I’m sitting in my hotel room overlooking humid Manhattan, having spent the last few days exploring the sprawling metropolis. I’ve seen a woman in a bikini and gold cape rollerblading down Wythe Avenue in Brooklyn, a man cycling with a Great Dane in a giant wheeled basket, puppies in a shop window at the puppy store – yes, that’s an actual thing – and eaten a coconut cream doughnut with sugary white filling spilling from its insides. Welcome to New York.
At the turn of my 25th birthday I decided to make a list of all the things I wanted to achieve in the next year. Number 18 of my 25 aims was to spend time exploring New York like a local. I’ve visited the big apple before and done all the touristy things but this time I wanted to see new parts of the city – from the tree-lined streets of Greenwich Village to the plethora of bars and restaurants in the Lower East Side.
Here’s my day from start to finish, living like a local in NYC:
I start in West Village strolling down leafy avenues lined with apartments with steps up to the front door and fire escapes clinging to the outside of the buildings. I’m heading for Murray’s, the bagel shop on 8th Avenue where I select the ‘everything’ bagel with a cream cheese filling and plonk myself down in the window to watch the world go by.
Fueled up on bagel goodness I head off toward Bleeker Street, still in West Village, to visit the independent stores. On my way, I’m stopped and greeted by Janine, a palm-reader-turned-yoga-therapist who takes my hand and ‘feels my aura’ shoot through her. Lovely lass.
I’ve got the shopping bug now so it’s down to Broadway on Soho for the mainstream stores. At Dean & DeLuca I get a mocha (I don’t even like mochas, it’s just that it’s so New York, darling) and then stand outside sipping as a man with two giant Dalmation-coloured Great Danes strolls past. I dash over to say hello and they slobber all over me.
Two hours later and with an ever-ebbing bank balance I jump on the metro back up to Chelsea. It is a blazing inferno waiting for the train, but as the shiny silver vessel pulls in and the doors open the icy cool air flows out and I jump on, grateful for the coldness. I pop into Chelsea Market past the food shops then walk up to the Highline which passes overhead - a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets which is one of my favourite additions to the city. I find a shaded spot and read my book.
Hungry again, I head to the nearest deli for a tossed salad. I’m getting good at ordering now and am narrowing down the ingredients I want and which dressings I like. I select my leaves and they smoosh it all together in a big bowl in front of me. I walk over to Washington Square Park and sit watching the world go by as I chomp away.
When I’m finished I head to nearby Colombe coffee shop and spend the next couple of hours writing my blog.
I’m basically friggin’ Carrie Bradshaw right now, except with less hair.
Later, I pop back to the hotel to change and chill for a bit on the uber-comfy bed, Frank Sinatra blaring out of the iPod dock because I’m pretty sure that’s what all New Yorkers listen to.
In the evening, I head to East Village for cocktails at 10 Degree bar where they’re super tasty and buy one get one free until 8pm and then jump on the metro over to Brooklyn to admire the view of Manhattan from the rooftop of the Wythe hotel. Later, I grab a cab back and as we speed over Williamsburg Bridge I open my window to hear cars hooting one another and the sound of sirens in the distance. Above, the star (there only appears to be one) has come out.
Top photo guardian.co.uk.