Okay, I’m finally ready to share the first leg of our month long honeymoon road trip across the US of A. So here it is, part one of our crazy cool adventure! You can read all about how we rocked our wedding in this post. And since I’m running the show on this little corner of the internet I will be sharing all the details (obviously not ALL the details if you know what I mean) of our amazing honeymoon road trip in the coming weeks (months probably) to extend the happy honeymoon vibes and provide you with tips and tricks of what to do and where to go when planning a (coast to coast) road trip across the USA. This week I’m starting the honeymoon series with the first stop on our trip: New York City. Let’s go!
“I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline” – Ayn Rand
In the summer of 2010 boy met girl while studying at Harvard University and they fell madly in love. They visited New York twice that summer and the city will always be intertwined with the start of their love story. Flash forward to five years later and the boy and girl are now newlyweds embarking on their grand USA honeymoon adventure. So obviously that trip had to start in NYC. What better place to start any coast to coast road trip than the concrete jungle where dreams are made off?!
No, Jersey City is not New York
Okay, technically Jersey City is in New Jersey and if you’ve ever met a New Yorker (or watched any show based in NYC) you’ll know that people who dare to live in New Jersey are, let’s say, frowned upon. Yep, New York is snobbish like that, and rightfully so if you ask me. Amsterdammers frown upon people who say they are born in Amsterdam but actually had their crib in Gein (you know who you are!). But. But! Please take my advice and do not solely look for a place to stay in (on?) Manhattan. I’ve been to the city multiple times and trust me, you don’t want to spend your entire budget on a crazy expensive hotel room because you’re not going to be there a lot anyway. It’s New York for crying out loud, the only time you’ll spent in that hotel room is a few hours of sleep – if any.
Anyway, we found a lovely and affordable Airbnb in Jersey City and stayed with a fun young family in an amazing street with brownstone houses and the coolest street art around the corner. Also around the corner: Wonderbagels. You know they must be good when people start lining up way before opening hours. Best part about our Jersey City home: only a 5 minute walk to the PATH train that brings you to the WTC station in 2 stops. So when you get off the train you’ll be smack in the middle of Manhattan. Yes!
Move your feet
Every time I visit New York I try to explore as much as possible by roaming around the streets on foot. Yes, the subway is very convenient and hailing a cab might make you feel all badass and important, but if you want to immerse yourself in that famous NYC vibe, you have to get off your ass and move your feet. Pro tip: don’t try to see everything everywhere in one single visit. Life is all about making choices, and so is a trip to New York. Pick an area that you want to explore and stick to it. It will save you so much time crisscrossing all over the city. This time around we decided to focus on the Western parts of Lower Manhattan, so roughly the hip(ster) hoods of TriBeCa, Soho, Nolita, Greenwich Village and Chelsea. My favorite area is definitely the block around Kenmare Street and Mott Street, with its cool shops, cafés and street art. This is what my f*ck-it-let’s-move-to-New-York-dreams are made off. Word. Grab a quick protein breakfast at the Egg Shop, and don’t forget to pick up a few cupcakes at the Little Cupcake Bakeshop.
Philadelphia New York
Living next to Amsterdam central station I have many (oh so many) tourist encounters everyday on my way to work, and it always makes me smile to see the excited and enchanted look on their faces when they roll their luggage out on the streets of old Amsterdam, immediately grabbing their cameras, oohing and aahing at the sight of those lovely and quirky canal houses. And for some reason New York turns this cool laid back explorer chick *ahum* into a full on crazy photo-snapping tourist when wandering out and about in the city. I am totally hooked on the architecture, from its brownstone townhouses to its art deco 1930s skyscrapers, and the cast-iron residential structures in Soho. I always wonder what kind of people are living inside those buildings, and I imagine them sitting inside their gorgeous loft-style apartments (hello there, exposed brick wall) eating Chinese take out, or having their morning coffee and bagel on the stairs outside, or having drinks on the rooftop (hello there, twinkling lights) while watching the sunset. Yeah. I know. I watch way too many TV shows.
The High Line
Definitely one of my favorite spots in New York is The High Line, on the border of Meatpacking District and Chelsea. It’s a very cool park built on top of the old elevated railroads of the West Side Line. It has been re-purposed as a public space in the early 2000s thanks to a community nonprofit. Although it’s a very popular park, both by locals and tourists alike, it feels very secluded and calm due to the higher elevation. It helps you escape ánd experience the bustling city at the same time. And also, there’s a little Dutch touch: the landscaping architect was our very own Piet Oudolf (yep, I had to Google him). Next to the lovely plants there’s also some pretty cool street art to be found along the high line, with the most photographed one being this wonderful mural from Kobra, based on the famous 1945 V-day photo on Time Square by Alfred Eisenstaedt.
Food is always a big part of our travels and obviously New York is no exception. I’d been excited for months for our truly amazing culinary experience at Dan Barber’s Blue Hill. If you have seen the Netflix documentary Chef’s Table you probably get why I was so excited to eat here, and if you haven’t seen it, you should. Blue Hill is not only awarded with a Michelin star but is also one of the world’s best 50 restaurants, and it’s the absolute real deal when it comes to farm-to-table dining. Everything on the menu comes from their own Stone Barns farm and other local vendors, and although it’s not a vegetarian restaurant, veggies are the showstoppers here. We went for the farmer’s feast and enjoyed all 7 courses (not counting the many amuse-bouches) and some wonderful cocktails and wines. There is a no-phones-and-cameras-in-the-dining-room policy so you just have to trust me (or watch Chef’s Table) when I say it was freaking delicious. HIGHLY recommended!
The Butcher’s Daughter
Another food hotspot that was on my list for this visit was The Butcher’s Daughter, home of kale eating and kale drinking hipsters. Fun fact: even though kale has been all the rage in the healthy food scene in the US these last few years, us Dutchies have been eating kale since forever ago. Yes people, that’s right. It’s thé Dutch old school dish that everyone grew up with: boerenkool stamppot (kale mashed with potatoes). And it’s actually my man’s favorite dish, hence the boerenkool shirt I got him. But, credit where credit is due, thanks to the juice sipping hipsters in the US we now use kale in so much more ways than only in old-fashioned mushy meals.
Anyway, we were lucky enough to get a table at The Butcher’s Daughter’s lovely sunny terrace and had an amazing lunch. As an avocado aficionado (note to self: put that on a shirt) I obviously went for the avocado toast with eggs, and my man had the Reuben sandwich. Interesting fact: at this butcher you will find no meat. “Wait what? You just mentioned a Reuben sandwich.” Yes, that’s right. A vegan version that is. I know, that may sound super gross to some of you. But he actually liked it very much, and I only told him halfway through that his sandwich didn’t have anything to do with animals. Go earth!
Million Dollar View
Those of you who’ve been to New York probably already know this, but the absolute best view of the Manhattan skyline is seen from Brooklyn Bridge Park. Yes, in Brooklyn. Yes, under the Brooklyn Bridge. In 2010 we sort of accidentally stumbled upon this spot while we were road tripping with our two Harvard buddies and since then the park has been transformed into a slick – but still green – area. What’s not changed: the million dollar view. I mean, it doesn’t get any better than this, right?
After three days in the city we picked up our crazy cool Escape Campervan and it was time to start our coast to coast road trip and head West, all the way to California. Another 5000 miles to go… Stay tuned for the next posts of our honeymoon adventure across ‘Merica! And remember: love is the answer!