This post follows on from my previous one on our girls trip to New York. Let’s be honest, would it really have been a girls trip without shopping and visiting great places to eat and drink? I think not. We spent a lot of time doing each of these things, so I thought it appropriate to dedicate a separate post to tell you about our favourite places…
How can you go to New York without visiting 5th Avenue? We first went on Thanksgiving and it was so quiet. Most of the shops were shut and everywhere had that sleepy feeling that we get over here on Christmas Day, but this is meant to be the city that never sleeps, right? Apparently we were there on the most sleepy day of the year, which is an accolade in itself I think. When we did go back a few days later we went in a few shops, but mainly headed to Tiffany’s to see the diamonds.
It was amazing! On the ground floor they have lots of colourful jewellery and a place where you can see the pieces being made. We headed to the floor with the silver jewellery; it was busy with people buying their beautiful mementoes. There were loads of lovely necklaces, earrings and bracelets, but they were still quite expensive so I decided that I would start saving up now and maybe get something if I go again. Whilst mum and I were browsing the diamonds, a sales assistant came to offer us hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows. No word of a lie, it was the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.
During the five days that we were there we managed to visit all of the main department stores: Macy’s, Bloomingdales and Saks. They were all beautifully decorated for Christmas, especially the window displays which moved in time to the music they played out onto the street.
Century 21 is a shop which is a bit like TK Maxx; you can get brands at discounted prices. I managed to get some new Rebock gym trainers for £27. Bargain! Milly also took me to my first Sephora and I could have bought so much! I ended up just going for the things I knew I definitely couldn’t get at home: some Stila liquid eyeshadows and some exclusive Origins minis.
Everyone was out buying their Christmas gifts whilst the Black Friday deals were on and it definitely helped to get me in the Christmas spirit. However, my favourite places to shop were the independent boutiques and markets…
If you head to New York at this time of year, Bryant Park has a wonderful Christmas market. You will hopefully get lots of gift inspo. We went into a stall which sold all different kinds and colours of baubles. If I wasn’t feeling Christmassy before then, I was now. I also saw, for the first time in real life, one of those melted cheese stands that scrape melted cheese onto rolls and chips! YUM.
Carrie Bradshaw: “New York Magazine says Brooklyn is the new Manhattan.”
Miranda: “Yes, but whoever wrote that lives in Brooklyn.”
After watching the Sex and the City girls and their disapproval of Brooklyn, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I have to say, walking around its unique shops and stalls was one of my favourite things we did.
There was a beautiful home interior shop called West Elm. My mum absolutely loves interior design and wanted to buy so much more than we could physically carry home in our suitcases. In the end she settled for some candle sticks and candles and I bought some coasters, which were made by a local crafter from the souvenir section.
In the same shopping area, Empire Stores, there was a stall selling prints of New York, which I absolutely loved! I bought two because they are something that I can keep and take with me forever.
We also went in this shop that was dubbed a modern pharmacy and it had loads of different things in it: food and drink, cosmetics, books, posters, cards and lots more.
I really enjoyed having a wonder around these unique and interesting shops and it felt great to step away from the commercial zone and support small businesses and independent brands. They are still developing this area of Brooklyn and I think lots more shops are on the way. I will definitely be paying a visit there again!
When it got to lunch time, we found a really stylish bakery called Butler which had a great view of the start of the bridge. We had hot chocolates and sausage rolls and they played Prince. It was perfect.Chelsea Market
Chelsea Market gave us a similar shopping experience. It had lots of independent shops, like book shops and a large room where lots of traders showcased their artwork and crafts. My favourite shop was, of course, the bookshop. It had chunky coffee table books, Christmas cards and more lovely prints of New York.
Milly and I were craving a slice of New York pizza, but opted for the calzones because they looked more filling. Our mums had bagels filled with salmon and cream cheese. Milly’s mum had a rainbow bagel, which looked incredible.
We also stopped in a bar called Blackbarn, which was attached to market, and had our last girly cocktails before we were due to fly home. They were lovely and refreshing, but they did go straight to our heads!
