New in New York — The Latest Edition

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Kate and Christmas Balls

Here’s one thing I will never do in New York: run around like mad trying to see as many sights as humanly possible.

I’ve made peace with the fact that I’m never going to see everything that I want to see — so I don’t try. I move at a leisurely pace and know that I’ll return sooner or later. Hopefully sooner.

Even so, every time I visit New York, I try to do a few things I’ve never done before. Here are a few of my latest favorites.

Ace Hotel Room

New Digs: The Ace Hotel

I stayed at the Ace for my #BookingEpic campaign with This was my first time staying in a hotel in New York and I loved this place so much, I think I’ve been ruined for life. You can read the full post here.

Crown Heights

New Neighborhood: Crown Heights

My friends Amelia and David moved to Crown Heights, Brooklyn, fairly recently and have been encouraging me to visit. I went to their housewarming party and took some time to explore the neighborhood.

Crown Heights is definitely a neighborhood in transition — you can see it’s gentrifying rapidly. On some blocks, you’ll see convenience stores with giant EBT (food stamps) signs next door to high-end restaurants serving fancy brunches. This super-fast gentrification has been happening in Brooklyn (and all over the world) for a long time; it’s a lot more pronounced in the western part of Crown Heights.

Crown Heights is a neighborhood I’ve had in mind as a possible place to live. The verdict? I liked the vibe, I liked the architecture, it was well-connected by the subway, it has the Brooklyn Museum, and I have the feeling it’s about to get quite expensive. The time to move there is now!

Kate at Brodo

New Beverage: Broth at Brodo

Bone broth is not just good for you — it’s one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It’s packed with vitamins, amino acids and helps improve everything from cellulite to allergies and digestive issues. This is the stuff we should be drinking on a daily basis instead of coffee.

In fact, that’s just what the staff at Brodo are trying to do! It’s a tiny window at Hearth restaurant that serves a few varieties of broth along with optional add-ins (like turmeric, ginger, and beet kvass) and also some soups. I got the Hearth broth (made with chicken, turkey, and beef) and it was well worth the purchase. If I lived in the East Village (or at least had a slow cooker), I’d drink broth all the time.

Chicken and Waffles at Jimmy's

New Breakfast Spot: Jimmy’s Diner

Chicken and waffles — the ultimate don’t-knock-it-till-you-try-it breakfast. You’ll probably have to wait for a table at this tiny diner in Williamsburg, but trust me, it’s worth it. All of the food is simple yet rich and comforting, and the chicken was crispy and fabulous atop the sweet waffles. (Not pictured: mountains of gravy that made the perfect accoutrement.)

And the late 90s/early 2000s hip-hop playlist was music to my ears. Between Missy Elliott’s “Work It” and Jay-Z’s “Can I Get A….” — it was like being back in high school.

Mariott Times Square Elevators

New Free Activity: Elevators at the Marriott in Times Square

A treat for the kid in you — riding the glass elevators inside the Marriott in Times Square! If you’re looking to kill time before a show, bus, or train, this is a lot of fun!

Just walk into the hotel and join the line for the elevators. Even though you don’t have a key card, just get on with a group. The ride up is fun — but the real adrenaline rush is leaning your forehead against the window as you zoom down. Whoa.

Kate at SMAC

New Comfort Food: S’MAC

It seems like all of my friends — home friends, college friends, blogger friends — LOVE S’MAC. Short for Sarita’s Mac and Cheese, this place is all over New York and prepares mac and cheese in every way you can imagine, including options for vegetarian, vegan, lactose intolerant, and gluten-free diners.

You can put together your own custom receipe of noodles, cheese, and add-ins, or choose one of their creations. I chose the La Mancha, made with manchego cheese, fennel, and onions. It was superb (not to mention well-priced). I can’t wait to go back and get it again!

Union Square Christmas Market

New Holiday: Christmas!

Believe it or not, I’ve never been in New York for the holiday season! I finally got to do the iconic activities like seeing the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. I also enjoyed hitting up pop-up Christmas markets, especially the one in Union Square. New York does Christmas SO well.

I’ll be expanding upon Christmas in New York in a future post.


New Evening Spot: Choga 

What a random find in Greenwich Village — Choga, a Japanese/Korean bar that serves tteokbokki alongside teriyaki and soju alongside sake.

