Things to do
Celebrate St. Patrick's Day weekend!
This year we kicked of Paddy's weekend at Connoly's Pub just off time Square with true Irish traditional folk music, Wolfetones! That was on the Friday evening just after we had landed in New York so we almost went straight from the airport and to the pub.
We had a great time at the concert but at midnight we were kind of wrecked after the flight and everything. So when Wofletones was finished playing we went straight back to the hotel to get some sleep. Big day tomorrow we are going to Walk in the St. Patrick's Day parade with the Irish!
Yeh, that's right, we actually walked in the parade this year. Have been in New York twice during Paddy's Day but this year we were invited by County Cavan to walk with them. That is en experience that not everybody will get, and something we really appreciated.
St. Patrick's Day is a true experience in NY and it seems like everybody that lives in the city celebrates it. The parade starts around 11 am (always Saturday) and it goes on until about 6 pm. We did of course not walk in the parade for 7 hours, but we were in it for about an hour an half. After that we were cold and thirsy! Next stop Irish bar!
This is what the weather had turned into at the end of our parade walking.
The weather cleared up a little bit after a couple of hours, and then it was time to head down to Molloy's Irish bar at 50th and 9th ave. As the owner is from my husbands local place in Ireland, a visit there is mandatory every time we go to New York. In fairness it is a very good bar. Good service from all the staff, great drinks and good pub grub. Atmosphere is great as well.
Judging from the pictures I guess you understand that our Paddy's Day kind of finished early, I blame the jet lag;) The great thing about conking out so early is that we woke up very early the next day. Is 6 too early? Diddn't get up untill 8, I think that is pretty early as well when you are on holidays.
Walk around in Chinatown!
You don't have to do this for hours, but if you are in the neighborhood you should go for a little stroll around the area. There are so much food and stuff to look at, and it is just like walking around in China, trust me I have been there and the smells are the same at times. There are many restaurants with good food there as well but in the evening time you don't have all the food and other different stuff to look at in the street. I have actually stayed in Chinatown once at Hotel 91 down at Lower East side in East Broadway street, very good hotel even though the rooms aren't the biggest. The price there is very good and the rooms are clean so I would recommend the hotel to others.
The second picture is the view from our room, kind of neat how it looks so shabby on the outside of our hotel, but when you look further away in the "horizon" it looks so more fab.
Another thing that is worth mentioning is that in Chinatown, on the end of East Broadway, there is a diner, Everest, which is very popular especially amongst NYPD (in that district). The selection of food there is great, typical American diner, and the prices are okay as well. We had breakfast there a few times.
Manhattan bridge is in Chinatown as well, so why not stop and gaze for a second or go over to Brooklyn from this end. Or take the train which is located right next to it.
Take the train to Hoboken
You are probably thinking why, but trust me it is worth it. Two reasons, Carlos' Bakery and the magnificent view over to Manhattan, I guess that is for those who are interested in this. But even if you aren't you should go to Hoboken just to get a look at something different than all the tourist in Manhattan.
When er went to Hoboken the first thing we did was to stop at the first bar we could find, it is right next to the train station! The 10 minute train drive make us beer thirsty!
And after seeing the beautiful view we got hungry and went to Biggie's.
The food there wasn't too bad, but you can easily see that this is a food chain with more than one branch. I'm not a fan of that but the food can be nice of course. The mussels was actually very nice so I would go there again just to have them. The Irish Coffe on the other hand is a different story.
Will NOT go back for that. Can't even find one right thing about that Irish Coffee!
Walk across Brooklyn Bridge
I have heard that the best way of doing this is to take the underground to Brooklyn and then walk over to the Manhattan side. We did the opposite and that worked as well. You get loads of really good pictures doing this and it is a nice little walk so anyone can do it.
Some of the pictures are just amazing, sorry to say I can take any cred for them. It's my sister Stine who is a really good (I mean really good) photographer who have taken them. She is brilliant!
(Pictures taken by Stine Eid)
When you see the pictures you probably understand why walking over a bridge can be such a great thing to do. By the way, when we were there, in 2007, we actually walked into the film set of one of the Jason Bourne movies. They were filming a scene by the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge on the Manhattan side.
