22 May 2017

Travelogue - New York, USA

Visiting a big city for the second time is almost better than the first time.

You’ve done all the touristy must-sees, you’ve got all the photos of said places with and without you in front of them, and you are now free to explore the real places that make the city so amazing.

This was my second time in New York and I enjoyed a much more relaxed, food orientated holiday that actually felt like a holiday!

We ventured over to Brooklyn and stayed in Bedford-Stuyvesant (much to my boyfriend’s horror who thought I’d booked us into the actual ghetto). Brooklyn has changed so much since my last trip (well it has been 10 years nearly to the day since we were here!) but we found a great Airbnb that was a bit further out but the transport links were so good that we barely noticed. It even snowed a couple of times – it was February – and this didn’t disrupt anything. Had this happened in the UK, it would have been standstill and no going out, but in Brooklyn NY, we jumped on a bus and continued our day out. Perfect.

My Highlights

A few bits really stood out on our trip, and yes about half are food related. But here are the best bits:

Brooklyn Flea Market

This was a lovely little market in the grandest of venues! A really nice collection of sellers to wander around, and then plenty of food vendors to choose from in ‘the vaults’ below. We stopped for a coffee and doughnuts/grilled cheese. We loved it so much we went back again and had a ‘Wowfulls’ waffle creation. Have a look online here where they’ll be when you’re visiting.

Walking Tour of Brooklyn

This was in my Mum’s guidebook – good old Mum! We set off to follow the tour on the bus from the Air BnB and it snowed and kept on snowing the whole day! At times it was a tad hard to see where you were going, so at some point along the way we took a detour but we got a good feel for the area and I’d recommend doing one if you can. If your guidebook doesn’t offer this then here is a link to some free tours, where you pay how much you think the tour was worth at the end –

The Sketchbook Project at Brooklyn Art Library

This wasn’t part of the walking tour of Brooklyn, but we added it in as it was close to the route, which was perfect. The Sketchbook Project is a fantastic project that anyone, anywhere can join in with. All you have to do is sign up, pick a subject, get sent a blank sketchbook, fill it in as you wish and return it by a set date. I’ve got 3 sketchbooks in the collection which on a day-to-day basis live in Brooklyn so it was really nice to see them again and check out some of the other sketchbooks in the collection. You can read more about my visit on their blog here.

The High Line

This was recommended to me at a photography exhibition so I knew it would be right up my street! We chose a glorious day for this, it was obviously a bit chilly but we had sunshine! It made for a lovely peaceful walk, but you could see that it would be really busy in the summer with lots of benches and spots to eat lunch and enjoy the views. you can check out whats going on here on their great little website –

Chelsea Market

Towards the end of the High Line we hopped off to take a peek inside the Chelsea Market, and were so happy we did! First, we grabbed a coffee from the Blue Bottle Coffee Co. outside and then took a lazy stroll past all of the art sellers, craft stalls, food shops, souvenir sellers and emerged the other side wanting to do it again! Have a nosey on their website to get a feel for it yourself –

The Rockefeller Center

I was recommended to go up the Rockefeller Centre rather than the Empire State building as it towers over Central Park looking Uptown, and the Empire State and the City looking Downtown. Perfect for really taking in the city and the surrounding views. It’s also nice to look at the Empire State straight on rather than upwards from the street.

Bare Burger

As with everywhere these days there is a fantastic burger movement happening in New York. Our MD Richard had been to New York the previous September for a research group and had insisted I check out Bare Burger and I wasn’t disappointed! Having a veggie/vegan sister, burger places can be a bit hit or miss but this place caters for everything. You can choose from the menu or you can build your own masterpiece of a burger. Topped off with one of their awesome shakes and you’re good to go but unable to move straight away…

Sumner Café

I always ask my Air BnB hosts where is good near the place we’re staying to eat and as our first meal would be breakfast, I asked for good breakfast spots. I’m glad I did as we wouldn’t have ventured inside here otherwise – the windows were so steamed up you couldn’t see inside at all, so we took a complete flyer on going in. The food was great, the service was awesome and we had Bellini’s, a good start to the day and holiday!


Another recommendation from our host, this place boasted a delicious bakery – where we got pastries from one morning for breakfast – and just around the corner on the other side of the building they also have a restaurant-come-bar. We chilled in the bar having a few drinks before our meal and it was all really cool.

Bohaus – coffee & flowers

Local to our Brooklyn Airbnb this place caught my attention when we were out looking for bagels – we’d grabbed them from the corner grocery shop – so we popped in and were greeted by a wall of plants and some great coffee. We even brought some back with us so we can continue enjoying their coffee on the weekends at home.

Rainbow Bagels

There are many, many food trends going on around the world, and thanks to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc…we can hear and see all of them! One in particular that my sister had picked up on was the rainbow bagel. Eating bagels was a big part of the trip (bagels just aren’t the same in the UK), so we felt that this was one trend we really couldn’t miss out on. Luckily, it slotted in nicely with our walking tour of Brooklyn and set us up for the day. There’s a waiting list, but you can get them shipped internationally –

5 Top Tips for New York

  • Rockefeller Center over the Empire State – You can enjoy the view of the Empire State building itself and it’s a bit cheaper too.
  • Ask a local where to eat – you’ll end up on the expensive tourist streets otherwise and might not take a chance and poke your head in somewhere if it looks a bit odd.
  • Do a bit of research – I’d found out about the High Line, my sister had found the Brooklyn Flea Market and the boys had found the cool bars.
  • Follow a walking tour – whether it’s an actual guide or in a book – as you can then get a feel for a place without wondering if you’re going off track.
  • Stay in Brooklyn! You can easily get over to Manhattan for the day/night, but Brooklyn is a great place to explore and experience.

Charlotte Vallance