New York is easily one of my favorite cities in the US, I love it because it is activity-driven, and considering I live in a small town, it’s a welcome escape from the slow-paced lifestyle I have grown accustomed to. It would probably take two weeks to get through all the city has to offer,and about 65 years (according to an article I read) to go through every single restaurant in the city.
So when I found out I had a scheduled appointment for the 10th of June at the Nigerian consulate, I quickly dreamed up my itinerary in my head. Well, right off the bat, I will say that it is an expensive city, budgeting is tricky, so come ready to spend. This depends on where you eat (and how often), what you want to do, your accommodation,transportation options etc.
Money goes fast.
One good way, I have learnt to save money, over the years I have been visiting here is to get acquainted with the subway system. Those Uber and Taxify trips add up so make google maps and the MTA app your best friend. (Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York, NY, USA).
What I Did
You can travel to New York with no company and have a great time. Now, what you do depends largely on what tickles your fancy as a person, I mean for starters there’s Times Square which to me, is a visual representation of what people envision when they think New York City.
From Madame Tussauds to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, it’s literally the most touristy place you can visit in the city, it’s also great for kids. I would advise you to spend 10 minutes there, take your pics for the gram and leave if large crowds, overpriced restaurants and Disney characters are just not your thing like me.
Now I appreciate art and culture, so whenever I am in the city I always like to visit museums/ art galleries, my favorites are the Metropolitan Museum of Art (THE MET), which has a stunning rooftop view of Manhattan, and the Museum of Modern Art (THE MOMA). It’s especially great to do when it’s raining or if you travel in the winter.
But on this trip, while perusing through Soho, I ran into the Eden Fine Art Gallery. I absolutely loved the pieces there, very quirky and colorful, definitely an interior decorators’ dream, if you are a big fan of pop culture you will love this place.
How I Ate
New York is a foodie’s dream! For however many days you will be here, throw the diet plan away, from amazing street food to top star Michelin restaurants it will spoil you for choice. My plan was simple, eat at restaurants I don’t have back home and try superb New York pizza, I think I accomplished that. Now I have to be real here, eating in New York will cost some coins, so my best advice, take advantage of happy hour options, and mix up your dining choices, New York street food is the bomb!
One great tip is to always check Yelp reviews, if the establishment you plan to dine at, has reviews of 4 stars and above, then give it a go.
My first culinary pit stop was a Brazilian, Cuban restaurant in Soho called Favela NYC, I have to confess I went for the yucca fries and margaritas; I loved this place! The vibe was so chill; the music was good, it would be perfect for a first date or a hangout with friends.
For trying out some traditional New York-style pizza places, I hit up barbocino’s in crown heights and had their Sopressata Piccante; it was so good!
Now I came to get my passport renewed, so I had to stop at the Nigerian food truck, I don’t get to eat Nigerian food in the US, so whenever I get the opportunity best believe I’m in there, their portions are big and super affordable, it’s located just outside the consulate and I would highly recommend it.
I’ve always wanted to try a traditional flame grilled Japanese barbecue, and I’m glad I went with Gyu-kaku in midtown Manhattan, this was probably my best eating experience.
First of all they all scream a Japanese welcome when you get to your seat every time someone come in, the waiter was super friendly and took time to explain the menu; you get to grill your meats,(you have to try the Coco-Mo cocktail! possibly my best drink of the trip!) my only con was that the portion sizes were small, but delicious and considering just the general vibe of the place it more than makes up for it.
Where I Went
Now this is not my first or second time in the city, so I wasn’t so keen on exploring the typical tourist traps, but I had some time on my hands so I thought why not?. I took the Staten Island ferry (which is free) you don’t get to see much of a close up view, but if the weather is nice and the ferry not crowded, you get a nice 25 minutes ride back and forth. For better views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis island, I would highly recommend you book any of the Hornblower Cruises like I did last summer.
I also visited central park, I spent over 45 minutes there on a pedicab with a cool tour guide, it’s expensive but it’s the best way to see the whole park, under the shortest amount of time, I don’t advice walking around except you plan to spend the whole day there.
I spent the whole day in Soho one day and I absolutely loved it. It’s probably my best part of Manhattan, it’s an affluent part of town, so if you want to know what it’s like to be rich and live in New York, walking around is a great way to explore and soak up the vibe.
New York is an amazing city to visit and there is always something to do, every day. My best advice is get acquainted with the subway system, get prepared to spend money and be open to exploring, because there is always something for everyone.