Taking a bite out of the Big Apple:
When in a city as rich and diverse as New York, it can be difficult to know where to stop for a bite to eat. There are so many recommendations online and so many different eateries on every street. A lot of the time we went with places that looked warm and inviting.
On almost every street you will find a deli in New York. They are basically cafes/mini supermarkets with a large selection of produce. They have buffets of hot food and then counters where you can order bagels and sandwiches, or subs as the Americans call them.
On our first night we chose what we wanted from a buffet and took our meals back to our apartment. I had bits of crispy chicken, some rice and broccoli; I didn’t really know what I fancied because of the time difference.
Spotting this busy little joint on a street corner whilst we were freezing from head- to- toe, we headed inside in the hope of having a cocktail. Luckily, we managed to get four seats in the window and enjoyed our Espresso Martinis and Mojitos in the warm. There were lots of local families enjoying their Thanksgiving meals; it was really nice to feel part of the celebrations. Walking to the bathroom we saw the food on people’s plates and it looked amazing! I would like to have known how it tasted too.
On our way back from the Highline we stumbled across a warm looking Italian restaurant and were so hungry that we instantly decided to try it out. The food was really yummy and just what we needed after being out in the cold weather all day. Mum had a really interesting pizza topped with pear, walnuts and blue cheese. I had no idea what it would be like when she ordered, but it was actually really nice.
Andrew’s Coffee Shop – 463 7th Avenue
One thing I knew I had to have when in New York were some massive, fluffy American pancakes. Andrew’s Coffee Shop definitely delivered on the brief! There was a queue to be seated, which was a good sign because we knew it was popular. The décor was typical American diner-esque and the pancakes were delicious! Milly and I had ours topped with strawberry and banana and, of course, syrup. Our mums had apple and cinnamon pancakes and they were also scrumptious.
Bills Burger Bar – Rockefeller Centre
After our large breakfast, we didn’t need to eat until late. We booked a table at a burger bar at the Rockefeller Center for 10:00pm and filled up on classic beef burgers with sweet potato cross hatch chips. It was so yummy and again, felt like a really traditional American eatery. It was just what we needed after a long day of shopping and about 20,000 steps.
Magnolia Bakery – Bloomingdales
Possibly the most famous bakery in New York. Needing a pick-me-up Milly bought a cute pink cupcake and we shared it outside of Bloomingdales. The frosting was so thick and creamy and it definitely hit the spot. They had a delicious looking pecan pie that was very tempting too. If you’re flagging and need a boost, head here for a sugar rush.
A.O.C. L’aile ou la Cuisse – 314 Bleeker Street
On our last proper night we wanted to celebrate with a nice meal, but because it was absolutely tipping it down we didn’t really want to wonder around Greenwich Village deciding. We spotted a cosy looking French restaurant and decided to get inside out of the rain. As it turned out, the food was delicious. I had a bowl of muscles and fries. They were delicious. We had some incredible cosmopolitans as well; just a few streets away from Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment!
TV-show hot spots
Speaking of Sex and the City, I wanted to go and see Carrie’s apartment before we left, so Milly and I headed out in the rain. We went via the F.R.I.E.N.D.S apartment and stopped to take a photo. Carrie’s apartment was good, but I think it would be better in dry weather. The people who live there have now fastened a chain across the steps and have put a donation box up, which I guess is fair enough. I wish I could have taken a better photo, but it was just too wet.
My guilty pleasure on TV is Say Yes to the Dress. I don’t know why, but I just love it! When we were walking down 6th Avenue, I looked to the right, down a side street and saw Kleinfeld’s, where it is filmed. Now when watching the show it its nice to know exactly where the shop is, especially as we stumbled upon it by accident.
So there you go, I think I have managed to talk you through everything we did and more importantly, everything I would recommend doing in this magical city. I hope it’s not too long before I get to go back and explore some more; there are still so many things I want to tick off the list!