By Anna Katina
Hello my friends! This girl finally visited New York City and she liked it! Such an inspiring city, always on the move! I have a lot to share with you so make sure to sit comfortable to read this article! So, I was sent to NYC by Education First and stayed a week in Manhattan! I tried to see as much as possible but still find time to walk around with no plan and discover the city. I think it’s important to do both things in a metropole, sightseeing and getting lost in the streets.
If you plan to come to NYC in spring, bring multiple clothes. There will be cold, rainy weather on some days and warm summer weather on other days. Be prepared for everything! We stayed in Time Square and took the cab all the time (definitely less expensive than in Luxembourg!) Once in a neighborhood, we walked around for hours but to go from like Time Square to Meatpacking District – taxi. Eating in NYC is expensive, even in small coffee shops! Are people friendly? Totally!
Ok so I will now share with you the spots we visited aka..
what to do in NYC?!
For videos of this adventure, check my Instagram NYC highlight!!
The first famous building we spotted (and be ready for a lot of architecture this time), was the Flatiron!
It may sound weird but the place I liked the most in Manhattan is Central Park. I was so impressed by its size and the amount of people! Such a cool ambiance and so many activities happening here! People play American football, baseball, beach volley ball, do public yoga sessions, so cool! It inspired me a lot! Also, look at this crowd enjoying the sun outside! When in town, buy some drinks and snacks and go sunbathing in Central Park. Tell me afterwards if you felt the special vibes that I felt.
Meatpacking District is a hipster kind of neighborhood you must visit! You will find nice bars and shops but also the popular Chelsea market, a immense gallery full of restaurants and shops. Also, a great spot to start the High Line walk…
A friend of mine recommended me to go to the Standard Hotel’s popular rooftop bar! There is a line to enter, most of the people there are in their early twenties. The ambiance is nice and you will definitely have fun if you’re in a party mood with a group! For me personally, it was a nice place to discover but I prefer a less crowded, loungier atmosphere than the club vibes :).
After our drink at the Standard, we climbed the stairs to the High Line. Start the walk during the golden hour guys (photos below)! What is the High Line? It’s an elevated park which was once a rail track but is now out use since 1980! About 10 years ago the 2,3 km-long strip was transformed into an urban park which is now full of wildflowers and outdoor art installations. Take your wide angle lens with you for killer shots of New York’s skyline. I loved watching people enjoying the sunset around a picnic. The lights, structures and views made this moment so magical! PS. Architecture lovers, did you spot the Zaha Hadid building? Yep a pretty amazing giant!
THE VESSEL at Hudson Yards
Arriving at the end of our excursion, a monster grew in front us while we approached the end of the High Line; The Vessel. I’ve never heard of it before so I was pretty shocked and amazed to suddenly stand in front of this creature. It’s huuuuuge and it’s open to public. The walkable sculpture was designed by Thomas Heatherwick. It looks like a honeycomb, doesn’t it? 😀
From one architectural beast to another. Again I had no words when I saw this building.The white monument you see in the photos below is the World Trade Center Oculus station which was designed by Santiago Calatrava as a memorial of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. “ The 335-foot-long skylight was designed to allow the “Way of Light” to pass through the main hub of the transit hall at 10:28 a.m.—the moment that the North Tower of the WTC collapsed on September 11, 2001. Symbolizing the light that continues to shine through after the darkness of the tragedy, the Oculus opening allows light to fill the massive space as a memorial to the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers.” – source linked.
Next to Oculus is located the 9/11 memorial, the former location of the Twin Towers. The architect of the memorial is Michael Arad. You can see two squares’ reflecting water pools and next to it, the new World Trade Center called One World Trade Center or Freedom Tower.
We quit the Financial District and walked along the East River before going to the Brooklyn bridge, a cute area with small terraces in an urban environment.
A nice restaurant where you can enjoy the sun, view, good food and lounge music!
Another must-see in Manhattan!
Don’t forget to look around you when walking through the city. I don’t know about you, but I was so excited to see the brownstone houses and fire escapes I knew from American movies like Kevin Alone, Love and Other drugs or from Gossip Girl!! AAAAH :DD
UPPER EAST SIDE
On another day we spent a few hours on the Upper East Side especially to visit the Metropolitan museum (MET). Of course there are other great museums but we went for this one. Next time I want to go to the Museum of Modern Art and the American Museum of Natural History!
I recommend you to visit the MET, the largest art museum in the US located on the right side of Central Park. But first, breakfast! We went to Bluestone Lane and we loved it!! An amazing small interior with good service, food and drinks but no wifi. Actually so many coffee shops in NYC don’t have wifi, make sure to plan your day in advance to avoid wifi hunting during the day!
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
We spent a few hours at the museum (MET), there is so much to see! You travel through time from old Egypt to ancient Greece, with a stop in French castles; a real time machine! You can also check out the most legendary guitars in the history of Rock! Yes, a current exhibition features guitars of the biggest rockstars of all time like Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix or Keith Richards! If you scroll down, you can see how carefully the museum installed each exhibition with matching interior; so beautiful!
Below you can see two artworks which impressed me a lot. The one on the right reminded me of Dada art, it’s the smashed guitar of Kurt Cobain. On the left you can see a painting featuring young Louis XV by Hyacinthe Rigaud.
