Heading to NYC for an Epic Adventure with Booking

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One Way to Brooklyn

Most of my visits to New York are anchored in Harlem, crashing on the gray couch I gave my sister when I left to travel the world four years ago. And as much as I love staying with her (complete with playing Cards Against Humanity, watching her boyfriend’s latest favorite YouTube videos, and eating all of her Trader Joe’s cookie butter), the couch is starting to get a bit…lumpy.

I never stay in hotels in New York. But now I finally have an opportunity: I’m working on a campaign with Booking.com highlighting epic accommodation around the world.

And New York definitely has some epic accommodation.

Going Epic

Booking has put together a collection of some of the most epic accommodation around the world: The Booking Truth. I recommend checking it out — these are the highest rated, most beloved, most-raved-about places booked by people on the site.

And they’re not all crazy expensive. They’re just NICE PLACES that people love. If you’re planning a special upcoming trip, their guide is a great place to be inspired.

In the past, I would choose the crappiest, most basic rooms based on how cheap they were. The older I get, the more I value having a really nice place to come back to at the end of the day. My absolute favorite quirky place to stay was an Airstream trailer park on top of a hotel in Cape Town. Some of the others were a tented camp in Wadi Rum, Jordan; a so-Parisian-it-hurts apartment in Paris; and a B&B in Sliema, Malta, that was just really, really nice.

But for New York, is there a place that stands out on the epic scale? You bet. I’ll be staying at the Ace Hotel.

So far, most of my New York-living friends have had the same reaction: “You’re staying at the Ace? I’ve always wanted to go there! Can I come visit?”

If you’re looking for a hotel with the cool factor, it’s the Ace. It has a good mix of hipster melded with swanky, and as a result, it attracts a crowd at all hours of the day. There’s a popular bar, speakers line the walls, and it’s located in Flatiron neighborhood in Manhattan, making it a convenient location.

I can’t wait to check it out.

My partners have stayed in some cool places — Rob stayed at a swank hotel in London, Melvin stayed at a sweet B&B-like hotel on the island of Sylt in Germany, and Keith stayed at a gorgeous palace in Sevilla!

Black and White Village Scene

What to do in New York this time?

I love New York. I go there a few times a year, I’m even thinking about moving there next year, and I always like to find something new and unusual to do on every visit. Last time it was a street food tour in Queens.

Here are a few new activities I have in mind:

Brodo. I’m really excited to visit New York’s first broth shop. Bone broth is one of the healthiest foods you can eat and I love the idea of walking around with a cup like it’s coffee!

Wicked. I’ve never had much of an interest in seeing Wicked (The Book of Mormon is what I really want to see), but for the past year, Elphaba has been played by a friend of mine whom I met in theater camp back when we were 13! Talking about making it as far as you can make it! Her Broadway run ends soon, so I’d love to catch one of her final performances.

Fuerza Bruta Wayra. I don’t know much about this show, only that it’s crazy and interactive and you can get cheap tickets if you wait in line, but my friend raved so much about it that I think I need to go soon.

The Bronx. I’ve never spent time in the Bronx (beyond the obligatory flipping off Yankee Stadium when I drive by it…I can’t help it, I used to live 30 seconds from Fenway Park) and I’d love to experience Little Italy.

ALL OF THE CHRISTMAS. I’ve never been in New York for Christmas and want to soak up all that cheesy goodness. The Rockettes, Rockefeller Center, store displays — I want it all! (And I will probably have to go and crouch in the fetal position afterward to recover from the crowds.)

Actual cheesy goodness. My friend Beth and I are cheese-obsessed and now that she lives in Brooklyn, we’ve been talking about taking a cheese tasting class at Bedford Cheese Shop.

But what should I do, really?

Please tell me what I should do in New York. Not classic stuff, per se — outlandish, different, exciting stuff. What’s a new trend? What’s different? What would be interesting to write about, and what would you like to hear about? Let me know!

The #BookingEpic campaign is brought to you by iambassador and Booking.com to highlight unusual accommodation around the world. All opinions, as always, are my own.

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35 thoughts on “Heading to NYC for an Epic Adventure with Booking”

  1. Aww I’m so jealous you get to Christmas in New York!! Do all that cheesy stuff, and the literal cheesy stuff (a cheese tasting class!!?!? Be still, my heart!). If you’re a brunch kind of girl (I’m going to assume that you are) then eat at Cookshop (Chelsea) or Schiller’s (LES)…those are two of my absolute faves! Enjoy!!

  2. I lived in NYC for 7 years before moving to Moscow. My favorite parts are Bergdorf’s windows at Christmastime, and Museum of Natural History (one of two of my absolute favorite museums in the world, the other being Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery) usually has a very interesting Christmas Tree on display (the one that sticks out in my mind was 12-ft tall and made entirely from origami – yes, the tree itself, plus decorated by every animal under the sun – also origami). For food I’d recommend S’MAC (short for Sarita’s Macaroni & Cheese) in East Village. I watched Wicked a year and a half ago on Broadway and it was AWESOME. The courtyard of the Palace Hotel is also pure magic at Christmastime. Have a great time!

