New York- 5th Avenue, Empire State Building & East Village

We started our 5th day by having a lovely breakfast with an old friend of mine from Sydney. She used to work in the PR agency we were working with at my company in Sydney and she’s been back to New York City since earlier this year.

We met at Cafe Integral, a small coffee shop just a couple blocks up from our accommodation. Coffee was delicious and so was the fried peanut butter and jam stuffed doughnut I ordered. So naughty!

Nick wasn’t feeling too well that morning so we went back to the hotel for a moment to rest before making our way to the lower side of 5th Avenue, this time to visit Grand Central, the Public library and check out Bryant Park.

We started by heading to Grand Central Terminal, the famous train station built by the famous Cornelius Vanderbilt. The hall is possibly as iconic as the Statue of Liberty and it was amazing to be able to go. It was rather quiet that day as we went on a Sunday.

We then walked back towards 5th Avenue and continued walking south until we reached the Public Library. It is the third biggest library in the world, it’s free and houses 51 million items. The library is also stunning with its high ceilings and old paintings everywhere.

We then bought a typical street hot dog for lunch and enjoyed it in Bryant Park under a beautiful warm sun.

NYC has got so many amazing public spaces with free tables and chairs you can use for lunch or just to chill. It was pretty awesome.

We then headed to the Empire State Building to check out the famous view. We were worried we’d need to wait for ages as we couldn’t pre-arrange a time slot but weirdly we went through incredibly quick.

The view from the Empire State Building was also breathtaking. We were lucky to have an amazing clear sky to enjoy the view from up there. Though both views from the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Center were amazing, I believe doing it the other way around would have been better. Ie Rockefeller during the day and Empire State at night to be able to have a better view over Central Park (but then you lose the view facing the ESB at night which is also incredible). Tough call.

After our visit, we continued walking down 5th Avenue all the way to reach the Flatiron building, another iconic sight of the big city before continuing through Union Square and all the way to East Village.

East Village seemed to be a cool area too, a lot younger and edgier than the other suburbs we’ve visited.

Nick found a really cool speakeasy place called ‘Please don’t tell’, a bar hidden in a placed called Crif Dogs, a hot dog restaurant. When you enter, you need to reach the folding door on the left and call a number from an old phone to get someone to open the door for you. It’s well known for its cocktails made from devoted mixologists but at $17USD a cocktail, we had to stick to our usual wine and beer combo. Really cool place to visit.

We then continued walking towards our neighborhood and stopped by Prince Street Pizza to grab what is known as being one of the best pizza place in Manhattan.

Annoyingly, you can’t dine in, so we had to queue for a while before ordering and taking the pizzas away. We ordered the pepperoni and margarita pizzas and they were both delicious.

We had to take them to a park nearby to eat them before heading back to our accommodation after another full on day of sightseeing.

TIPS

  • Cafe Integral was a lovely place for a nice coffee before our full day of walking. Try one of their donuts or pastry. Very tasty!
  • NYC has got many tables and chairs dotting the parks where you can enjoy some chill time or a picnic. Buy your street food and head to a park to enjoy it seating down.
  • You can’t Pre-book a time to visit the Empire State Building. We went there at 3.30pm and didn’t have any issue with queuing.
  • Please don’t tell was an awesome speakeasy in the East Village. You’ll be surprised when you arrive but do walk in that hot dog restaurant, it is there.
  • Prince Street Pizza was very good. Annoying that you can’t dine in so be prepared to queue and take away.

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