Everyone has their list of things they have to do in New York City. I imagine you'll find the Empire State Building, shopping at Barney's, strolling through Central Park and night-timing it in Times Square among the top "things to do" while in New York City. Fair enough, those are all good things to put on the list. But this summer, the summer of 2015, may I suggest a few more unique adventures that are truly moments that will not only show you a real New York, but will also make your memories that much more outstanding? Sure, some are luxurious and cost a pretty penny, but others (in fact most) are close to free. So without further ado, here are my top ten must do activities for New York City for the summer of 2015:
1. Have lunch at Bergdorf Goodman's
There is nowhere else in New York City where you will feel less like a tourist and more like a part of the establishment than at Bergdorf's. There's a reason the women of Manhattan say they'd like to have their ashes scattered in this heaven on earth. It's luxury at it's finest, with a killer view of Central Park. If you go and you don't order the lobster mac'n'cheese, you will be missing out on one of life's greatest dishes.
2. Visiting The new Whitney Museum of American Art in the Meatpacking District
The Whitney has moved, people. Remember this as I don't want you turning up in completely the wrong part of town. They moved from posh to meat. Well, the Meatpacking District to be exact. The move has seen the establishment reposition itself at the bottom of the High Line with spectacular views both inside and out. This is worth the trip for the art alone, but the windows overlooking New York will take your breathe away.
3. Taking time to stop at The September 11th Memorial and Museum
Pack a kleenex box and ask your taxi driver to drop you here on your first day. No place in this city will make you understand the love, patriotism and raw emotion that runs through every New Yorker like that of the September 11th memorial. I found myself wanting to hold the hand of my neighbour as I watched water disappear into the void below me, but instead took out my camera and tried to capture the love and appreciation that was on display around me. We shall never forget.
4. Enjoying a view of New York City like you've never seen before form the One World Trade Center Observation Deck
When you have finished taking in the ground below, take time to shoot up and rejoice in new construction and a powerful message that waits for you atop the One World Trade Center Observation Deck. I'll just say that the big reveal will make your heart swell.
5. Reading the benches in Central Park
We're all so busy running through Central Park that most people never take the time to look at the details around them. For example - did you know that the park benches in Central Park have dedications? One morning, after a long run, I took about an hour to stop and read as many as I could. I was taken in by the love on display in each and every one - some funny, some sad, but all displaying memories and sharing stories.
6. Challenging the best at their game in chess
While you're in Central Park, try your hand at a game of chess. You'll be hard pressed to find chess with a better view anywhere else on earth. But be warned, the men that play here are pros. Watch your king!
7. Hiking the High Line
The High Line may just be one of my favourite places in New York. The nearly 1.5 mile stretch of repurposed railway line is home to benches, gardens, restaurants and conveniently placed ice cream trollies, for those looking for a relaxing way to enjoy New York City from above. The views along your walk are spectacular! Make this happen.
8. Breakfast at Gene's Coffee Shop off Park Ave
When I asked the concierge for a good diner near the hotel, he had only one suggestion - Gene's. Now, I'm in love. For simple, great and classic American breakfasts, this place can't be beat and the prices are exactly what you need them to be - cheap and cheerful. Order the french toast, ask for the coffee to keep coming and enjoy the New York Times while in residence. Heaven on earth.
9. Drink coffee and eat cheese danishes at Sant Ambroeus
Don't go to Starbucks while you're in NYC. That's just what everyone else does right? And you can do that anywhere in the world. Drink coffee like a local and find an artisanal coffee shop like Saint Ambroeus. The coffee is perfection, the pastries are deadly and service comes with a smile and often with an Italian accent.
10. The Cupcake ATM
I feel like I don't really need to say anything else right now. There's a cupcake ATM in New York now at Sprinkles. Go. That's all.
And if you're headed to NYC from London, check out The Loews Regency Signature Suites as an option to stay - that's where I was when writing this little ditty. I'm obsessed!