With fond memories of visiting New York City throughout the 90s, Cherie Williams counts the bustling metropolis as one of her favourite places to enjoy a mini city break. Three years since her last visit, she has just returned from New York City and shares her highlights of the best things to see and do.
I’ve been fascinated by New York for more than 20 years. In my early 20’s I flew out to New York every opportunity I had. I fearlessly explored the various boroughs spending time in not only Manhattan but the Bronx’s (which gave me pre-hipster Dalston vibes), Brooklyn, Queens and Harlem.
Some of my best memories of New York are music related for e.g., going to see hip hop artists such Tracey Lee and Busta Rhymes as well as getting lost in Bedford-Stuyvesant (the childhood turf of Christopher Wallace aka Biggie Smalls) looking for Jamaican food. Yes, I know I don’t look like a typical hip-hop head but back then it was all about embracing the culture, music and Black excellence, which at the time was very African American. Us Black Brits have finally caught up!
Last month I decided it was time to head back to New York after a three-year absence to check out what’s new.
Here’s what I got up to during my four days in New York City:
Where to eat
Like London, New York is blessed with a global cuisine however, it doesn’t matter where I am in the world I always seek out a Jamaican restaurant. I had the most amazing Oxtail meal at Miss Lily’s in Soho, followed by a melon cocktail. After a great meal, sadly, I had no space left for dessert!
Another spot with great food and atmosphere was Barbounia, a Mediterranean restaurant very close to Greenwich. Also, if you fancy an American dining experience, definitely check out Dallas BBQ, in Times Square. Never in my life have I seen starters bigger than a three-course meal!
Where to stay
Finding the right place to stay on any trip is crucial and I found it in the Hudson hotel, a beautiful almost hidden hotel in midtown Manhattan. The hotel has an average of three stars on Trip Advisor but the only reason I can see why this would be is that the rooms are small, incredibly small! Secondly, they don’t serve food, but you are surrounded by food places on every corner outside of the hotel.
If location is key, then the Hudson is a perfect spot! You’re five minutes from the Metro, Central park and Columbus Circle – shops, shops and more shops!
Where to visit
Everyone knows about Times Square, the famous entertainment and theatre district. Always super crowded and busy but I love it! On this visit I went to see a movie, The Joker! Then headed to Dallas BBQ restaurant (mentioned above) to catch up with friends.
If you adore rose wine, enjoy interactive experiences and you’re a keen Instagrammer, then Rose Mansion is a great spot to checkout. Don’t ask me how they did it, but the attraction includes a wine bar, amusement park and science museum!
The Hudson Yards development really stood out! New York is creating a city within a city, with residential homes and businesses located in towers, some over 100 floors high. The development also includes a designer-based retail development and plans to open a school and a medical centre.
Hudson Yards was recently announced as the new home of Amazon in New York city, it looks amazing at night and if you’re a sci-fi fan, or fan of futuristic-looking architecture, then The Vessel located in the heart of Hudson Yards, will be right up your street.
The two key sights in the district are the World Trade Centre and the 9/11 Memorial, the latter is beautiful. What really caught my eye was the array of modern buildings and architecture. If that’s your thing it’s definitely worth checking out.
The High Line
The High Line is an elevated train line, lined with public art, sculptures, greenery and gardens, and food vendors where you can stop off to grab a bite to eat in the warmer months. The High Line is a brilliant example of restoration and creating usable public space.
The High Line has an app which will guide you along the route or feel free to just take a leisurely stroll like I did! It’s a great place to walk about and take a peek through the windows of the super expensive flats that line the High Line.
Taiji Body Works
I also had the most amazing massage in New York at Taiji Body Works, a mixture of deep tissue, hot stone and hot towel for £50 for 90 minutes. If you’re a fan of massages you will know that’s a great deal. I walked in with a stiff upper back and felt like I floated out of the building after my treatment.
Flights to New York City from London, from £220
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