Following my touchdown in London two days ago, after taking the biggest bite out of the big apple, I took a moment to sit back and really think. Not to just think about how amazing New York was, but also to reflect on the lessons I took back from one of the world’s greatest cities. I know that I always do my usual travel guide when visiting another country, don’t worry, that will follow very soon. But for a change, I am starting with something slightly different.
For starters, New York was something else. I don’t just mean another awesome city with lots of amazing cafes, restaurants and shops. I truly mean that New York City was beyond mesmerising. You know when you visit a place and you cannot quite comprehend or come to terms with what is, but there is something that just makes you think WOW. For me, New York did exactly that.
I must admit, I was a New York virgin! I have been to the states many times before, however, I somehow always managed to avoid the big apple. I suppose I didn’t really know what I was in for. It turns out, that was the best thing!
If you have been to New York before, you will understand me when I say there is something magical about that city. It is totally true in the movies: every element is exactly how it is filmed. The Brooklyn Bridge is amazing, you feel this overpowering surge of excitement as you step foot on it. You look back at the view of Manhattan and just can’t quite believe it’s real.
Having said all of this, New York taught me a lot. In the short space of time that I was there, I learned a hell of a lot!
1. Good coffee is hard to find, but always a must
Yes, I am starting off with a necessity: coffee. In London good coffee is in abundance. Every small cafe will serve a decent flat white, no ifs or buts. However, NYC is somewhat the opposite. I don’t know why, but the coffee in New York is so weak! You ask for a skinny cappuccino and you’re handed a rather large jug of milk! They seem to have this bottomless culture: “if you run out, we’ve got you covered” type of thing. For some people that works, but not for me.
However, every morning I would wake up around 7:30 am and walk two blocks to Starbucks to bring back three coffees and a cup of english breakfast tea. This coffee was a God send, especially when you are seriously lagging!
2. You are never more than a block away from a Pret A Manger
This was something I just couldn’t get my head around. There were more Pret A Manger’s in New York than London!!! You would be walking and BAM, another Pret. But, Pret A Manger is super reliable. They came in super handy for a quick stop and free WiFi (which is lacking, considering the city is super developed).
3. Don’t waste your time by being polite
Sure, good manners go a long way, but in New York, they get you no where! On our first night, we went to the most insane Italian restaurant ever (I will go into more detail when I post my travel guide). It was a small little restaurant located in the heart of Nolita called Epistrophy; a must visit! However, the service was surly central. The waiter did not give two s**ts if you said please or thank you. In all honestly, not one person in New York does. Don’t waste your time being polite because it will get you no where!
4. The best way to get around is by using your feet
Don’t get me wrong, the subway is perfectly fine; the trains are on time and are an easy solution to get from A to B. But, one thing no one tells you: they’re VERY expensive! You can only take three short journeys or two long journeys with $10; using your feet is a far better option. Another reason why walking is the best is because you see way more. Every morning I would get up at 7:30 am and walk two blocks to get coffee. After my first day, I started to walk three or four blocks to find better coffee (no offence Starbucks!). New York is probably the easiest city to navigate- they have a grid system which, trust me, is the easiest thing. You simply would not be doing the city any justice if you just Uberd around all day.
5. You haven’t tried a bagel until you’ve been to New York
On our last morning in New York, we went to Dean and DeLuca on Madison Avenue, Upper East style. I ordered the usual coffee and fruit salad, along with the BEST bagel I have ever had. That is a huge statement! But, the blueberry bagel was out of this world. There is something just so delicious and satisfying about taking a bite out of the best ever bagel.
Another notable bagel shop is Russ & Daughters. These bagels are well respected by locals and featured in a notorious NYC bread book: Bien Cuit. Always get cream cheese, butter just doesn’t do the bagel ANY justice.
There will be plenty more of my New York adventures coming soon; make sure you have notifications turned on whenever I post a new photo on Instagram. Next I will be sharing the best eats in New York, my personal favourite as who doesn’t love food?
I also tried out a different way of showing my pictures, please let me know if you like it or prefer the usual photo display!