Take a sightseeing boat on the Hudson river
Me and my sister did that and we got to see Brooklyn bridge (again), Ellis Island and Statue Liberty and of course a great view of Manhattan. It was not a long trip so it was very easy to fit it in on a very busy schedule. We did this in March so it was not the warmest time of year so wear good clothes if you do it during the winter months, but still I recommend it.
Get an "American" snack when you go on the sightseeing boat, a pretzel.
Go for a walk in Central Park
This is a must do for everybody. Doesn't matter what time of year it is this you must do. Central Park is huge so you really don't need to go through it all. To be honest I think it is more beautiful in the winter time than the summer time. Any way, when the sun is out it is even better.
Again I have so many great pictures from Central Park thanks to my fabulous photographer sister. And trust me it is that beautiful in the winter time.
This year I also went to New York in May, the coldest May they've had for years. That didn't stop us from going for a nice walk, and lunch, in Central Park. We walked a little bit through the park before we planned on having lunch at Boat House.
Typical our luck, we got there about 10 minutes after they had closed for lunch and there was about two hours before they opened for dinner. Thank god they had a burger joint which was open for another 30 minutes.
After that burger lunch, the burgers was actually very good, but hey this is USA, they know their burgers. Not the kind of lunch we had planned but that was fine. The weather had cleared up a little bit so we decided to walk from Boat House and down to Time Square. Along the way we got some great photo opportunities as well.
Go to the top of Rockefeller Center
I was so nervous I couldn't even take a proper picture. I'm not very good with heights. Just look how happy I look in the next picture.Yeah right!
The view is absolutely amazing, so even though you are afraid of heights you should try to get yourself up there. Just remember it can be very windy, as you see from the pictures. I wasn't prepared for that at all ( stupid right), so I got a little extra shaky when I realized it wasn't going to be all that "peaceful" up there on the top on the 86th floor.
I know there is a lot of pictures, but something I just can't get enough off.
Walk around Battery Park
If you want to have a lazy day in New York, or just do something different, you should go down to Battery Park. It is were a lot of the locals go on sunny days and the view there is great, you can see all the way to Brooklyn Bridge and Statue Liberty (from the one side).
Do what I did! I'm the kind of person who enjoys being by myself some times, just to get some peace and quiet, so I went to the park and sat down at one of the restaurants (whiles the rest of my group went sightseeing, which I have done before).
Best way of enjoying a glass of Prosecco, in the sun overlooking the river Hudson!
After a few hours it is time to meet other people again ;)
I can write so much about this subject and in NY you can go shopping everywhere. So to make this as easy as possible I will just say where I have been shopping. I don't think it is possible to walk even one street without there being any shops. You always get some favorites though, I know, I have mine.
It took me a few trips to New York before I went to Century 21. This is a department store with loads of designer clothes, shoes, bags, sunglasses and other accessories. It is absolutely chaos in there and when it gets like that I just have to walk around alone. Been there twice now and still haven't managed to buy any clothes, just shoes and accessories. However, I will go back there again when I go to NY in September because they have some great shoes. Also last time I was there I found this little black Michel Kors wallet and I just love that. Will have to go back for another one. And don't forget the prices, they are even greater. I got my little wallet for 60 USD, in Norway it cost 1200 NOK (Norway is crazy though), but that is under half price. Looking forward to go back ;)
Centry 21 is down at the financial district of Manhattan, and not too far from that my favorite shopping street starts, Broadway. When I was in the city in May, I stayed at a hotel Called Tribeca Blue hotel, and that is right on the corner of Canal Street and Broadway. Perfect location for me, and I will try to stay there again in September. Just before I put out more picture from my shopping, I will out out a few pictures of the hotel. Small rooms but really good hotel. The staff there are very nice too. I might have said this before, can't remember.
So that was just two pictures of that hotel. As I said small rooms, but I found them good anyway. Back to shopping. So on Broadway you have so many different stores. Everything from "cheap" clothing store to fancy designer shops. If you walk all the way from Financial District up to Soho, you get a lot of shops. My wallet is normally empty by then.
We went into this shop once, because I found the name so funny. I tuned out that they had some really good deals on jeans for men. My husband bought 4 pairs, Levi's and Calvin Cline, for about 60 dollars each. Don't know about you people, but for us Norwegians that is cheap. We live in a country where everything is a least twice the price from the US.
So a lot of shops that I went into, but the one I actually bought something in the last time was Apple Store, my new I Phone 5. Love it! Oh on the way there I did buy a pair of shoes at this shop.
