A Spring Week in NYC
READ TIME: ~ 15 minutes
The first time I visited New York was a lot different than this time around due to it being my first time alone out of the country (the US 'does’ have a different vibe) and my first time solo in a bigger city than Vancouver.
Once I got on the train going to my Airbnb in Brooklyn, I automatically felt in-sync. I knew that it was going to be a good, more than fulfilling trip, and it surely was! I managed to cross off a lot of my old itinerary, as well as visit some new places to keep the thrill alive. What’s life without a little uncertainty, right? You can’t really get bored in a city like New York, but it’s always nice to discover new treasures.
If you’d like any of my trip itineraries, feel free to comment on this post, send me a DM, or e-mail, and I’d be more than happy to send you the pages of research I’ve done prior to my trips!
Wednesday, April 25th, 2018
JFK - Shake Shack
We don’t have Shake Shack in Canada, so whenever I’m in an area where there’s a location, I won’t hesitate to buy a shack burger!
Kensington/Borough Park, Brooklyn
This is the neighborhood which held the best Airbnb I’ve stayed at —out of the three that I’ve been in. There were a lot of ethnic shops near me (mostly south Asian) and the area isn’t gentrified compared to a lot of places in the city, which reminded me a lot of home!
The Bean Café
Thursday, April 26th, 2018
My host made me breakfast! Apple cinnamon oatmeal & two pieces of toast with an egg, so sweet!
10/10 recommend booking a guided tour here! Within an hour and at the price of $15 CAD for students, you will visit some of the conference rooms and learn a bit about the history, structure, and organization of the United Nations.
**TIP: I buy all of my tickets for tours, shows, museums, and anything I decide I cannot miss prior to my trip to save time!
Ground Central Coffee Company
I spent way too much money and waited too long for “two sandwiches” that were made using the tiniest pieces of bread.
Rockefeller Centre, Top of the Rock & Tour
Buying a guided tour ticket to the Rockefeller was only worthwhile because of the amazing tour guide I had, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I think I wanted to interact with more people on this trip, so I purposely put myself in situations that allowed me to do that. I purchased a > $50 package that included visiting “Top of the Rock,” so I could see the beautiful view of New York City, including the Empire State Building. THAT, I definitely recommend!
New World Stages, PUFFS Play!
A Harry Potter play told in the perspective of the underestimated Hufflepuffs? YES, PLEASE. 100/10 recommend for Harry Potter fans! The more you know about the series, the more you’ll love it because of all the little jokes you’ll catch!
The Ice Cream House, Brooklyn
Have you ever walked in a shop and been the only one who wasn’t Hasidic Jewish? Well, other than the employees, I was the only Asian, Filipino, pants-wearing girl ordering ice cream, and I found it really interesting to receive stares as I picked up my mango ice cream. Later on, I learned that Borough Park has a big Hasidic Jewish community. I’ve actually never seen nor known of the religious group before, so I guess both sides were quite in awe at the ice cream shop.
My Airbnb being in the middle of so many different neighborhoods was the physical representation of New York being defined as a ‘melting pot .’ Vancouver is quite diverse in culture and people as well, but not like NYC where you can feel like you’re in a completely different part of town just a few blocks away from another community. It’s one of the main reasons why I love the city so much.
Friday, April 27th, 2018
Taco King, Brooklyn
Mediocre Chinese-Mexican food, but it was really close to where I was staying, so I caved.
New York Transit Museum, Downtown Brooklyn
It was a rainy day, so I decided to have a more relaxed day and hit up some museums. This is one of those museums that is structured in the form of a timeline and you can easily spend more than an hour here; 10/10 recommend! There’s a bit where you can walk in the old trains throughout the year, and it’s a great place to judge which one you like best in terms of design, functionality, etc. as well as a great photoshoot location!
National September 11 Memorial & Museum
I grew up not knowing about 9/11 until I was in high school, and as someone who loves learning, I decided to visit the museum which is directly underneath the memorial. I’ve read that paying for admission has been controversial (and even the act of creating the museum) from the families who were effected by the infamous event. It is quite pricy to go inside, though they do have free admission hours.
You feel very emotional inside, and as a sign of respect, I would recommend not taking as many photos as you would in a regular museum. I only took one to showcase what most of the inside looks like, minus the one part that includes artifacts and evidence of the event in which you aren’t allowed to take photos/videos anyway.
At the very last room, they feature family messages to the victims, including photos, voice recordings, and memorabilia. I kind of broke down and had to compose myself in one corner, but they do provide tissues in that room if you need to let out all the emotions you will definitely feel inside.
Saturday, April 28th, 2018
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Sakura Matsuri Festival
One of the busiest places that I visited, due to the ongoing festival, but I’d say it was worth it (other than the $12 ikea-sized hot dog I bought). There were so many beautiful flowers! I managed to get in for free because my Airbnb host gave me her membership card! :)
Brooklyn Public Library
The inside is just a normal, dusty library, but the outside is pretty looking!
I went inside during the free admission hours because it was closing soon, so I didn’t get to explore much. I found the exhibits quite interesting and would have stayed longer if I went earlier and wasn’t so drained from the Botanic Garden.
Shake Shack, DUMBO
The view of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge in DUMBO is a nice one during golden hour and in the evening. As I said at the beginning of this article, when I get the chance to visit Shake Shack, I go!