Get lost and feel like a local. Greenwich is cute little neighborhood we found by walking south from the Meatpacking District. We were tired and the weather got worse so we randomly entered the bar Left Bank. On each table there were color pencils and it felt so good to enjoy a drink and relax, scribble around. We felt like locals, away from the noise. Also, we found a cute little ice-cream bar with ice-cream for adults only (all alcohol infused), Tipsy Scoop! Funny thing.
Education Fist New York campus
Ok, now to the educational part. I had the opportunity to visit the NYC campus, which is located in Tarrytown. Arrived at the Grand Central station I first felt like Serena in Gossip girl. 😀 The train trip was a pure scenic pleasure, gloomy weather with a peaceful view on the Hudson river, the trip took about 30 minutes.
off to EF NYC in Tarrytown!
The campus looked impressive, I loved the main building! First, there was a welcome speech of the team for the new arrivals. Every Monday, new students arrive and I liked the EF introduction! After presenting the campus, the students were invited to interact with each other, a good idea to break the ice! I assisted to a linguistic class, which was a movie analysis. It reminded me so much of my classes in Brussels back in my student days! The ambiance in the open spaces is relaxed, no rush, groups of students hang out together, others skype with their friends, super cozy. It’s a very peaceful multicultural reunion, I wish I could stay longer and discover the rooms and other spaces of the campus but it was time to make the NYC tour with the new arrivals!
The interesting fact about EF is that anyone can start this experience, it’s all about traveling and learning a language. Whether you’re a student or a young professional, you can start at any moment. EF has different formulas, I am linking the info sheet here for all informations! It’s also a good initiative for students who take a break during their studies in the middle of the year but still want to do something, same for professionals who do a professional break for example. There are also companies who offer this experience to their employees so that they can improve their language skills.
3 MUST-GO SPOTS FOR DINNER
The Edition Hotels always have impressive restaurants and I was so excited to discover the Terrace & Outdoor gardens on the ninth floor of the hotel, look at this indoor garden! The food and cocktails are very good! Another must go is Buddakan, where you can order fancy interpretations of Chinese dishes. The interior is just surreal! Both restaurants are expensive but nothing compared to Cipriani in Soho, which may be Kim Kardashian’s favorite Italian restaurant but in Luxembourg you find this type of standard Italian kitchen on each corner so we were pretty disappointed of the quality (and presentation!) in contrast to the price. But it ranks among the most popular spots of the city so I wanted to mention it. Another two popular restaurants I know from Los Angeles that you can find in NYC are The Catch and Hakkasan.
HUNT FASHION & COFFEE IN SOHO
In Soho you can find many designer stores but also less known labels and small stores. I really enjoyed walking through this area and discover the fashion stores. For example, we stepped into a concept store with many local creator pop-ups inside! Market place of makers was the name, I think. Also, lots of coffee shops around like Maman Soho or Odd Fellows! For lunch, go to Sant Ambroeus. My favorite bloggers love to hang out here, the pasta is reaaaally good!!
TOP OF THE ROCK
With my new friends from EF New York, we took the elevator to the 66 floor on top of Rockefeller Center to enjoy the view.. The Observatory is often crowed so be patient! Behind me in the photo, the Empire State building!
The Rockefeller Center by night
Watch the video below!
We spent a lot of time here as our hotel was located in the middle of this jungle. You see a lot of crazy people and so many colors! Sometimes, in bed, I did not know if it was day or night because of all the lights outside! I really enjoyed taking pictures of the people around and pose as well for Insta, the effects of the lights fascinated me xDDD. Below you can see the view of the rooftop bar at the Edition hotel, so cliché! Also, if you’re into luxury, don’t miss the 5th Avenue for the shopping paradise! I did not buy anything on this trip except air pods and a new iPhone screen. xD
On our way to the Statue of Liberty ferry we took a moment in front of the Battery. This memorial is located in Battery Park and commemorates “those 4609 soldiers, sailors, marines, coast guardsmen, merchant marines and airmen who met their deaths in the service of their country in the western waters of the Atlantic Ocean during World War II. It’s axis is oriented on The Statue of Liberty. On each side of the axis are 4 gray granite pylons upon which are inscribed the name, rank, organization and state.” Source linked.
Statue of Liberty
When purchasing tickets for the Ferry, be careful. There is one official “store” in a courtyard. We did not exactly know where to buy our entrances and some men tried to sell us tickets. They looked pretty official but when they became aggressive because I did not want to buy from them immediately, I understood that they don’t do this legally. Also when I asked for the info point, they brought us to another guy who asked for our credit card and it was clear to us that it’s all fake. xD Just be careful!
It was interesting to admire the beautiful lady so closely!
We also visited Ellis island, the island where once thousands of immigrants arrived to enter the US.
You must enter the building and listen to the stories on audio speakers, it’s very interesting and you move from one room to another according to the topic. For example they said, people who made a weird impression got an ‘X’ marked on their coats with charcoal. These people needed a psychological test. Imagine you are exhausted from the trip and then you need to pass a mental test because you look suspicious!
So my friends, this was a looot I know but I hope it was worth the lecture?! Also, last reminder for the NYC giveaway. EF Luxembourg gives the opportunity to one of you to live the same experience as me during a week! To participate just follow the instructions on this link: here. They will pick a winner in June!
Let me know if this article was useful and go ahead if you have questions! xx Anna