New York City: All The Things Olivia Must Do
My lovely friend Olivia is embarking on her next adventure - moving back to Melbourne after three and a half exciting years in London - and while she flies out tomorrow, in true Olivia-style she won’t be back home for a few months yet. Exciting adventures await her on her scenic route home via Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, US and Canada and so, to help her enjoy the best of the best while abroad I dedicate this post to her:
All The Things Olivia Must Do In New York City
Olivia, baby girl, please stick with the cronuts and bagels and stay out of trouble. Please.
Five Pretty Things Olivia Should See & Fun Things Olivia Should Do -
1. The High Line and Chelsea Market - 2.33 km long and pretty all the way through, you’re going to love The High Line. And while you’re in the area, take a stroll through Chelsea Market. But save your cash for the food you’re about to consume...
2. Coney Island - I know you want to go to Coney Island - and I fully support this - but here’s the recommendation I’m going to make that you’re not going to like: go on the Cyclone. It’s old, it’s rickety but it’s an institution - try to enjoy it! Go through the haunted house, ‘Spook O Rama’ if you have the time too. Also, grab a hot dog from Nathan’s Famous - famous for hot dogs, you can’t not get one.
3. Rent a boat on The Lake - it’s cutesy and fun. Rent a boat on The Lake in Central Park and take in the scene from the vantage point of an adorable paddle boat.
4. Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge - Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, take in the sights of the city and when you get to the other side (the Brooklyn side), reward yourself with pizza from
5. The Natural History Museum - Dinosaurs. Need I say more? But while you’re there make sure you go to the Space Show: Dark Universe and have your mind blown. It’s a film experience and it’s narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson - you’ll love it.
Ten Tasty Things Olivia Should Eat:
1. Cronut - I had my first cronut in New York City and it is accurate to say that life has never been quite the same. My pre-cronut life was always missing something and it was only after that first sweet, sweet bite that I realised what it was: cronut. Don’t miss out on the life altering, transcendental experience of a cronut. And go one better than me, and actually get the holy grail of cronuts - wake up early and head down to Dominique Ansel Bakery and experience a cronut from whence they came. And for the love of God, instagram that cronut #likesfordays
2. Bagel - A bagel that makes you pause after each bite to quietly give thanks for its existence is a rarity. Bagels are always good - there’s no denying this. Fill a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon -- that’s schmear and lox in NYC lingo -- and pass it my way any day of the week but give me THIS bagel for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And dessert. Tompkins Square Bagels , East Village. Remember that. And maybe just stay in East Village for a little bit…
4. Pancakes - Epic pancakes await you at Clinton St. Baking Company. These fluffy stacks of pure joy won’t let you down. Get the ’Pancakes with Warm Maple Butter’. I advocate for the blueberry topping but you can decide between blueberries, walnut and banana and chocolate chunk - but above all else, stay hydrated, you’re going to need all of your reserves to pack this stack away.
5. Pie - For all of the indulging I had done, I still felt that my trip to New York would not be complete without pie. And after enjoying the pie at Little Pie Company, I’m pretty sure I was right. I can’t even remember the type of pie I ate, all I remember is the joy. I was dripping wet from the unexpected rainfall (that was fun…) but all was well with that pie in front of me. My trip (and yours Olivia) will not be complete without pie from Little Pie Company. Seriously. Eat the pie.
6. Burgers - To say I ate a few burgers in New York is to put it mildly. The scales told the true story. Most were good, some were great and one was epic. To save you the calories, you are encouraged to take a bite at these gems -
- Five Napkin Burgers in Hell’s Kitchen - Be sure to go there hungry. You’ve been warned.
- Shake Shack - Obviously great burgers but head to Madison Square Park for a burger with a view of the Flatiron.
- Burger Joint - If you feel like a burger that’s trendier than you are, this tasty morsel is hidden inside Le Park Meridien Hotel - walk inside and go left at the reception desk.
- Each of these burgers will leave you feeling satisfied to be sure, but none can compare to the striking genius of the Minetta Burger at Minetta Tavern. The entire menu at Minetta Tavern looks divine but don’t be distracted, keep your eye on the prize and get the burger.