I remember sitting in front of a family of four from Milan, and the little girl closest to the mother whispered something to her. Her mom asked me where I was from (so, my ethnicity, hahaha) and then complimented me on my looks by looking up and down and saying “Ah, it’s nice.” That was a funny and kind of sweet moment.
Sunday, April 29th, 2018
Brooklyn Flea Market
I didn’t look around much, because I’m not that much of a shopper unless I need something, but I found that it was mostly kind of pricy. You definitely have to rummage through everything!
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
I grew up going to church and Im currently exploring where my faith stands, but I almost always feel drawn to go to church when I’m on vacation. I think I’m just being moved to a sacred place to give thanks for my safety, my privilege to be able to travel, etc.
I bought a red velvet cupcake which reminded me of my family that bought me one when we were both in the city last year.
Circle in the Square Theater, Once On This Island Musical
AHmazing! Shout out to my friend, Kathleen, who always gives me the best musical recommendations! I’m so thankful I got to see the original Broadway cast perform, including the incredible Hailey Kilgore, Lea Salonga, and Alex Newell who M O V E D me. Standing ovation forever!!!
I bought my ticket from an app called “TodayTix” which is super easy to use. Once you purchase your ticket, you will receive an e-mail of where to meet the TodayTix employee, and they’ll be outside of the theatre holding an envelope with your ticket inside.
Monday, April 30th, 2018
100/10 recommend if you’re into history! There are different tours you can choose from which feature a variety of stories about the families who once lived in this tenement building and the ones that used to be around in the late 19th century and early-mid 20th century. The experience was definitely one to remember!
AirBnB Experience, 4.5hr Brooklyn Tour
1000/10 recommend! I will link this experience in a future NYC Master post, because my tour guide was amazing. I knew I wanted to visit more of Brooklyn on this trip, but I was concerned about my safety and accidentally walking into neighborhoods I shouldn’t be in, so I figured this was the best solution.
My group and I met in the morning at Williamsburg. We learned a lot about the history of each place we stopped by, including the projects in which Jay-Z grew up, a very large Hasidic Jewish neighborhood in East Williamsburg, the artist movement from Williamsburg to Bushwick, and then ending the tour in Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn after a short train ride. After this tour, I felt so much more knowledgeable and safe exploring more of the parts of town I’ve never been —I ended up going back to Williamsburg the next day to walk through Bedford Avenue, where most of the shops are located!
After the long, fulfilling day of exploring, I bought Chinese takeout near my Airbnb, went “home,” and shared all of my accumulated knowledge with my apartment mate. Apparently I spoke so passionately, he told me I should pursue a degree in Urban Planning!
Tuesday, May 1st, 2018
A recommendation I am now recommending to you! Stop by if you’re in Nolita!
Little Cupcake Bakeshop
The home of the best vegan carrot cupcake I’ve ever had.
McNally Jackson Books
East River State Park, Williamsburg (Brooklyn)
Veselka (Restaurant), East Village (Manhattan)
I would have ordered more food if I hadn’t drank a very filling smoothie beforehand, but hey, this has 4.5 starts on Google, so I might as well recommend this place as well!
Vivi Bubble Tea
With just one more day in the city, I had to commence my night time walks of reflection! I wanted to visit the High Line, but I forgot that the last time I visited was in the summer, therefore it wasn’t open super late. Make sure to check the High Line hours, because that’s a nice place for an evening walk!
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018
Best Bagel & Coffee
What’s the big deal about a New York bagel? I went in here to find out. I got a basic salmon and cream cheese bagel that was h u g e, but it was also well priced, definitely filling, and super good.
B&H Photo Video - Electronics and Camera Store
Anyone into photography will love this store! I visited to buy some film for my camera that I purchased in Toronto, and I can truly say that it is photo and video heaven on earth.
100/10 a l w a y s recommend. 100/10 also a weakness for your wallet if you’re into books, pins, postcards, and other cool things you probably don’t absolutely need. Be strong whilst inside.
I’ve never heard of oat milk until I stepped into this joint, but I tried it in my bubble tea and… it wasn’t that bad.
A much less busy bridge to Brooklyn feat. the sounds of the trains moving to their destinations down below. I guess you can’t have it all!
Tompkins Square Park
Sometimes, you can get dizzy walking around in Manhattan because you can barely see the sky, there’s no mountains like on the west coast to keep your internal compass focused, t h u s I am very thankful for the little parks and areas of greenery in between everything to provide space to recollect yourself. I remember this day being surprisingly hot —heat and humidity that I didn’t expect for another two months back home, so I needed all the rest and a lot of water.
Vinny Vincenz Pizza
EXPG New York, Hip Hop 1 Class turned into Private popping class?!
Popping is my least favourite dance style because it involves controlling your muscles (which I lack, especially in my upper body), but this class was super fun!
Washington Square Park
100/10 recommend long walks at night in this spectacular city, especially when it’s your last night visiting and you may just run into people jamming in the park!
Thursday, May 3rd, 2018
Flying back home! I covered SO MUCH ground during my week-long stay in NYC! I definitely planned out my itinerary right, with having some days be more relaxing and flexible than others. I’ll always be talking about this trip. Everything about it was absolutely amazing.
See you r e a l soon New York!