As it is a dark, wet day in Edinburgh I thought I would cheer myself up by blogging about holidays. Just thinking about being somewhere else cheers me up! On the way home from our holiday in Florida back in August we ended up with an unexpected bonus day in New York. I have been before but my husband hasn’t so I squeezed in all the things which I think are must do’s. We tend to walk, a lot, on our holidays to just take things in. The places I suggest you visit reflect this as for the most part I just suggest a good walk around! We only had one full day but walked about 20 miles with various stops along the way. So what exactly should you do if you only have 24 hours in New York…..
I highly recommend you head over to Brooklyn, where we started our day. It has a totally different feel to Manhattan. It has a much more laid back vibe and to me is far more interesting to wander around. The streets have real charm. I love seeing all the buildings with the stairs down the sides and water towers on the roof, straight out of the movies. Which, ironically, to me just feels more “real”. There is a lot of beautiful street art there too, we stopped so many times for photos! We headed from Brooklyn over to Manhattan via the Williamsburg Bridge. It was such a gorgeous walk and the view is phenomenal. This is also a great spot to get a photo of the sun setting on Manhattan (although, I only had a phone with a near dead battery)!
I would have loved to have gone over the Brooklyn Bridge but it was just too far away for us to fit it in one day, but with more time I would highly recommend you take a stroll over there too. Also, if you are there at the right time go to a Brooklyn Nets game. I loved soaking up the atmosphere at something so “American”. It is so different to sport in the UK, it is a proper show. Not something I could do very often but really interesting to go along and see what it is like!
For food in Brooklyn we decided to try Champs Diner on my friends recommendation. It is a vegan diner in the Williamsburg area with a really laid back 50s feel. I was totally overwhelmed when I read the menu. It has so many options and everything just looked so good! I had serious ordering envy when I saw the plates of everyone around me. I think the only way to stop that from happening would be to order everything on the menu!! With more time I would definitely eat here more than once! We were there for breakfast so ordered a breakfast burrito and French toast with scrambled tofu and sausages. Both were super tasty and good sized portions. The only complaint from my husband was that he had to have soya milk in his coffee, but what do you expect in a vegan diner! Otherwise this place was perfect for anyone vegan or not!
On Manhattan itself there is so much to do, but for me the main things are to visit central station, view the New York skyline, stroll in Central Park and visit the Statue of Liberty. Walking from each to the next also means you get to see so much more of New York, from iconic buildings to impressive street art. Central station is one such iconic building but with this one you have to go inside. For me this is a beautiful bit of history. There is nothing specific to do there but just have a look around and don’t forget the ceilings. It is definitely more grand than Edinburgh Waverley! To see the skyline I recommend heading up the Rockefeller Centre to the Top of The Rock viewing deck. This is a great spot to see Manhattan from above. Obviously Central Park is a must, I have been to plenty of parks in my day but I like this one to take a stroll in as it is just so unexpected. To find this huge park in the middle of the high buildings is crazy. Finally we headed down past Times Square to have a look around. It is very touristy but a great place to just take in a bit of the atmosphere.
We stopped along the way in our wanderings in a few different bars which is a nice way to see New York too. I love talking to a bar tender in a small bar to get some local knowledge and generally just have a good chat! I always enjoy speaking with locals to get a real feel for somewhere. The one thing we didn’t do was go to the Statue of Liberty, after a full on holiday before and all the walking in New York we were just too wiped. But to see the Statue of Liberty on a tight timescale, hop on the Staten Island ferry to go past it close up, it is free and takes 25 minutes each way. Importantly this will also give you a break from the walking if you are on a tight timescale like we were!! You could even grab lunch from somewhere and eat it while you ride to save a bit of time.
The food options on Manhattan are, as you would expect, expansive. In Manhattan I only got to visit one vegan place, By Chloe in the West Village before heading to the airport. By Chloe is a fully vegan take out shop. There are a couple of them in New York with more opening both there and in other cities soon. They have a couple of tables and a counter to order your food. We were lucky enough to get seats as the place was packed (as I hear it generally always is!) and I can see why! The food was lovely. I got a meatball sub that was perfection. That is no mean feat in what is essentially a fast food restaurant! They had a bakery opening up next door while we were there too so next time I am over I will be going there! I highly recommend you visit.
Following this we headed to the airport and back to the UK and reality. And that was our very brief 24 hours in New York, my only regret is not getting to go to more food places! Before this trip I said I would never go out of my way to go back to New York but now my view has changed. The vegan food is amazing and wandering the streets outwith Manhattan has put New York on my list of places to head back to soon. Have you been, what are you top tips?