The Post Grad’s Guide to New York City
A couple of weeks ago Chris and I spent the weekend in New York City and it was ah-mazing! Despite growing up in New England, I’d only been twice before and had never stayed overnight in the city. We planned the trip last year because Chris got tickets to a super nerdy (sorry Chris) concert – the symphony orchestra for the Kingdom Hearts video game series. While the superfans were a little much, the venue and music were nice, and hey, I got a weekend trip to NYC.
Also, just a little FYI, my knowledge of New York is like this big (aka basically nonexistent) so if you’re reading this and you start thinking to yourself, ‘this girl has no idea what she’s talking about,’ you’re probably right. But that’s ok – if you have recommendations for my next trip I’d love to hear them!
Where to Stay
Like most post grads, I’m on a budget and staying in NYC is definitely not the best way to be saving money. We stayed in Queens at a Comfort Inn right next to the Queensboro Plaza subway stop, which was only about 10-15 minutes away from Manhattan. The hotel was around $170 a night, which isn’t too bad compared to other places we looked at. The room was small, but since we weren’t there much it wasn’t a big deal. And it was clean and that’s really all that matters.
Where to Eat & Drink
Unlike previous trips to NYC, this one was based around where we wanted to eat instead of sights we wanted to see. I now swear by this method of traveling because it exposes you to new areas that you might not otherwise have explored.
Black Seed Ok, would a trip to NYC be complete if you didn’t seek out the best bagels ever? No, no it wouldn’t. Black Seed was amaaaaaazing! I’ve had some incredible bagels in my life, but this was far and away the best one ever (sorry to my Maine faves). There are a few locations, but we went to the one in Nolita. Pretty small, but it was cute and we found seating. Get the everything bagel toasted with scallion cream cheese. You won’t be disappointed.
Parm So Chris is a big sandwich person and I’m like a ‘yeah, sandwiches are fine’ person, but Parm has changed the game. Everything I thought I knew about meatball parms is dead because Parm has literally redefined what they are. Ok, this sounds ridiculous, like how could it be that good, but trust me. If you do nothing else in the city, go here and get the meatball parm and let your life be changed forever. And be sure to get it on their hero bread.
Taco Morelos This was another lunch spot for us, but honestly it should have been dinner because we stuffed ourselves. It. Was. So. Good. The place was so tiny (there were only three tables I think), but these were some of the best tacos I’ve ever had. I got three veggie ones and Chris got one chicken, one steak, and one carnitas.
Thai @ Lex So we went here because we were leaving the Met and the food there is crazy expensive and this was close by. It definitely wasn’t the best thai food I’ve ever had, but it was really good and the service was fast. I got shrimp pad thai and Chris got the spicy basil fried rice. Unfortunately we missed the lunch special, but apparently it’s a good deal if you’re looking for something cheap.
West End Hall So we went here for dinner and it was pretty good. It’s like a pub/beer garden with mostly barbecue food. To be honest there wasn’t a lot that interested me on the menu, but I got the barbecue wings and they were insanely good. My biggest problem with the place was that it was so incredibly loud that Chris and I had to move outside because we couldn’t even hear each other. The outdoor seating was nice, though, so that was a plus.
Broadway Dive This bar was very eccentric and wasn’t actually a dive bar, so I’d recommend it. It was very casual and laid-back and had people of a wide range of ages in there. There was a big beer selection (including some Maine beers). Also, the woman who was our bartender, who I’m pretty sure was the owner and appeared to be the only person working there, was really cool and friendly.
Coffee: Ok so we went to a lot of different coffee shops and they were all amazing so I’m just going to list them: Happy Bones NYC, Think Coffee, Bean Me, and Abraço. You can’t go wrong with any of them.
What To Do
The Metropolitan Museum of Art This was my first time going to the Met and I loved it! We actually went twice because it was so good and also really big so we missed some stuff the first time. The Met is awesome for cash-strapped post grads because you pay whatever you want to get in. You can literally pay $1. One of my favorite exhibits, which is only there until July 30, was the Irving Penn Centennial exhibit. If you enjoy photography and fashion, I highly recommend it.
Strand Bookstore OH. MY. GOD. I was in book heaven! I could have spent the whole weekend here. It has over 2.5 million books. 2.5 million!! Unfortunately I didn’t buy any books because then I would have had to lug them around all day, but I did buy a really cute tote bag and I’ve used it pretty much every day since I bought it. If I lived in NYC it wouldn’t be rent or food that would bankrupt me, it would be this store.
Honestly, we didn’t do much else. I know that sounds boring, but like I said earlier, the trip was really based around food and coffee shops and then exploring different neighborhoods near them. Aside from the Met we didn’t do anything touristy, which was really nice. It showed me a new side of New York. A calmer, less chaotic city that I could actually see myself living in one day. After all, that is the dream.
What are your favorite things to do/places to eat in the city? Let me know in the comments!