No one is ever disappointed in New York. Whatever you want it to be, it is: I’ve never known anyone visit and come back sad that they went. In the nearly 20 years I have going to the city, each time I arrive, it dazzles me anew. No wonder I decided to set a book there! So here are just some of my favourite places – why not check them out?
|Sign at the High Line|
One of the things I love most about New York is it’s a walking city – you get the most out of it from simply walking around. And while there’s plenty to see just talking a meander round whatever neighbourhood you are staying in, and Central Park is a must-visit, if the weather is halfway decent you can’t beat a visit to the High Line – a former elevated railway line that has been turned, with no little thought and care, into a public park that gives you an elevated view of the city.
Although it gets very crammed and touristy, I will alwayshave a soft spot for Chelsea Market – one of my closest friends used to live around the corner, so I have fond memories of spending my mornings eating artisanal muffins in one of the multitude of trendy coffee shops and restaurants the place is home to. It’s only a few blocks away from one of the entrances to the High Line, so doing both in one day is an ideal jaunt, but be careful – there are so many cute little shops, from crafts and clothes to cuisine, that if you go here first you might have a lot to carry when you tackle your walk! Be sure to check out lovely boutique bookshop Posman Books, which I have never managed to leave empty handed.
American women worship Sephora, and it’s not hard to see why. If you are remotely interested in skincare or cosmetics, you can spend hours browsing one of the many stores that litter the city, and you’re guaranteed to come out with something! Pro-tip: Get a loyalty card, even if you’re only visiting. It’s really easy to rack up enough points to get a freebie.
They take their cocktails seriously in New York (and pour them with a liberal hand – consume with caution!) so there are great bars all over the city, with new ones popping up every day. My current favourites are Death & Company, Raines Law Room (where a birthday night out inspired my story A Vampire in New York), and the Up & Up.
|Library at the Public, New York|
A Broadway show will stretch the budget of most travellers, but there’s a wealth of great theatre in New York if you are willing to look beyond the big shows. Check out the Public Theater for talent on the rise (Hamilton made its debut here!) – and, bonus, they have a great bar, The Library.
Don’t stick to the city
If you have time, it’s worth heading across the bridge to Brooklyn (if for no other reason than crossing that iconic bridge!): whether it’s the hipster delights of Williamsburg or the galleries in Dumbo, there’s plenty to enjoy. My favourite discovery last year was Fort Greene’s Greenlight Bookstore, a gorgeous little bookshop set amidst enough coffee shops to keep you happily caffeinated!
Read all about it
There are probably more books on New York than there are actual New Yorkers, so there’s no dearth of reading material about the city. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of the most famous – and though it has less charm than the film, it’s worth a read. You might also like Fifth Avenue, Five AM, Sam Wasson’s fascinating story of how the film got made, or Melanie Benjamin’s The Swans of Fifth Avenue, which is a fictional account of Truman Capote and the women who inspired his writing. However, if you want a ‘life is stranger than art’ story which revolves around the world Swans is set in, I recommend Daniel Okrent’s fascinating GreatFortune: The Epic of the Rockefeller Center, which shows the forces and personalities that literally shaped New York.
Tips for travellers
Take comfy shoes: you get so much out of the city if you are able to walk around it.
Take photo ID: most standard bars and restaurants will serve you alcohol if you look over 21, but lots of cocktail bars, particularly those with a ‘speakeasy’ vibe or a doorman, won’t let you in unless you have ID – no matter how old you are!
Tipping is not optional: If you’re not used to it, the amount of money you are expected to tip at restaurants can seem extortionate, but just think of it as part of the bill. Luckily, most places now will state on the bill suggested tips, to save you having to do the maths, but you can find a decent guide to tipping etiquette here.
Don’t over-schedule: It’s great to do research to narrow down your options, and some things will need advance planning and booking, but you’ll really get more out of the city if you allow yourself time to wander and discover. Your best meal will be that little neighbourhood Mexican place that you just happened to walk past; you’ll find that cute little shop you would never have thought to look for. But remember: New York is like London. Don’t walk too slowly on a city sidewalk, or a native might just mow you down…
About the Author
|Tracey Sinclair, Author|
Tracey Sinclair is an author and freelance editor and writer. Her books include the romcom The Bridesmaid Blues and the Dark Dates/Cassandra Bick series, the latest of which, Angel Falls, is out now. She wrote A Vampire in New York after a very boozy birthday night out in the city.
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