  3. NYC at Christmas is MAGIC. Please go do crazy tourist things like Rockefeller Plaza, the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, and play with the fun toys at FAO Schwartz. NYC at Christmas was my first NYC at Christmas and believe me–it resonates. You’re going to have the best time.

  4. As a Fordham alum, I am so excited you want to visit Arthur Ave!! (It’s a hidden gem 2 blocks away from campus.) If you make it there, be sure you stop by the Italian Market. It houses the Bronx Beer Hall which has a nice selection of craft beers & small plates from Mike’s Deli. Tino’s has great sandwiches–if you like eggplant parm you must try it there! Palombo’s for the best coffee, De Lillo’s for the best pastries, Madonia Brother’s Bakery for the best olive bread. If you want to visit a quirky pizza shop (friendly to the taste buds too) go to Pugsley’s Pizza. You’ll have a lot of eating to do for sure!

  5. Hey Kate! Have been following your adventures for a while now — love them all! It’s all so inspiring. Glad to hear you are coming to my hometown — NYC!

    I couple of days ago I highlighted my all time favorite things to do in NYC during the holiday season — I think I’ve got some places you’d enjoy on here! Let me know if you check any of it out! http://www.mercimahalo.com/blog/2014/11/24/new-york-in-december

    (and, DO go to arthur ave in the bronx. The Real Little Italy! Full Moon pizzeria is the BEST).

  6. I’ve been living in this great city for 4 years now, and here are some awesome, unique things I highly recommend!

    Interactive shows like Then She Fell or Sleep No More. While Sleep No More is more popular, and definitely worth seeing, I preferred Then She Fell – it’s based on the works of Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland, for starters, and you get much more face time with the actors.

    Storm King Art Center is a huge outdoor space filled with gigantic sculptures. You can easily spend a day here!

    The Secret Science Club is a free monthly gathering at The Bell House in Gowanus, Brooklyn, where lecturers and scientists come to give presentations about interesting topics like the brain, astronomy, robotics, etc. Bonus: themed drink specials!

    Escape The Room is a wildly popular interactive, puzzled-themed game that’s all about getting out of a room by working together and finding clues.

  7. I actually have plans to try Brodo this weekend, haha! Beware the Xmas crowds through for real…. I went last year when out-of-town friends were visiting and it was brutally crowded so much so that we had to stand on one block for 20 minutes not moving because of a human traffic jam. Not good for the claustrophobic!

  8. We lived in NYC for 5 years, here are some of our favourite things to do.
    Go to the dumpling shop on Mosco St,
    hit McSorley’s on 7th Street for beers,
    go to Freeman’s for brunch,
    take a tour of the tenement museum (strongly recommend this)
    Go to the Museum of Modern Art (entry fee is a recommended donation, I’ve gone in giving only $2)

  9. The ACE is super cool! I’ve visited but not actually stayed there, can’t wait to see what you think. I’ve stayed at the ones in Palm Springs and Downtown LA, highly recommend those as well. Super cool and in Palm Springs the pool can’t be beat.

    For things to do, I recommend another immersive theater experience in Brooklyn. It’s expensive (I think like $125 a ticket) but SO worth it, very cool experience based on Lewis Carroll and his obsession with the little girl that inspired Alice in Wonderland. It’s called Then She Fell – http://thenshefell.com/.

  10. Walk around Bushwick checking out the amazing street art at the Bushwick Collective. Then wonder over to Roberta’s for dinner and drinks. Coolest restaurant and best pizza in NYC. Great afternoon activity!

  11. Definitely see Wicked!
    I saw it when it came to Melbourne and it was amazing. The story gets me every time- you won’t ever think of the Wizard of Oz the same way! And the music is wonderful-especially the defying gravity scene!

  12. that’s great!

    go see “sleep no more” and “queen of the night” or “then she fell” all 3 great and different. Sleep No More’s NYE party is the best in town…

    off to Cayman and Cuba )

    have a blast in the incredible city I call home..

  13. The Secret City is my favorite multi-sensory, multidisciplinary monthly arts event in NYC. It’s a worship service, but the only religion is Art. Visual art, music, food, dance/movement, a little bit of community participation and a story from host Chris Wells, one of the best storytellers I know. Inspiration in the truest sense of the word. Next NYC service is Sun Dec 21, 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM at Dixon Place. http://thesecretcity.org

  14. Absolutely Sleep No More. I’ve gone twice and would totally go again. Download the TodayTix app for discounted Broadway tickets. They hand deliver them to you the day of the show.
    The Bronx Zoo used to have light exhibits in the winter. Don’t know if they still do it. Regardless, head there for the Puerto Rican food.

