7 things you have to do in new york

You got me. The pale skin and constant, needless apologising is a dead giveaway – I’m a Brit. Accustomed to a life of pub gardens, Robinsons squash and Kate Middleton I’ve managed 25 years in gritty, cynical, beautiful London with necessary umbrella constantly in tow.

Now living in NYC, I’m Sarah Jessica Parker in a pink tutu being splashed by a bus; new to the city and irritatingly fresh-faced about it. Armed with the naivety & determination learned from my three British idols (Lady Di, Cheryl Cole, Mary Poppins – too easy) here’s seven ‘things-to-do’ in my new home that I’ve experienced and loved that are better than Britney in a red catsuit:

1) nail salons

Doing your own nails in NYC is like using $20 bills to make paper boats and watching them float away down the Hudson. It’s economically non-viable, especially if you’re cack with your left hand, as I am. Hundreds upon hundreds of salons offering high quality services at bargain basement prices, with awesome add-ons like jelly pedicures and back massages available for very little extra cost. My favourite is Chelsea Nails Salon as a low frills, low cost but high quality option. If you’re looking for something a little fancier, try Townhouse Spa in Midtown who offer alcoholic beverages, bar snacks and the option of a private room booking for groups. Chelsea Nail SalonTownhouse Spa

2) brunch

Shedding its exo-skeleton label as a meal between breakfast and lunch, no longer is brunch a meal exclusive to those with free time around 11am; this betch just went PM. Classy restaurants turn darkened grottos just after midday, behind the closed blinds lies club-style bottle service, DJs and LBDs against the backdrop of Nutella Brioche & Truffle Mac & Cheese (which, funnily enough, just works). Venues pride themselves on the artistic creativity at these events so keep your eyes open for the unique flair at each place. I’d try Bagatelle in Meatpacking or (slightly pricier) Lavo in Midtown East. BagatelleLavo


3) spinning class

I know the lump in your throat and shiver down your spine at the mention of this (usually God-awful) pastime very well; I myself have experienced torture, boredom and homicidal thoughts at the hands of many a spinning instructor. But the NYC gym bike revolution will not let you down – the studios are decked out with a Miami club vibe (disco lighting, electronic/hip-hop tracks) with each bike set up to record & display your stats. The instructors are awesome giving continual guidance & motivational chat throughout the class – and aren’t shy with the neon headbands and Christina Aguilera-style crop tops, which we love. My go-to is Swerve – I like the competitive team set up (less daunting than rider vs. rider) and rhythm-ride style (i.e. you pedal in time to the music) which I find makes it easier to keep up / work harder. Pelaton is the high-tech version offering digital bike screens & regular themed classes (Monday’s Glow in the Dark is pretty funky). Look for Class Pass to get amazing deals on these & loads more. Swerve FitnessPeloton 

4) drinking in west village

A friend (let’s call her…Tara) summoned me to West 14th Street on my second week in the city; on arrival, realising Tara was already blacked-out drunk, it would have been rude not to make best efforts to catch up; hence began my love affair with this neighbourhood. As the slightly classier cousin of the (in my opinion) more notorious East Village, WV offers gems such as Wilfie & Nell and The Standard Biergarten. For the (more) sensible amongst you who are inclined to line their stomach before the Jägerbombs come out try Aria and Old Homestead Steakhouse (the ‘oldest’ in NYC) to execute the food + drinks combo. Wilfie & NellStandard BiergartenAriaOld Homestead Steakhouse

5) chelsea piers

Well accustomed to the inconvenience of constant rain, it’s part of being a Brit to instantly identify opportunities for fun in case of awful weather. Pushing the panic button for me means a trip to Chelsea Piers. Approach with reasonable expectations and an open mind to hit the max on the enjoyment scale. I’d recommend starting at the bar with a trashy bottle of Prosecco to lubricate a subsequent visit to the bowling alley (avoids embarrassment-fuelled arguments on wearing unfashionable bowling shoes / bumpers up vs. down) followed by hot fudge sundaes (+ more Prosecco, naturally) at the Games Arcade. Top the day off taking a swing at the golfing range – if you can time the day right it’s très romantic smashing golf balls off into the sunset over the Hudson. Chelsea Piers

golfing in the stars

 6) frying pan

Conversely, what does the Brit about town do when the Sun has got his hat on? She goes to the Frying Pan. The bar is found on a permanently docked historical rail-float bridge in Chelsea offering picturesque outdoor seating during the day, and a buzzing nightlife vibe after dark. A word to the wise that when the mercury is up this place is a honeypot for New Yorkers seeking white sangria and good times, so aim to arrive early to avoid the queue. Frying Pan

 7) rooftop hopping

‘Parkour?’ I hear you ask? No. I refer to the right of passage that is spending an afternoon/evening filling your Instagram with almost identical pictures of yourself against various skyline scenes of New York from the island’s edgiest rooftop bars. At time of writing NYC is 0°C – clearly the time for these exploits is not now – but to whet your appetite, check out the following rooftops of past and future to get an idea of what awaits you when the robin finally tags in with the hummingbird. Sonny’s Soda ShoppeGansevoort HotelStandard HotelThe DelanceyDream Hotel

6 thoughts on “7 things you have to do in new york

    1. brit • in • nyc

      That’s awesome! I’m planning to post some more ‘off the beaten track’ things to do in the city which will hopefully be useful! There’s only so much time you can stand and gaze at the Empire State Building before needing something with a bit more substance to get stuck into! Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. brit • in • nyc

      Well, I love flannel! But one of the things I adore about NYC is that ANYTHING GOES. There are people from all walks of life with their own style and fashion sense (more ecclectic than flannel I assure you – when you’ve stood next to someone in the Subway wearing cat ears, just because, you’ll understand!) and honestly, everyone is very accepting and not even the most outrageous of dressers get a double take on the street. So – I would double down on your own personal style and just go for it! Only tip I’d give is that it’s going to be prrrreeetty hot! Bring the shades 🙂


leave me a message

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s