Everyone is familiar with the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and Fifth Avenue shopping but there are many unique places to visit in New York City that are off the beaten path. After showing around visitors several times and having lives int he area three years, I have come across some less familiar places that I think are worthy of a visitor's time. Here are some suggestions in no particular order:
1. The Dominique Ansel bakery. This is where the famous Cronut is made. If you would like a Cronut, make sure to get there early to ensure you get one. When I have been in the past I have gotten there by 7:30am but I believe they now make 600 instead of 300 so you can probably get there around 9. When my uncle was visiting last month they still had Cronuts at 11:30am but choose a time at your own risk. They are delicious. However, if you do not want a Cronut, the bakery has many amazing pastries. It is a small bakery but they have a courtyard in the back where you can sit peacefully to devour chef Dominique Ansel's artful creations.
2. The Plaza Food Hall. I had no ice this existed until I happened to go inside the Plaza to see how beautiful it was as realized there is a whole downstairs area with food vendors. There is not that much seating but there are great food choices and you can say you've been to the Plaza Hotel.
3. The Back Room. This is an old speakeasy from the 1920s which still serves all of its drinks in teacups - the way to secretly drink during the prohibition. It is not a big place and gets crowded on friday and saturday nights but it has a unique vibe that transports one back to the 1920s and delicious cocktails to boot.
4. Eataly. This is a market-slash-restaurant across from the Flatiron building. I go here for their delicious foccacia bread and their amazing gelato. Aside from the counters of food like the gelato, pastries and paninis, Eataly also serves as a market for top quality Italian-style ingredients and has little restaurants in different areas. They also have a rooftop I have yet to visit.
5. Get a rainbow bagel from The Bagel Store in Brooklyn. New York is famous for its bagels (for a great lox bagel check out Ess A Bagel) but I had never had a more colorful bagel than I had here. The bagel dough tastes like a regular bagel but it just looks a million times more fun. The funfetti cream cheese has pieces of cake in it and is magical on this beautiful bagel! Their Nutella cream cheese is also amazing!
6. Korean Barbecue - Jongro BBQ. Korea Town is on 32nd street between 5th and 6th avenue ad has a lot of great food places. Jongro is a great Korean Barbecue place located on the second floor featuring great decor and delicious food. The way Korean Barbecue is served is that you choose the type(s) of meat you want and they are grilled right in front of you on the table. You get many sides to go with it and it is family style.
7. Fraunces Tavern. I stubbled upon this place by accident when friends of mine were in town and we really liked it. This is a tavern open since 1762 where apparently George Washington bode farewell to his officers of the continental army after British troops evacuated New York. It is a national historic landmark that has a lot of character and history and is worth a visit.
8. 230 Fifth Rooftop. This is a nice rooftop in midtown with a view of the Empire State Building.
9. Smorgasburg in Brooklyn if the weather is nice. This is a flea market in Brooklyn with food and art vendors.
10. Seeing a Broadway show without paying full-price for a ticket! I absolutely love Broadway shows. I was in theatre in high school and never cease to be amazed by the talent on the broadway stage. However, I do not have the means to be buying a bunch of full-price tickets to shows. Instead, I seek out different options like standing room, lottery or rush. I HIGHLY recommend doing this. Depending on your time in New York and how badly you want to see a show, different options might be best for you. For example, you may want to get to the Eugene O'Neill theatre an hour before they start lottery at the Book of Mormon to get in the standing room line so that, if you do not win lottery, you can still see the show in standing room because you got there early enough to guarantee a spot. You can find a breakdown of all of the shows and the methods to get cheaper tickets here. Good luck and enjoy the show!
And yes, that is my beautiful sister with ALFIE BOE - A.K.A. The best Jean Valjean ever.
Basically, New York has a LOT to offer. I have lived in the area for over three years now and I still keep discovering new places. There is something for everyone! Now if only I could get some Hamilton tickets...
If you have ever flown Delta, you have probably had those delicious Biscoff cookies. They are basically Speculaas/Speculoos cookies and they are delicious. You may also be familiar with Speculoos Cookie Spread from Trader Joes. It is basically just as addicting and delicious as Nutella and I found a recipe here for a pie using both of these!
I left out the powdered sugar because the pie was already sweet enough.
Smashed Biscoff cookies and butter make up the crust.
If you want, you can top the pie with whipped cream, 2 crushed cookies and melted cookie butter/Biscoff spread.
It seems that no matter how many books I read, there is always a long list of must-reads that I have yet to get to! I also keep buying books even though I have about 10 that I still haven't read on my bookshelf. There are so many great novels to read! I finally read 11/22/63 recently. My sister recommended it a long time ago but it wasn't until I saw a preview for the series on Hulu that I made the leap. It was so freaking good! I don't like scary so I have never read a Stephen King book but considering how well-written this novel was, I can only imagine how gripping his scary stories are.
