City Guide: New York City

Ciao, friends. It’s been a few months. A lot has happened. I got engaged. I changed jobs. I started taking French classes (again). I traveled to some new places: Morocco, Cuba, Sedona, to name a few and even took a solo trip to Paris. What brought me back to type up this post? You guys! Well actually, a bit of laziness brought me back + you guys.

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If I had to guess, I receive 2-4 texts each month with friends, family or friends of family or family of friends who are asking for recommendations of what to do in NYC. Where to stay. Where to eat. What to do. Here’s a list of my favorites, a mix of the old and the new. The classic NYC can’t misses and the new & trendy. So instead of texting it out for the umpteenth time, here we are:

WHERE TO STAY

Best for highrollers

The Plaza Hotel || Need I say more? Live like Eloise. Walk through the revolving doors and find yourself in a little slice of NYC heaven. Enjoy a glass of champagne at the Champagne Bar. Tip: If you can’t afford an Eloise lifestyle, dip downstairs to the Plaza Food Hall to discover NYC staples like Luke’s Lobster, and my favorite black and white cookies in the entire city from William Greenberg‘s.

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Best for seeing the sites

The Freehand Hotel || It doesn’t get trendier or cozier than this. The Freehand made it’s big debut in the city last year and has been a favorite of travelers and locals alike ever since opening its’ doors. Enjoy the lounge area and the midtown location, in close proximity to the lights of Broadway. Bert and I stayed at the Freehand in Miami and love the hostel concept and how the hotel aims to bring travelers together through communal spaces.

Best if you want to feel like a real New Yawk-er

The Hoxton Hotel || Retreat from the hustle & bustle of the city and stay in the newly opened Hoxton Hotel across the East River in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sleek and sexy, this hotel brand made waves in London, Amsterdam and Paris before opening their first location in the U.S. in Williamsburg.

WHERE TO EAT

How to choose? There are too many life changing restaurants in this city. My rule? You can’t leave NYC without trying the below cuisines. Pick at least 3 from this list to leave feeling like you tackled the NYC food scene. When all else fails, go to Smorgasburg, The Plaza Food Hall, Dekalb Food Hall, or Canal Street Market to have a variety at your fingertips.

Bagels

Ess-a-bagel || A true NYC bagel that’s guaranteed to be larger than your head.

Russ & Daughters || Top off your bagel with a large selection of cured and dried fish.

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Frankel’s || Yummy Brooklyn bagel sandwiches with a Jewish deli feel.

Italian

Il Buco || They have Iberco Ham! And delicious pasta dishes. Have never been disappointed here.

Spaghetti Incident || Bert and I used to live above this spot. Homemade pasta, with most dishes coming in right around $10.

Arthur Ave. || See “What to Do”

Lilia || Please order the Squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese, aperol spritz’ and anything with truffle.

Pasquale Jones || I saw Jay-Z here!!!! …And the food is very good…

Noodles (Pho/Chinese/Ramen)

King’s Co Imperial || These are the best American soup dumplings you will ever find. Great alternative to trekking out to Queens but probably takes as long when you account the wait time that is typically 1-2 hours. Worth it. Order the soup dumplings, green beans, and any noodle dish.

Pho Grand || My heart will always be with the pho shops in Chinatown. I have tried them all. I keep coming back for the vegetarian pho at this haunt.

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Mu Ramen || 15-seat cash only ramen spot in Long Island City. The ramen here is the best in the city and will take your breath away.

Bad & Bougie

The Odeon || An NYC staple. Transport yourself to a French bistro that feels equal parts French and NYC. A neighborhood favorite.

Loring Place || Chef Danny Kluger’s restaurant. The food amazes. The ambiance is sophisticated. You will leave happy.

The Polo Bar || A place to see and be seen. The food is fine. You’re really going for the fancy matchbook and the oil paintings of horses. And the close-to-guaranteed celebrity spotting.

The NoMad Hotel || Dark and intimate. Recommend going here on a rainy night. Something about it just feels right. Order the truffle pasta.

Eleven Madison Park || It’s dinner and a show and it’s the #1 Restaurant in the World.

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Pizza

Paulie Gee’s || Another Greenpoint favorite. No wonder I love this hood! So many great restaurants. Try the hot honey sauce on your ‘za. We keep it stocked in our pantry.

Emmy Squared || Get anything with pepperoni. The yummiest, crunchiest, nickel-sized ‘roni is coming your way. Order the off the menu burger. You won’t regret it.

La Margherita || Our favorite slice shop in the Lower East Side. Best served after a night of dancing nearby.

WHAT TO DO 

Walk, walk, walk!

  • Central Park
  • High Line
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Along the brownstones of the Upper East Side
  • Through Williamsburg
  • Down 5th Avenue (especially during the holiday season)
  • Bryant Park
  • The quaint boutiques of the West Village or NoLita

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My favorite museums

  • The Frick || Hard to believe this used to be someone’s house. I love this museum because it was one of my grandpa’s childhood favorites. The permanent collection contains many of the same paintings he remembers through the eyes of his young self.
  • The Whitney || A very “doable” American modern art museum. You can tackle it in a few hours.
  • MoMa || The grand dame of modern art. You can spend all day here.
  • The Met Breuer ||The best part about this museum is the beautiful Flora Bar where you can enjoy a delicious glass of wine before or after enjoying the artwork.

Day trips

  • Take a trip to Queens for soup dumplings
  • Go to The Bronx and enjoy the real little Italy – after burn some calories at the NY Botanical Gardens
  • Coney Island and get tickets to the Sideshow

Other NYC musts

  • See a show – or two, or three!
  • Have a picnic in Central Park
  • Snag tickets to Shakespeare in the Park
  • Sit in a cafe and people watch
  • Window shop in SoHo

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Remember, the city is your playground. xC

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Corianna’s City Guide: A Perfect Day in Park Slope

I don’t remember the last time I’ve had a three day weekend that didn’t come attached to an itinerary. This past weekend was one of those unique times. I have the advantage of living in a city with many neighborhoods and boroughs, so it was really just a matter of choosing which one to explore for a staycation. The choice: Park Slope.

Park Slope is located in Brooklyn, and is a suburb of Manhattan. The neighborhood is nestled into neatly packed streets where brownstones line avenues, growing more ornate as they reach up the slope towards Prospect Park. Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s Central Park, though way more manageable in size. There are large fields where families play frisbee, dogs are off-leash and guitar chords echo under limestone bridges.

Corianna Goes XC’s Itinerary for a day in Park Slope: 

You can get to Park Slope by taking the B, Q, 2, 3, F, or G.

Make your way to Union Street and walk through a maze of high value brownstones.

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Head over to grab some fuel for the day and brunch at Rose Water . A prix-fixe brunch menu includes a house made beverage and delectable entree. Below are the bosc pear crepes filled with ricotta cheese. The homemade bread basket was an unexpected treat from the host, too!

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After brunch, it’s time for a Bloody Mary. Before leaving Rose Water, look across the street and marvel at the community grocery co-op then walk towards Union Hall, where you will be cozy in the dimly lit bar warmed by two fireplaces. Enjoy a game of bocce ball while listening to good tunes and sipping your drink.

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After a close game of bocce ball, it’s time to get some fresh air in Prospect Park. On Saturday’s there is a Farmer’s Market towards the entrance. I recommend fresh cheese from Cato Corner Farm.

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After a walk through the park, you will have a nice dose of suburban living before heading back to Manhattan, or whichever area you hail from. The best part? No waiting in an airport/train station/etc., cause that’s the beauty of a staycation – discovering your own city and its surroundings.