5 things I always do when I’m in NYC…

Mainly due to work (I used to shoot here at least a couple of times a year for 10 years), I am lucky enough to have been to New York many times (although the first time was with my mum for my 21st birthday – thanks mum!) and although my knowledge of the city is not quite like a local, I can definitely navigate it pretty well.

I’m a strong believer that New York is not really at its best until you avoid doing too much touristy stuff (mainly because you will just become exhausted) and enjoy walking the streets and taking it in as you go.

I, personally, have a few rituals I do whenever I go to New York and it’s a routine I really look forward to so I thought I’d share them here:

Shirt: By Malene Birger (old).  Jeans: Gap (old). Bag: £30, Accessorize. Shoes: £49.99, Mango.

1. SOMETHING TOURISTY

Okay, now I know I said skip the touristy stuff, but I would recommend doing at least one thing that’s fun, typical new York and potentially a little tacky. Queueing up for Top of The Rock this time, we didn’t exactly feel like ‘locals’ but it was something I had never done and I must admit, the views were spectacular.

At $35 each, it’s not a cheap ticket – which is also why I suggest only doing one touristy thing (New York definitely isn’t cheap, especially with post Brexit exchange rates), but to find something even I hadn’t done yet was rather fun. Make sure you buy your ticket in advance to save having to purchase and come back later.

2. SOMETHING CULTURAL

There are so many amazing museums in New York, I love the MoMa (try and take advantage of the Uniqlo Free Friday Night tickets) and the Frick Collection (which operates a ‘pay what you wish’ admission every Wednesday 2-6pm) but there are always new ones to try. This time, we stayed right by The Whitney so spent a tranquil last morning there before we flew home. It housed great works by Edward Hopper, Alexander Calder and Georgia O’Keefe and it had amazing views over the city – but at $20 it perhaps wasn’t my favourite gallery.

3. BRUNCH

Brunch is such a huge part of New York culture and something I love – we usually end up just having brunch and a late dinner when we’re away as the food is always so filling. My favourites are The Fat Radish, The Butcher’s Daughter and Jack’s Wife Freda.

The Butcher’s Daughter

Dress, £39.99, H&M (sold out). Bag: £83, Wood/Grey. Sandals: Rae Feather.

4. THE HIGH LINE

This is one of my favourite things to do after brunch, to walk off all those pancakes! A disused railway line which has now been transformed into a public park, it runs from the Meatpacking district and goes all the way up to West 34th Street. It’s a great way to get to know the city, there are lots of places to stop and take photos or just sit and read…and best of all, it’s completely free!

5. GO SHOPPING

I don’t actually do much shopping in New York…well, definitely not in the traditional sense of dashing through stores and carrying armfuls of carrier bags home. I don’t regularly go into midtown, to be honest. And I don’t really buy much, if anything (!). So what kind of shopping do I actually do? I have a few stores I love to browse, as it feels like traditional New York for me – these are J Crew, Madewell, Jonathan Adler, Reformation and Old Navy. It’s not really about buying anything for me, it’s just having a nosey and sometimes trying a few thing on – shopping for me, is just more enjoyable when I’m away and not thinking about what I’m going to blog about. The exchange rate this trip meant it wasn’t really worth buying anything unless I couldn’t get it in the UK….or as a birthday treat (I bought a Jonathan Adler cushion with my birthday money whilst out here a few years ago) – sometimes it’s fun to associate a purchase with a trip away. Old Navy has great baby and kids clothes, so I often get a few things for family and friends there, too.

I wanted to visit the Catbird boutique this time in Williamsburg but didn’t get time sadly, but have heard good things.

If you have any other New York questions, just ask!

26 Comments

  1. Catbird is wonderful. They’re so lovely and the pieces are beautiful (though I’m biased as we got our wedding rings there!). Sundays in Brooklyn is a (relatively) nearby brunch spot, that’s well worth a visit. Dudley’s and Two Hands both do great brunch too. The Neue Gallery is also really cool. Size wise it’s more like the Frick and there is a delicious Viennese tea house there too.

  2. Ooh fab tip about the MoMa, I shall remember that one! The last time I was in NY I scored a brand new Chloe dress (with tags still attached) in a vintage shop in Williamsburg for $20 because they’d priced it wrong. The assistant was vexed. I was ecstatic. Oh the joy!

  3. I love the high line, especially just as it opens at 7am when it’s empty. Another favourite is the banana hit chocolate at Mirabelle on Broome.

  4. Thanks for this blog, Alexandra. I am treating myself to my first trip to New York next Feb, for my 40th birthday. I just cannot wait to go, been a dream for years and decided to get on with doing all the things I have wanted to do, instead of putting it off! Going for 5 days and will take note of your comment to walk around and just soak up the city, as well as seeing some touristy hotspots X

  5. That’s a great tip about when you can get reduced entry to the museums – I was last in NYC in 2013 and the thing that shocked me most was the cost of the museums – I guess I’m spoilt being in London with so many (most?!) museums being free, but I think I paid about $40 for MOMA and only slightly less for the natural history museum -and when you’ve paid those prices you really feel like you have to see everything and stay til you were exhausted! If/when I go again I’ll definitely look into when the reduced entry times are! And the High Line -yes – so cool!

    1. So true – London is so amazing for free culture and means everyone has access to education and the Arts. Moma is VERY busy on the Uniqlo nights but it is worth it and you don’t have to stay as long and feel guilty! xx

    2. Don’t be fooled though, some museums in New York are pay what you wish, even though the “suggested donation” is what you’ll see publicized. Often you have to wait on line to speak with the teller rather than use the easier automated machines, but it’s worth it! The American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (for all of its locations), and MoMA PS1 are great options!

  6. Hi, I love your Instagram & blog. My best friend has moved to NYC and I’m going to visit in December whilst she’s at work most of the week I plan to do some exploring on my own. I’ve recently started working as a fashion buyers admin assistant and I’d love to go to some fashion hotspots can you recommend anywhere for this (i’m trying to avoid the tourist attractions too ) Thank you! x

  7. I didn’t know about the Uniqlo museum Friday night tickets, so thanks for sharing! Also another tip for Top of The Rock – to save the $35 ticket, you could just go up to the bar and then spend however much or little on a drink and still take in similar views! Steph x
    http://www.stephstyle.com

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