This week I was so excited to have my friend Jacinda visiting me in NYC, all the way from Melbourne! Not only was it great to hang out and show her my adopted home, it was also a great opportunity for me to actually do some sightseeing.
I won’t lie. You may think I spend my days blogging in hipster cafes, perusing art galleries and jogging through Central Park, but in reality I spend most of my time in my apartment working. Plus, I don’t have money to spend on fancy shit.
The only things that get me out of the building are my 4pm CrossFit sessions. Oh, and running out of eggs. (Who said the life of an entrepreneur ain’t glamorous?!)
So 8 weeks into my stay, I think Jac’s visit was very timely. Not only did we see some touristy sights, we also ate at plenty of places I never would have visited on my own!
In no particular order, here are 10 cool things Jacinda and I did (and ate) in New York City:
1. New York Pizza
There are plenty of ‘hole in the wall’ pizza places in New York, but our friends Mateo and Allie took us to ‘Artichoke Pizza’, a tiny place famous for their giant slices coated in a cream cheese-based sauce. It was DAMN GOOD, but terribly rich. (It didn’t help that this was a post-dinner snack. Cue food coma.)
2. Black and White Cookie
Jess, our token American at CrossFit-U, told me before I left: “You HAVE to try a black and white cookie!” It’s a cakey-shortbread cookie coated with black and white fondant icing. Like the pizza, it was rich and delicious.
3. Central Park
We were lucky to have gorgeous sunny weather this week. If you can battle your way through the pushy spruikers offering bicycle cart rides, it’s a lovely place to stroll. Definitely a must-see!
4. Ground Zero
I’m glad I finally got to experience the September 11 Memorial. It was nice to quietly reflect on how lucky I am to just be alive.
We often get caught up in the small stuff and forget to express gratitude for everything that we have. Visiting Ground Zero was a poignant reminder.
5. Bare Burger
Oh man, this place is amazing. I had the elk burger. Elk! With sweet potato fries and outrageously crispy onion rings on the side. They also offer buffalo, ostrich and wild boar burgers (all organic and grass-fed of course. Wow.)
6. Hill Country Barbeque Market
The only thing better than an elk burger? Texan-style barbeque pork belly. Goodness gracious. This was some of the best meat I’ve ever had. Paleo-ites, you will lose your shit.
This is how it works: you choose your type and amount of meat, and they charge you by weight. You then choose from sides like black eyed peas, macaroni cheese, cucumber salad and ‘corn pudding’. We had seconds. And dessert.
We sat next to a rather large Texan native, who told us that this was the “only authentic Texas barbeque place in New York.” (He then asked if I was Korean. I’m not one to generalise, but as far as stereotypes go, this fellow ticked all the boxes. You know what, buddy? You white people all look the same to us Asians. So there.)
7. Brooklyn Tabernacle
This was my second visit to see the famous Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. Being Easter Sunday, however, they had a dramatic re-enactment of Jesus’ crucifixion (it was pretty full-on!) instead of the singers. But if you’re in New York on a Sunday, definitely go check out the choir from 3-5pm. Even if you’re not religious, you’ll get shivers up your spine. They are amazing. (Plus, it’s free!)
8. Fire Hazard Indian Restaurants
Check this out. Four almost identical Indian restaurants, ALL with a thick canopy of seizure-inducing fairy lights that hang so low you have to duck to walk through. Totally bizarre, but worth it even if just for the novelty factor!
9. Staten Island Ferry
Jac and I decided to skip the queues at the Statue of Liberty and take the free ferry that cruises right past it. Gotta love free stuff! So what if you can only view the statue from a distance? It’s still pretty big!
10. Rockefeller Centre
Ok, now I can say I’ve been to the ‘Top of the Rock’. This was pretty cool. You don’t really get a feel for just how densely built-up Manhattan is until you see it from above. Just mesmerizing.
We often tend to take the places we live in for granted. I know Melbourne has loads of cool stuff to see and do that I’ve never actually considered. For example, I lived walking distance from the MCG for a year and only went there once. I’ve never been to the top of the Rialto. And I haven’t lined up for hot jam donuts from the Queen Vic Market in years. Disgraceful!
So I encourage you to take a break from your usual routine, and spend a bit of time as a tourist in your own city. You may very well discover new things, meet interesting people, and find inspiration in unexpected places.
Or just get yourself a donut.