  15. Awesome! I’ll be in NYC next weekend to soak up some of that Christmas cheer, too! We’re doing Rockefeller Center, the Rockettes, and the Christmas market in Bryant Park. Wish we were seeing Wicked, though… It would be my fourth time seeing it on Broadway. Just can’t get enough of that show! You’ll love it! 🙂

  16. I am a rusty blogger who happens to be visiting New York next week as well. I love reading about your travels on your finely tuned website Kate. In an attempt to breathe life back into my flyer miles and dusty online diary, I am taking a long overdue vacation back to NYC. You see, I used to live in Queens, and commute to work in the City, so this trip is like going home. I am challenging myself to try something new each day. Should be easy in New York, right? Although I have great friends who wanted me to crash with them, I am also taking the swanky “as seen in a movie” hotel, busy neighborhood, and newer attraction route. This trip, I will be staying in Midtown, walking down Madison to see the retail windows in all their Winter glory, checking out the northern-most addition to The High Line Park, and taking in views from the newly renovated Rainbow Room at 30 Rock. Dinner in Harlem at Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s “Red Rooster Restaurant” will be my first foodie stop though. I first tried to dine at one of his restaurant while in Sweden, but time did not permit while on that business trip. I get a second chance! Playing tourist while catching up with old friends will be great. Feel free to join me anytime. P.s. Sorry for finding an end to my writer’s block in your comment section.

    30 Rock’s newly renovated “Rainbow Room” I hear the 65th floor views are amazing!
    High Line Park’s addition “The High Line at the Rail Yards” I used to walk off pizza-belly at this park.
    I know it sounds typical, but why not, skate at the Rockefeller Center too…Bryant Park is free if you can borrow your sister’s skates though…

    I haven’t been to NYC in a year and a half, so I look forward to testing out my little itinerary.

  17. Great suggestions so far! Sleep No More gets another vote from me but Fuerza Bruta is great as well! Either one. There have been quite a few groupons for Fuerza recently, so you might even be able to score $49 tickets (https://www.groupon.com/deals/gl-wayra-fuerza-bruta-5).
    Arthur Avenue – yes! I recommend Otto Zero Nove (089) for excellent Italian food, esp pizza, but then somebody recommended a Bushwick street art walk with pizza at Roberta’s (Beyonce and Jay-Z eat there regularly) which I’d also recommend. To find the best street art I’d recommend a free street art walk (http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/new-york-tours/walking-tours/new-york-graffiti-and-street-art-tours/) or let a local show you around (wish I could do it!) But it might be too cold.
    Ice skating in Bryant Park is FREE, incl free skate rentals. You just need to bring a padlock to lock up your stuff.
    Splurge on a fancy cocktail in a speakeasy bar one night. So worth it! The Bathtub Gin has free burlesque shows on Sundays and Tuesdays.
    And because we were talking about Crown Heights and it’s cold: there’s a new beer hall that integrates some food stalls (the famous ramen burgers for example) as well, called Berg’n. Nice place to spend a lazy afternoon with good craft beer when it’s cold out 🙂
    P.S. The Chipped Cup is the Harlem coffee shop I couldn’t remember the name of.

  18. I can completely relate to the couch comments…I’ll still do it for a night or two, but these days I much prefer a real room and a private space.

    Christmas is one of the best times to be in NYC! (And it works in reverse too, NYC is one of the best places for Christmas!). I hope you have a great time 🙂

  19. There;s some great pop-up holiday markets in the city, great for Christmas shopping! They’re located at Union Sq, Columbus Circle, Bryant Park, and (I believe) Grand Central. They are similar, esecially Union sq and Columbus circle (I haven’t been to the Grand Central one so I can’t say).

    For food, I recommend THe Chelsea Food market and Gotham city Market. For hot beverages on cold days, I’d hit Burdicks for hot cocoa and David’s Tea.

    And if you want to get out of the city, I do also recommend Storm King (north of the city) as well as Grounds for Sculpture (in NJ near Trenton). Both are outdoor sculpture gardens, but VERY different from each other. I believe believe both are relatively easily accessible by a combo of train and bus. If you go to Grounds for Sculptiure, stop at Clydz in New Brunswick (walkable from the train) for dinner, which is an amazing restaurant and martini bar (a little pricy, but definitely worth it!)

    Also, Wicked it amazing!

  20. Sounds like a dream. New York in the winter.
    A vision of walking in the snow under a crystalised tree, going to a Broadway show. Go see The History Boys if it’s still on. You will weep! Going to the Comedy Club, any comedy club. They’re that good or tryiing to brag a ticket for a televised show. Hanging out in some speakeasy bar… and I haven’t even been there yet. Kate, I want to read eeeeeverything!

  21. We’ve lived in Harlem for two years and NYC in general for four! First off, congrats on discovering Trader Joes cookie butter! You’re well on your way now. 😉

    As for “NY Things to Do,” we recommend the Apollo Theater in Harlem or a gospel, Juilliard free performances, the Roosevelt Island Tram, and Brooklyn Roasting Co for a cool coffee shop!

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