So basically you can spend the whole day walking up Broadway and up to Soho, Union Square or if you are in for it, Time Square. On the way up towards Time Square you can also stop by Manhattan Mall. That is not a big shopping center and there are not that many shops there at all. There are other places I would go to before I go there.
But been there, done that. The absolutely best shopping experience is to go to Woodbury Commons (Premium Outlets) in New Jersey. It is very easy to get there as well. Just go to the central bus station in Manhattan and there is busses taking you straight out to Woodbury Commons. We were a big group, nine people, who went there together. The bus takes about one hour and ten minutes and it cost around 42 dollars return.
Before I show the picture from Woodbury Commons, I have to put in some of our breakfast pictures that morning. Right by Madison Square Garden we found this food place, best for breakfast, where they had absolutely everything and you could sit down on the first floor and have what you bought in that shop. Think most people just stopped by there to get their stuff to go.
So after that breakfast we were ready to go shopping..............
When we first got to Woodbury Commons we had to go to Applebee's to get a drink in order to be able for the chaotic state that place is in. It is a great place, but you really need to be in a shopping mood to be able to shop anything there. We managed ;)
Go to a show, Broadway or off Broadway
Can't really brag about being to many shows, but I have been to two, and they were a lot of fun. I have been to Avenue Q, which is defo for adults, and I have been to Blue Man Group which is for everybody. Not much to say other that is is a lot of fun and if you are in NY you should try to go to a show or whatever you want to call it. The tickets can be a little bit expensive, but you can buy last minute tickets or tickets that haven't been picked up or sold, on a stand/booth on Time Square, and then it is almost half price on some stuff. We did that with Avenue Q and I think we paid about 26 dollars for one ticket, that is not bad at all.
Pub/Bars and restaurants!
There are so many around the city so obviously I haven't even seen a tenth of what is there. How ever I do have some great tips for which one I like and I would go to again. Lets start with one in Orchid street, that was actually a short walk from our hotel the time we stayed in China Town. The bar is called Hair of the Dog. Kind of a college place so here you have different offers on the drinks on different days. Monday night, beers for 1 dollar!
You cam also play games there, like this one which is probably know for many people. Throw a small ball into the cups, and drink when you miss. If I got that right?
Pub grub is also possible to get there, like all the other places. I just love pub grub so I am very happy to eat that, especially since we don't have pub grub like that in Norway.
Hair of The Dog is a chain bar, if you can call it that, and they have different branches all around New York. That is what this map thing is trying to show.
So then what do we do if we want to go to a bar? We just walk around and walk into places that we find appealing, fun, crowded or if we just want to go in and see. You do actually find some good places doing this, and it is great exercise to walk around. Great way of seeing new places as well.
All that walking made us find places like this.......
A bit of a dodgy place with very cheap drinks.
This claims to be the oldest bar i Manhattan and it is very popular. In fact it is so popular that when we went there it was a long cue to get in so be didn't bother to go in there. But it really looked like a cool place and there was a lot of people who were willing to stay in the cue to get in so I guess it must be good. Oh, I forgot to say that it was in the middle of the day, St. Patricks weekend ;)
Ha, ha, ha, this place I only got a picture of the door. I hope I had a lot of fun in there. Or was it so bad I've forgotten all about it?
Now here is another place which I have forgotten the name for, but it was a great place. We went in for a pint of Guinness after lunch and the place had loads of people, some drinking beers and some drinking coffee. It might just be the kind of place that suites for everybody. Oh, it is called Penny, no, don't think that is it. It is close to East Village I think, in the middle of one of the main streets.
Now over to some places I do know the name and location of. First one is O'Lunney's right off Time Square, next door to Connoly's. It is just another Irish pub, but you never get tired of Irish pubs! I really like the pub grub in Irish and English bars, and New York is hardly any different from Ireland. Most of the people who owns and work in the Irish bars/puns in NY are Irish, so you do get that authentic Irish feeling anyway. And the food is great, I love it!
Bangers and mash.
Most international dish every.
And the after dinner drink.
Another great bar in NY is Blarney Rock. Only went for one drink but I have been told by the locals that it is a good place. Might be for someone and for others not, what do I know! I enjoyed my one drink there. You go there and decide for yourself.
