The notification on my phone stopped me in my tracks. It read: ‘Explosion at New York’s Port Authority bus terminal was “attempted terrorist attack.”‘
Immediately a thousand thoughts ran rampant in my mind over the weekend. Did anyone die? Where do my family and friends work? Where is Port Authority?!
Secure in knowing they were safe, I thought about how carefree I had been during my recent visit, exploring the city I love the most without a worry in the world.
I suppose in many ways, New York is like London in that it continues to run like clock work in the face of adversity. The people are resilient, but considerate, and you find yourself adopting similar characteristics when you’re there.
It’s one of many things that makes the concrete jungle almost magnetic and keeps bringing me back for more.
New York by air
Previously I explored Manhattan by foot. It’s a great way to absorb everything around you at your own pace. This time however, I wanted a different experience. So for my 29th, I had my first helicopter ride over New York.
The entire experience was better than I imagined. I chose to fly with HeliNY after some extensive research. The heliport is a short walk from Whitehall Street station and is pretty mesmerizing as you get closer.
The staff were friendly and welcoming and I felt as though I was in good hands at all times. The previous group who disembarked heaped praise on our pilot, so that definitely soothed any nerves.
In NY you always find yourself looking up, so it was incredible to get a different perspective and see Manhattan as a whole. From the Freedom Tower, to the Empire State and Central Park, we didn’t miss an inch of the city.
The entire ride lasted 20 minutes which isn’t long at all. Whilst up there I had a moment where I put down my camera and just took it all in. Surely it’s not normal to love a place this much I thought. But when the energy is contagious and you wake up with a new lease of life every single day, you start to realise that love for a place can have just as big of an impact as when you love a person.
Orhan Pamuk said it well:
“When you love a city and have explored it frequently on foot, your body, not to mention your soul, gets to know the streets so well after a number of years that in a fit of melancholy, perhaps stirred by a light snow falling ever so sorrowfully, you’ll discover your legs carrying you of their own accord toward one of your favorite promontories.”
Where to eat in New York
When you go to New York, you have take your appetite with you. There is an insane amount of food to sample out there – and there’s something for everyone. I did the most millennial thing and consulted Instagram to find out a couple of must-visit spots. This is how I ended up at While We Were Young. It’s the perfect brunch spot, but a word of warning, get there early so you’re not waiting for seating. It’s quite a small place, but their cocktail list will keep you occupied.
My friends and I opted for the chicken and waffles and smashed avocado on toast. There are some other mouthwatering items on the menu but sometimes a classic brunch is the best way to start the day.
Another great spot to check out is L’Amico. A few blocks away from the Empire State, this Italian haven adds a pinch of sass to its style. Recommended by a friend, I stayed traditional and got the cacio e pepe spaghetti. Packed with flavour and surrounded by amazing company, I left content and with a food baby in tow.
New York is home to so many different cuisines, but we’re forgetting there are health conscious Americans too. I met a friend of mine at Gramercy’s Friend of a Farmer and tried their chicken cobb salad with my first ever serving of grits. Now I understand the hype!
Brooklyn; My happy place
When people think of New York, Manhattan is always at the top of the list. This year though I really developed a soft spot for Brooklyn. The borough boasts galleries, live music events, groundbreaking theatre and is a great place for creatives. I made a bee-line for Dumbo after hearing about how stunning the views are. One of my friends often visits to meditate. I used it as an opportunity to do some free writing. It’s sounds crazy to travel all this way just to sit alone and let my thoughts run free, but sometimes it takes escaping our routine in order to enjoy the things that make us happy.
People gawk when I tell them about my solo adventures. For some reason there’s apprehension when it comes to moving around like a local.
I didn’t think twice about traveling alone and even after the recent attacks, I wouldn’t change a thing. There’s too much that makes me happy in New York to allow negativity or fear in. Unless of course Manhattan traffic is going to cost me my dinner reservation.