I can't tell you how relieved I am that these photos turned out alright!
Granted, there are a few that didn't make the cut due to over/under exposure and just being down right crapola, but for the most part I am honestly thrilled to bits with how these shots turned out.
It was my second go shooting on my all new but second hand Olympus MJU II 35mm camera and whilst I was SO excited to see the finished outcome, I couldn't help but feel a tad apprehensive that the New York guide I'd promised you might never come to fruition.
But alas, they're actually pretty damn good and I'm so proud of them and excited to share them with you today.
I decided to shoot solely on film during this trip to take some of the pressures of work off of George and I. There's nothing worse when on holiday and wanting to "nail the shot", spending a good 10 minutes or so perfecting it; it gets old pretty damn quickly and somewhat defeats the purpose of holidaying. So, I decided to stick to my film camera and try to nail the frame within 1-2 shots and if we didn't get it, then hey, there's nothing we can do about it. It was really rather refreshing indeed and even better to know that they're not totally pants.
So anyway, hi, hello, how are you?
I'm just about over the exhaustion that set in on returning from our week long trip to New York. I don't know what happened to me this time around but my goodness it hit me once I returned home. Not getting to sleep until 2am (this is rare for me as I'm normally fast asleep by 11pm) and sleeping in until gone 9am... But, alas I'm back on form and SO excited to get chatting all things New York with y'all!
So, as I said, George and I headed to our favourite city New York for a week long break. It was my Christmas present from him so this trip has been in the works for some time and I think we pretty much nailed it with regards to filling our days with great food, fantastic views and just general fun times!
This was my fourth time visiting NYC and probably my best one yet but do be warned, New York is bloody HOT at this time of year, hotter than I ever remember it being as I visited in July back when I was 18. If I'm completely honest I think I prefer New York in the winter, purely as it's a little more manageable to explore, but thats just me, I'm useless when I'm too hot.
BUT, we made the most of it and used the heat as an excuse to bar hop and make the most of our absolutely MASSIVE recommendations list... Hello Air-con and cold beer/iced coffee.
So this post is our guide, everything we got up to with most of it having been photographed successfully and for those that weren't so successful, just click through to the website for more info/images as everything within this post is truly worth a visit if you're heading over there soon.
Grab a cuppa, it's another long one and enjoy!
WHERE TO STAY | THE LUDLOW
So, first up lets chat accommodation.
I've stayed in some pretty cool places whilst in New York such as The Hilton on Avenue of Americas, Night Hotel on Times Square and in an Air B&B in Williamsburg but non quite as spectacular as The Ludlow in the Lower East Side.
We booked this place as we'd heard rave reviews both online and from friends and we wanted something a little fancier for our special anniversary trip to the city.
The Ludlow is a real vibey hotel, extremely low lit and with a somewhat glam-meets-gritty vibe to it, with it being situated in one of Manhattan's most up and coming areas. We opted for a Studio King room and whilst it was smaller than what we expected, it was SO perfect, SO cosy and just the most dreamy of rooms to spend a special week away.
The staff were super helpful and so super cool and the facilities including restaurant- Dirty French (very good breakfast!), outdoor terrace area and lounge were truly beautiful.
This is one of the best hotels I've ever stayed in and paid for myself and I would highly reccomend it to you all. Both George and I truly adored the area and found ourselves walking to other fave areas including Soho & Greenwich Village in just 20 minutes.
WHAT TO DO | SIGHTS, SHOWS & SHOPPING
So, as I just briefly mentioned some must visit areas of New York are the Lower East Side, think super hip coffee shops, delicious brunch joints, independent shops and just an all round fun and young vibe. Soho has some really awesome foodie spots and of course all your shopping faves including Topshop, Urban Outfitters, H&M, Brandy Melville etc, but with some more underground faves such as Glossier Showroom, Reformation, Opening Ceremony and Outdoor Voices too.
