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Get out of Manhattan

I’ve visited New York on several occasions and like to think I’ve started to chip away at a few of the 7,000 restaurants and bars. A few tips if your thinking of going. To start, don’t think you have visited NYC if you haven’t left Manhattan.

Brooklyn is the cool kid, with its prospering coffee culture, charming Victorian brownstones, thriving art seen and buzzy food and bar venues. To start you need to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and discover DUMBO, short for (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). Its a huge park on the East River overlooking Manhattan. The views of the skyline at night are fantastic.

My top spots:

  1. Visit St Ann’s Warehouse, a former tobacco factory that is a thriving live performance venue, specially on weekends. Great pre-show bar, Bar Jolie.
  2. Vinegar Hill House. A great restaurant or brunch stop. Cosy wood filled dining spaces or if its sunny eat in the gardens take in the view.
  3. Bluestone Lane. Australian outpost cafe. Sells Brooklyn’s hottest new food craze, avo on toast.
  4. Grimaldi’s Pizza. Its an NY institution. Love Frank Sinatra on the loop. Be prepared to line up!
  5. Lots of galleries around, try Klompching Gallery, Walker Street. Specialises in contemporary photography.
  6. Go to Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park and take a trip on the Grand Banks wooden schooner while you eat soft-shell crab po’boys, lobster rolls and oysters washed down with craft beers.
  7. The most popular Instagram spot in Brooklyn (if not the whole of NYC), Washington Street where the Empire State Building can be seen through the arch of the Manhattan Bridge.
  8. Last stop today, Gran Electrica. Mexican bar and restaurant serving the best Tequila based cocktails. Sit under the Brooklyn Bridge while you enjoy the sun setting over Manhattan.

Visit The Bronx. Has a reputation for being a little seedy, but be brave its fine walking around during the day. Home to some of the must visit places in New York City. Hop on the subway, Metro North trains leaving from Grand Central.

My top spots:

  1. Take in the killer views from Wave Park, an outdoor garden and cultural space overlooking the Hudson River. Enjoy live Jazz on weekends.
  2. Head to City Island, a small island just off the borough famous for foodies to enjoy some of the best seafood on the East Coast of the US. Take a bus to the end of the island to Johnny’s famous Reef Restaurant and try the best fried shrimp and Pina Coladas.
  3. The Bronx Museum of the Arts. Exhibits from artists of African, Asian and Latin America descent. Beautiful building, worth a visit and its free. Trust me.
  4. Yankee Stadium. You can’t say you have been to New York if you haven’t taken in a baseball game. Easy subway ride from Manhattan, allow extra time on game days as the trains will be crowded. (A little later I’ll devote a whole Blog to setting you up for a day at the ball park.)
  5. Woodlawn Cemetery. As a photographer I love finding places out of the norm. If you’re like me you will love this place. Over 300,000 Tombs and Mausoleums from Titanic victims to the high society Woolworths family and everyone in between. Take the #4 train (Lexington Av express) to the end of the line.
  6. The Bronx Zoo. Its the largest metro zoo in the US. Place on your to-do-list. This place is huge, over 4,000 animals. Great afternoon walking around in the sunshine.

There are another three boroughs (neighbourhoods) in New York City that we need to explore. Stay in tune and I will write up my ‘top spots’ list in later blogs.

Save on the expensive New York Hotels, Sleep outside Manhattan.

Other boroughs provide plenty of accomodation options and are an attractive solution to those travelling on a tighter budget. The down side is of cause the longer commute times to tourist attractions but budget-minded travellers can still enjoy views of iconic skyscrapers and get that, living like a local experience with the boroughs unique cultural enclaves and burgeoning art and food scenes. Its an easy commute from anywhere, simply use your subway Metro Card when going into Manhattan.

Stay in touch, I’ll let you in on my 10 best places to eat and drink in the Big Apple…. you wont be disappointed.

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