New York is a popular tourist destination, everyone has either been there, or it is on their list. Therefore, rather than focusing on the standard tourist attractions, let us help you discover the best local experiences and culture to discover on your holiday.
While the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art should be on everyone’s list of things to do in New York, if you want culture but not the crowds, head to the Cloisters instead. Located in peaceful Fort Tyron Park, European art and architecture are displayed in a building which was constructed from French medieval ruins. This is the building where the Met displays all of its medieval art such as the Unicorn Tapestries. Snug Harbor is another off the beaten track attraction. It was once a retirement home for sailors, but it has been given a second life as an arts centre and botanical gardens. It is located in the north of Staten Island and spending an afternoon wandering through the nine themed gardens is the best way to decompress after the hustle and bustle of the city.
New York attracts a lot of people for its shopping, but forget the outlet stores and department stores; we know where all the cool kids go shopping. If you only have limited shopping time then head straight to Howard Street in Soho, it is packed of vintage stores and indie boutiques where you can find unique pieces that will make your friends mad with jealousy. Head to Open Ceremony for clothing and accessories that are a mix of clothing and edgy. While you’re in the area, be sure to head to the Soho branch of Housing Works Thrift Shop. Take the time to dig through all the junk; there are often designer pieces lurking on the racks to be snapped up by the patient shopper.
If there is one thing that New Yorkers take seriously, it is their food and their drinking spots. Find somewhere that does both really well so you can perch yourself on a fancy barstool or in a squishy leather booth for an evening and not have to worry about where to go for dinner. Bar Goto in the Lower Eastside is a Japanese bar serving minimalistic interiors, elegant high ball cocktails, and the best okonomiyaki outside of Japan. The cocktails incorporate refreshingly delicate Japanese flavours like cherry blossom, sake gin, yuzu, and green tea. The Nomad Bar is another place that we like to spend a few hours when we visit New York. With its wooden panelled walls and dark green leather booths, it feels like you’re relaxing in the library of an old manor house. They have an amazing selection of drinks and a food menu which puts a fancy twist on bar classics like truffle hot dogs and dry-aged burgers.
New York is a great place to travel, no matter the season. In winter, it is a frosty, snowy city with ice-skating at the Rockefeller Center and holiday windows in all the big department stores. In summer, New York sizzles with heat and humidity. Join the locals flocking to the parks or walking along the Hudson, enjoying the cool breeze. The best time to visit New York, though, is in the fall. September and October have mild weather perfect for exploring the city and trying pumpkin spice everything.
English is the official language spoken in New York. That being said, it is the proud home of many immigrants who give the city its distinct flavour. There are over 800 languages spoken in New York.
VOYA’S FAVOURITE PLACES TO VISIT INCLUDE
If you’re a foodie like us, then you have to go to Smorgasburg, a weekly open-air food market that is responsible for launching food trends like ramen burger and Wowful waffle cones. There are over 100 vendors with all types of different food to try; it will be hard to know where to start first. It runs every Saturday in Williamsburg by the East River and every Sunday in Prospect Park.
The High Line is a 1.45 mile long innovative new green space in New York. Once an abandoned elevated railway, it has been transformed into a walkway lined with mostly indigenous plants. There are sculptures which change every season and food stalls along the High Line just in case you get snacky.
VOYA'S FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY INCLUDE
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge – A beautifully designed eco-hotel in the middle of Brooklyn. The hotel is completely powered by wind power and features living walls and indoor trees. Perhaps the best part of the whole hotel, though, is the rooftop pool which has fantastic views of the Brooklyn Bridge. Aside from the standard rooms, all of the room categories have views of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Lotte New York Palace – You might recognise this hotel as the one from Gossip Girl, the bottom of the hotel is renovated from mansions, from which the modern towers rise. The hotel is located right in the middle of Midtown Manhattan, so a perfect base for exploring the city. If you’re after a room with the old-school glamour but modern conveniences, then book one of the rooms in the palace section. If you are after modern luxury and finishes, then book one of the tower rooms.
VOYA'S FAVOURITE DISHES TO TRY
New York is a true melting pot of cultures, so there are so many fantastic foods to try on your holiday. However, there is one food that you must try, and that is a proper New York bagel. Bagels are best when they’re from a local deli like Russ and Daughters and slathered in cream cheese.
The second food that you must try is the New York Cheesecake. Yes, just like a bagel, you can get them everywhere else around the world. However, trust us when we say they are so much better here! The cake is extra creamy, and they are made with homemade fruit purees.