5 Days in the Concrete Jungle

Posted: November 9, 2017 by Anna

Since Tim and I were lucky to find flights for 340,00€, we recently went to New York City for 5 days. Some people might say, that 5 days are way to short to fly to the US, but for us, this was the perfect amount of days for the big concrete jungle. So after applying for our Estas and lots of detailed planning, we were ready to go! We wrote down all the things we wanted to see and do in NYC while we were there and organised everything, so that we would have about 3-4 ‘attractions’ per day which were close to each other, so we would not unneccessarily lose time by traveling across the city. We also didn’t do a lot of typical touristy attractions like the Rockefeller Center, The Statue of Liberty or any kind of tours. That way we didn’t feel rushed or annoyed because we didn’t have to stand in line for several hours. And we still got to se so much of the city!

Tim and I love the concept of Airbnb, and since it was SO much cheaper than all the hotel options, we booked a room in the Waterbury House, an Airbnb in Williamsburg, which is a part of the wonderful Brooklyn. Our hosts Elissa and Jay were amazing and had awesome tips, regarding food and drinks around the area! Which was also very convenient was, that it was just a five minute walk to the tube station from where you could take the L-train to Manhattan which took exactly 10-15 minutes, depending on where you are going. So if you are looking for an affordable and cozy place to stay, the Waterbury House is what you are looking for!

On our first day in NYC we went to walk the Highline, a wonderful park on the former rail track of the meat packing district above the streets of Manhattan! Definitely a must see, but be early, otherwise you will be run over by thousands of tourists! After we were finished we walked up to Chelsea Market the temple of indoor street food for lunch. Even though it was packed, we always managed to find a place to sit while eating our way through tacos, vietnamese awesomeness and fresh mini doughnuts! Since I am obsessed with food, this was heaven for me. After some wandering around we ended our day with an amazing poke bowl at pokebab on Bedford Street in Williamsburg.

Day 2 was our first Brooklyn day! We started at Bedford Street, the hipster street of Williamsburg, wandered through the streets of Williamsburg, hit up some vintage stores and had our first break at Cafe Grumpy. After that we took the tube and went straight to DUMBO, the area between Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge. I LOVE this area so much! The view from Brooklyn Bridge Park across the skyline of Manhattan is breath taking and you actually have space to walk, stand and to take pictures without feeling rushed. We had lunch at Shake Shack, which now is Tim and my favorite fastfood place, not just because the food is amazing, they also care about the ingredients they are using! After lunch and a short visit to Brooklyn Bridge Park, we started the adventure to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, which might jave been a bit insane by the amount of tourists, who have been there. I recommend to go across the bridge when it is dark! Less tourists and and amazing view across the skyline! Later that night, we wandered around China Town and Little Italy. China Town is definitely worth visiting, especially when you are hungry! Restaurant prices in Little Italy were insane though!

After breakfast at home (We got bagles and hummus from Wholefoods), we headed torwards Ground Zero to do some sightseeing. Imagening what happened in that area 16 years ago still gives me goose bumps and the 9/11 memorial is nothing but impressive. For lunch we went to Hudson Eats at Brookfield place right across the street of the 9/11 memorial, which is basicly a high class indoor streetfood market with affordable prices (regarding food prices in NYC, which are insane in general). After killing some time with coffee and shopping we finally had our cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education, which was my birthday present for Tim. The theme of the cooking class was ‘Tacos & Tequila’ and was absolutely great. Having a cooking class in such a professional environment, with great instructors and a lot of native New Yorkers was definitely one of the highlights of our trip!

Day 4 started with vegan American breakfast at the Champs Diner in Williamsburg. if you love American comfort food and your are a veggie, this is definitely the place to go! Even when you are not vegan, like Tim and I, this place is just great! Since I got a little sick during our time in New York, Elissa our host recommended to get a wheatgrass shot and a fresh pressed juice at Grass Roots and oh wonder, the soar throat was gone by the next day! We continued our day with walking through Central Park up to the Dakota, the last residence of John Lennon, since Tim reeeeally wanted to see that. After that we took the train down to the Seaport District. The area around Pier 16 & 17 really looks like a cute little dutch village just meters away from the big concrete buildings, so Tim felt just like home!

Since it was New York Marathon on our last day, we decided to leave as early as possible. We thought, we would be fine, by just taking public transportation. But as soon as we got to the bus station at Times Square things started to be complicated, because everyone we asked told us a different story about how to get to the bus station we needed to go to Newark airport. Finally we found a bus stop with a shuttle bus to Newark. When you stand in front of the Port Authority Bus Terminal Station, go to the right directly under the bridge. you will find a bus stop with a shuttle directly to Newark airport for $16 per person, which was extremely cheap compared to an Uber for $80. There are probably cheaper ways to get to the airport, but this one was definitely the most convenient for us. Since we had about 10 hours to kill when we arrived in Newark, we decided to store our luggage at the airport and take the shuttle to Jersey Gardens, a great outlet mall, especially when you are looking for sports clothing. You can find the only opportunity to drop off luggage at the airport in terminal C between the luggage belts 8 and 9. Our two bags were $15 total for the entire day and we were able to put everything from our shopping haul into our bags before we dropped them off.

New York City is so unbelievably diverse! It feels like being in a different world every half an hour. But I have still been a bit disappointed by Manhattan and the amount of tourism, which has taken over. If you are not a fan of overcrowded places and typical touristy attractions, Brooklyn is definitely the place to go and also the area I recommend the most!

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