WHERE: New York, New York
WHY: The name really just speaks for itself. Manhattan is generally regarded as New York City’s most awe-inspiring borough; the one that is the most densely populated, thus resulting in the most consistent activity.
Manhattan is comprised of many varying neighborhoods: business, cultural, commercial, financial, residential- all internationally renowned as being distinctive and powerful.
From its iconic buildings and omnipresent bustle, to its word of mouth boutiques and bodegas known for their respective cats, Manhattan has such a cohesive diversity. It makes for an atmosphere that ignites an all-encompassing zeal for existence.
Rather than getting claustrophobic in den of iniquity known as Times Square, try flavorful Halal from the street cart on 53rd & 6th ave. Take a dip in the penthouse jacuzzi at the Meatpacking District’s favorite discothèque Le Bain. Or get studded leather from punk relics on St. Mark’s Place.
You can also hop over to Brooklyn- the alternative borough with way less crowds, equal (if not more) scenic spots, and quirkier activity.
Experience the authenticity of New York at these happening spots I frequented during my return for the holidays.
FOOD: Cafe Gitane
Located at the iconic Jane Hotel in the West Village, the lovely Cafe Gitane spot serves up fresh and light Moroccan-French-American vibed food. You can be certain you have come across an instagram of their avocado with pepper flakes toast because it is so publicized and aesthetically pleasing; and it does in fact taste superb.
However, this day I was avoiding bread like the plague so I went with a bun-less veggie burger. Rest assured it was just as delectable.
I finished my clean meal with a strong cappuccino and marinated in the effortlessly bohemian and chic eatery.
At this point I was feeling like a putting a pep to my step at the Jane’s bar across the hall- a watering hole that’s simultaneously opulent and zany, but I then made an executive decision to carry on with my day sans alcohol. I highly recommend checking out the charming establishment though.
Escape into this boutique wonderland and get your fill of nourishing food!
ARTS: Brooklyn Flea
When I hear “The Flea” I immediately go into hunter-gatherer mode. I’m prepared to spearhead the operation, the operation being the descent into the plethora of vintage and antiques.
You can also just casually stroll through the fabulous vendors and munch on the many salivating options from the food section, Smorgasburg. But if you’re prepared to acquire an abundance of incredibly amazing old school items, such as 80s cities maps, special edition Jeffrey Campell shoes, and records: hunter-gatherer mode.
The Brooklyn Flea runs every weekend of the year. During the winter it combines locations with the food market Smorgasburg for joint jubilation at Industry City. During the summer season the locations alternate between the neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Fort Greene.
Score deco art and a super 8 film camera. Buy an ancient carpet. Purchase a WWE action figure. The possibilities are simply endless at The Flea.
RELAX: Brooklyn Bridge Park
A 1.3 mile waterfront recreational thrill. I stared upon the magnificent Manhattan skyline across the water, zoned out, and just deeply appreciated the serenity.
Immersion in green space and nature is crucial to mental and physical wellbeing. The Brooklyn Bridge Park serves as a partial oasis from the concrete jungle and was once totally derelict. It went through a seriously impressive transformation that is beneficial to the community, so value this heavenly slice of land.
Incidentally, the park is indeed a key location to take in the sheer magnitude and detail of the Brooklyn Bridge itself.
Entry to the park costs nothing. Get to it and contemplate about good things while realizing you’re in the raddest city ever. Not biased. Grimaldi’s main location is also right nearby so perhaps indulge in their historic coal-fired brick oven pizza while you’re in the area.
DRINK: The Standard Hotel
Located in the Meatpacking District, the exclusive nightlife hub of Manhattan, AKA the perfect polarity from the Brooklyn Flea. Dabble in the luxe side of life at this swanky hotel with quintessential aerial views of the city from either the Top of the Standard or Le Bain.
The former is a glitzy cocktail bar, entirely sublime and intimate. The latter is the penthouse discothèque with the jacuzzi I mentioned earlier, entirely hedonistic and zesty. Both with surreal views of Manhattan so just go ahead and order one as well.
Want to hear both all of Ed Banger Records and industrial rock? Shimmy your way to Le Bain. Do you desire to feel absolutely fancy? Throw on some fur acquired at the Brooklyn Flea and loll at the Top of the Standard.