My neighbourhood guide to NYC

When I visited New York back in 2012 for the first time, the city energised me and inspired me in ways that I hadn’t really felt before and was the reason I wanted to come back and stay a little longer. I’ve lived in New York for the past 12 months and feel like I haven’t even yet scratched the surface of the city. 

Without sounding awfully cliche, everyone here has a story of getting to New York and a reason for being here and that's what makes this hub of nearly 9 million so enthralling, so full of culture and life. It’s a city where there’s just something for everyone, and that’s the just the sort of place that I want to be a part of. 

Here’s the thing about sitting down to create a guide to New York- this city is what you make of it and can be catered so specifically to you and what you enjoy. It can be the bar that goes all night, the palette of the globe, it can be the sleepy mornings in the park and the chaos of 42nd street. My New York is filled with bookstores and caffeinated afternoons, jazzy nights and musty vintage stores. 

You might not find some of these places that I’m about to show you on the top 20 lists, but that’s kind of why I love them. 

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These are the areas I’ve explored most in New York and I’ve included my favourites in each. There are a few areas like the Upper East Side and some areas of Brooklyn that I haven’t seen as much of, hence why they're not included below!

 

UPPER WEST SIDE

 

My first apartment in New York was on the Upper West Side, on 99th and Amsterdam. I love this area because it’s got everything you need but still feels like ‘coming home’ after busy days downtown.

 

 

Central Park

I spent almost every weekend and weeknight at Central Park eating dinner by the pond and watching the runaround Theatre shows in the Summer. I’ve filled countless journals here, run an ungodly amount of times around the Reservoir to only Billy Joel at this Park and had some of the best long chats from 100th street all the way down to 59th here.  

My favourite spots are the Turtle Pond, The Boathouse (if it’s early enough and the crowds haven't arrived yet), The Great Lawn and The Pool. 

Winter here terrifies me because I always manage to slip over too many times, but is worth it for the snow-covered trees and ice skating. 

 

Natural History Museum

I’ve always loved the Natural History Museum and have been a countless amount of times in the past year. You can donate a chosen amount if you wish and spend a full day or more wandering the halls. 

 

EAT

Jacobs Pickles

For real Southern type comfort food, Jacobs pickles is a must. Think buttermilk fried chicken, biscuits and half a dozen type of different pickles to chose from.

509 Amsterdam Ave New York, NY 10024

 

Jin Ramen

A cosy Japanese spot with rice bowls, ramen, pork buns, beer and sake. Pretty much everything here is bomb and 

462 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

 

Peacefood Cafe

A homey spot for raw, vegan, gluten-free comfort food. Don’t pass on dessert. 

460 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

Blossom

My favourite vegan restaurant in the city with pavement seating for the ultimate Summer people watching session. Try the buffalo tempeh, it’s unreal.

507 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024

 

The Mermaid Inn

All American seafood known for their Lobster rolls. I love this place for a group dinner in a cosy setting. 

570 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

 

Spring Natural Kitchen

I love this place because it makes everyone happy and serves up hearty, healthy dishes.

474 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024

Locations

 


BOOKS & STORES

 

Book Culture on Columbus

My absolute favourite book-store in the city, I could pretty much spend hours in here looking at their selection. 

450 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024

 

Westside Rare & Used Books

An amazing find which feels a bit like Hogwarts

2246 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

 

Magpie

A petite gift store on the Upper West Side. If you’re looking for gifts or even unique things to bring home from New York, this is the place. They carry a range of locally made gifts, stationery, home decor and accessories. 

488 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

BREW

 

Irving Farm Coffee Roasters

Great for a morning coffee & scrambled egg biscuit sandwich.

224 W 79th St, New York, NY 10024

 

Birch Coffee

A simple spot near the 96th st station for a takeaway coffee to bring with you for a walk in the park.

50 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10025

 

Birdbath Bakery

Where coffee meets pastry heaven

518 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024

 

 

 


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HARLEM & THE HEIGHTS

My second apartment in New York was up here in Harlem and I love exploring this area. There's a bunch of new spots that have opened up but plenty of Harlem classics that still remain.