7. Ramen and Bao - By some miracle there was no wait when I visited Momofuku and I had the privilege of enjoying the most delicious bowl of ramen and tasty bao almost immediately after arriving. I was feeling pretty under the weather when I arrived and I’m fairly sure their ramen cured me. It’s pretty much magic. Magic ramen. Seriously good, you’ve got to try it.
8. Banh Mi - There was a decent wait at Saigon Shack but the banh mi was reward enough. I have to admit, I was crazy hungry and with each passing minute I was getting closer and closer to walking away but thank goodness I didn’t because: S.S Classic Banh Mi. You don’t get a 4.5 star Google rating from 434 reviews (as well as 4.5 stars on Trip Advisor) if you’re not doing something right.
9. Yum Cha - I left Nom Wah so full, it hurt. But the good kind of pain - the dumpling kind. My recommended dishes include sticky rice, shanghai pork dumplings and egg rolls (when in New York…).
10. Cupcakes - A New York institution, you can’t pass Magnolia Bakery without taking a light and fluffy cupcake with you. Red velvet is the way to go.
One Expensive Thing Olivia Must Make Sacrifices to Experience:
1. Sleep No More - I will repeat only what I was told before I went; book an early session, go early, wear comfy shoes and pants with pockets. You will have a truly memorable experience and you will thank me. I’m willing to put money to that effect. Make your booking through McKittrick Hotel
Two Galleries Olivia Won’t Want to Visit but Should:
My darling Olivia, I know art is not your thing but I will tell you to go nonetheless and I’ve laid out the reasons I think might be able to entice you below:
1. The MoMA - At The MoMA you can find such world-renowned works as Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Salvador Dalì’s The Persistence of Memory, Frida Kahlo’s Self-Portrait (in fact there is a whole Frida Kahlo collection), Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, Andy Warhol’s Gold Marilyn Monroe and walls of Claude Monet’s Waterlilies. And SO much more. Please go, please.
2. The MET - Go beyond the Gossip Girl steps and enter The MET and view a whole host of incredible paintings and sculptures - but I know what you’ll really want to see is the Egyptian collection: ‘The Met collection of ancient Egyptian art consists of approximately 26,000 objects of artistic, historical, and cultural importance, dating from the Paleolithic to the Roman period (ca. 300,000 B.C.–A.D. 4th century)’. It’s pretty amazing, you’re going to insist on seeing this. As a bit of a bonus, there’s also a lovely rooftop bar with a view of Central Park. It’s not terribly high, so your vertigo shouldn’t be a problem.
One View Olivia Should Take In If She Can Get Passed Her Vertigo:
1. Top of The Rock - without a doubt the best view of New York City. From The Top of The Rock you can take in the grandness of Central Park and the always dazzling Empire State building. Go just before sunset and watch as New York City is bathed in the warm orange and red hues of the setting sun - sounds good right? You can do it girl!
Three Cocktail Bars Olivia Should Duck Into:
1. The Frying Pan- Drinks on a boat with a view of the Hudson - a perfect sunset viewing opportunity.
2. The Standard Le Bain - Le Bain is a penthouse discotheque and rooftop bar at The Standard Hotel and it’s as fancy as you would expect a cocktail bar to have to be to have welcomed the likes of Beyonce and Jay Z (and Solange - remember that infamous in-elevator security footage?). My advice? Head there just before sunset and enjoy the view with a fruity cocktail in one hand and a camera in the other. There’s also a jacuzzi on the dance floor - bring bathers.
3. Top of The Strand - Drinks and a view of the Empire State Building. I’m certain there are loads of other great rooftops on which you can purchase a delicious (albeit overpriced) cocktail but this view was pretty spectacular.
One Important Monument Olivia Should Visit:
1. The 911 Memorial and Museum - It’ll break your heart but it’s important and you’ll be glad you went.
So, this is my ultimate New York list. Of course there is so much more that you can do Olivia - including (but not limited to) musicals, live music, shopping, picnicking and about a million other galleries and museums - but these are my top picks. I had some seriously great times in New York doing (and eating) all of these things and I know you will too. Have the best time ever!