Ahhh, NYC…the city that never sleeps. With its shining lights, magnetic energy, historical architecture, many landmarks and character-filled streets – Chicas, you can visit a million times and there were still be a million new things to see and do the next time you’re there. ¡Te lo juro! It leaves you both spent and wanting more, and sometimes I need a vacation from my vacation!
As a New Yorker, I can’t get enough of it. It’s a local meets tourist vibe for me, like going home to a newly painted house with the same weathered floors. I still know my way around its crevices, remembering where subway lines connect, reminiscing over a storied past spent there, and revisiting my old stomping grounds.
Yet, exploring the spirited city with new eyes is always a thrill, too! I fall in love over and over and over again.
There is just so much to cover that one post about NYC would never do it justice. So, I’ll just focus on two of my favorite things: food (ha!) and museums. Rest assured, I’ll dedicate many more posts to NYC (including my beloved hometown of Brooklyn) at a later time.
Eat your way through the Big Apple. And, boy is that easy to do! You’re smack in the middle of a melting pot of cultures, and can take full advantage of the abundance of ethnic food.
Chinatown is one of the oldest and largest Chinese communities, so dig into dumplings and dim sum galore. Andiamo to Little Italy, which has been around since the 1880s when the first immigrants from Sicily and Naples arrived on those cobblestone streets. Bolognese, please!
Consejito: Drink the tap water. It’s cold, refreshing and delicious. Trust me on this.
Head over to Koreatown for some late night and quite delish BBQ, and venture off to Little Guyana in Queens. Once upon a time, I lived in Richmond Hill and can still taste the fragrant Creole stew. I also spent four years in Greenpoint AKA Little Poland, and am all about that smoked kiełbasa!
Let’s not forget about Harlem’s soul food, all things tandoori in Little India, Astoria’s many Greek Tavernas serving moussaka, Russian borsht in Little Odessa, dhal (lentil stew) in Coney Island’s Little Pakistan, and Dominican sancocho in Washington Heights. ¡Ay, Dios mío!
Onto street food, ‘cause that’s some of the best grub you’ll ever eat. Vending carts are like magnets to me, and I will happily stand in a long line that wraps around the corner once I get a whiff of what’s cooking. Now, make sure to go beyond the morning coffee and donut, snacking on honey-roasted nuts, and late afternoon dirty water dog or salty pretzel. Boring!
Treat yourself to a variety of mouth-watering food – everything from roti, Belgian waffles with nutella, kati rolls, shawarma, grilled corn on the cob (elote) slathered in mayonnaise, fish balls, arepas, souvlaki, sliced fruit with chili powder, carne asada tacos, fat tamales and the list goes on and on.
My must-have street food (that I can gorge on daily) is halal. Chicas, get ready for tasty red and white sauce poured over generous portions of juicy lamb. Talk about a beast!
Consejito: Take the subway. Most of the time, it’s faster and cheaper than a car service. And, you might just discover a world below ground. (I’ve heard some amazing jazz, seen breakdancers do their thing, watched artists paint and even witnessed an impromptu flash mob!)
Indulge in a museum, or two or ten! There is a museum in NYC to satisfy whatever you fancy, whether it’s the American Museum of Natural History, El Museo del Barrio, Ellis Island Immigration Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, or The Jewish Museum.
Then there’s the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, Museum of Biblical Art, Museum of Sex, the 9/11 Memorial Museum and countless others. See what I mean?
My go-to spots are The Met and the MoMA for their permanent and visiting exhibits.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) houses over two million works of art and artifacts from across the globe, spanning 6,000 years. Whew! So, save an entire day for this place and view Greek and Roman statues, Dutch paintings, Egyptian mummies, King Henry VIII’s armor, and of course, all the masters (i.e. van Gogh, Rodin, Monet, Vermeer, El Greco, Rembrandt, Seurat, etc.)
End your day with dinner in the dining room or a cocktail in The Cantor Roof Garden Bar (weather permitting) where the view of Central Park is glorious. Don’t leave without snagging jewelry from the Met Store!
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is all about contemporary and modern art. It gives me the feels. Think the greatest of the greatest: Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Cindy Sherman, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Frida Kahlo, Willem de Kooning, Henri Matisse and many more. (Snag a book in the MoMA store, and enjoy a glass of wine in the café!)
Two summers ago, I saw the most fascinating retrospective about Björk. Through her story-telling notepads, films, costumes, objects, albums, videos and instruments, it detailed 20 years of her career. And, it took my breath away.
Consejito: Act like you know. But when you don’t know, simply ask. New Yorkers might be tough, but most are super cool about giving you directions.
Chicas, what do you love most about NYC? And, what are your favorite things to see and do in the city? Please share, as I’d love to hear from you!
Mamá decía, “I love New York.”