Greenwich Village is one of my favourite places, mainly for the whole musical history that it has to it- it feels really magic to be walking the same streets that some of my favourite musical legends walked. Again this is great for shopping but even better for eating and drinking, there are some awesome bars and eateries around here which I'll talk about a little further on in this post too,
With regards to sights I've now done them all, the views at the top of the Rockefeller are absolutely sensational, similarly to that of the Empire State Building. The Chrysler Building is and will remain my favourite building in all the land and Grand Central Station is pretty spectacular too. Head to the Flat Iron building as that's pretty sensational to see and theres TONNES to do around there. We spent a good hour sat in Madison Square Park taking some shade from the midday sun and it was just gorgeous. Whilst you're in that area make sure you go to Dover Street Market, it's an absolutely mind blowing store of all the best, weird and wonderful designers, it's a fascinating place to shop, to feel poor and to feel totally uncool!
Chelsea Market is a truly awesome spot to check out with independent foodie stalls and shops throughout. It's in the Meat-Packing district which is also an awesome place to check out and whilst you're there make sure to walk The High Line, it's a pretty magical thing to do on a sunny day!
It's always amazing to see a Broadway show whilst in New York, however there wasn't really anything that tickled our pickle this time around. We've seen School Of Rock on Broadway in the past which was out of this world amazing and I've also seen Mamma Mia out there too which is ofc a must see!
This time around we decided to do something a bit different and a bit special and we booked to see a live classical band at the Lincoln Centre. It was the Mainly Mozart Festival and as huge classical music fans (yep, I bet you didn't know that about us) we decided to go for it as a special anniversary treat. It was honestly breathtaking and I felt like I was in a Disney film from start to finish. If you love music this is an absolute MUST SEE!
WHAT TO DO | THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE
This time around I finally got to walk The Brooklyn Bridge, something that, for reasons unknown I have never done before!
It was one of the most spectacular experiences of my life, I absolutely LOVED every second of it and can't believe it's taken me so long and so many trips to actually tick this one off.
The views are incredible with the entire New York skyline right in front of your very eyes. We went around midday and expected it to be SUPER busy but, whilst there were many people walking and cycling across it wasn't too bad at all. I will make sure to walk across the bridge to Brooklyn on all trips to come from here on out as I loved it so much!
It's also SO worth taking a day out of your trip to head across to Brooklyn- Williamsburg in particular is one of my most favourite places that I've ever visited!
WHERE TO EAT | KATZ'S DELI
Similarly to The Brooklyn Bridge I have always wanted to try out Katz's Deli and this time around I finally did.
My sandwich of choice is ALWAYS a Reuben so trying out one of the famous Katz's Deli Reubens was quite the treat for me and oh how wonderful it was! Absolutely GIANT portions so deffo share em but I shit you not it will change your life, my mouth is watering at the thought of the meaty, mustardy, pickley dream right now!
Swerve the chips though, they're just bland!
The atmosphere is utterly electric in here, the staff hilarious and the decor SO old school and probably in need of an update but it's just oh so charming in every way, I loved it!
WHERE TO EAT | LOMBARDI'S
We were recommended Lombardi's by a few of you darlings over on Instagram and impulsively tried it out whilst on our way home from Times Square one night. We got there right before it closed at 11pm and it was the cosiest most authentic New York Italian EVER! I absolutely loved everything about it but nothing more than the pizza! We opted for the classic Margherita which is actually quite unlike us but HOLY HELL it was the best pizza of my life, HONESTLY, GO HERE!
WHERE TO EAT | BEAUTY & ESSEX
Possibly Instagram's most hyped restaurant and bar is Beauty & Essex, it appears to be a bit of a "now" place so naturally I wanted to check it out and see what all the fuss was about.
I booked us a table the night before and managed to get one at 10:15pm after our magical classical show. We arrived on Essex Street (the street behind our hotel...handy af!) and you could not miss the fabulously eclectic and lit up restaurant. Designed to look like a pawn shop you head into the reception area which is decked out in jewellery and electrical appliances, similarly to your typical pawn shop, before heading through to what can only be described as THE BOUJIEST RESTAURANT EVER!
Instantly George and I were out of our comfort zone with the seriously loud dance music, dark room and a table layout that was designed for people watching it was a little OTT for our liking and just a bit too posey for us.
HOWEVER the food is delicious (thank goodness hey!) I absolutely adored everything we ordered from the menu which is designed to be shared and despite the noise and the posey "it" vibes, I'd go back in a heart beat to have the tuna sashimi just one more time!
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK | THE REFINERY HOTEL ROOFTOP
This place is an absolute CORKER I have to say and somewhere that was VERY much needed after having a bit too much sun and being totes over all the walking we'd already done that day.
