A Travel Addict’s guide to New York

As our official sister city (yes that is a thing!), New York is a popular hot spot for Torontonians, a fact that will be encouraged by the reduction in flight prices – slated to begin mid-2018- and the increase in marketing and incentives to travel between the two cities. So here is my build-your-own-experience guide to my favourite spots in the Big Apple.

Girls Night:

A little risqué and a whole lot of fun, the Museum of Sex (233 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016) is the perfect off the beaten path spot for some girls only adventures. With a cover of $8, and an additional $3 to use the ‘Booby Jumpy Castle,’ it’s wallet friendly and the right amount of cheeky. Don’t NOT do the jumpy castle. Trust me, it’s as ridiculously entertaining as it sounds.

Start off your evening at the museum bar with some Nipple Jello shots (Warning: these are highly addictive and alcoholic) and a cocktail before wandering through the four floors of exhibits ranging from toys, to facts to artwork and everything sex-related in between. Work off your leftover energy in the jumpy castle and hit the gift shop on your way out.

From here, head to Bowery and drop into Hecho En Dumbo (354 Bowery, New York, NY 10012) for Mexican inspired small plates in a cozy, unassuming and contemporary space. When you head out, you will notice that Bowery is one of those streets that begs to be explored. A combination of clubs, hip restaurants and random food trucks makes it a great area to bar hop before picking a spot to dance the night away.

The Cure:

If you find yourself in need of major TLC after a long night out, the perfect place to find greasy yet large portions is Smorgasburg Food Market. Once just a Sunday morning showcase in the charmingly gentrified Williamsburg area, the market now has multiple locations popping up around Manhattan, Soho and Brooklyn. Check out their Instagram to find the one nearest to you, and spend the morning indulging in New York’s finest foods all in one area. My personal favourite is on Sunday at East River State Park, overlooking the Manhattan skyline. The wide range of food offered includes fresh fruit juice, made to order home fries, tacos, burgers, fresh baked goods and so many desserts that you might need an extra hole in your belt.

When you’ve eaten all that you can (you might discover never before known limits), head down Kent Ave and take in the local artisanal offerings at Artist & Fleas (70 N 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249) and keep a weather eye out for the famous street art peeking out from unassuming and unexpected places. For an epic view of the Manhattan skyline, make a quick stop at The Ides bar located in the Wythe Hotel (80 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249) and indulge in a drink (not required) while resting your feet on the patio.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Forget the coffee shop. Instead, head out to Greenpoint Beer & Ale (7 N 15th St, Brooklyn, NY 11222) for pub fare and a huge selection of beers. German-inspired, the bar is massive, featuring communal seating and a constant air of being at Oktoberfest. The bar is also sandwiched between some impressive street art, making for some great pictures. Don’t let the scarcity of the area deter you – if you pay attention, you will notice that each door more often than not opens into another eclectic bar or restaurant. I’ve stumbled across many hidden gems in this area, from no name kitchen bars to independent super markets boasting international foods and drinks.

For the love of moderation:

At some point in all the easy overindulgence available in New York, you stomach and skin are going to be begging for some reprieve. Hit up one of the multiple By Chloe locations to cleanse your system with a range of juices, smoothies and feel-good foods with a healthy (and vegan) twist. Rent a bike and ride across the Williamsburg bridge for some beautiful views of the city and water, then head to the meatpacking district and Bleeker street for away-from-the-crowd shopping. Pera Soho (54 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012) is a trendy, Mediterranean inspired restaurant situated on the cobbled streets of Soho, perfect for taking a breather and to people watch from outdoor seating in the open air space. If you’re feeling for a self-care treat, Bumble & Bumble (415 W 13th St, New York, NY 10014) has their flagship salon open for walk-ins with their hair experts around the corner.

Other notables:

Baked by Melissa – $1 mini cupcake macaroon hybrids available at multiple locations across the city. Binge on a 6-pack or bring a fly-safe 24-pack home. These mini’s are packed with flavour and hit the spot.

Dylan’s Candy Bar – (1011 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10065) If you have ever wondered what Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory was like, this is the closest you can get to it in New York City. Offering an array of sweetness, the two-storey candy store has every treat imaginable – including an international and discontinued section- while the bar upstairs offers candy-inspired concoctions (think salted caramel martini and s’more waffle pizza).

Breakfast at Tiffany’s – if you adore the movie and dream of living out your Audrey Hepburn fantasies, make a reservation at the pop-up cafe at the Tiffany’s on Fifth. Rumour has it that this may become permanent in the future.

Serendipity – (225 E 60th St, New York, NY 10022) famous for it’s $1000 ice-cream sundae (yes it has gold leaf sprinkles and comes with a golden spoon), this hole-in-the-wall cafe is a visitor favourite. Try the frozen hot chocolate and shrimp pasta. While the menu is not extensive, the desserts are generous and the atmosphere is cheesy in the best way.

Darbar Fine Indian Cuisine – (152 E 46th St, New York, NY 10017) This is a local hotspot for Indian food. Aim for lunch and help yourself to a wide range of dishes on the buffet in a stereotypical red-carpeted dining room. Prepare for it to be busy, as the food is delicious and it is a popular lunch spot for business meetings.

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Azra Gani

Azra is a bonafide frequent flyer who's often approached for hot tips and local guides to the cities she's visited. To Az, the beauty of travel is that every city and experience is unique and ever changing. She loves to provide recommendations and rough itineraries to the cities she's been to, but as a rule, she encourages everyone to use them as a jumping point, and create their own adventure! Keep up with Az the travel addict on instagram (www.instagram.com/azzythetraveladdict) and get inspired to visit somewhere new today!

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