It was deserted when my friend and I showed up (we went in for the cheap drinks and a plate of tteokbokki), but in the evening live music began, and by the time we left, it had turned into a total happening party spot.

Kate and Friends at the Algonquin

New Cocktail: Dorothy Parker

My college friends invited me to check out Blue Bar at the Algonquin Hotel near Times Square (as you can see, it is quite blue inside!). While there, I discovered one of the best cocktails I have ever had — the Dorothy Parker.

A cocktail made with Dorothy Parker gin, St. Germain, lemon juice, honey, and basil, served in a martini glass, it was dangerously easy to order one after another.

Flatiron Building

New Time of Day — Early on a Saturday

I wrote earlier about how running around New York in the wee hours of the morning on a Saturday was one of my favorite experiences of the year, and it’s the truth. I absolutely loved this side of New York! Everything was quiet, especially in midtown, and it felt like I had stumbled upon a secret that nobody knows.

Bottomless Brunch in NYC

Image: The Legendary Adventures of Anna

New Indulgence — Bottomless Brunch

Being from Massachusetts, a state run by its ancient Blue Laws, it always throws me for a loop to see how liberal alcohol laws are elsewhere in the United States. Seeing beer for sale at CVS? That’s crazy! Happy hour isn’t even legal in Massachusetts!

In New York, I took part in my first-ever bottomless brunch at Epstein’s Bar on the Lower East Side. For just $17 each, my friends and I got a brunch entree and unlimited drinks of our choice. I went for mimosas, which were served in pint glasses. For just $17, I can’t believe what a great deal this is.

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

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39 thoughts on “New in New York — The Latest Edition”

  1. I have visited New York and seen most of the touristy attractions. Grateful that I stumbled upon your post as I was thinking of visiting New York for a long weekend and was wondering what to do when we go. That bottomless brunch at Epsteinโ€™s Bar looks fantastic! My favorite thing in New York is trying all the food trucks; I havenโ€™t found one that wasnโ€™t delicious!

  2. Great post Kate. Looks like we were both in NYC about the same time. Loved Rockefeller centre all decked out. So pretty! Loving your ‘new’ list.

  3. As someone who didn’t like New York first time round, I really enjoyed this post. I’ve been thinking recently that I actually would like to return and not do as much sightseeing, but just explore based on my feelings and the recommendations of others in the know (like your good self)! Fab read ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. oh God,a mimosa in a pint glass sounds way too amazing. I’ve never been overly drawn to NYC but this post makes me want to check it out a bit. Also I’m super curious about bone marrow

  5. I love this post! I can’t get enough of all of the yummy food suggestions and oh my god that cocktail sounds amazing! I’m a big fan of bottomless mimosas and thankfully L.A. has a few great places for that on Sunday’s ๐Ÿ™‚

    Happy travels!

  6. When people abroad ask me about alcohol laws in the US I always want to say that they’re really strict, but then I remember that the rest of the country isn’t quite the same as my home state Massachusetts, haha. I can’t believe that brunch deal though, whoa!

  7. The distillery that makes dorothy parker gin can be visited (and you can even take a brief ‘tour,’ which is really just standing near the vessels being told how it’s made.). They also have a gin/whiskey hybrid spirit. When I was there on a Saturday afternoon in June, there was also some live music in the afternoon.

    I live outside the city, and I’m so sad I didn’t get in for the holiday markets this year!

  8. Love this! Just come back from my first ever trip to NYC. Was there for a week, and we definitely did the ‘rushing around trying to see as much as possible’ thing. By the time I got home, I had multiple blisters and my feet were in agony – but it was totally worth it, especially for my first trip. Though you’re right, I think if (when) I go again, I’ll focus more on a specific area, or doing things at a more relaxed pace.

    I loved seeing all the Christmassy things while I was there – it was like walking through the set of a Christmas movie. (Though I was a bit disappointed by the giant tree at the Rockerfeller Center – or maybe that was just me…? What did you think of it?)

    Glad you had an amazing time, and discovered so many new things to in the city. Can’t wait to go back there now! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I’ll have to check out the Marriott elevators next time I have friends in town! and I’m from massachusetts as well and totally feel the same way. NYC’s bottomless brunches are awesome but I’m almost happy we don’t have them in Boston… That could be quite disastrous with all the college kids!

