Sunday 21st of October, 6:30 am. I just woke up and look at my clock. I can’t believe it’s finally here. In a couple of hours I will be on a plane back to the city that stole my heart, New York! Back in January my mom and I spontaneously booked this trip to New York and back then it felt so far away. Flash forward to today, when I am already back in The Netherlands and just looking back at all the things I did while I was in New York and in this travel diary you’ll also read all about it! From our stay at the best hotel, all of the things we did and saw, where we ate and some things I definitely recommend doing or seeing while you are in New York. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this New York travel diary as much as I do (and did when I was actually there haha)! 🚕
“If you follow your heart just right, it will get you to New York City.”
➳ Where I stayed
While my mom and I were in New York we stayed at the Arlo NoMad hotel (11 E 31st Street), which I found by browsing through the Expedia website. The Arlo NoMad hotel is a fairly new hotel located in NoMad and Koreatown. It’s a lifestyle boutique hotel and I think it really shows that with their interior. When you walk in, the lobby looks cozy but with a modern touch. I thought it was fun that you can call the elevator to your room by just using your keycard.
Since it is New York, the hotel rooms are small but definitely not too small. Our room was located on the 11th floor. We had a simple room with a typical New York view of a couple of buildings and a watertank. While checking we were told we could also have a room on a higher floor if we wanted a pretty view of the city. I liked the room we were in, so we didn’t switch rooms but next time I am there, I would love to have a view of the city as well. The Arlo NoMad hotel is only a couple of blocks from the Empire State Building so on the rooftop of the hotel, called The Heights, you have an amazing view of it. During spring and summer you can also have drinks on the rooftop. I want to give a shout out to the service because the people working there were all so nice and helpful. If you want, you can also use the bikes of the hotel, which are included in your stay at Arlo NoMad or have dinner at Massoni, which is an Italian restaurant located in Arlo NoMad as well. The food here is so good! As you can tell, I would really recommend staying at the Arlo NoMad hotel! Next time I go to New York, I think I will book a room here again.
➳ What I saw
Before we left for New York, I had made a list per New York neighborhood (which you can find here in Google Maps) so we could easily decide where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see. Our first full day in New York we walked a total of 23 kilometers, because we went all the way from our hotel to the 9/11 Memorial. This is a place I always want to visit while in New York because it’s so impressive. I still can’t believe what happened. After walking around Ground Zero, we went to Two Bridges because I wanted to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was so cold that day, but if there’s something you should do while in New York, it would be walking along the Brooklyn Bridge. I loved every second of it because you have the most beautiful view of the New York skyline. After crossing the bridge, we warmed up a little in a cafe in Brooklyn and then went to Dumbo. In Washington Street you can see the Manhattan Bridge at the end of the street, through the buildings. Aka a great photo opportunity, right?
The next day the weather kind of changed and it was actually a little warmer. That’s when we decided to use our New York Pass and visit a couple of museums and also enjoy the lovely weather. So after we had breakfast, we walked to Central Park. I still think it’s so weird that when you enter Central Park, it doesn’t feel like you’re in New York anymore. It’s a lot quieter, but when we climbed upon a big rock, sat there and enjoyed the skyline view, that’s where we were reminded that we were in New York. After that, we walked to the Guggenheim Museum, which we could enter for free with our New York Pass. The Guggenheim building is interesting by itself because it’s completely round. Inside the museum we had to walk in circles along the art works of Hilma af Klint all the way to the top. I did like the exhibition of Hilma af Klinkt, but the museum looks way bigger from the outside than it really is. We had lunch at the top of the Guggenheim Museum and then walked to The Met. We also used our New York Pass here and by chance there was a exhibition featuring all Dutch art works, how funny! The Met building and art works really reminded me of Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I feel like you can walk around here for days, because it’s such a large museum.
At the end of our second day, we wanted to go to Top of the Rock, but it was completely booked for the rest of the day. So we got tickets to go up the next day at 8:00 am. Since we got our tickets in advance, we were in the first elevator up to the top! For half an hour, we were the only ones up there. The view from up there is just so beautiful. It’s a must to go up there when you are in New York. Then we went to Broadway, got on an Hop On Hop Off Bus to go to Soho. Soho is a very trendy neighborhood with lots of cute shops and cafes. After walking around here, we got back on the Hop On Hop Off Bus and followed the Downtown route to the 9/11 Memorial and then all the way back Uptown, near The High Line. Last time I was in New York, I also went to The High Line, which is a public park on a historic rail line. You get to walk in-between buildings and have pretty views of the Chelsea streets. After walking the whole High Line, we went to Chelsea Market and then started looking for Doughnut Plant, our favorite donut place in New York. The donuts are so good, especially the Wild Blueberry donut. Since this was a pretty long day, we went back to our hotel, got freshen up a little and then went to the Empire State Building!
