From Madrid I flew straight to JFK and was lucky enough to get through immigration within 45 minutes! A new record for me at JFK, I rememberd the lines to be much longer during last vistits. For this weekend I stayed at International Student Redisidence on 341 Broadway in Williamsburg, right a the Marcy Avenue stop. The location was great: just one stop to Manhattan with the J/M/Z lines or a quick walk to get to the Broadway stop of the G line.
After checking in I walked over the Williamsburg Bridge to Manhattan – something I’ve always wanted to do but never did until now. Though it was quite a long walk and the subway would have gotten me to the LES within a few minutes, I really enjoyed the views and the fresh air. And also to get to walk a little bit after sitting in an airplane for hours.
On the Lower East Side I stopped by favorite Starbucks (on the corner of Delancy and Allen Streets) for some much needed caffeine and then took the bus over to the Meatpacking District to visit the Whitney Museum. I had visited the new Whitney during my last trip to NYC but I was keen on seeing the last bit of their 5-part exhibition “Open Plan” and also take the view fromt the many terraces at night. Friday nights are pay-what-you-wish at the Whitney and it’s open until 10 pm. Afterwards I strolled a little bit through the village and then headed home to get some good night’s sleep.
The next morning I tried the famous rainbow bagel at The Bagel Store in Willimansburg (349 Bedford Avenue), just a 5 minute walk form my hostel. I loved the colourfulness of the bagel, the taste however is just like a plain bagel so you got to get a tasty spread. After breakfast I went for a long walk around North Williamsburg (the Hipster Williamsburg) and later on through South Williamsburg (the mostly Jewish Williamsburg) all the way to the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene. For lunch I tried Asia Dog for the first time and really liked it, even though I usually don’t like hot dogs too much but they put a nice spin on it. I usually have a grilled cheese at the flea but my favourite food vendor “Milk Truck” was not to be found. 😦
After a quick rest at home I took the bus over to Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights, where I’ve stayed during two visits in the past. And as much as I liked staying in Williamsburg and my hostel was really good deal – I kinda missed “my old hood” of Crown Heights & Prospect Heigts. Next time I’m in the city I’ll definitely wanna live there again!
I walked over to the Brooklyn Museum for Target First Saturdays (every first Saturday of the month with free admission from 5 pm on and concerts, DJs, workshops, movies, etc.). First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum is hands down my favourite event in NYC! I got to see a concert, dance to great music, watched the movie “Paris is burning” at saw some great exhibits. My favourite was “Coney Island is still a Dreamland (to a seagull)” by Stephen Powers as well as the permanent installation “The Dinner Party” by Judy Chicago. In the future I’ll try to plan my NYC trips so that I’ll be in Brooklyn at the first Saturday of the month.
On Sunday I went to Bushwick for breakfast and some exploring. I had heard and read so much about this Brooklyn neighborhood but never went there until now. My first stop was the super hip coffee shop Supercrown Coffee for iced coffee (what a boring choice! look at their menu!) and a “magic bialy ” which super delicious! Afterwards I walked up Flushing Avenue until I got to the Bushwick Collective. There are a few blocks (around Jefferson and Troutman Streets and Saint Nicholas Avenue) of awesome streetart and murals. This almost as good as my beloved 5Pointz in Queens which is unfortunately gone!
From Bushwick I headed to Dumbo to visit the Brooklyn Flea’s new Sunday location under the Manhattan Bridge arch. I ate the best and biggest doughnut of my life from Dough – the hibiscus one… sooo good! I walked over to Brooklyn Bridge Park and saw Deborah Kass’ “OY/YO” sculpture, Jane’s Carousel and the beautiful Lower Manhattan skyline behind the Brooklyn Bridge.
After a power nap at home I walked through my favorite neighborhood in Brooklyn: Prospect Heights. From Doughnut Plant on Flatbush Avenue along Vanderbilt Avenue, Grand Army Plaza and Prospect Park West and then through Park Slope. Ain’t nothing prettier than brownstone Brooklyn in spring!
In the evening I watched the sun set behind the Manhattan skyline from the amazing Gantry Plaza State Park in Queens. Always a highlight of my trip!
On Monday morning I headed to the Financial District, visited the 9/11 memorial and saw Calatrava’s Oculus. I had a Sprinkles cupcake for breakfast – do not judge my eating habits when I’m travelling :-/!
Then I visited the newly opened observatory at the new World Trade Center (aka the Freedom Tower). For $32 you get to see Manhattan, Brooklyn and Jersey City from the 100th floor. I definitely wanted to see Manhattan from this perspective at least once but I have to say visiting Top of the Rock was a far better experience! At Top of the Rock the “70th floor, the uppermost level, provides a completely open air, unobstructed 360-degree view of New York City and beyond” while the One WTC observatory is only indoors – the air, the smell and the noise (or better: lack thereof) are an important part of the experience in my opinion.
From the WTC wandered through TriBeCa – a neighborhood I’d only known through taxi windows so far. Now I get why everyone is raving about it – it s so pretty! Almost like Soho but less crowded.
For lunch I stopped by Whole Foods at Union Square (I love their salad bar) and sat in Union Square Park for a while before getting back on the subway. On the 7 train to be exact, which is now extended to 35th Street at the Hudson Yards and therefore just a very short walk from the end of the third section of the High Line.
Strolling along the High Line is a must-do whenever I’m in the city and it was the first time I got to walk along the 3rd and final section of it since it opened to the public. Gladly the weather was good enough for some reading, relaxing and people watching on the seating steps at 23rd street and the sundeck at 14th street. On sunny days like this the High Line is so crowded these days, at times too crowded for my taste.
In the evening I went back to Dumbo and had dinner at Shack Shake. I just love their burgers, they have the best size and taste – believe the hype! Afterwards I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan, something I haven’t done since my first visit to the city. Somehow I thought it’s too touristy to do again – and it is full of tourists! – but at the same time it’s probably one the most beautiful walks in NYC, especially during sunset – I was completely in awe!
From city hall I went back home to pack my stuff because I was flying to Chicago the next morning.