Also, Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare came out last month! I ordered and read it immediately because I am a huge fan of the Infernal Devices and Mortal Instruments series and cannot believe how badly they destroyed the movie, and, now, the tv show. Such a shame. I better stop right now because I'll end up writing a short novel about my criticism of the movie and show. I will say that the show has gotten a bit more back on track. Also, I can't stop watching it because I want to see what they do with the story. If you have not read any of the shadow hunter series by Cassandra Clare, I highly recommend them!
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
Synopsis: As the first part of the series The Cousins' War, The White Queen follows Elizabeth Gray as she courts the young King of England, Edward IV. Already at war, England is divided in loyalty to the previous king Henry VI who was overthrown and the new young King Edward. Throughout the novel, England is frequently at war and the claim to the thrown is constantly threatened and changing while Elizabeth tries to secure her position and that of her family.
Opinion: I enjoy historical fiction and though this book was extremely well-written and well researched but I found myself getting a little tired of the constant scheming and politics. I did enjoy that there was constantly something going on but it was difficult to keep track of all of the characters. I do think I will eventually read the rest of this series because it is an interesting story. While we already know part of how it will end since Henry Tudor has already made an appearance, I am interesting in finding out the details. I also like that Elizabeth is a strong character and not an obnoxious damsel type. Overall, I thought it was interesting and gripping and well worth reading.
3.5 out of 5 hearts
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
Synopsis: While the Disney movie is obviously not exactly accurate, it does possess several elements from the book. In the late middle ages (late 1400s), Paris was a place where gypsies had a whole underground society and were interesting to, and feared by, the people of Paris. La Esmeralda is a virtuous girl admired by many men, including Frollo, Phoebus and Quasimodo, the disfigured bell ringer of Notre Dame adopted by Archdeacon Claude Frollo. This ultimately leads to her demise as Quasimodo is constantly caught between obeying his adopted father and doing what he thinks is right.
Opinion: Okay so I had no idea how obnoxious this story was going to be. Firstly, the story takes what seems like forever to get started. It's not until almost halfway that the plot gets somewhat interesting. Secondly, I expected Esmeralda (La Esmeralda - the emerald - in the book) to be the same, or at least similar, strong, righteous, independent, smart girl she was in the Disney movie. Not so much: she is a ridiculous fool who is immune to reason. Also, Frollo is way worse than he is in the movie. I could do without the looming threat of sexual violence and his contradictory character. I am sure that this novel was relevant to its time but it just infuriates me in 2016. I have yet to read Les Miserables but I have seen the show and I hope the book is not as disappointing as this one. In my opinion, this book is a discredit to women. However, it does point out the sometimes fleeting opinions of humanity, our unjustified judgements, and the selfish actions we are prone to. Even so, not worth it.
2 out of 5 hears
11/22/63 by Stephen King
Synopsis: Jake Epping, a divorced high school English teacher is presented with the opportunity to travel back to September 9th 1958 and stop the assassination of JFK on November 22nd 1963. However, the past does not want to be changed so Jake experiences plenty of obstacles along the way. He also needs to find a way to blend in, pass five years and make sure Lee Harvey Oswald was actually the shooter and acted alone.
Opinion: While this is a sizable novel, I couldn't put it down. I was so good and gripping from the very start. The mixture of historical facts and a fictional plot are fantastically woven. It is exciting and suspenseful the whole way through. A truly extraordinary story.
Recommend? Absolutely, yes!
5 out of 5 hearts
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Synopsis: Five years after the Cold Peace and the end of The City of Heavenly Fire, Emma Carstairs is sixteen and gets a clue about the murder of her parents. While the Clave told Emma that Sebastian killed her parents right before his attack on the Los Angeles Institute, Emma never believed them. As new strange murders start to happen, Emma believes they are related to her parents and begins to investigate along with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn and his siblings. Any more i say would be a spoiler so I will stop here.
Opinion: Unsurprisingly, I couldn't put this book down. I don't know how Cassandra Clare keeps coming up with these amazing stories, but she does. I just wish I didn't have to wait so long for the next two books now. Intrigue, crazy surprises, action - Lady Midnight is non-stop. I also noticed how she is tying in current issues in our world symbolically, which I enjoyed. All around, a great read! It is even better since the world and most characters have already been previously established so she can dive right into the story and there is additional meaning if you have read the previous series.
Recommend? Yes. But I recommend reading the Infernal Devices and Mortal Instruments series that are part of the same world first as it makes this series more fun.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Synopsis: A talkative, imaginative orphan accidentally ends up as Green Gables. While she always means well and has a big heart, her imagination and strong emotions subject her to creating troublesome situations. However, she works hard and is grateful to Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert for taking her in and she ends up making them exceedingly proud.
Opinion: I assume this is a children's book but I have seen it on several recommended book lists so I thought it was time I read this. It is a cute story. There was a lot of religious undertone but I thought the general messages portrayed are always relevant and the overall story was enjoyable to read.
Recommend? For children, yes.
3 out of 5 hearts
About the Author
Born and raised in the Netherlands, I now work as a designer in NYC. I love trying new things, candy and the color orange. In this blog, I will post about things I've learned and things I love. Veel plezier!