Our last couple of days in New York were pretty relaxed. We already saw a lot of what we wanted to see or do. Since I watched Gossip Girl and went to the place where Chuck & Blair got married and The Met steps, I also wanted to go to Grand Central Station because this is where it all starts. Believe it or not, I hadn’t been inside Grand Central Station before so it was really awesome to spend some time there. It’s such a busy place but very cool to see, especially when you go up the steps and get to see it from a higher level. From Grand Central Station we got the metro all the way to Williamsburg. Well, it only took us about ten minutes to get there from Union Square. Walking around Williamsburg is like you’re walking into a totally different city. It’s so different from New York itself, but I did really like it. It has tons of art work everywhere and very cute shops. You also have a pretty view of the city over the water.
On our last full day we actually wandered around West Village and Greenwich Village. First we had breakfast at The Butcher’s Daughter (which I will share more about in another blog post) and then we just started walking around. It’s so different here, very quiet and chilled. If you want to escape the craziness of Manhattan, I would really suggest just wandering around here. We found some really amazing murals, which you’ll definitely want to take some photos of or with. On Saturday we would fly home in the evening and since it was raining, we spend most day going to souvenir shops, have food at different cafes and spending some time in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
➳ Where I ate
During our time in New York, we sat down at many different places. While wandering around a city you can find the most unique and cute spots to have breakfast, lunch, a snack or dinner. These three were my favorites!
Maman | 211 W Broadway, New York
In Tribeca we found a Paper Source and in the back was Maman. I had never heard of this concept but it looks really cute. They have their cute blue and white pattern on all their cups and it’s also used as wallpaper. My mom got a latte and of course I went for a green tea. With that we tried their pumpkin bread and this was super tasty!
Jack’s Wife Freda | 224 Lafayette St, New York
On Instagram I had seen tons of photos of people having lunch at Jack’s Wife Freda. It got me interested and when my mom and I found a location in Soho, we decided to go there. Since it was lunch time, we had to wait for about ten minutes for a table. When we sat down, my mom got the avocado toast (which was served with a ton of fries) and I went for a baguette with jam. I just felt like having something simple and it tasted so good. Of course I also stole some fries my mom haha. Btw, can we just take a minute for the cute logo of this place? And the writing on the sugar packet?
Bakeri | 150 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn
While we were in Williamsburg, my mom had found some places to go in one of the books we got about New York. It featured this place, called Bakeri. It’s a very cute bakery with fresh baked goods, sandwiches and lots of coffees or teas. I have to say, it’s really small but there are places to sit inside, in the front of the bakery but also in back. Oh, and when the weather is nice, there are also two tables in front of the bakery where you can sit. My mom and I both got a little pumpkin bread and also tried a lavender shortbread, which were very good!
➳ What I recommend
Since I have been to New York three times now, I wanted to give some new recommendations for places or things I have discovered this time around. First of all, visiting the 9/11 Memorial is always a must. At least I think. Next time I am in New York I want to go on the Observation Desk of the Freedom Tower. Apparently the view from here is very different from Top Of The Rock and the Empire State Building, so of course I have to experience this as well.
Besides that, around the 9/11 Memorial is now also The Oculus. In The Oculus is located Westfield World Trade Center Mall and it replaces the PATH station that was destroyed during 9/11. As you can see in my photos, The Oculus has a unique shape. I read it actually represents the releasing of a dove. I love the look of The Oculus in-between all of the other buildings. It’s a real eye-catcher. Next to The Oculus is now a set of murals. This is made by different street artists to transform the World Trade Center with uplifting murals, which you can read more about here.
If you are a Sexy and the City fan, like me, you must (really must) visit Perry Street in Greenwich Village. At 66 Perry Street is where Carrie Bradshaw lived in the series. I thought it was so fun to actually see this street in real life. While we were there it was fully decorated for Halloween. My final recommendation has to be to visit the Empire State Building at night. This wasn’t really our plan at first, but since we had to wait in line before we could go up the Empire State Building, it was dark when we finally got up there. Let me tell you, it was cold and windy but so beautiful to see the whole city light up while it got completely dark. I just couldn’t stop taking photos and just kept looking everywhere. So if you ask me, go on Top Of The Rock in the early morning and go up to the Empire State Building at night. You won’t regret it…
Wow, I can’t believe my trip to New York went by so fast. The last two times I was in New York for (only) four days and this time we were there for seven (!) days. This made such a big difference. We were able to do things at our own time and really do the things we wanted to do and see, not only the touristy things. I think that’s what made this trip just perfect. Everyone kept asking me if I was going to move to New York and who knows… I do miss this city already and I can’t wait to go again! Did you enjoy reading my New York travel diary? Have you ever been to New York?