Ah New York… There’s no other city on the planet with an energy that can compete with New York. The fast pace, the buzzing traffic, the hustle and bustle of the people, the 24-hour life, and the creative spirit make NYC one of the most vibrant places in the world.
I spent a couple of days there exploring the city and trying to discover different things to do away from the touristy and mainstream activities and places we’re all used to. This is what my itinerary looked like.
Day 1: Brooklyn Bridge & Soho
I checked in at Forbes Travel Guide and Sharecare VERIFIED™ hotel 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. Located right beside the East River offering incredible skyline views, it’s ranked within the top 5 most sustainable hotels in the world. With many eco-friendly initiatives happening in the hotel, they offer guests the perfect balance between sustainability and luxury. The hotel’s interiors are stunning, modern and industrial with lots of greenery. The rooftop pool is one of the coolest I’ve ever seen, boasting some of the city’s best skyline views. I was lucky enough to get a room with gorgeous views of the Brooklyn Bridge!
I was spending my day in the Lower East Side, so my first stop was brunch at Good Thanks Cafe, a hip and laid-back cafe serving excellent coffee and creative breakfast and lunch dishes. I had seen on Instagram that their scrambled eggs were all the rave so I obviously ordered them as well as a blue spirulina bowl and a matcha latte, all delish.
Later on I took a walk around Soho and Noho, with a clear destination in mind: Levain Cookies. These cookies are famously known to be the best cookies in the world, ranked nº1 year after year. They’re thick with a fudgy interior and crispy exterior. One cookie is probably equivalent to 3 cookies but hey, who’s counting! The cues are long here the entire day but I consider this a must-stop when in New York.
I then headed to Arcadia Earth, a next-generation art exhibition that showcases today’s most pressing environmental issues powered by augmented and virtual reality. You’re given some VR glasses and go through different rooms interacting with images. From being under the sea surrounded by jellyfish to walking along the countryside with deer, you will learn how small lifestyle changes can have a massive impact on the future of our planet. The exhibition is very inspiring and I definitely recommend it!
For dinner I had heard a lot about this place called Frevo, one of the city’s secret dining spots. I headed to the address which was an art gallery and if you didn’t know where you were headed, you would’ve never guessed a restaurant was hiding here. At a specific meeting time, we were greeted at the door and welcomed inside the gallery. Then the coolest thing happened: One of the paintings would open as a door and lead you to a small and intimate 14-seat counter, serving a tasting menu with premium wine pairing.
The menu is a take on contemporary cuisine and evolves every 3 months along with the art gallery. The dishes were phenomenal and crafted with so much detail. It’s definitely pricey but the experience is absolutely worth it!
Day 2: Midtown
It was a very sunny and beautiful day. I woke up early and headed to Midtown. I had been craving a bagel for breakfast and had been recommended Zucker’s Bagels & Smoked Fish: A classic NYC bagel shop re-imagined, with hand-rolled bagels baked on site daily, hand-sliced smoked fish and creative sandwiches. I had their best-seller bagel, the Zucker’s Traditional which was salmon, cream cheese, tomato, red onion and capers. It was glorious!
I then made my way to the newest and tallest observation deck in the city, Summit One Vanderbilt. Located between the 57th and 59th floors, it’s the perfect place to enjoy the breathtaking skyline in the heart of Manhattan. At the top, you can enjoy The Summit Observatory’s 6,000-square-meter observation deck and admire the stunning views, Central Park, or some of its closest neighbors, the iconic Empire State Building and the elegant Chrysler Building. The observatory is divided into several levels that combine glass-wrapped interior rooms, outdoor terraces, and suspended glass boxes that float above Madison Avenue for a complete sensory experience. It also has the one thing missing in other similar spaces – a bar where you can get your favorite drink while enjoying New York sky-high!
After those breathtaking views, I went for something a little bit more ground-level but also amazing: The MOMA Museum. I was lucky to catch the temporary Matisse: The Red expo, as well as enjoying some more permanent artists such as Picasso and Van Gogh.
I needed some well deserved food after a long and very cultural day. For a late lunch, I had booked Sushi Lab Rooftop. A discrete rooftop garden serving innovative and modern Japanese cuisine. The cool thing about this place is that they serve one of the cheapest Omakases in town. Knowing how expensive Omakase is and the hype surrounding it, being able to enjoy good-quality nigiris for $60 in a city like New York makes this spot unmissable. Top tip: book your table at the counter. They serve the Omakase menu at normal tables too but watching the sushi chefs work their magic frontline is a must!
Day 3: Chelsea & West Village
For my last day in New York I decided to have brunch in the comfort of my own hotel at The Osprey, a farm-to-table restaurant serving American cuisine and a VERY good brunch. I had the salmon & avocado toast, the banana french toast (drool) and an orange juice.
I took the subway to Hudson Yards to see The Vessel, one of New York City’s newest attractions. This futuristic spiral staircase, which is the centerpiece of Hudson Yards, looks like something out of a science fiction movie. It’s temporarily closed but it’s still worth visiting and fun to photograph (and free!). I then started my walk towards The High Line: an elevated rail line transformed into a public park. You can walk through gardens, view art, experience a performance, and savor delicious food while enjoying a unique perspective of New York City. It took me to the Chelsea neighborhood where I went to visit the very popular Little Island, a new public park located at Pier 55 on Manhattan’s Hudson River Park. Little Island is a floating park full of greenery, open spaces, viewpoints, and more. Beautiful to spend the afternoon walking around in the sunshine (and maybe take a little power nap on the grass!).
I was very hungry and excited for my next foodie conquest: New York’s one and only Italian Omakase. Yes you read that right. As you’ve probably noticed, I’m an Omakase girl – that loves pasta. Put those two together and we’ve got La Devozione! This place is an absolute hidden gem. I’m surprised more people haven’t heard of it. I guess it has to do with the fact it’s hidden within the Chelsea Market. Once you get to the restaurant, besides the dining room, you’ll find The Oval: A 30-seat, open kitchen serving a fine-dining pasta tasting menu. Helmed by Michelin-starred chef Peppe Guida for both lunch (four courses, $95) and dinner (seven courses, $165), The Oval provides an immersive dining experience where each course is prepared in front of you, showcasing seasonal ingredients and classic Neapolitan recipes. The dishes were delicious, and my favorite one was Ziti alla Genovese, penne pasta with beef and onion stew with pecorino cheese, to die for. Come try this gem before it becomes too popular!
I didn’t have dessert at La Devozione for a very good reason: Nearby was Dominique Ansel Bakery. If Levain is famous for its cookies, Dominique Ansel is famous for its cronuts. The french baker invented the Cronut back in 2013, a croissant-donut hybrid that became a phenomenon, being replicated all over the world. I’d been dying to try the real deal so this last stop was important. They have monthly seasonal cronuts that sell out quickly during the day but fortunately I had booked mine in advance and it was waiting for me in its signature yellow box. This one was strawberry poppyseed mascarpone with buttermilk ganache. Needless to say, I was very happy to have skipped dessert at the restaurant.
All in all, New York never gets old. It’s not only the most famous city in the world but also, arguably, the best for tourists, thanks to its diverse culture and myriad of entertainment options. There’s never a dull day in the city that doesn’t sleep. It offers visitors endless possibilities, great diversity, and high energy.