Judging from the sign it's suppose to be the best pub food in this place as well. All bars in NY have something like this so I think you need to figure this one out yourself. If you like sports this could be the place for you as there is sports on 24/7.
Down by Ground Zero in the Financial District there is another bar that have this really funny happy hour going on every Thursday, I think it is, not too sure though. It looks very dodgy from the outside, not that fancy inside either but it is okay. It's called Dakota Road House.
And this is where it is.....
The happy hour thing they got here is these tickets that you open to see how much you pay for your drinks. It is so simple but enjoyable fun. Sissel got the first drinks and this is how she managed.
Half price is just great. So whiles we were sitting there having a beer, we noticed that they also have this food joint inside the bar. That is just brilliant, because how doesn't get hungry when they drink.
We had to stay here for a little while and Sissel wanted another beer. Me and hubby wasn't finished with ours so Sissel just got one for herself, and what happened then? She pulled out the ticket where it said 10 cent! She got it for free;)
After a While I just had to go and buy more, even though I had already told the others I should not got up to the bare and to this because I probably would have to pay the full price for the drinks. Well, I couldn't help myself, and guess what happened, I had to pay the full price. But it was so much fun that the bar did it like this and it is plain, simple fun.
Actually this made me tell my friends about this place so when I went to NY just a few months after with a groupe of my friends, we went back to the same place to see if they had happy hour.
There are so many bars to go to in New York, and I am sure I can write about 100 pages about this. But there is one bar my friend said we had to go to for beers and pizza and that is Crocodile Lounge on E325 14th street, between 1st and 2nd ave.
What is great about this place is that you get a pizza when you buy a beer. So if you are on a budget trip to New York this is a great place to have your lunch, 6 dollars for a beer and a pizza. Jut order you beer and pizza in the bar, and pick it up at the pizza desk. The pizza is not bad at all.
Yet another bar I am going to write about, know there has been a lot of bar talk here now, but it kind of never ends, so I'm going to make it quick and just say that this is yet another Irish bar, like the other 1000 you can find in NY. This night we had a couple of drinks at O'Reilly's.
As you might have understood there is loads of places where they have great beer, thats what they normally have at bars and pubs. But every now and then you would like to have a drink or a cocktail. Now this is probably not the place you would have thought would have one of the best, but it actually is. Hooters! Yes, Hooters, not all about the boobies, they do have great wings and some really good long drinks. And yes, I have been there a few times, not only in New York either. My husband really likes going there, he say it's because of the wings......... Ha ha ha, I can't stop laughing, the girls working there are normally very good looking, and they are very nice so it is fun to go there even though you are a group of boys, girls, a couple, a group of friends or whatever.
The last time I was there, me and my 8 friends from Norway, we had all these plans to go to a fancy restaurant that be had been in touch with before we left for NY. But as we never ever got that final confirmation that we had a table with champagne waiting for our arrival (you had to buy something like this in order to actually get a table), we decided that Hooters was the second best thing for us at the time.We loved the drinks ;)
It's not only bars I have been to in New York, I have been to a few restaurants as well, believe it or not. One place we stopped by just to get some lunch and it turned out that it was a great little restaurant. Never heard about it, but it was called Todd'd Mill and it is located on 162 Orchard street.
Yeah, had to have some mimosa with our lunch, and as we were three girls wanting it, our waiter suggested we have a pitcher, great choice.
I have never been very good at arranging dinners, making reservations and all that, in advance, so we have just walked into places a lot of times. And when we were walking around in the Financial District, had been shopping at Century 21 and looking at the new World Trade Center we found a very good French place. But first, just a picture of the new World Trade Center, it is very spectacular and very different from the twin tower.
As you see, still under construction, but soon to be finished. Maybe it is done when I go there in September! Will check it out.
Anyway, back to the French restaurant, Brasserie Les Halles.
It was time for a good steak and some good wine. The food was good and so was the wine. In fact, I forgot to take pictures, thats how busy we were with our food and wine. If you are looking for a French restaurant and you are around the area you should try thi. It is not very cheap but reasonable enough. If you want good wine and a good steak you know you will have to pay a bit more than what you do when you eat pub grub for instance.
When I was in NY with my 8 friends in May, we did manage to make dinner reservations before we left Norway. The only thing was that it was very hard to get into some decent, known places and even though we managed to get a table it was very late, 10.45 pm. We all agreed that we would go for this place and I think we all are very happy we did. We went to Ninja.
