Oh New York, this is my 5th time in New York City. This time, instead of staying near Koreatown or Time Square, we booked our hotel near Little Italy to see everything in this area! From New Haven's Milford Station to Grand Central Terminal, we took MTA. It took around 2 hours, which isn't bad at all. MTA is just like Amtrak, but more train-ish, and no Wi-Fi or small tables in front of you. If you haven't read my New Haven post yet, click here to read.
This was actually my first time at Grand Central Terminal. The ceiling interior was nice as well as the view. Grand Central Terminal reminded me of the first episode in Gossip Girl where Serena was back from boarding school! (ahaha) Anyways, I spent 3 days in New York which was another fun experience. So this is a New York City travel guide for you; let's get right into these 12 places!
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1. Ruby's Cafe
My sister actually recommended this cute restaurant! She said this restaurant became popular after Korean idol group, Girl's Generation, had a photoshoot here. I was expecting more of a spacious place, but this restaurant was tiny and crowded. Since you can't make reservations, make sure to avoid peak hours! Thankfully, around 3pm, there weren't a lot of people. We were seated within 5 minutes. The staff was friendly and prompt, and the food came out within 15 minutes. For us, the portion was a bit big, but overall it was tasty. I would love to go back and try new dishes. BTW, you must try the fries, because they are so yummy! They have their own twist in the spices of the fries. See photo below :)
2. Little Italy/Soho
A district with a lot of Italian restaurants. I think this is why the hotel we stayed had a lot of Europeans staying. We stayed in Best Western Bowery Hanbee Hotel to see Little Italy, Soho, & Brooklyn. Little bit about the hotel: It was a great timing to stay here because when we were checking in, the front desk staff told us that they just renovated the hotel. The best part about this hotel for me was their breakfast & the shower. First, there's a lot of menu choices for the breakfast, & it's homemade, which was delicious. The ambience during breakfast is like as if all the guests in the hotel including staffs are like a big happy family. Second, shower. This is because the hot water comes out as soon as you turn on the shower. So you don't have to wait until the water turns warm (really makes a big difference for me). If you ever come to NYC to see this side of the area, Bowery Hanbee Hotel is your place! Not to mention, super clean & friendly staffs! Their customer service is awesome. To view other hotels in New York, click here. Little Italy was around 5 min walk, soho 20 min which is walkable as well, and Brooklyn was easy to go with accessible trains. Read about Q train below.
3. Q Train
There's a new & improved train station called Q train. Starting from the 63rd street up to 96th street, this Q train runs through the upper east side. If you know, New York's trains are normally piled with trash which makes the station disgusting. However, this Q train station is new with few art pieces, elevator, and upgraded trains with good technology! The station is more quiet, and the ambience seems to be quiet better than the others. It got me thinking, and I think the reason they don't really upgrade the others is because even if they did, it might get dirty all over again. Below are some photos I took at the station. Don't forget to read more about Q train's history below!
++Fun fact: In South Korea (where I am originally from), the train stations are highly improved. Not only the station is clean, they have free Wi-Fi, several restrooms, shopping malls, and even food available! :)
4. Argo Cafe
I stumbled by this cafe while heading to Madison Square Park. Also saw the flatiron building! I was looking for tea, rather than a sugary beverage, so I just decided to come here since it looked like it was healthy & I wanted to try a new cafe.
I ordered the hibiscus squeezed tea thinking it would taste like the hibiscus tea at Starbucks, which unfortunately wasn't. Instead it was very syrupy and sweet. It was good, but definitely not what I was looking for. Normally sugary drinks make you more thirsty! One thing that disappointed me was how the server spilled the iced tea all over the lid and didn't even say sorry. When I told him that whether he could change the lid for me, he said "no" (LOL) I don't think I would ever go there again. But I like their cup design; and this cafe is located in a good area to sit down & take a break from walking.
5. Trattoria Dell'Arte
I found this one while looking for an Italian restaurant around upper east side. It's right across from Carnegie Hall. This one had high 4.5 star reviews with a lot of compliments on how the food is flavorful. We decided to give it a try, and yes, it was delicious, not salty at all (I'm saying this because some of the Italian restaurants make their dishes so salty), and with the right portion. I should've took photos of their entrance (it was really pretty) - It was windy & cold this day, I just decided to go in the restaurant thinking I could take a photo later and totally forgot! Bummer. I didn't take the photo for "the Instagram" since this dinner was more of a formal seating, but below is what we got.
Another interesting thing was their wall art. I was just looking around the restaurant from where I sat, and I remember they had these noses of all different artists like Van Gogh for one. Maybe it means that this restaurant attracts foodies? Noses of those artists would've been special? You should definitely check out this place next time when you are looking for a fancy Italian dinner.
6. Magnolia Bakery
The popular bakery near the radio city in New York! After Trattoria Dell'Arte, we decided to get some desserts from Magnolia Bakery. We were greeted by a long line of people waiting to order. We didn't expect it to be this crowded, but maybe it was because of the time. (around 8pm). There's nowhere to sit inside, so you can sit outside at the tables in front of the Rockefeller Center. We got the red velvet cupcake & chocolate cupcake. Both of them were so yummy! We also got lemonade which was super sweet. I didn't know this red velvet cupcake was one of their most popular cupcakes; it was even on the news!
