It seems incredible but until last month I had never been to the Big Apple. The city that never sleeps had always fascinated me a lot, but I knew that sooner or later its time would come.
I didn’t look for it but I wanted it so much and so in a cold and rainy May it happened.
And it couldn’t have happened better: with my Lu (l) i hand in hand and a prelude to a road trip in true American style that left me with the enormous desire to come back again.
How to get to New York
Once again I had the pleasure and honor of flying with Norwegian. Officially my favorite low cost airline for intercontinental flights.
After the dedicated fast track (0 row for airport checks), we flew on a brand new Dreamliner Boing 787 from Rome Fiumicino to Newark.
8 hours of direct and super comfortable flight (to be low cost there is really room for your legs) and welcome in New Jersey.
Newark airport is about 1 hour drive from the center of New York, so an excellent solution as a point of arrival.
Moreover, given that the last stop of our journey was the Philadelphia countryside, this is the nearest airport (if it had been JFK we would have had to cross the whole city of NY).
2 days itinerary in the Big Apple
I open my eyes and the feeling is very strange. I slowly feel the adrenaline of the discovery that replaces sleep numbness.
I have a vague memory of a thousand lights shining in the sky of a night when the stars are eclipsed by thousands of messages that crowd the city even when everyone is asleep.
We wake up a little later to regain energy.
Times Square is completely transformed by day, but this is no less interesting and impactful.
I imagined it to be more chaotic, a bit like Shibuya, the heart of Tokyo, but I found it much more on a human scale than I expected.
The wonder instead remains intact and the expectations are not disappointed.
Let’s go hunting for one of the many wonderful New York cafes where we can have breakfast and we find ourselves in Little Italy.
A curious stop for an Italian. Here is where to find all the iconic symbols of our country turned to extremes in the “American way”.
The place I had chosen had no seats to sit on and so our breakfast becomes a real lunch.
With the metro, in fact, we move to Greenwich Village in a beautiful Mexican corner in the heart of the Carrie Bradshaw district: The Buchter’s Daughter is a must-see address.
Super friendly atmosphere and cuisine that reminded me of an authentic piece of Mexico.
The inevitable stop to admire the famous house of the protagonist of Sex and The City.
Among other things, the West Village is truly one of the most livable areas of NY.
Another meter, another race. The desire to pay tribute to one of the symbolic places of our era: Ground Zero.
A white dove made by Calatrava symbolizes the purity and innocence of those who are ignorant of everything, one day he never returned home from work.
It is a mandatory step to leave a small piece of heart here in respect and honor. You will never forget the flow of water, where life once flowed.
With a heavy heart and a crying sky we move towards Brooklyn.
We walked through the 2.3 km of pedestrian wooden walkway that looks at Manhattan moving away slowly. From here you can feel the frenzy of the metropolis fade away at every step until you reach DUMBO, the place for the customary photo in Brooklyn.
An icy wind accompanies our return to Manhattan, it’s time for a drink in a wonderful company on one of the most beautiful rooftops in the city: Refinery RoofTop. The perfect place for a goodnight in true New York style.
One of the true New York rituals is breakfast at Magnolia Bakery. A pastry shop with more sales points that fills the air with the scent of its freshly baked dishes. Don’t forget to try a banana pudding, it’s heavenly!
We are ready to tackle a new day of walking and so many metro stops, we head to the Flatiron bulding.
Born to be one of the tallest buildings in NY and nicknamed immediately: “Iron from” for its particular architectural form.
In Madison Square, in addition to this building, there is also the first Shake Shack: one of the most famous and tasty fast food.
It’s Friday and the May sky in NY is particularly gray and the wind is cold.
We grew up with the idea of a Central Park, the green lung of the city, to admire and live hand in hand under an umbrella for two.
So the next step is this. Venture to the central pond and on sunny days, you can enjoy a rowing boat ride.
I understand why New Yorkers care about this park so much. Relieves the soul. From the concrete jungle of the city (without even a tree) you magically move on to an enchanted forest with the most incredible skyline ever.
For lunch we move to Soho; I can say this is officially my favorite area of the city. Vibrant, full of inspiration and with a mood that will make you feel catapulted into the future.
Incredible venues, street art and bits of every corner of the world.
Here I meet the creator of a project dedicated to women travelers: Dame Traveler.
Nastasia has an incredible story and it was a real honor to meet her, she gave me a lot of energy and charge. I hope soon to be able to tell you more about his project, there will be a surprise.
We share the incredible Israeli food (my favorite food in the world after the Italian one) from 12 Chairs Cafè.
Remember this address, it’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in the local atmosphere!
I fall in love so much with Soho that we decide to continue exploring it after sunset.
We discover hidden gems like Laduree’s secret garden and the enchanted tunnel of Nomo (one of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever been).
The sunset that gives way to the thousand lights of the city arrives quite late in May and gives us the opportunity to enjoy an aperitif at Nomo and then move on to one of the most exciting stages of the whole trip: Top of the Rock (don’t forget to book your entry time).
From the top of the Rockfeller Center (about 70 floors) everything becomes clear and orderly: the avenues and the streets cut the city at right angles.
The view from up here is truly breathtaking and by all accounts to be preferred to that of the Empire State Building.
We used the NY CityPASS to access this attraction, you can find it HERE. With the NY City Pass you can save up to 42% by entering the best attractions of the Big Apple.
Unfortunately the time we had available to exploit it was not much, but in reality it lasted 9 days from the first use; I therefore recommend it to those who decide to enjoy this incredible metropolis for at least a week.
Among the attractions included?
Empire State Building (with double daily entry)
American Museum of Natural History
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Top of The Rock Observation Deck or Guggenheim Museum
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island or Circle Line Cruises
11 September Memorial and Museum or Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
On Friday night NY becomes a real city of nightlife and we tried to find the places where people flock and not tourists by hunting for Speakeasies. Thus we find ourselves in Chinatown and specifically in the Basement.
You will be able to find it thanks to a giant Coca Cola distributor behind which there is an incredible place with lots of beer pong.
In true New York style we salute the city and our evening with a slice of pizza in one of the most famous venues: Prince.
Attention it’s not real Italian pizza, but pepperoni pizza (with spicy salami). Trust me if I tell you that it’s really worth it.
Our time in NYC ends here, but the desire to return is already immense. It is a city that will immediately make you aware of being in the center of the world and of evolution. It fills you with inspiration and gives that charge of wanting to do more and better and better to improve yourself and get closer and closer to the ideas and perspectives that each of us has in our drawer of future dreams and intentions.
See you soon NY! Road to Philadelphia !!!!