New York City
Need to Knows / Customs
NYC is a very busy and exciting city with tons of things to see and do, hence its nickname: the city that never sleeps! There are a couple of things you can do as a tourist to ensure you have a great time in this magical place. One of the most important things to remember is the city and the people move pretty fast. If you’re accustomed to a slower pace- be careful and make sure you are aware of your surroundings. People jaywalk, cars don’t necessarily stop at red lights, and bike messengers whiz by while shouting at you to move out the way! It’s the reason I love this city so much – it’s lively and passionate!!
Since getting trampled is legit not a cute look, remember if you’re stopping to take pictures or look something up on your phone- move to the side so you’re out-of-the-way of traffic.
One of the best (and most fun) ways to really check out the city is simply to walk around + explore. If you’re in a rush, you can grab an uber/taxi or brave the busy subway. Just make sure if you’re taking the subway you have your MTA card ride-ready so you don’t hold up the line at the turnstiles. Most smartphones are equipped with transit maps so you can plug-in your current location + destination and it will tell you how to get there. If you still have questions (sometimes platforms/trains are shut down), there are interactive digital maps at a lot of the stations that will guide you around. Also, don’t be afraid to ask! Some of the friendliest and most helpful people I’ve encountered while traveling have been NYC natives who are super knowledgable about how to get around and what to see or do!
I booked my hotel through the HotelTonight app, which made finding, comparing and selecting a hotel in the city such a breeze! I definitely recommend using the app if you’re in need of figuring out where you want to stay. Through the app, I ended up booking a room at the gorgeous Kimpton Muse Hotel, near Times Square. I picked this place because it seemed really fresh and trendy and the rooms were Instagram-worthy! Not to mention, they have house bikes for guests, a fitness center, spa services, and a 5pm hosted wine hour in their lobby everyday as a way to connect with guests (hello, heaven). The hotel is in a great location, a few blocks away from Bryant Park and a bunch of great eateries + restaurants, such as Butter and Haven Rooftop and Blue Bottle Coffee if you’re in need of a quick caffiene jolt like me in the AM.
The best thing is, if you know me, you know how much I love bringing Ambrosius with me when I travel. Kimpton Muse is a completely pet friendly place, which is a bit of a rare bird in NYC. A lot of hotels charge flat rate fees or temporary holds for pets, but Kimpton Muse loves the little ones (and even slightly bigger ones) and they simply make you fill out a Pet ‘Paw-licy’ and that’s it, you’re done! Checking in was a breeze and the staff were above and beyond, especially Veronica, who was such a sweetheart and made check-in and the whole experience absolutely lovely with customized recommendations.
NYFW was in full swing the moment I landed, and since I only had a short time in NY before departing for a wedding in CT, I took full advantage of my limited schedule. It’s well-known (and documented) that scoring an invite to a show or party during NYFW is like getting the golden ticket from Willy Wonka, only way more difficult and a lot more work! A lot of people make the unfortunate mistake of waiting close to the shows and events to try to email the PR companies in charge of seating. Don’t do this! As a former PR girl myself, this is literally what nightmares are made of. If you don’t have direct access, or an invite directly from the designer isn’t likely (hey, we can all dream), start working the channels ahead of time. Are you a blogger? Do you write about fashion? Do you have a following? With limited seating at the shows, every spot counts so it needs to benefit the designer to have you there. If you can show that your work has influence and clout, you can build a rapport with the PR team ahead of time and try to earn a coveted spot.
There are so many amazing restaurants in NYC that the trouble comes when trying to select where you want to eat! Friday night, I went out to dinner with my girls and we ate at Obao, a Thai + Vietnamese restaurant with a twist. We ordered plenty of food and it was all very delicious, shy of one dish my girlfriend ordered, and wasn’t too thrilled that the breaded shrimp came shell-on. I ordered the Pad Kee Mao and was happy with my delicious choice, and with the exception of that one dish, we all enjoyed everything else we tasted! Obao has a very sleek + sexy atmosphere and has several locations (Midtown, Hell’s Kitchen, Financial District). If I lived in NYC, this would be a great date spot recommendation!
Also, if you are a macaroon fan, like me… you must, with absolute certainty, visit Ladurée. Not only will you go Instagram-crazy with about 1 million photo opps, but the macaroons!! Heaven in bite-size form. Could you ask for more? I don’t think so, someone let me know!
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There are so many wonderful places to discover walking around NYC, that it’s impossible to comprehensively list all of the fun things you should do in a trip. If you have the opportunity to visit multiple times, then I personally recommend breaking up your visit wish list into several categories (Broadway shows, shops, touristy things, muesems, neighborhoods) and tackling one bit at a time. I’ve been to NYC dozens of times, and I’d say I’ve only seen 20% of New York.
If you only have one trip, do some Pinterest research and pick out some places to see ahead of time. This last go round, I ate lunch at the members-only Core Club; strolled through Central Park with my mom and Ambrosius, which was so much fun just taking the city in and people watching. I also visited the Oculus on September 11th, which marked the 15th year memorial anniversary of 9/11. It’s a beautifully designed space that pays special tribute to the World Trade Center Towers.
If you want to grab drinks and the weather is cooperating, I highly recommend one of the dozens of rooftop bars so you can drink and take in breathtaking views of the city. I loved grabbing a ‘Saints + Ginners’ at the Parisian Garden-themed Hotel Chantelle in the LES, which is great for brunch or late night!
This beautiful city has so much to offer, you literally can’t go wrong with anything you decide to do!