When you normally think of Rockefeller Center, the tall Christmas Tree would pop up on your mind. This day, there was actually a new art piece waiting, the Seated Ballerina. It was so beautiful (see photo below). This was the courtesy of Jeff Koons, who is popular for balloon art as well. I knew I heard of his name from somewhere, and it was from The Broad in Los Angeles. Check out the links to see the art pieces: his tulips, and here's the blue poodle.
7. Brooklyn Bridge
This was one of the most memorable day for us. It was raining when we left our hotel, and by the time we got to the bridge, it was super windy and stormy. It would've been best if we came here on a sunny & bright day. However, I thought it was a good experience to walk the bridge in this weather as well. I want to say thanks to my mom who joined this harsh Brooklyn journey with me. And I didn't forget to take photos, on the bridge & the cool architecture of the bridge. There were barely no people, so I was able to take some cool shots of the bridge without anyone in it (which I prefer). From the bridge, you could also see the Manhattan bridge and the skyscraper.
Soaked by rain, we walked towards DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass).
The Brooklyn Bridge Park was waiting for us to show another view of the Brooklyn Bridge from a different angle. It was great, and it amazed me to see the bridge we just crossed over for a good hour and a half. We also saw two models having a photoshoot inside a car. We knew we had to go somewhere to dry, so we went to the nearest shop, which is the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.
8. Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
This place totally saved us. We were able to dry and stay warm in this place. I'm glad that I didn't get sick because the weather was rainy, windy & cold. In this ice cream shop, the staffs were very friendly. One tip you should remember when coming to this Ice Cream Factory is that they only take cash. We got one hot peppermint tea & 1 scoop (technically two small scoops) of Oreo ice cream. Oreo ice cream was one their special flavor list, so I knew I had to get it. Honestly, I didn't expect much, but it was so delicious!!! I literally didn't stop until I finished the scoops. Another fun story is these spoons are like toy spoons, super adorable. They had another color of the spoon in purple, so I asked for it, & took home as a souvenir :P
9. New York Transit Museum
This museum is for all ages! Very informative and interesting with fun activities. I'm glad I visited this place because it told the whole history about everything especially the Q Train. Did you know Q Train was originally planned to build since the 1919s? But it was stalled after the stock market crashed. Then restarted after WWII, but delayed again during Korean War. Resurrected back in the 1960s, but again the construction was killed by the fiscal crisis in 1970s. I probably wasn't aware of any of this, until I visited this museum, so I'm glad I did. You should too! There are more information on how they built the tunnels and everything in a step-by-step process with texts and videos. They also show how the old train stations used to looked like and how it looks like now. For more, see photos below! It's definitely so cool, and even though I don't live in New York, I feel like the architects, engineers, miners and who contributed to this construction should get a big applause! All the services they have done are for the good.
10. Wild Ginger
I'm so glad I found this place! It's a vegetarian restaurant, just 5 minutes from the Bowery Hanbee Hotel. Totally a neighborhood gem type. We went here for dinner on a rainy day, and these two dishes were perfect. The top dish is called Jap Chae, a Korean dish. It's made with glass noodles and you fry with other veggies. The bottom dish is a regular veggie udon soup. The soup was really warm and as it is a vegetarian restaurant, the soup wasn't oily at all. The food overall came out very fast, and we really enjoyed our dining experience here. I think this place is perfect for a date night or a catch up type of place with one or two of your friends where you can talk. Definitely not a party or loud place.
11. Milk & Cream Cereal Bar
I remember seeing cookiedough icecream videos on Facebook. They said it was in New York! I wasn't actually planning to go because these days all the desserts are made for Instagram, and the portions are huge! While we were coming back from Wild Ginger, I saw this place, and decided to try. As it turns out it was the ice cream place I saw in on Facebook; where they mix the ice cream & cereal together. Milk & Cream Cereal Bar was having a soft opening, and they said they opened around a month ago. A lot of toppings to choose from, basically they mix cereal & ice cream (either vanilla or cookie dough). I got the fruit loops for cereal and vanilla ice cream. For toppings, I got the chocolate chip! For the cone, I got the matcha which I think was a perfect combination. Normally I wouldn't, but I ended up eating it all...like a piggy. It was really delicious though.
12. High Line
I can't forget to write about this place! Beautiful & lovely place to walk. Definitely family-friendly, and it's for everyone. You can see the Hudson River on the side (calm & relaxing), and Whitney Museum of Art right before. My mom told me when she visited the High Line during winter, there wasn't much to see but the railroads. However, now that it's summer, we were able to see these beautiful flowers, trees, and all the other plants covering up the railroads.
So those were the 12 places I've been during my 3 days in New York. 3 days! Yes! It was definitely a blast and for some of them I want to go back. Hope this guide helped, and thank you so much for reading.
By the way, I want to say thanks to Grammarly for helping me throughout this post. This app, which you can add it as a plugin tool on Safari or Mac, is awesome because it tells me if I have any grammatical or spelling errors on my post. I think in writing, accuracy in words are very important. This tool will also help you when writing a paper, or sending an email to your professor, employer, or in any formal situations.
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