TRAVEL GUIDE: NEW YORK / PART ONE
There are some cities in the world that you could never really write a definitive guide to. They are so vast and always changing that it is a futile effort to even try to capture the "best" parts of them. That is why, when I travel to the larger cities, I try not to check off every bucket list item because you will inevitably end up frustrated and exhausted. Give yourself a break and remind yourself that you can go back, everything does not have to be accomplished in one trip.
My trip to New York this weekend was somewhat unexpected. I knew that I needed to go to the city for two photo shoots in November and they ended up being on either side of the weekend. So I had a wonderfully, unplanned weekend in New York. I was excited to actually spend some time in the city, since most times I am here we just have dinner after the shoot and I don't get to explore much.
I definitely checked a few things off my bucket list this time around including visiting Brooklyn. I was informed that Brooklyn was quite large and I needed to narrow down to which part I wanted to visit. I decided on Williamsburg, DUMBO and a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. I had an amazing day, even if I had to limp to the cab because my feet were so sore. It was totally worth it. Here is day one of two...
WHERE WE STAYED
This is kind of weird to talk about where I stayed since this is a multiple-day travel guide but I thought that I would share my favorite hotel in NYC with you, The Sixty Soho. I absolutely love this cozy hotel that is tucked away on a quiet street in Soho. I've stayed here multiple times now since coming to New York and it is wonderful each time. The robes are super cozy, the bathrooms are top notch and it is homey without feeling too small. I also like that it is near the shopping in Soho without feeling bombarded with the craziness of the neighborhood. It is a little on the expensive side, and full disclosure, work does pay for my stay. I would keep an eye out on good deals and see if you can get in here!
WHAT WE DID
It's sort of funny that I have this titled what "we" did because it was just me, myself and I on this adventure, oh and my camera. Here are a few things I did (and shopped) in Williamsburg/DUMBO/World Trade Center. I also got a little help from my friends (namely one, Zan, shout out for the good recs) who live here.
Catbird - This little shop is unassuming at first but, step inside and there are lots of treasures to discover. I was familiar with this cult-favorite jewelry shop from its online presence and was excited to visit in person. I picked up two candles (trying to save a few dollars here and there, I resisted their incredible jewelry) in Neighbor's Fig Tree and Ghost Rose. I just got the travel size but have the intention of switching to the full size once I use them up.
Mast Brothers - I was told that you can't visit Williamsburg without stopping at this iconic chocolate shop. The space is very minimal, so minimal in fact that I almost walked by it. They keep the space clean with just a few tables stacked high with their signature colorfully-wrapped chocolate. I picked up several mini-bars so I could try all of the flavors and brought a few home for friends too.
Ferry to DUMBO - After stopping at a few more places (a market I can't find the name of and Artist's and Fleas, which I wasn't impressed with so it didn't make it in this guide) I headed to the waterfront to take the ferry to DUMBO. The ferry ride was very quick and windy. It was great to see the city from the water. I arrived in DUMBO in no time.
Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge - After seeing countless pictures of people walking over the bridge I envisioned having my own movie-esque moment (who could forget Miranda and Steve meeting half-way across in SATC?) The bridge was crowded when I walked across but, despite the bikers yelling and the selfie stick-using tourists, it was hard to not enjoy the scenic walk towards the city. If you are walking, I highly recommend going towards the city so you can look at it was you walk. The walk was completely manageable and enjoyable on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
Oculus - This was a bit of a bonus in terms of sightseeing. I didn't anticipate stopping downtown but, when I saw how close it was I decided to make the trip. I was happy that I went because it is a stunning piece of architecture. It recently opened and has already become a must-stop for both tourists and locals.
9/11 Memorial - Next to the Oculus is the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The beautiful memorial really captures the deep hole left in the city after the building went down on Sept 11th. I am very glad that I visited this somber site and would like to come back and visit the museum when I am back next time.
WHAT WE ATE
Toby's Estate - This coffee shop is clearly popular as evidenced by the long line and busy benches outside. The coffee was delicious as well as the salmon toast (although I had serious food-envy for the egg sandwich after I saw it) I sat outside on the benches, hence the to-go box and enjoyed the autumn sun while cutting into my very tasty smoked salmon.
The Atrium - After taking the ferry and before trekking across the Brooklyn Bridge, I knew I needed to fuel up. I looked on Yelp and found this delicious restaurant across from the huge West Elm. I loved my meal and the cozy, sunny vibe of the restaurant.
That is it for this guide but on Wednesday I'll share part two!