My Favourite New York Moments
It’s one of those cliches I know but, I… heart… NYC. Go on, roll your eyes. But while you do, just know I’m cliche self-aware. I’m under no delusions that New York is mine. Or that I even know it well. Or even at all. But even so, despite my lack of experience, knowledge, visits, to quote the creepy Woody Allen pedo justification ‘the heart wants what it wants.’ And my heart wants New York.
In the few times I have been with my love, I have enjoyed some of the best moments. Those special New York moments. Some of them are fleeting and too tricky to describe or are too extravagant to talk about without sounding like a total dick (I once stayed in the exact same corner suite a week after the Dalai Lama did – are shit! Sorry! I told you I was going to sound like a dick!).
Some however are easily bought (and won’t make you sound like a total spoilt turd). Turns out, money does buy you happiness in New York…
A Foods of NY Tour of Chinatown
I’ve stayed on the Upper West, the Lower East, Greenwich Village, but Chinatown is one area of New York that, like most people, I wasn’t really familiar with. That is until I did a foods of New York tour of the area. It was a rainy day when we met the guide outside a nondescript Chinese restaurant. I was cold and sad that Uniqlo hadn’t opened yet so I missed out on buying an emergency coat. But just by the door opening, my mood changed instantly, and my heart soared a few seconds later as I took a single bite into the very best duck dumpling in Manhattan.
The day then followed an intimate tour of the neighbourhood, with stops at some of the areas most inconspicuous but utterly delicious restaurants. I ate the best duck pancakes money could buy at Peking Duck House, and sampled the most delicious Malaysian curry. Our guide for the day Bert was amazing. He knew everything, and I mean absolutely everything, about the area, it’s history, and the food on offer, right down to the origin and life of the duck we were eating in the duck pancakes.
I loved the experience so much that next time I’m back in the Big Apple I’m committed to doing a food tour Greenwich. You should too… check out Foods of New York Tours.
The open-air bus tour
It may seem like one of those silly tourist traps, but the open-air bus tours of New York really are great. Even better if it’s your first time in the city. In fact, it should be the first thing you do when your arrive in NYC; a great way to get your bearings and get some fresh air to tackle your jet lag. The busses are hop-on hop-off too, so they’re a much more scenic way to get around over the subway.
The busses do a whole loop of Manhattan, from down in the financial district to all the way up to Harlem so chances are, one you’ve had a day of sightseeing and can’t walk anymore, there will be a bus stop just nearby. PLUS, as you’re riding home you’ll learn all about the city and it’s historic buildings; I can now point out the building where Jerry Seinfeld lives and the spot where John Lennon was shot. Something you just won’t get on the A train.
A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour
Another food tour (are you even surprised?) I highly recommend is the Slice of Brooklyn pizza tour. More a tour of Brooklyn featuring two servings of pizza, the tour is great for delving into Brooklyn beyond the bridge. PLUS, the pizza! Going with the tour means you get to skip the line at Grimaldi’s and enjoy a super saucy slice at L&B Spumoni Gardens, a restaurant that’s completely removed from the readily accessible tourist/hipster trail. Oh and they also drive you down the street where John Travolta did that famous Saturday Night Fever strut – now that’s pretty cool!
See a show at the Comedy Cellar
It costs $14 & just two drinks to enter the holy grail of comedy. As your quickly ushered in you’ll pass framed photos of people like Robin Williams, Jerry Seinfeld, Gary Shandling and Richard Prior. Once you’re in the basement space you’ll recognise the red brick background and stain glass sign from Louis CK’s show. And chances are within the five or six acts that will take the stage, you’ll recognise a few more faces too. The first time I visited, Frank from 30 Rock – real life name Judah Friedlandar – did a set. The second time I visited, on my birthday no less, Chris Rock showed up to do a set.
If you’re going to go, I recommend booking just in case. Also a hot tip given to us from Bert, the NYC Foodie tour guide, was that if the set for the night includes someone called “Jeff Lamp,” that’s often a placeholder for a famous comedy name.
Accomplice The Show
This one would have to be my most favourite experience in New York. Now it’s tricky to tell you about Accomplice without ruining the surprise. Basically the less you know about the experience, the better. What I will tell you is, it’s like a cross between a show, a tour and an escape room activity, only in New York! Once you book you’re given a time and address to go to and little else. Somehow, you end up working out where you need to go next, and before you know it you’re on this quirky scavenger style hunt where you begin to expect everyone is in on it. Oh and you get to stop along the way to get drinks. Or at least, we did!
When we did Accomplice we were joined by two Italian guido couples from New Jersey and they made the experience all the more hilarious. We had such a good time together that we ended up going for pizza afterward in Little Italy, where they regaled us with tails of what it was like to be in the city during 9/11 (terrifying!), and what life is like in New Jersey (totally what you think!).
The whole day may sound weird, but trust me you won’t regret it. Go on… find out more about Accomplice.
Love New York as much as me? Send me your city recommends and I’ll love you forever! Don’t love New York? Well fuck you then!