 

JAZZ

 

Bills Place Harlem

A no-frills jazz bar with shows on Friday and Saturdays, home of Jazz player Bill Saxton. Bill’s place serves up nothing but Jazz and is a Harlem gem. Get your tickets online to reserve a spot as the parlour is small and cosy. Tickets are $20 for an hour and a half show, with an early evening session at 8 and a late session at 10. BYO Alcohol.

148 W 133rd St, New York, NY 10030

 

BREW

 

Manhattanville

My friendly and spacious coffee spot which is always a great place to get some work done.

142 Edgecombe Ave, New York, NY 10030

 

The Chipped Cup

The Chipped Cup has always reminded me of Central Perk from Friends. It’s an underground coffee spot that's intimate in the Winter, but boasts the perfect outdoor backyard for the Summer and is the most ideal place to enjoy a cuppa coffee and a pastry. 

3610 Broadway, New York, NY 10031

 

Filtered
Another little coffee store with street front bar seating and a cosy location to get some work done. 

1616 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10031

 

Levain Bakery

The world's greatest chocolate chip cookie.

2167 Frederick Douglass Blvd.
New York, NY 10026

Locations

 

EAT

 

Ramen ROKC

I’ve got a thing for cosy ramen bars but ROKC is truly a gem in the city. Get there early and don’t pass up on a cocktail. Their unique creations like Truffle with vodka, truffle honey, muscat, grapefruit and parmigiana reggiano, or the Grapefruit cocktail- a concoction of mezcal, elderflower, grapefruit, lime and palo santo wood. 

Go between 5pm and 7pm for $1.50 Happy Hour oysters. 

3452 Broadway, New York, NY 10031

 

OSO

An innovative Mexican restaurant in Hamilton Heights, with great cocktails, tacos and interiors. 

1618 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10031

 

Syliva's

A Harlem institue, Syliva's has been serving up home-cooked soul food for over 55 years. This icon remains a culinary must-visit for foodies. 

328 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10027

 

MIDTOWN

 

La Esquina Midtown

My favourite Mexican spot in the city and the perfect place to grab a bite before a show.

 200 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

Locations

 

BEA Bar

Intimate, brick-walled eatery & bar with handcrafted cocktails, eclectic small plates & a courtyard.

403 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036

 

Refinery Rooftop

Great food, dramatic views, away from the craze of Midtown.

63 W 38th St, New York, NY 10018

 

CHELSEA

 

Trestle on Tenth

Quaint brick wall and wood-heavy hideaway for hearty Swiss-American cuisine. Go for a late night drink at the bar.

242 10th Ave, New York, NY 10001

 

Gallow Green

Home to Sleep No More, the McKittrick Hotel is full of quirk and luscious spaces. In the Summer, the roof-top Garden is a getaway from the bustle and has a great weekend Brunch menu and in Winter, the space has been redecorated as a Lodge, with comfort food and drinks to match. Make no mistake though, this isn’t actually a hotel. 

401 W 25th St, New York, NY 10001

 

Citizens of Chelsea

An Aussie owned cafe that always delivers an amazing latte. The duck benny doesn’t disappoint. 

401 W 25th St, New York, NY 10001

 

Thai Villa

Traditional Thai in a trendy setting.

5 E 19th St, New York, NY 10003

 

Caferia

Upscale & exceptional American comfort food. Open 24 hours but not tacky like it sounds.

1802, 119 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10011

 

TO DO 

 

The Whitney Museum

My favourite art museum in the city.

 

The High Line

The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, greenway and rail trail created on a former New York Central Railroad spur on the west side of Manhattan. The High Line gets jam packed with tourists, especially in the Summer so my best recommendation is to get up super early and grab a takeaway coffee from Citizens of Chelsea nearby to stroll enjoy the High Line bright and early & without the crowds.

 

 
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WEST VILLAGE

 

EAT

 

The Spotted Pig

The best gastropub in the city (in my humble opinion)

314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

 

Tacombi

With 5 locations, Tacombi is a great spot for downtown Mexican and margaritas in a rustic, warehouse setting. 

Locations

 

Westville

I love Westville for their sides which are always bomb. Whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Westville is a reliable go-to with tonnes of healthy options. 

210 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014

Locations

 

Dante

A Legendary circa-1915 cafe that's a New York landmark. Come for the drinks.