We sat, on the ever so beautiful Madison Square Park people watching, catching our breath, marvelling at the incredible flat iron building and desperately searching Google Maps for a place to grab a much needed cocktail or two when I remembered somebody mentioning The Refinery Rooftop.
Thankfully it was just a 20 minute walk away from where we were so we hot footed over there, hopped in the lift of the hotel and when the doors opened it was like a little slice of heaven.
A beautiful terrace, partially shaded, away from the hustle and bustle and offering frozé(!!!) if thats not my idea of heaven after walking 12,000 steps before 2pm in 32degree heat then I don't know what is.
We stayed for a couple of hours sampling both the beer and the cocktails before deciding on having a bite to eat too. I opted for the lobster roll which, in NY is hella pricey but my goodness it was DELICIOUS whilst George took the recomendation of the waiter and ordered fish tacos, again DELISH!
Star this one in your map as it may well come in handy if you fancy some gorge drinks, yummy food and an hour away from the craziness that is NYC.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK | BAO HAUS, THE WOODSTOCK, CATCH NYC, GOOD THANKS & SWEET CHICK
We arrived in NYC around 2pm and after getting through customs (BLAG!) getting the hottest taxi on planet earth across to our hotel and having a quick freshen up we were ready for our first taste of New York.
We wanted something very chilled and relaxed and somewhere realtively close to our hotel... We were V tired and a little bit in shock with how hot it was.
So we headed over to Bao Haus on Rivington Street, a super handy 15 minute walk from the Ludlow and somewhere that George's foody friends had all recommended!
Chilled and relaxed was exactly what we got with Bao Haus; a teeny tiny restaurant with about 9 seats, the walls covered in graffiti and stickers and with THE LOUDEST hip hop blaring over the sound system. The menu is simple with just a few types of Bao to choose from but my goodness, it was quite honestly the best Bao of my life. I opted for the Fried Chicken (see it in the middle photograph above) and it was utterly sensational, so much so I went back for a second. At just $5 a pop it's an absolute delicious bargain and a really cool place to check out if you want something super quick and easy.
The Woodstock is situated in the Meatpacking district not far from the Highline and Chelsea Market and is a slice of seventies interior heaven. Fit with a pink pool table it's a really cool place to visit and to get some interior inspo, however, I was seriously let down by the music choice. We visited in the evening and didn't hear a single seventies tune, instead it was a really confusing mash up of of power ballads, pop and R&B... Odd for a bar named The Woodstock... The cocktails were DELICIOUS though as you can see in the left side photograph above, I opted for a Femme Fatale (or two... Deffo two) and it was the perfect place for a pre dinner cocktail.
Following cocktails we met up with our dear friends Amy & Rob for dinner at Catch NYC! This place, once again is extremely glam and a fave amongst celebs apparently but the food was INSANE! Again a menu designed for sharing, it's a great place for a fancy or a celebratory meal and all four of us loved it, so much so we all forgot to take photos, excellent!
Good Thanks is a delicious Australian style brunch joint just a 5 minute walk from The Ludlow hotel. It's ran by a bunch of really cool Aussie's and the brunch is simple yet YUM!
Whilst wandering, a little bit tipsy, around Williamsburg I put out a request on Insta-stories for a great fried chicken joint. You guys got back to me in your DROVES proclaiming that we HAD to check out Sweet Chick. So, of course we did and my goodness it was the best meal of the trip, so much so that we went twice!
It's based around fried chicken and waffles and holy moly is that one almighty combination, especially when doused in maple syrup! Honestly you have to go here! There is one just next door to The Ludlow hotel too so please, if there's one place you go, make it this one!
WHERE TO EAT | THE BUTCHER'S DAUGHTER
I was desperate to try The Butcher's Daughter after seeing so much of it over on Instagram and as it wasn't too far from our hotel we decided to make it our first day brunch spot of choice which just so happened to be our three year anniversary too.
We sat outside on the street which was really lovely and had the freshest most simple yet delicious breakfast I think I've ever had. It was really rather healthy indeed, something George and I aren't too familiar with I must say (ha!) but we thoroughly enjoyed it all the same and absolutely LOVED the whole fit out of the place with it's yellow accents and touches of plants throughout. It's a great place to start your day if you plan on eating a lot and sampling more of what NYC has to offer food wise as it's super light yet totally scrummy.