  10. Of all the times I’ve been to visit New York, I have yet to do a single one of the activities you mentioned, or see the things you have seen. Apparently I need to widen my list quite a bit more. I love places that you can go back to again and again and get a new experience every time you go. Not too keen on going in the wintertime as I hate the cold, but I really want to experience riding in a horse drawn carriage like I’ve seen others do there. Hoping the horses are looked after well so I’m not supporting animal abuse, but they looked healthy at first glance.

  11. Hi Kate, great post, it brought back good memories. I have only visited New York once in December 92 and I stayed at the Marriott, I remember loving going up and down on those amazing elevators. NY looked beautiful dressed up for Christmas. Then 9 months later my daughter Chloe was born ( maybe I should have called her Marriott?).

  12. This makes me nostalgic for my old Boston days and college… I used to like driving to New York for concerts and plays etc..but l was never overly fond of the city. This post makes me think l should reconsider . The brunch sounds awesome, but l still can’t bring myself to understand the chicken and waffle thing, and we had really good places for it in Los Angeles too. I just couldn’t bring myself to eat it when my friends did.

  13. Always wanted to go to New York and this post make that urge even stronger! Great tips, I will save them for the day when I finally make it, thanks:)

  14. The same old New York with lot of new attractions, right? You had a great time over there, congrats. When I was in NYC I spend my whole time rushing and getting all possible tourist attractions. I don’t know when I will get back to NYC.

  15. I love the idea of finding the non-touristy bits. I’ve had just four days in New York and one day have promised myself to go back for at least a month or longer – precisely so I can discover stuff like this!

  16. I had no idea happy hour is illegal in Mass! That’s so weird. We have some odd laws in Maine too. Probably because we used to be part of Mass. way back in the day. And I totally agree with you about NYC early morning on Saturday. When I was in NYC back in September I was up and out of my hostel by 7am and headed down to Wall Street. It was so quiet and nice just to walk around with no crowds!

  17. This is awesome! I share the same philosophy in NYC – I would rather soak up the city like a local than run around to one tourist attraction after the next. Whenever I’m there, it’s usually for work so I’m always in Manhattan and have never had the chance to check out Brooklyn – so can’t wait to add Crown Heights to my list

  18. I am so incredibly grateful for your website. I can’t yet travel every where I want to go and it is such a treat reading all the places you visit. I too will always have a special place in my heart for New York. For me it was only one trip there, but lots of awesomeness came from that trip- my first big Broadway show, cheesecake at Roxie’s, playing the big piano at Toys R Us with my feet and the coolest part of the trip getting engaged at midnight in Times Square when the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve. I want to go back badly, but along with other travel plans this desire is on hold until I can get some things in my life in order. Anyway, I really just wanted to say that I love this site so much and hope you will never quit doing what you do. Until I can start crossing off my bucket list items I will continue to enjoy living vicariously through your adventures!

  19. Get to the Tenement Museum fast! Best little museum in NYC. The last gasp of the Lower East Side before it is entirely eaten up by multi million dollar apartments.
    CAN’T WAIT to meet you at the NY TIMES TRAVEL SHOW!

  20. I love your travel mentality. The best way to see a city is to pick a few things and enjoy them slowly and thoroughly ๐Ÿ™‚ NYC will hopefully be my next big domestic trip, so I’m definitely going to take some of your suggestions. Thanks!

  21. I settled in Crown Heights a year ago (on a complete whim) after my year of nomadic travels. It’s a great neighborhood and I’m enjoying every minute. Happy to share my fave spots if you end up moving here! Best of luck for 2015.

  22. Oh my god, that S’MAC looks incredible. I’m moving to NYC in less than two weeks after spending 2 years away from the states — AND I’ve never been to New York. I’ll definitely reference this post for tips!

  23. So interesting to see NYC from your perspective. It’s nice to see that you came to NYC, did totally not-touristy things and yet STILL we, as New Yorkers of five years, haven’t even heard of most of those! I guess that tells you just how huge NYC is!

    We have been to the Ace Hotel’s lobby; it’s a blogger’s paradise! If you walk in the lobby, you see nothing but cozy couches, coffee mugs, and macbooks! Now we’ll have to check out Crowne Heights and Brodo!

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