79-81 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012

 

BREW

 

Grounded Organic Coffee & Tea House

I had the best sweet potato soup I’ve ever had here recently. This unique coffee spot is tucked away in the heart of the West Village and is filled with plants and eclectic seating and has an extensive drinks menu. It can get busy though, so try and go early if you’re looking for a laid-back vibe.

1919, 28 Jane St, New York, NY 10014

 

Toby's Estate

An Aussie coffee joint that makes home feel a little closer.

44 Charles St, New York, NY 10014

 

ad hoc collective | coffee + shoppe  

A small basement coffee bar and store.

13 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014

 

The Uncommons

A cafe where you can spend hours playing from their selection of hundreds of boardgames & card games.

230 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

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BOOKS & STORES 

 

 

Three Lives & Company

A snug little bookstore that's been around since 1968.

154 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014

 

Bookmarc

An eclectic selection of coffee table & art books.

400 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

 

 
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SOHO, TRIBECA & THE LOWER EAST SIDE

 

EAT

 

Hampton Chutney Co

I always find myself starving in Soho after a day of shopping and Hampton Chutney Co is my go-to for filling Indian dosas that are served with your choice of homemade chutney. 

143 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

 

Banter

This Aussie owned cafe has a great breaky menu and brew as well as $8 Happy Hour cocktails from 4pm - 7pm. When I’m missing my side of the world, Banters menu and casual space has me feeling like I'm in Melbourne. 

 

Sweet Chick

Rustic-chic eatery serving up Chicken and Waffles with vegan chicken options too.

178 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

 

Morgensterns

A quirky ice-cream parlour with flavours like burnt sage, banana curry, black coconut ash and sherbet froyo as well as all the classics. 

2 Rivington Street NY NY 10002

 

Petee's Pie Company

You can't go wrong with a piece of homemade pie and a cup of joe here.

61 Delancey St, New York, NY 10002

 

Nom Wah

Vintage dim sum parlour dating back to 1920.

13 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

 

Ramen Lab

A tiny ramen restaurant with 10 bar seats

70 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

 

Mission Chinese

New York outpost of the San Francisco eatery serving fiery, innovative takes on Sichuan cuisine.

171 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

 

Spring Natural

Organic food where there's something for everyone. A great open space that's perfect for a long lunch.

98 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

 

BOOKS & STORES

 

Tictail Market

Tictail has to be one of the most well-curated boutiques in New York. Bringing together independent artists, makers and brands and selling everything from home decor to fashion and gifts, Tictail is a global marketplace.

90 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

 

Green Fingers Market

Where all your succulent dreams come true.

5 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

 

Mulberry Iconic Magazines

An extensive magazine selection on offer.

188 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

 

BREW

 

Maman

I always find myself here on a rainy day at their Soho store with a hot cookie and coffee in hand.

Four locations but my favourite is:

211 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

Locations

 

Happy Bones

A simple little Kiwi owned coffee shop in the big apple.

394 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

 

Saturdays NYC

Surf & lifestyle shop meets coffee bar. Best in Summer so you can sit in the outdoor garden. 

31 Crosby St, New York, NY 10013

 

Cafe Integral

A cute lil coffee shop with homemade nut mylks.

149 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012

 

Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC

My favourite little bakery in the city creating dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, gluten-free & agave-sweetened cakes & cookies.

248 Broome St, New York, NY 10002

 

MUSEUMS

 

The Tenement Museum

An 1863 preserved tenement building brings Lower East Side immigrant stories to life with guided tours.

103 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002

 


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WILLIAMSBURG & SURROUNDS

 

EAT & drink

 

Butler Bakeshop

Located right underneath the Williamsburg Bridge.

95 South 5th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11249

 

Maison Premiere

Cocktail & oyster bar.

298 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249

 

Videology Bar

This low key saloon has a movie screening room and stocked bar so you can sit and enjoy a flick with beer and pub grub in hand.

308 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

 

Barcade

Is there actually anything better than a bar where you can play classic video games? 

388 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

 

Syndicated Theatre

Syndicated is a movie theatre, bar and restaurant located in Bushwick. They screen new flicks as well as classics 

40 Bogart St, Brooklyn, NY 11206

 

Smorgasborg

A huge foodie market with vintage stalls too.

