This blogpost about the highlights of New York is actually going to be shorter than I expected it to be… not because we didn’t like New York, but because our stay seemed a bit cursed. First, we were delayed for 24 hours because of a storm in Iceland and next I caught some kind of flu, which cut our days short. Hielke had never been to New York before and had to go to Times Square, the Rockefeller Center and some other touristy spots alone.. Luckily, I felt better the last day, so we were still able to finish with some fun activities, which you can read about here.

I finally got to twirl in front of the Brooklyn Bridge!

The Vessel

I love how cities keep on developing. I have already been to New York three times, but there is always something new to see! The Vessel is a building in New York, which has opened in March 2019 in the Hudson Yards area. It is not a functional building, it mainly consists of stairs and look out points. I think it is mainly built to draw some attention to the shopping area surrounding it and to showcase New York some more. You can book free tickets two weeks in advance here. We loved getting up and down at this beautiful building! It is also very close to the Highline, which makes it the perfect combination.

The Highline

The Highline is a park/walking path on a former train line through a really cool part of the city. From the Highline you have great views of the city, while being surrounded by colorful plants and artworks. We really loved wandering around for an hour, even though it is extremely touristy. The views are just unbeatable, the atmosphere is good and it is free!

I loved these unobstructed views of New York!

The West Village

I think wandering around in neighborhoods where locals live is always a good way to get to know a city. From the neighborhoods we visited the West Village/Greenwhich Village was my favorite. It is much more quiet than Soho and feels just as New York 🙂 On Sunday everybody is out enjoying brunch on the terraces. You will find the amazing brownstones with escape stairways of New York everywhere, which will make you feel like a true New Yorker! We actually went here twice, as I just had to have an Italian lunch at Aria. We loved our non-touristy, affordable lunch at Aria and would definitely recommend to go. If I would be a New Yorker I would want to live in The West Village (dream on!) Near The West Village you will also find Washington Square Park, which was also super fun on a Sunday. Whole families gather here and we saw a really swinging Jazz band! I heard that this park was a must visit, didn’t really understand why, but having been there I totally get it!

I want to live here!!
And to have lunch at Aria every week 😉
And listen to music in Washington Square Park
And only shop at LoveShackFancy 😉

The Oculus

If you like dramatic buildings as much as I do, the Oculus at World Trade Center is a must visit. We are in the USA, so of course this is a shopping mall, but it is a stunning shopping mall. It is located next to the World Trade Center Memorial, which was also an impressive visit.

Brooklyn Bridge & Dumbo

I’d never crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, so this was a priority on my New York to-do-list! Unfortunately, I was really sick on the morning we were supposed to do this. Hielke managed to drag my sick body to Pier 16 to enjoy a beautiful Brooklyn Bridge view. After this viewpoint we took an Uber over the Brooklyn Bridge to the Brooklyn Bridge Park, where we found Pebble Beach. This side has a beautiful view over Manhattan and I even managed to twirl a little. The Brooklyn Bridge Park is located next to the DUMBO area (Down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass), where you can make those quintessential New York pictures underneath the Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridge. This is also a really cool hipster area to have lunch, but I wasn’t ready to have any food yet. If you walk into DUMBO a little further you will also find the DUMBO walls, if you like street art they are a must visit as well. From DUMBO I managed to get my body on the Brooklyn Bridge.. the views of the city and the bridge itself were absolutely amazing, but I was a bit taken aback about the enormous crowds on the bridge. And people weren’t very nice with letting you finish taking your pictures.

Pier 16: In love with this sweetie who put up with my sickness all day!
The infamous Pebble Beach
Beautiful views from the Brooklyn Bridge
The best view on the right…

Central Park views

On our final day we hired bicycles to cycle in Central Park.. If you book your bicycle online you get enormous discounts, we paid 23 dollars for two bicycles for two hours, instead of 25 dollars per bike for two hours. We first cycled to the Central Park viewpoint at the rocks behind the Ice Skating Rink and we were blown away at how beautiful and relaxed the city looked from up here. This was definitely the highlight of our bicycle tour! We were a bit disappointed in the lack of bicycle lanes in Central Park. You couldn’t visit any viewpoint with your bike, you had to walk a lot and there were lots of one-way bicycle lanes which was really uncomfortable. In the end we decided to cycle to the Guggenheim & Metropolitan museum and we finished off with a little, illegal cycle over 5th Avenue because we didn’t know where else to cycle 😉

I loved this colorful underpass

The Skylark

We still had to see New York from up in the air.. I pondered about going to the Top of the Rock, but I suspected that Hielke wouldn’t like that touristy craziness. Instead we visited The Skylark rooftop bar, which is closely located to Times Square and has amazing views of the Empire State Building. We made sure to arrive exactly when it opened (4.30PM), because we didn’t have reservations. BTW: it is really easy to make reservations online, but we didn’t make them as we didn’t know if I was able to go. The Skylark is open for non-private events from Monday-Friday. We paid 15 dollars for a glass of Prosecco (not including tips ;)) and sat front row for the Empire State Building in a super relaxed, non-touristy environment with great music! If you compare that to a Top of the Rock entrance ticket of 32 dollars, we had an amazing deal in New York.

Where we stayed

We stayed at La Sienna in Harlem. We had a bedroom with a shared bathroom and a little kitchenette for about 100 dollars a night. To be honest, it was kind of interesting to stay in Harlem…Harlem isn’t as rough as it used to be, but we watched some interesting conversations between police officers and locals go down.. I guess it is good to be reminded that those parts are New York as well, and not just the glitz and glamour of the Upper East Side. What I also liked about Harlem was that you could see that there were many religions practiced, our hotel was close to a Ghanese church and people dressed up beautifully to go to church.

Two blocks from La Sienna there was an express train downtown, so it was comfortable and quick to get to the main attractions in Manhattan.


  1. Toen ik de marathon van New York liep, liepen al die duizenden lopers over the Brooklyn bridge. En je voelde de brug deinen onder je voeten. Een schitterend gevoel, maar ook wel spannend: houdt de brug het wel tijdens het verschillend neerkomen van duizenden lopers.?
    Mooi verslag, ik heb ook nog foto,s van 22 jaar geleden, mooi om te zien wat er in zoveel jaar weer veranderd is. Aan ons werd verteld om niet naar Harlem of Brooklyn te gaan i.v.m. het gevaar van dreigementen enz.
    Veel plezier en benieuwd naar het volgende verslag.

  2. Wat leuk om te lezen! Ik heb oa ook de high line gelopen dit weekend en Brooklyn bridge!

    Vervelend dat je ziek was en jullie sowieso korter de tijd hadden!

    Veel plezier in Nashville nog!

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