New York Citytrip • Part three
You've had a taste of iconic central Manhattan, you've experienced the 'small-scale' neighborhoods, so now it's time to discover the Southern end of the island and venture into the adjacent borough that is Brooklyn. Along the way you'll encounter many buildings that testify of the industrial past of these areas and you'll enjoy some major scenic views that are at their best when accompanied by clear blue skies!
THURSDAY | DOWNTOWN
Start your day in a relax way by having a late breakfast slash brunch at Sarabeth's (339 Greenwich Street). Not only is the space of this restaurant really open and wide, you'll definitely find what you're looking for on their menu, whether that's eggs or something sweet. After that, you can go explore TriBeCa (which stands for 'Triangle Below Canal Street'), a part of town with many industrial buildings that have been turned into lofts and chic restaurants. Make sure to drop by at Steven Alan (103 Franklin Street), a nice boutique where they sell not only the brand of the same name, but also other cool labels that revolve around the wardrobe essentials.
Heading South, you'll come across other NY landmarks such as City Hall, the Woolworth Building and Ground Zero. In the middle of it all lies Century 21 (22 Cortlandt Street) another landmark you shouldn't miss if you're into designer brands at discount (remember Carrie saying Century 21 Downtown is the best part of jury duty in 'Hop, Skip and a Week' S6E6?). Sure it isn't the most glamorous shopping experience, and it will take you quite some time if you want to check out every floor, but it is the place to score those Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs and others at discounts up to 65%! Going further down, you'll find Wall Street, the symbol of the Financial District and the world's biggest stock exchange (where Carrie opens trading for the New York Star, the newspaper she writes her column for, in 'To Market, to Market' S6E1).
Keep on walking towards the East River and you'll arrive at NY's original port. A really fun thing to do over there is to take the Staten Island Ferry (just like the ladies do in 'Where There's Smoke' S3E1). Not only does the 25 min ride give you great views of the skyline, it will also take you past the Statue of Liberty, the 93 meters high monument (a gift from France) that was the first thing millions of immigrants got to see when entering the harbor years ago, dreaming of a better future. The ferry takes off every 15 min and is completely free! Back in Downtown, I suggest having a walk along the Hudson River, through Battery Park City, on the gorgeous Esplanade with its benches and street lamps, made even more gorgeous by the sunset! For dinner, The Odeon (145 West Broadway) is perfect, not only because of its location at the end of your riverside walk, but also because this restaurant serves the best brasserie-style food in a vintage setting.
FRIDAY | BROOKLYN
Remember Miranda doesn't want to move to Brooklyn with her family at first because it's off Manhattan and "even cabs won't go there" ('Out of the Frying Pan' S6E16)? True, it will take you a little longer to get there, but I assure you it is worth discovering this other facet of NY! Just take the subway to City Hall Park and go up the Brooklyn Bridge from there. The walk to the other side is sensational. The bridge was finished in 1883 and it was the first to employ steel cables. Over the years, it has become the most iconic and recognizable bridge of NY (not only is it featured in SATC's opening credits, it's also the meeting point of Miranda and Steve after they decide to give their marriage a second chance in SATC The Movie). If you want to avoid the crowds, there's only one solution: wake up very early!
Once you reached the other side, stick to the left and get off the bridge to enter DUMBO (another acronym that stands for 'Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass'), a cool area where an arty community settled in former factories. For lunch, I recommend Atrium (15 Main Street), a place I discovered thanks to this New Yorker I'm following on Instagram. And speaking of Instagram, a few steps from there you'll find the backdrop for the ultimate outfit shot: the section of Washington Street between Plymouth and Water Streets. My jaw literally dropped when I saw the Manhattan Bridge in the back of that narrow street! Further on Front Street, there are some great alternative shops, such as Front General Store (143 Front Street), a thrift shop where you'll find vintage denim jackets, turquoise jewelry and silk shirts.
A fabulous place to spend the rest of the afternoon is Brooklyn Bridge Park, a green space under the two bridges (the Brooklyn and the Manhattan Bridge), on the edge of the East River. Two highlights that you can't miss are the picturesque Jane's Carousel and the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (1 Water Street). Further on the West bank you'll find the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, a 500 meters long pedestrian area that offers yet another epic perspective on the Lower Manhattan skyline. The charming streets behind are home to some beautiful brownstones by the way. For dinner, you simply must go to Gran Eléctrica (5 Front Street), for the fresh margaritas, the amazing Mexican cuisine and the beautiful outdoor patio!
Some practical information that could be of great help:
- It is mandatory to fill in the online ESTA application prior to your entrance in the US (you just need to answer some standard questions and pay €14,00).
- Check the settings of your credit card before you leave to make sure it is operational in the US.
- Take sufficient dollars with you, it can always come in handy.
- Don't forget those power plug adapters.
- When you're having dinner at restaurants, it is best to make a reservation. You can easily do this in advance online from home (most bookings go via the platform 'OpenTable').
- Instead of dragging your luggage in public transport from the airport to Manhattan, just take a cab. There's a special flat rate that applies to all of them (around $70,00).
- Buy an unlimited MetroCard upon your arrival (around $35,00). It gives you access to subways and buses for a week.
- When taking the subway, the side of the street on which you take the stairs determines whether you're going uptown or downtown.
- For breakfast, most of the time we just picked up something at Starbucks (they are literally at every street corner) or we went to Blank Slate (121 Madison Avenue) because of its convenient location near our hotel.