Every Saturday and Sunday.

10am -5pm in Industry City at 241 37th st in Brooklyn

 

Black Brick Coffee

A low key, Williamsburg coffee hangout.

Address: 300 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

 

 

Sundays in Brooklyn

Come for the brunch.

348 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249

 

Champs Diner

Champs is an all vegan diner serving up all the diner classics. Try the Tempeh Buffalo bites.

197 Meserole St, Brooklyn, NY 11206

 

Milk & Roses

Italian food in a library setting

1110 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

 

Cafe Mogador

During the day, this family-owned Moroccan restaurant is the perfect place to sit with a coffee, and on weekends and evening hosts a busy brunch and dinner crowd. You must try the hummus and the halloumi eggs.

There are two locations, on in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan but my favourite is the Williamsburg one. 

133 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249

 

Pies and Thighs

The name says it all. Make sure to leave room for dessert because the banana cream pie is everything. 

166 S 4th St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

 

Little Choc Apothecary

Homey little cafe for sweet & savory vegan crêpes!

141 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

 

 

 

 

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BOOKS & STORES

Stella Dallas Vintage

Stella Dallas is my favourite vintage stop. With a home store located right next to the clothing store, there’s endless racks to explore in this perfectly curated Vintage collection. 

166 S 4th St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

 

Other Times Vintage

48 Bogart St, Brooklyn, NY 11206
133 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249

 

Red Pearl

A whimisical gift boutique

200 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249

 

Quimbys books

A quaint and eclectic little bookstore

536 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Scribner's Lodge, Upstate NY with Zipcar

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Located in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, Scribner's Lodge is a 38 room hotel perched right opposite Hunter Mountain. What used to be Scribner Hollow Motor Lodge in the 60's, Scribner's renovated and reopened in 2016 as a place for modern explorers, complete with a downstairs restaurant with mountain views, a lounge and library, outdoor fire-pit, and uniquely designed suites. It's the perfect place for a weekend escape from the city and just a two-hour drive North of Manhattan. 

Our Catskill suite slept up to 6, with two double bunk beds and a queen, boasting mountain views from our private balcony. The rooms are light-filled, decorated with vintage rugs and custom-built furniture with each suite is unique in layout. 

 

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"Since 1966, this building has welcomed and warmed the spirits of adventurers seeking refuge from their daily lives and explorers looking for something new." 
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Downstairs at Scribner's own restaurant Prospect, you'll be spoilt with floor to ceiling mountain views. The bar flows into the restaurant area and you'll find seating nooks around nearly every corner. 

Serving up breakfast and dinner, with brunch on weekends, Prospect make use of the local ingredients available within the Hudson Valley- and there's no shortage of incredible fresh produce available in the region. With an impressive cocktail menu, après ski here melts into the dinner hour where if you hadn't ever experienced hygge, you're sure to have now. 

 

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The common space features a pool table, board games, central fireplace and a perfectly curated library with new and old selections. At 5pm, you're invited to the outdoor fire-pit for Smore's-oclock, with everything you need already in your room and waiting upon check-in. 

Our two nights here were just right for recharging the batteries. With lazy mornings in the library and uno battles around the fire before dinner, Scribner's is a cosy retreat from the bustle of New York City and exactly the sort of Winter getaway we needed. 

 

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Scribner's Catskill Lodge

13 Scribner Hollow Rd, Hunter, NY 12442

www.scribnerslodge.com

 

EXPLORE

Having a Zipcar on this trip gave us the freedom to drive around and explore the area. Aside from skiing & snowboarding at Hunter mountain, there's so much to do in the Catskills all year round. 

Using Zipcar you can reserve a car by the hour or the day, picking up your vehicle from one of many locations around the city. I've been using Zipcar for the past year now and it makes it really easy to run errands or take trips out of the city, especially as the gas is included and you don't have to deal with any paperwork or long rental car office queues. It's as easy as reserving a car online or on the app and then unlocking the vehicle with your card so you can hit the road.

If you want to try it out for yourself, join here and you'll get $25 off your first reservation.

 

The Town of Hudson

Just a 40 minute drive through the Catskills, you'll find the town of Hudson, NY. Filled to the brim with gift and design stores, cafes and great places to grab a bite, this is probably my favourite town in Upstate New York.  Be sure to check out WM Farmer and Sons for dinner or brunch on weekends.

