We just got back from a little get-away to New York. It was my first visit and I completely fell in love with the city.
But let me tell you, five days isn’t a long time to explore this enormous and gorgeous city. Especially when the five days also include flying the long way from and to Copenhagen. But since we were traveling without the kids this time, we thought that five days would still be better than zero. And boy, were we right!
We managed to take the whole trip without any jetlag and in a different post, I’ll share my strategies for that. I’m usually very hit by jetlag so this was a great improvement for me.
We landed back in Copenhagen Monday morning and I feel like I’m still digesting the many experiences we had. It was such an intense trip.
You cannot see all of New York in just five days. It’s impossible. I’m not even sure you can see all of New York in a lifetime. But I think we did a pretty good job with the time we had available to us.
But where to start? Maybe it’s easier with photos even though the photos in no ways do justice to the city. New York is a state of mind, an ambiance, more than anything and it’s close to impossible to capture in photos. However, I’ll give it a try…
SOHO – GREENWICH VILLAGE – WEST VILLAGE
We stayed at a really nice (and insanely expensive) hotel in Soho. Such a nice neighborhood which in many ways felt quite local and had a nice feeling of home. Soho and the Village were kind of a blur to me and I’m not sure when one ended and the other one started but together they were little cosy streets with lots of nice cafes and coffee places and with the significant fire escapes placed outside on the buildings. I could not stop taking photos of them.
I felt comfortable and safe there and it was definitely one of my favorite areas.
New York is like a constant overload of impressions. Everything is huge and you feel tiny in this big city. Like you can just disappear in the streets. The buildings are enormous, the streets are noisy and there’s a constant change in smells.
In the end of the day, I felt overstimulated and couldn’t separate noises from each other. Was that thunder? Or was it the subway? Is that an ambulance? Or a baby crying? That’s was pretty crazy to experience.
Meatpacking was also one of my favorite areas. It offered so many cool restaurant and bars to choose between, little cosy coffee places and obviously Chelsea Market which I loved. Gansevoort Market seemed to be either closed or moved so we didn’t get to visit that this time.
We originally almost booked a room at Gansevoort Hotel in the middle of the Meatpacking District and it did look really nice and “happening” but I was quite relieved that we didn’t. The whole area – with Gansevoort Hotel as sort of the center – was so lively with lots of people, parties and loud music. Instead we enjoyed visiting and then go back to our own quiet neighborhood for a good night’s sleep. Yes, I’m that old!
We ate at the Meatpacking District a few times and also had cocktails (camouflaged as green smoothies) at one of the roof top bars one night.
HIGH LINE PARK
One day we took a stroll through High Line Park.
High Line Park is an elevated park built around an old railway. Such a nice experience to leave the loud and busy streets for a little while and walk among all the green plants.
Times Square is in many ways what we (Europeans) picture when someone says New York.
It’s incredibly crowded, people everywhere and the large billboards are competing for your attention. It’s hideous, to be honest but at the same time also incredibly fascinating. A bit like when people stop to look at a car accident and can’t seem to look away. Morbid fascination, really.
Regardless, you cannot go to New York without experiencing Times Square. Both day and night.
After walking the streets of New York for a whole day, resting your feed in Central Park is nice. We sat down on a bench in the shade and listened to some jazz. It’s really difficult to capture the ambiance here but check out my Danish IG-account (janefaerber) for a bit of live music.
After our little break, we took a short walk around the park before going to Upper East Side. That really wasn’t all that interesting but it was one of the things that we just had to see.
BROOKLYN – WILLIAMSBURG
We stayed in Manhattan and spent most of our time in Manhattan. One day we did take a trip over to Brooklyn to see something different.
We walked over Brooklyn Bridge and somehow ended up in a neighborhood full of ultra orthodox jews. It was like being back in the 1800’s. The gentlemen were dressed in capes and with fur hats on their heads and the women were dressed in a really old fashioned manner, like my great great grandmother or such. The whole thing looked like something from an old movie.
I didn’t dare take any photos as I didn’t want to seem disrespectful.
As we got closer to Williamsburg, the area changed completely and the suddenly the streets were hipster-like with trendy cafes, street art and vintage stores. We visited Smorgasburg which I’ll tell you more about in a separate post.
I liked the diversity and the colors of Brooklyn.
After a few hours we crossed Williamsburg Bridge and got back to Manhattan.
GROUND ZERO – WORLD TRADE CENTER
We also went down through the financial district to visit Ground Zero and see the new and extremely tall One World Trade Center.
It was a grey and rainy day and in many ways that weather was a perfect mirror of our mood. It was very moving being there and I personally found it to be a bit unpleasant. Unpleasant because it IS unpleasant. We have seen the photos from 9/11 so many times and we’ve felt the horror of the people who were unfortunate enough to be in that exact location on that day. It’s difficult to stand there in the middle of it and not absorb the ambiance and the feelings.
The world changed that day. Visiting the centre of where it all happened was overwhelming to me and I felt like just sitting down and cry.
After that we went down to the river. We wanted to take the ferry to Staten Island to see the statue of Liberty but in the end we changed our minds and decided to save that to next time when we will bring the kids.
SO HOW ABOUT THE FOOD?
Oh, the food. We ate so well in New York and I will share all our experiences in a separate post as soon as I get all my photos sorted out.
But let me just tell you this: I went supermarket sightseeing more than anything! I know it sound crazy but I absolutely love visiting supermarkets when I visit other countries. In New York I was blown away by all the healthy convenience food available. Copenhagen has just started on that trend and if this is where it’s going, I’m happy.
But we’ll cover that next time!
So in case I wasn’t clear, I absolutely loved New York.
Could I live there? Maybe. But not with kids.
In Copenhagen I live in the quiet suburb and that’s perfect for my kids but I actually feel good living in the city too. I love the anonymity of a big city and the feeling of just disappearing into the streets.
But being a visitor was nice too and coming back to see my kids after five days (the longest we have ever been apart) was incredible too.