Whenever friends come to visit it seems that they often come at the most inopportune times. "Hey Nax I just landed in New York for a few hours do you have time to hang out?" I mean come on, really!! I have lived in China, Spain, and Thailand and not once did people call me on the same day to hang out. I guess New York is that place. The place of dreams, opportunity, and excitement!
That's why I created this list for moments when that random second cousin, or 2nd grade classmate hits you up and says "Hey stopping by in NYC, lets hang out!!," you'll be ready.
1. The High Line
Whenever someone new to New York is visiting this is the place that I recommend the most. I guess its because its not as busy or well known as places like Time Square or the Statue of Liberty, although I do hear more people talking about it nowadays. But to me its a cool getaway from the hustle and bustle of New York and I think its incredibly unique. I mean where else can you and go and walk along an elevated converted railroad garden in New York! Its also a great use of old space that would have otherwise been torn down sooner or later.
2. Central Park
What can I say about this place......I love it! I've actually walked bottom to top; it took about two hours to do and it was one of the most peaceful two hours that I've spent in New York. You could literally spend an entire day at Central Park and not even realize you're in New York. Just like the Highline its another getaway from the insanity of the City. Its amazing how this 1.3 square mile park is situated right in the middle of Manhattan!
3. Brooklyn Bridge
How can any trip to New York City be without a visit to the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. This over 130 year old bridge has been in countless movies and is known all around the world plus its completely free!
Once you make yourself across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge I highly recommend taking a stroll in DUMBO and Brooklyn Bridge Park. DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Brooklyn Overpass. The origin of the name DUMBO has bit of history of itself, it was coined as an anti-marketing term to keep developers out but eventually just like Manhattan soon became gentrified.
By far Dumbo and Brooklyn Bridge Park are the best places to see the skyline of Manhattan. There isn't a place anywhere else to get view like that in my opinion.
5. St. Mark's food tour
I'm a big foodie so whenever people come to visit I have to give them a food tour of New York. You can only experience so much of New York with just your eyes; you have to taste it too to get the full experience. I love going to the East Village to St. Marks Square for a food tour.
Ippudo Ramen house. Its usually about 1-2 hour wait depending on the time and day you go. If you're going on a Friday or Saturday forget about it. Mondays to Thursday during the day are not bad. Whichever day you decide to go you can use the wait time to your advantage if you plan it right.
First things first go to Ippudo and put your name in the system. They have a cool app that you can download which shows you how soon your table will be ready plus they call you when its ready too.
Instead of waiting for a table at Ipuddo for hours I take my friends on the first legs of the food tour. First stop Mamouns Falaffel, this place serves cheap and delicious falafels but be carful the hot sauce is super hot!! So use caution before using. Next stop used to be Japadog when it was there but they moved to the west coast unfortunately :(. So instead of taking my friends there I take them to this secret Tako Yaki spot just adjacent to St. Marks Square called Otafuku. This place has some of the best Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki outside of Japan. This place is literally a whole in the wall; there aren't even any tables to sit at.
Our final stop before our grand finale at Ippudo is Pommes Frites that serve some of the best Belgian Frites (fries) outside of Belgium. I love this place not only for the friendly service but because they have over 30 different types of sauces that you can choose from to accompany your frites.
After our epic food tour we finally make our way back to Ippudo for an epic meal of Ramen and pork buns if there's room. haha.
This is my On the spot/Emergency list of Top 5 New York. Please use at your own risk. :)
Top 5 New York
2. Central Park
3. Brooklyn Bridge
4. Dumbo/Brooklyn Bridge Park
5. St. Marks Square food tour