A dinner reservation at that time and we had just flew in from Norway that day. As I have been to New York a few times I knew the humor I was going to be in, but I don't know if the others were aware of what state they would be in. We had so much fun, we were a little tipsy and over tired and jetlaged and we just laughed at everything. And got frightened from everything, because that is what they do at Ninja, get you a little jumpy every now and then.
The food was great and the presentation was very funny. The people who wanted steak got it flambé and cocked at the table, if you got the salad you had to go all Ninja on it.
Ninja is definitely a restaurant you should go to. You get the good food and the "show" at the same time. Without revealing to much I can only say that the staff go out of their way to scare you, they are true ninjas who really knows how to sneak up on you. I don't think I have laughed so much in a restaurant my entire life, we had such a great experience, even though we were so tired and jetlaged.
When it comes to restaurants we are back to the, I never can make a reservation so we just have to walk until we find something. Done that so many times. But there was one time when, well we didn't have any reservations, but I have heard about a place that were supposed to be very good and the kitchen was open until 2 am. The place is called The Spotted Pig. It's located in the West Village on 314 w 11th street, right on the corner, so it is easy to find.
The only thing was that since we didn't have a reservation and there was no available tables when we got there, we were told there would be about one hour waiting time. That was a little bit too long for us, but then the waiting time was cut down to about 30 minutes. As everybody was really hungry we had to find another place to eat. We might have regretted that later when we wanted to have an after dinner drink in a cool, nice bar. Anyway we found a place with decent food just right down the street from The Spotted Pig.
It's suppose to be a quality restaurant and they were very nice with us as we came really late and they decided to reopen the kitchen for us (they were about to close the kitchen when we walked in the door). The food was nice and the place was very quiet, that's probably because it was so late, might be a little more lively when it is earlier in the evening and more people in the restaurant.
Probably the most visited place on Manhattan, well, at least among tourist. You do get a very New York feeling when you walk around there, again, this is from the tourist view. I don't really like Time Square at all, it is too many people, and there is almost always someone trying to put their hands in your bag (haven't happened to me yet, but it has happened to two of my friends, they noticed before anyone managed to nick anything). First timers in NY, must go there of course, but watch your stuff! Also know that there is a huge price difference on Time Square and for instant 1st and 2nd ave. On TS everything is more expensive as this is were there will be tourist 24/7. Just on the side streets of TS it is more quiet and there are some good bars and restaurants.
Remember that the price and quality of both food and drink is not necessarily better just because there is a lot of people there (normally this is kind of a good tips, go into the restaurant if you see it's full, because then you know the food is good.......). Sometimes it can be a lot better in the small allies or the side street you didn't think about going into because it is quiet there. Ask local people where they would go, they will give you some great ides.
I also have another post about New York on my blog, it's from the time I was there during Hurricane Irene, take a look at the pictures from Time Square then. It is so different from what it normally is, kind of spooky.
And this is how we fly......
Just have to put in some pictures here because we have been very lucky some times and flown very well. Comfy you can say.
We were 9 people so it was actually cheaper to get a limo than to get taxi, that's crazy if you ask me. But that limo was very crowded with 9 people and 9 pieces of luggage.
Some of the pictures from "This is how we travel", are from SAS first flight from Oslo to New York. That's why you have the champagne and cupcakes at the gate. That first departure me and two friends had to go on, so we actually traveled to NY for 26 hours! Yes that's right, we went one day and back the next (remember there is a time difference so we left Norway on a Wednesday and arrived early morning Friday). That must be categorized as the most spontaneous and craziest travel experience, we had a blast.
This was the first time I stayed at Manhattan Broadway hotel, and event though the red walls might make you a bit dizzy, the hotel is okay. Stayed there another time as well, and the rooms they have are very different. Some with red walls, some with bunk beds and brand new bathrooms (very nice bathroom).
One night in NY, what do you do? You go out! We had to show id! That was just fun though because it is only in America you have to show your id when you are over 30. Hey, I've even heard about people in their 50's having to show id. It is the law...............
And this is how you end up after only one night in the City. It takes a lot of energy to do everything within 24 hours, trust me on that. You definitely want to stay longer.
So ciao for now New York, see you in September.
Ps! All the really good pictures in this post is taken by photographer Stine Eid