In my eyes, New York is the most incredible city in the world. Renowned for it's hustle and bustle, bright lights and billboards, the city that never sleeps has always sat stubbornly at the top of my bucket list. Shortly (and luckily) before coronavirus took over the world, my boyfriend and I were fortunate enough to spend four days in February admiring The Big Apple; a trip that was gifted to us as part of our twenty first birthdays. Whilst in the grand scheme of things we were only able to scratch the surface, I have hand-picked my favourite mix of what to do and where to eat for the perfect New York itinerary.
Where to stay:
Fifty Hotel & Suites by Affinia, Midtown East:
-Just a stone's throw away from Rockefeller Centre, Times Square and Madison Avenue Shopping, staying in this boutique hotel will place you directly in the thick of Midtown East. Defined by its modern architecture, hand-selected furnishings and most importantly, free wine hour, the hotel has a very comforting but also business-ready feel. Despite only staying in their guest room, which is opposed to the suites they offer, I could not deny their elaborate decor and spacious spaces that made it feel like a home away from home.
What to do:
Empire State Building:
-Located at the centre of Midtown Manhattan, standing at 1,454 feet tall with an impressive 102-stories, there is no doubt that the Empire State Building provides the best panoramic views of the city. Within a minute of being in the escalator, you are whisked away from the busyness down below to unforgettable views and endless photography opportunities. But that's not all. Be sure to make the most of the exhibition floors to soak in the history and personal stories of this magnificent building.
The Museum-9/11 Memorial:
-No matter where in the city you are staying, a visit to the 9/11 Memorial should sit at the top of your list on things to do. This museum is a tribute to each and every individual who lost their lives on September 11th 2001, and is a physical reminder of the absolute devastation that occurred. Be sure to make yourself aware of the impact this memorial will have, as each story can evoke dormant emotions and will bring you even closer to the tragedy. As well as having the opportunity to listen and watch an archive of extremely moving interviews, the museum's recording studio also allows you to voice how the 9/11 attacks changed or affected you...be it nineteen years ago or now.
-Whether it be art, science or history, NYC is bursting with enough museums and cultural institutions to boggle the mind. What initially debuted as a month-long collaborative exhibition in San Fransisco has now branched out into interactive museums in both Soho New York and Houston: it's a gallery spilling with colour, interactivity and wacky personality. In 20,000 square feet, explore the city's favourite artists and creatives as they tell their unique colour stories and engage each of your senses in unexpected ways. And of course, there are enough Instagram and snack opportunities here to last you a lifetime (they provide macaroons!!).
Where to eat:
Junior's Restaurant and Bakery:
-Longing for the best cheesecake in the city? Hail a taxi and ask to be taken to Junior's. As well as providing their customers with an extensive main menu for the whole family to enjoy, their cheesecakes have gained an incredible fan base over the years, and rightly so. Whether your after the standard but ever so tasty New York special, or something Red Velvet takes your fancy, Junior's will be sure to fulfil all your creamy cheesecake cravings.
Morning Star Cafe:
-Nothing says American culture more to me than a 24-hour diner selling all the types of pancakes and eggs a customer can imagine. The real leather booths, white table cloths, vintage American art along with the buzzing atmosphere makes you really feel as if you're brunching like a local. If you want to step away from the tourism culture and venture into the life of a real New Yorker, step foot into the one of the thousands of diners they offer. However, after having pancakes on three separate occasions, I can confidently recommend that Morning Star Cafe provide the best stack.
-For more than thirty years this family-run business has become famous for their barbecue ribs, rotisserie chicken and endless list of cocktails. Thriving in eleven different locations across the state, this particular restaurant is situated in the middle of Times Square and can sit up to 780 hungry people-tourists and locals alike. Spend an evening soaking up the Times Square atmosphere, hip and fun decor and of course...all the thirst-quenching beverages.