New York City Guide

After multiple visits to New York City I decided it was time I created my own guide to this crazy city.  This is very much a rough draft right now, but I wanted to start putting down the things I value in NYC.
It's safe to safe to say that New York City is the biggest, craziest, most interesting city I have ever visited.  I went from having no desire to visit to looking forward to each opportunity I have to spend even just a day there.  I love it more and more each time I go.  It's huge and chaotic and it's impossible to see everything you want in one visit, but if you come open-minded I'm quite sure you'll enjoy your time there very much.  Make a list of the top things you want to do then aim for that while being flexible and willing to adjust.  Oh and be sure to come hungry because there's a whole lot of good food you're going to need to try.

Sights:

Ground Zero -This is a very worthwhile place to visit.  It's sobering and sad, but also encouraging and inspiring.  If the museum is open, definitely stop there as well.  Give yourself plenty of time here because it takes a while to get through security.
Brooklyn Bridge - I have walked and ridden a bike across and loved both.  According Nomadic Matt, "Walk across Brooklyn bridge at night. I spent the summer in NYC, and this was by far the coolest experience I had. If you walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn  there is a cool park on the other side where you can go down by the water, but if you go from Brooklyn to Manhattan, you will constantly see the most amazing view of Manhattan at night."
Highline Park - a really pretty park created along old rail lines.  There are great views, places to grab snacks and benches for sitting.  I went at sunset and it was fun to just walk around and grab gelato and explore.  
Central Park - walk around, sit down and take it all in.  Eat some food, go to a concert or just chill.The contrast of park and skyline is really incredible.  Go ice skating in the winter.  
Chelsea Market - a collection of food places offering everything from groceries to snacks to restaurants.
Eatly - fun, Italian heaven.  It's kind of like an Italian Whole Foods.
Flat Iron Building - well, because it's famous.
Broadway Show - because you're in New York and there are always so many good choices.
Meat Packing District - cool area with lots of trendy places to eat and shop.
Wall Street - see the Bull
Battery Park - at the Southern end of Manhattan it's where you'll head to take a ferry to Ellis or Staten Island.  It's not worth going out of the way for, but there are always street performers and fun things going on.  A pretty place to wander around and look out onto the water. If you feel like wandering around a cool area just head south of 20th and there's lots to explore.
SoHo - Great shopping, right by Canal Street.  Plenty of big, high-end stores to wander in and out of.
Canal Street - fake purse heaven.  Lots of knock-off bags and wallets, jewelry and other random items.  You might find a few good purchases there if you're willing to put in some time and are not afraid to barter. They are no longer allowed to sell fake purses (with LV, Coach, MJ etc emblems) so the selection isn't quite as good.  A lot of it felt very cheap and cheesy to me. 
The Standard Hotel - it's fun to go up to the top for free and look at the views even if you don't stay to order a drink.  Very classy and high end feel to it.
Empire State Building - Going up to the top is just about the most cliche New York tourist experience you can have.  However, I found it fairly expensive and time-consuming.  I went at night and while the views were incredible, it's something I only need to do once.  
Fifth Avenue - so much shopping!  Enormous versions of your favorite stores and new ones you might not know about, but end up loving.  Fun to walk by St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Trump Towers.
Dylan's Candy Bar - it's cute and fun.  Not quite as awesome as I had envisioned, but if you have a sweet tooth and you're in the area it's worth going to.
Ellis Island - classic NYC tourist stop.  I've never been, but think it would be neat to go to sometime.  It was closed because of Hurricane Sandy last time I went, but is a place I'd like to visit eventually so I can learn more about the immigrants who came to NYC and see Lady Liberty herself up close.
Ferry to Staten Island - not too expensive or long and you can get to go past Ellis Island and see the statue of Liberty as well as the NYC skyline which is pretty.
MOMA and MET - I feel a bit jaded about having to pay a good amount for a museum when we have such good ones here in DC, but I'm sure if you appreciate art they are worth it.  I've been to the MET and it was great.  But again, I'm not sure if it was worth the price.
Late Night Shows:random, but it would be really fun to go to a tapping if we could get tickets.  I went to a tapping of Jimmy Kimmel in California once and it was so much fun.  Such a fun vibe and neat to be there in person and see what happens behind the scenes while it all happens live. http://www.cbs.com/shows/late_show/tickets/  http://www.latenightwithjimmyfallon.com/about/tickets/  http://gonyc.about.com/od/tvtapings/p/snl_tickets.htm
LDS Temple - It's in the middle of Manhattan (West of Central Park near Lincoln Circle) but yet blends in so well with its surroundings that it's easy to miss.  Come here for church, for a session or just to admire from the outside.
Grand Central Terminal - supposedly you're not supposed to call it Grand Central Station.  Either way, it's worth stopping by if you're in the area.  You can't help but feel like you're in a movie being filmed at Christmas time if you stop there at rush hour.  Masses of people swarming and running around you every which way.
Musem of Natural History
Rockefeller
Times Square - Get broadway tickets at the TKTS booth.  Stand at the top of the stairs and watch yourself on the big screen in the car commercial.  Look around and take pics of the bright neon lights.  Look for the naked cowboy.  Go shopping and stay until 2 am at Forever 21 if you like.  You'll need that long to make your way through all of the levels.  Stop at the giant Toys R Us and ride the Ferris Wheel.
Brooklyn Heights Promenade - supposedly one of the most romantic places in NYC.  You can see the Manhattan skyline, Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge from here.




Food:

Magnolia Bakery - lots of great treats, but they're very famous for their banana pudding and for good reason.  It tastes just like banana cream pie.  So yummy.

Pizza - loved Lombardi's, really liked John's and didn't think Grimaldi's was anything extra special.

Laduree - macaroons.  I think it's their only US location and I've heard it's delicious.  Plus it looks like a super cute place.

Meatball Shop - I haven't been here, but hear it's a true New York place to go for a good late night snack.
Momofuku Milk Bar - Their rack pie is great, but the candy pie is even better.  I bet the birthday milkshake is pretty decent too.
Levain Bakery - super, super famous NYC cookies.  They are big and heavy as a brick!  I actually didn't love them and I tried a couple of flavors, but I think that maybe it's just me because everyone else loves them and it seems like it's just somewhere you have to go in New York.
Cafeteria - best brunch ever.  Must come here.  Truly a favorite New York meal.  So fresh and delicious.  Not to mention, the most beautiful men work there.  
Beauty and Essex - small plates.  Expensive.  Need a reservation about a month in advance.  Despite all of that it's worth it.  So cute inside, amazing food, feels a bit hipster and exclusive.
Schmackery's - great cookie place.  The name is fun and the cookies are good and unique.  Not worth going out of your way for, but if you're in the neighborhood, stop by.
Shack Shake - 
The Smith Restaurant - Taza said it's good and I trust her opinion so I'd like to try it next time I'm in New York.
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory - I've heard their ice cream is amazing, but have yet to try it myself.  
Cronut - I need to try one of these!



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