A taste of Little Collins Street in Manhattan...a Nutella laden food truck treat...the building in NYC that I was saddest to leave...our cosy apartment in Midtown...and a teacup sized dog at Bryant Park Holiday Market...otherwise known as my favourite places in New York.
1. Subways & Performers: I loved how the subways had their own personalities...some of them grungy and industrial, others hospital white with extra fluroescents...peeling posters, tiled mosaics...exposed beams. There's plenty of things not to like about the subway but as we rushed from A to B I tried to take in and appreciate the vibe. The performers were my favourites...everything from classical musicians in formal wear to spontaneous gatherings with acapella. Maybe it was the Christmas holidays having an effect...but passengers stopped to drop coins, dance, and even the police were looking cheerful...loved.
2. Chrysler Building: A Carlton loving security guard at Rockefeller Centre gave us the hot tip of visiting the foyer of the Chysler Building. To me it was more New York than the Empire State. The foyer was gold, glowy and very Gatsby, with a gorgeous Christmas tree and hardly anyone around. I also loved catching glimpses of the spire from different vantage points around the city. Take a photo just outside the front door, the building is reflected in the skyscraper opposite.
3. Pick-a-Bagel: There's no bagel like an NYC bagel...this was close to our apartment so we warmed up here and discussed our plans at the beginning of each day. They had free wi-fi and so many bagel combos you'd never get through them all. My favourite was the corned beef everything bagel.
4. Little Collins: The best coffee we had in the city. Tucked away on Lexington Ave, you can walk past without realising. Real Melbourne coffee...a home away from home. They had a very legitimate "Little Collins Street" sign on display...I asked how they got it...they said the mayor of Melbourne dropped by to present it to them when he visited the city. If you're after a breakfast with vegemite whilst you're in the city, this is your place.
5. Wafels & Dinges: My favourite food truck...waffles! Best eaten on the edge of Central Park...with copious amounts of Nutella.
6. New York Public Library: I wasn't expecting to fall in love with this building as much as I did. Maybe because it was deliciously quiet in the middle of so much normal Manhattan chaos. Dressed up for the holidays with rare books (A Christmas Carol) and candles, the cavernous stonework featuring quotes and engravings inside...and the staircases and wood panelling...you could just take a deep breath and inhale the history and tradition of where you were standing. Loved the reading rooms with rows and rows of bankers lamps. It was one of the few landmarks where I got a lump in my throat as I was leaving, wondering if I'd ever see it again.
7. One Girl Cookies: cute little cookie store in Brooklyn near Jane's Carousel and the bridge for if you're in the area.
8. Grand Central: I just loved the continual stream of activity...the grandeur...taking a spot up high near the Apple store looking down at everyone wondering where they were all going...I'm always curious about the stories of strangers (and I often make them up!). I was wishing with all my might that we'd get to see a flash mob...instead we saw a marriage proposal...that was pretty sweet. There are some cute stores down in the passageways under the station too.
9. The Strand Bookstore: Reminded me of Readings in Carlton but with many more levels and shelves...jumbly & traditional (started in 1927!). I bet they have amazing author events here...it is the perfect place for a bookworm to while away a grey afternoon...cosy and plenty of space to take your own spot in the corner. Wished we could've spent more time here.
10. Holiday Markets (Bryant Park, Union Square): one of the bonuses to going around Thanksgiving leading up to Christmas is these markets were popping up in parks all over the place. Rows and rows of little tents and stalls, decorated to the max with trees and ribbons, lots of handmade goodies and interesting makers to talk to. I had my first hot apple cider at Union Square, and there was a little ice skating ring in the middle of Bryant Park. What we loved the most was all the dogs who came shopping with their owners. Teacup, you were freaking adorable and the perfect size to stow away in carry-on!
11. Brooklyn Diner (57th St): The one thing I had my heart set on was eating at a traditional diner. We tried out a few, this was hands down my favourite. Slightly more expensive than the others but the food was better so it was worth it. We went twice, sat once at Alec Baldwin's booth...and the second time at the coffee bar. It was crowded, warm & buzzing with conversation. It felt like we were on the set of a movie somehow...nostalgia mixed with the everyday life of New Yorkers. Love.
12. Our Apartment: Our first Air BnB experience...couldn't fault it overall. Quiet building, corner apartment (which meant 2 rows of big windows) not facing any main streets which means its probably as quiet as you're going to get in the middle of everything. The only thing that we didn't love was the patchy wi-fi, but Laura who did my makeup for the photos said that's pretty typical of NYC...explains why everyone flocks to the places with good free wi-fi I guess! Walking distance to multiple subways...Starbucks...close to everything Midtown related. You walk past the Soup guy from Seinfeld on the way home which was awesome when you have no brain power left to decide what to do for tea...we visited him more than once! We were warm and cosy...and there were fairy lights stretched every which way across our street as we came home at nights. You know how much I loved that :)