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For a girl (@gaviweiss) growing up in Princeton, New Jersey, who longed for the city life, New York City was a dream. When I was young, it was a welcomed escape from suburbia; broadway shows, birthday dinners, summer camps and all just under an hour away on the (very glamorous) NJ Transit.
New York City defined everything a city should be in my mind: skyscrapers that glistened in the sun, the soothing sounds of street performers in a subway station at night, and the infectious energy of a million moving parts on a small island.
As I got older, I started seeing another side to the city; rooftop bars in the summer, brunch on the weekends, and cheering on friends while they took on New York’s most competitive sport: apartment hunting.
This past summer I moved to London to pursue a master’s degree in Fashion Media and Communication and with that I made a new city my playground. But no matter where I go, the magic of New York stays with me and will forever have my heart.
Good coffee and a bagel are essential. If you’re visiting the city head down to the lower east side institution; Russ and Daughters (New York Jewish food is practically its own cuisine here) and try a bagel with lox and cream cheese. Honorable mention: High Street on Hudson for some delicious breakfast sandwiches and pastries.
If you’re a food lover like me and you have time for a quick trip to Brooklyn, you can’t miss Smorgasburg, an incredible food market with hundreds of options which the New York Times once dubbed the “Woodstock of Eating”, who can say no to that?
My friends and I have spent endless summer afternoons “people watching” in Washington Square park. Head to one of New York's green spaces, grab a blanket and some snacks and take in the eclectic characters of the city.
You can find an incredible new restaurant on every block of the city, but of course I have my favorites. When I’m craving good Middle Eastern food (which is always), I love to go to Nur in Flatiron and Shuka in SoHo (they also do a very insta worthy brunch). For some amazing Italian food, I recommend Frankies 457 Spuntino in Brooklyn (don’t leave without trying the meatballs, you’ll thank me later) and Piccola Cucina in SoHo.
Bars and restaurants are buzzing every night of the week, but if you’re in the mood for a big night out, weekend bar hopping in the Lower East Side never disappoints.
There are so many parks and green spaces around the city where you can grab some fresh air and unwind. For something different, take the ferry to Governors Island, snag a hammock and take in the incredible views of Manhattan.
There’s so much going on in the city at any given time. If you’re looking for a change of pace look at what shows, festivals, or exhibits are happening. I like to always take advantage of the amazing music festivals the city hosts in the summer like Panorama and Gov Ball!
While a stay in midtown near Times Square might seem tempting to young travellers, I think it's best to skip the noise and the crowds and stay in the Lower East Side or the West Village. It’s so easy to get around Manhattan to see everything you want to see and this way you get a more authentic, fun and quieter (at least quieter by New York standards) experience.
New York City can be beautiful at Christmas but I’d recommend coming in the spring (before the summer heat wave comes and the city smells that come with it) this way you can enjoy the parks and rooftops without trudging through the snow.
I think New York is for everyone! Each neighborhood has something unique to offer and whether it's a girls weekend in the city or a romantic getaway, you’ll have so much to see and do.