Sometimes I like spontaneity when I travel. But not usually. Usually I prefer to know exactly what I'm getting into. In my ideal situation, I'll research before I go anywhere. Like, I look at menus before I go to restaurants. I"ll map how far of a bike ride it is. I'll google things like "best coffee shop to work from with wifi" and then read blog posts and reviews about it. And I appreciate those posts because they help me make an informed decision about how I'm spending my time. In the end, it comes down to efficiency.
I've been asked a few times lately where I like to do "x" in NYC. X being get coffee, do yoga, eat, shop, etc. I don't actually live in New York. But I visit frequently (I'm in NYC as I write this) and I research things each time so I have a little cache of information to share with you about this fine and vibrant city. Here are a few of my fave things in the city (and Brooklyn!)
This one is first since it's my life blood. If I could get an IV drip of coffee attached to my alarm clock, I would. These two are a close second.
1. Toby's Estate Coffee, Williamsburg. I love this place. The vibe is awesome, huge windows and lots of tables. Super hipster. It's basically a commercial for Apple products and beards. The coffee is INCREDIBLE. It's an Australian import so the baristas have accents and are generally hot and surfer-ish. Great place to do work (if you can get a seat) and hang in Brooklyn.
2. La Colombe, Soho. This gem is small but wow, yum. They don't do almond milk but they do hemp milk (weird?) and it's probably the best latte I have ever had. I didn't get the hemp milk though, just FYI. Perfect spot for a quick takeaway coffee if you're in the Soho area. There isn't much room to sit and do work but the vibe is great and coffee is divine.
I enjoy riding bikes on major roads in major cities. It's a total rush. That being said, it is not for the faint of heart. It is a rush because your life is always slightly on the line. The routes below are relatively tame, but it's good to recognize your comfort level and stay true to it. Both of them can take a couple hours so it's a great way to spend a sunny afternoon in NYC.
1. Bike the Hudson River Greenway. It's a dedicated bike/pedestrian street up the west side of Manhattan. Get a bike in the West Village at Waterfront Bicycle Shop and head north. You can go all the way to the George Washington Bridge. It's so scenic - you really never feel like you're in Manhattan. Alternatively, you can get a Citi Bike for cheaper but you have to dock it every 30 minutes, so you end up getting off the Greenway and back on - which can be annoying. Stop at crazy Fairway Grocery store if you need a snack and go in the cold foods section if you want to cool off. It's basically a giant walk in freezer room.
2. Bike from Park Slope to Coney Island. Or from Brooklyn Bridge, like this guy did. You get to ride through Prospect Park (gorgeous!) and there is a path most of the way after that, so you're not in the street as much. You're also riding to a destination that has go-karts and a beach, which is fun. We got bikes from Ride Brooklyn on Bergen Street - they were nice guys and good bikes. We started at the bike shop, rode through Park Slope, through the park and then down. It does get a little sketchy as you get closer to Coney Island but it goes pretty quickly.
1. I love the Williamsburg Brooklyn Flea. I love Williamsburg in general. A sunny Sunday at the Flea with some Toby's Coffee in hand is just so fun. The vendors are amazing. The food is all local and incredible. It's full of inspiration. It's also not that big, so you can do it all in an hour or less and then head over to Artists and Fleas - another winner, with great jewelry.
2. 21 Mercer. Ahh. This store. I come in here almost every time I go to NYC just to see what they have. The kicks are so dope and they have an in house Nike ID studio. Love, love, love.
Yes, this is a category. I have researched cookies in NYC heavily. There's no time to waste calories on sub-par cookies! The cookies at both places are huge so split with a friend or two.
1. Levain Bakery. The one on the Upper Westside. Dark chocolate peanut butter chip. OMG. Walk over to Central Park and enjoy it on a bench there since there is no seating at Levain.
2. Birdbath. The one in Soho. I mean, they have giant piles of cookies in the window. Yum!