WHERE TO COFFEE | LUDLOW COFFEE SUPPLY & CAFE INTEGRAL
Great coffee is always high on our agenda and we were thrilled to learn about Ludlow Coffee Supply being just next door to our hotel! This place was so cool and SO relaxed, the perfect place for an early morning coffee or an afternoon pick me up and I'd imagine the dreamiest place to catch up on some work too. The iced coffee was sensational and the black Americano's (our coffee of choice) absolute perfection.
Cafe Integral was an accidental find but a joyous accidental find at that. Whilst waiting for a table at The Egg Shop they suggested we grab a coffee next door at Cafe Integral and once again the decor, vibe and coffee of this place was just GORGEOUS! Situated a few streets back from the heart of Soho, it's a great place to take 5 in between shopping.
However, speaking of The Egg Shop, we were REALLY disapointed with it; after hearing many great things about it we saved it for our last brunch in the city but what we got was rushed and quite miserable staff and sloppy food... Not the one. Perhaps we just caught them on a bad day?
WHERE TO DRINK BEER | SKINNY DENNIS & BROOKLYN BREWERY TOUR
Now for George's favourite place in New York... Skinny Dennis!
When you think of an American Dive Bar I bet what comes to mind isn't too dissimilar than that of Skinny Dennis, the dive bar to rival ALL dive bars!
One of you guys over on Instagram suggested checking out this place and after sweating our way across the Brooklyn Bridge we ordered an Uber with Skinny Dennis as our destination!
We arrived there just after it had opened at 130pm so were the only drinkers in for a while but it was just so damn awesome! The man behind the bar was badass and so helpful with recommendations for other bars, restaurants and music and naturally the playlist within the bar was absolutely ROCKING!
Whilst in Brooklyn you should deffo check out the Brooklyn Brewery if not for a tour (which is fascinating by the way) then just for a beer in their bar.
WHERE TO DRINK WINE | MURRAYS CHEESE BAR
A place very close to our hearts is Murrays Cheese bar in the wonderful Greenwich Village!
On our first holiday, which was to New York back in November 2015 we stumbled upon Murrays and absolutely fell in love with the place. Specialising in all things cheese and wine this place is the most cosiest joint in town and somewhere not a lot of people talk about.
I adore this place and feel it's mine and George's special place, somewhere we'll always return to every time we're in the city.
Go for the "Cheesemonger's choice board" and be introduced to some of the most delicious cheese you have ever tried, paired with complimenting cured meats, chutneys and other accompaniments, of course washed down with a bottle of your favourite red, this place is the perfect date night destination!
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK | SMORGASBURG
For our last full day in NYC it rained... Typical! However, we had fun plans with Amy and Rob again and headed on over to Williamsburg for the weekend's Smorgasburg food market!
Due to the rain there wasn't quite as many food stalls open, however this place was so awesome and just SO much fun. Only open on the weekends you can basically sample all that New York's food scene has to offer in one place. George and I had pork and chive dumplings (that I'm still dreaming of to this day) and the most insane Mozzarella dippers I have ever had the pleasure of tasting, all washed down with, you guessed it, Brooklyn Beer.
Smorgasburg also offers the most incredible view of the Manhattan skyline as you can see from these shots, so deffo head here for great food and insane photo opportunities.
And there we have our summer trip to New York City. Seven days and a heck load of walking and even more eating, absolutely heavenly!
Everything mentioned in this post I would urge you to add to your list of things to do whilst in the most incredible city in the world as we absolutely adored each and every one of them.
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed putting this post together for you. First up I am very proud of the photo's as I truly thought they were going to be a shambles, but I'm actually contemplating getting at least two of them blown up and framed as I am so damn proud of them, go me! And secondly this is the very first travel guide that I've wrote in one sitting, thats how much I enjoyed it, my fingers just wouldn't stop typing which is always a good sign.
We had the most incredible trip and whilst we won't be heading to New York for a while now, I already can't wait to get back there and explore some more. If you've always wanted to visit then PLEASE do book to go there, it is the most magical place in the world and the most memorable place to holiday.
Please leave me and other readers some further recommendations you may have in the comments below and do let me know what you think to this little guide, I truly hope you found it useful!