A week in New York City

2015-09-03

NYC wasn’t our first choice, we actually wanted to go to Jordan but the flights didn’t line up as we wanted. So, New York it was. But can’t complain, New York is a fascinating city to visit and we managed to nail the weather. Arriving late in the evening, in pouring rain none the less, me and Henrik took a cab from JFK to the hostel where we were staying. Most of the people want to stay on Manhattan, but we aren’t most people. One hostel in Long Island City had particularly good recommendations, The Local NYC. With just a short walk from the subway, proper bar with a local assortment of beers, en suite bathroom and shower, and 4 bed dorms this place sounded great. We arrived and the place instantly gave a good vibe, felt newly built and everything were looking clean and fresh. Can only say that this has been the best hostel I’ve ever stayed at. As we arrived late we just took a few beers in the bar before it was time for some shut eye.

It was still fairly early when we went into Manhattan the following day. The plan was to walk from Battery Park in the south up to Central Park. The weather was warm and the sun shone down on us from a blue sky. Going zigzag up from Battery Park we went by the 9/11 Memorial site and WTC One before crossing over to the East Village. Coffee break; Henrik ordered an espresso which he said was the best one he’d ever had. I had somewhat of a prejudice of American coffee before I got to New York, but we visited several hipster cafés which proved me wrong. The coffee was overall excellent, as long as it was espresso based. We continued walking north, stopping regularly for food and/or beer and in the late afternoon we arrived at our goal, Central Park. It was time to head back to Queens and the hostel, there weren’t much more being done that day other than going to a nearby bar. The air was still warm and the sun was setting behind Manhattan’s skyline. The bar was situated right next to East River and had a spectacular view of mid-Manhattan. The UN building, Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, Queensboro Bridge and Roosevelt Island, spectacular indeed.

The following days are a bit blurred together, so don’t remember what happened when. But we decided to explore Brooklyn a bit more, and we ended up spending almost more time in Brooklyn during the week than on Manhattan. The Brooklyn Bridge is another must see attraction, we walked from Manhattan over to Brooklyn on it with droves of other tourists. The weather during this day started out really grey and foggy, but slowly shifted over to a sunny day. We ended up somewhere in the central parts of Brooklyn, wondering what to do next. Henrik suggested to go down to Six Point Brewery which I had talked about earlier. Said and done, we jumped on a bus and headed down to Red Hook.

Red Hook is located on the southern tip of Brooklyn, and it feels like a sleepy small town somewhere in the southern part of the US, not like NYC. The brewery was of course closed for visitors so we went to a nearby bar instead. It had started to get really warm outside by now and we were hungry. Both ordered different kinds of soups, which tasted really good. After another drink after the soup we headed out into the sun again, continuing exploring the area. We walked south and noticed that it was here that IKEA was located, we googled and a boat could take us from IKEA over to lower Manhattan in just about 10 minutes for a reasonable $5. But first another drink, we walked past a crab shack. The place was 3 stories high and had a cool bar on the second floor with a Caribbean feeling (specially in this hot weather). It really felt like we were somewhere else than New York at this point. If you ever go to NYC and it’s a warm and sunny day, make sure to go down to Red Hook for some food and drinks!

The week continued, a visit to MoMA, Top of the Rock, a shitty jazz bar, cafés, second hand stores and skate stores. Henrik had several friends here as well that we met throughout the week, all of them in Brooklyn, specifically Williamsburg, of course. We found a cool biergarten, Radegast, visited Tørst which is Evil Twins bar and other various bars and restaurants. There were no shortage of that in Brooklyn. Last day we visited Smorgasburg, an open air food market in Williamsburg that is open every weekend. Another must visit, it isn’t cheap, but nothing is in NYC. There are tones of food stalls with food influences from all over the world. Our stomachs was more than filled when we stumbled away from there, towards our hostel. There were two breweries nearby it which we decided to visit before heading to JFK for our flight home. First we went to Big Alice Brewing, which is a nano-brewery that only does really small and unique batches. A beer flight it was! With the samplers drunk, Rockaway Brewing was our next target. Another beer flight. We started to get ready for our own flight back home by now, so we decided to pick up our bags and headed to JFK. The checking in desks were pretty much empty when we got there, so we ended up talking with the staff a bit. One of them all of a sudden asked if we were in any Frequent Flyer program, which I was. He asked for my ticket, and boom, we had lounge access. Which was great as JFK is a really boring airport. Me and Henrik found two chairs which we could sink down in. Glancing over to the self serve bar, I noticed a bottle of champagne. Poured a glass to myself, went back to the chair and sat down. A week passed by in an instant and I had decided that I wanted to come back for a much longer visit some time in the future. Cheers.

About

Jonas lives in Singapore, always looking for a new adventure. Follow him around the world here on Drifter.

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