I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Joel Hiscutt, creator of the ever-popular podcast "Look Like A Local: Travelers Not Tourists." Unlike most travel guides, "Look Like A Local" features real insight from local residents of travel destinations, so you can avoid the "tourist traps" and eat, shop, and explore like a local. Each interview features a local from different cities across North America, and this week (Episode 030) was an interview with yours truly. Here are some of my recommendations, but be sure to check out the full interview on Joel's free iTunes podcast here.
Where to Eat
New York City has some of the best eats the world has to offer. Prices can vary, but a typical *decent* meal in the Big Apple will cost you upwards of $20 a plate. Having lived on the Upper East Side for over 3 years, some of my favorite culinary pleasures take place uptown.
What to See
New York City has so much to offer when it comes to local attractions. I love how festive and "Christmasy" it is in the winter, yet the summer months boast free concerts in Central Park and the optimal weather for visiting Ellis Island. No matter in which season you visit, there is something to see and do.
Where to Shop
Shopping in New York City is what you make of it. Of course, Manhattan boasts all the corporate stores you're used to at home and plenty of high-end designers on Madison Avenue. Personally, I would recommend the local shops that you can't find anywhere else. Necessary Clothing is my favorite for inexpensive, trendy pieces and is best suited for girls under 30. It's like a local Forever 21. Zara, although not technically local, offers high-quality affordable clothes and has clothes for men, women, and children of all ages. If you're looking to spend some major cash, Wink has a beautiful selection of trendy clothes as well. Each of these stores have several locations, so be sure to research which one is closest to your hotel or the area you're exploring.
Friday Night Hot Spots
When it comes to Friday night hot-spots, New York City is your oyster. If you're looking for a casual yet trendy spot outside to enjoy some fresh air, BBar is the place to be. For a "bougie" Las Vegas style evening, you have to check out the Gansevoort, which also boasts a lively rooftop. Watch out though- drinks here are very expensive! (Think $18 for a vodka & soda.) My all-time favorite spot is the Penny Farthing: a low-key, affordable pub with great music and a hipster feel. It's always a great crowd!
How to be a Good Tourist
Now you know where to go and what to see, you're going to want to know how to act. Being a tourist in NYC can be super-stressful. People always talk about the hectic energy in the city, and it's 100% real. Everyone is in a hurry and there are a lot of us! If you can remember one thing: it's to treat the sidewalk like a road. Stay to the right, keep up with the pace, pass on the left, and pull over to the side if you need to take a break. Other tips?
- Use Google Maps and leave that big ol' fashioned map at home. You can even use Google Maps to help navigate the subway system. New Yorkers do this all the time!
- If you need to ask directions- try to find someone who's not in a hurry or about to jump on a train in the subway. Try hopping into a deli or a store and asking people in line.
- New York city is a grid, so if you know which direction you're heading, you're less likely to get lost. A good rule of thumb is to remember that Evens= east. (E stands for East, and the traffic on Even numbered streets always head East. Got it?) If you can find East, you can find North, South, and West. (In other news, the traffic on odd numbered streets always head West.)
- Touristy areas are always more expensive, so if you're on a budget steer clear of Midtown, SoHo and parts of TriBeCa and FiDi. Yelp is extremely helpful, but you can always ask your concierge where (s)he would eat or visit in the area. They'll probably point you to a cool neighborhood gem.
- For a proper guide on how to be a NYC tourist with a few good laughs, check out the following video from Glove & Boots:
"Look Like a Local: Travelers Not Tourists" is available for free subscription and download on iTunes here. Be sure to subscribe and rate the podcast, and of course, check out my interview: Episode 030 Travel to New York City With Jess Feakins.