-end of names in the industry. It’s the place to find carefully constructed department store window displays (like the Bergdorf Goodman photo in the top left), and designer boutiques created to look as delicate as the jewelry they sell. While strolling around Soho, at some times it felt as if I’d never left Austin. The area was spotted with local juiceries, people leaving yoga class, and stores for street-wear groupies. I was most excited about “A Bathing Ape” (top right photo) – a lifestyle and street-wear brand with most of its locations in its homeland, Japan. The brand only has one location in the U.S. and no phones were allowed in the store – photography and recording of any kind is strictly prohibited! The Upper East Side and Soho could not be any more different than fire and ice. Located on the opposite ends of the same city, they endlessly remain as treasures and homes to locals and tourists alike.
As an Art History student, I was stoked for what New York City offers in its unimaginable collection of art. Not only could you find masterpieces in the city’s main museums – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art – but also along the city streets. From the graffiti’d walls of the subway stations to the sculpture installations on the corners of any intersection, I never had to look too far to find where the artistically intelligent have left their mark. My favorite art attractions, as touristy as they may be, were the museums! I felt the equivalent of a little kid in a candy store as I turned every corner of the MOMA to face yet another one of my favorite pieces by yet another of my favorite artists. It was a feeling quite unlike any other to share my elation with other art nerds gathered in front of every Dali, Picasso, and Matisse.
To even begin to touch on the unfathomable amount of food options available in the city will take me only forever – and a day. Just be aware that “doing brunch” is not an activity taken lightly by New Yorkers and the only way to “do brunch” is to do it right. It is easy to find just about anything for anybody due to the variety in cuisine, but you can also choose the pace of your dining just as simply. Whether you’re looking to sit down in a dimly-lit steakhouse or grab a quick bowl of pho, New York City will always be a place fit for the pickiest of picky eaters.
Here’s a pic of one of the best brunch dishes I had at a cute little spot called The Rustic Table right outside of Times Square: a cauliflower potato puree base, arugula, sunny side egg, and sliced almonds, with some house-made olive butter on the side.
We enjoyed a fabulous dinner on our last night in the city in Bryant Park, which was conveniently located between our hotel in Times Square and the shops on Fifth Avenue.
Dining at Bryant Park Grill felt as if you were sitting in a magical metropolitan heaven. The majority of the diners opted to sit on their expansive patio which is left uncovered in the summertime, thanks to the beautiful breezy 75-degree weather. Below are pictures of my sister and I’s plates! On the top, an arugula-pear salad. On the bottom, a roasted Branzino atop of creamy polenta and roasted veggies.
I can tell you one thing, I never thought I would do so much traveling all in the same city. There are countless methods of transportation at anybody’s disposal in NYC. There were a few days where I Uber’d, took a city bus, took a subway, and walked, all within hours of each other. SO much intercity motility is mandatory in order to make the most of one’s stay by hitting as many of its neighborhoods as possible in a short amount of time. By the end of my five-day trip, my Apple Watch had to be ready to burst from the step count – we were hitting around 35,000 a day!
City life isn’t for the faint of heart (or the slow walker), but it is for the spontaneous, the lovers of routine and adventure alike, the energetic, and the night owls.