 

Phoenicia Diner

Located just off the highway near the small town of Phoenicia, this diner is my favourite in the world. Serving all the classic dishes but using locally sourced ingredients, Phoenicia really knows how to do a diner brunch. 

5681 NY-28, Phoenicia, NY 12464

 

Mountain Cinema

Local theater on Main Street in Hunter showing the latest releases and indie flics, on Main Street in Hunter.

7971 Main St, Hunter, NY 12442

 

Bowling

Cheap games, classic tunes and friendly locals. For my birthday we went bowling at a local spot which felt like stepping back in time a little bit. There's a couple of alleys in the area, too:

 

Hoebowl

305 W Bridge St, Catskill, NY 12414

 

Bowlers Club

RR 9W, Saugerties, NY 12477

 

 

Kaaterskill Falls Hike

A two stage waterfall on the Spruce Creek, if you're headed here make sure to stay on the designated path and in Winter, crampons are a must.

 

 
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The DeBruce, Upstate NY

Since moving to New York earlier this year, I've more and more been missing the outdoors so having the Catskills and sweet towns in Upstate New York just a few hours drive away makes it all the more easy for a quick escape to the mountains and to be able to hit reset. 

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I'm a big fan of Zipcar, where you can reserve a car from hundreds of locations around the city and pay an hourly or daily rate to hire a range of vehicles. It's simple to use with plenty of cars available and you use a keycard to unlock it, so there's no dealing with long rental car office queues and paperwork of any sort. It's as easy as reserving a car and hitting the road. 

Heading North, The DeBruce is nestled close by to the town of Livingston Manor and is an easy & beautiful drive just two hours from the city. Part of the Foster Supply Group (which also includes The Arnold House and North Branch Inn which I visited a couple of years back), The DeBruce recently opened in 2017 with 14 guest rooms and is a one-of-a-kind experience. 

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Overlooking the Willowemoc Valley, The DeBruce an inviting and cosy space where you can be sure to park your car and not return to it until you check out. With direct access to 1/2 mile of private river rights for fly fishing and 600 acres of mountain trails as it's backyard, it's the perfect opportunity to explore the surrounding area by hike, cross-country skiing, birding or snowshoeing. 

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Food is an integral part of The DeBruce experience and you're sure to be spoilt. With a cosy downstairs clubhouse where you can sit fireside with a unique cocktail or local brew in hand as well as a glass-windowed dining room with views of the mountains, slowing down and enjoying the flavours of the surrounding land was a memorable part of our stay. 

For guests, Breakfast and Dinner are included, with Dinner on Saturday an impressive and beautifully presented signature 9-course meal. Executive Chef Aksel Theilkuhl has created a culinary experience which utilises ingredients foraged from surrounding land as well as local suppliers. With the menu always changing and adapting to the availability of produce, you'll be spoilt with fresh, in-season flavours that are uniquely dreamt up. 

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"The DeBruce focuses on conveying a story about its own particular place and time. 
An experience and emotional memory that lasts in guests’ thoughts long after they have returned home."
 
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The building itself is over 100 years old and has truly stood the test of time. What I loved is that the renovations of the entire property keep the original charm and aesthetic of which was once one of 20 boarding houses in the Valley. 

There's plenty of spots to rug up with a good book and a coffee- from the Great Room which feels like stepping back in time, to the Conservatory, a cosy lounge with an original fieldstone fireplace. There's also a tackle room, where you can gear-up (or off), overlooking the swimming pool which sees's long Summer days. 

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Venturing Upstate has got to be one of my favourite New York memories because being in such a lush and relaxing setting has always been up there as the most dreamy setting to be with friends. As the colder months sneak up on us, nothing sounds better to me than a hot toddy and a crispy Fall afternoon. Thank you to the gorgeous team at The DeBruce for allowing myself & my nearest and dearest the opportunity to rug up and enjoy some incredible food, stunning scenery and the best skillet eggs I've ever tasted.

 

The DeBruce

982 Debruce RdLivingston Manor, NY 12758

www.thedebruce.com

 

Zipcar

www.zipcar.com