When you’re visiting New York for the first time it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the city’s organized chaos and daunting skyscrapers. So I like to plan my trip ahead, deciding what the most important things I want to see are and with the spare time I walk around and explore.
In New York I usually start my trip from the same spot: the Grand Army Plaza (yes, it’s where Carrie and Big talk after his engagement to Natasha), on the corner of Central Park south and Fifth Avenue. To me this spot feels like the center of the world! From here you can start your way down Fifth Avenue, where you can spend loads of money on shopping! My favourite shops in the area are: the Apple Store, Bergford Goodman, Tiffany, Abercrombie and Fitch and Niketown (the main entrance is on 56th street, but you can also enter through the Trump Tower). One thing that’s changed unfortunately is Fao Schwarz, which used to be the most amazing toy store I’ve ever seen, with its robot elevator! The store was closed in July 2015.
Moving down Fifth Avenue walk in the Trump Tower to look at the atrium and its water wall, inside you can also find shops and bars.
On 53rd street you’ll find the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), which is definitely a a place to see when in New York. The museum is home to one of the most important modern art collections in the world with art works like Van Gogh’s ‘The Starry Night’ and Picasso’s ‘Les Demoiselles D’Avignon’. Also temporary exhibitions are usually very interesting to see. Don’t miss out on the MOMA design shop across the street from the museum, and stop for a quick lunch at the Modern’s Bar Room.
Down at 51st street you’ll find yourself in front of St.Patrick’s Cathedral, the largest catholic cathedral in the US, which looks out of place between the modern buildings and shops of Fifth Avenue.
Cross the street and between 50th and 49th street you’ll find yourself in one of the most iconic and touristic locations of the city: Rockefeller Center. Here there are many things to do depending on the season, such as ice skating in the central rink or visiting the Top of the Rock for a breathtaking view of Manhattan. I have my own little ritual each time I visit the city, I buy myself some chocolate covered strawberries from Godiva and sit on the benches in front of the rink to enjoy the view of the building with all of the tourists running around taking pictures!
Also don’t miss out on walking through 47th street between 5th and 6th avenue where the Diamond District is located. The street is lined with jewellery stores owned mainly by Orthodox Jews, who established themselves here escaping from Nazi persecutions at the beginning of the second world war.
Other things to see in the area are Radio City Music Hall, on Avenue of the Americas, and the Carnagie Hall, on seventh avenue between 56th and 57th street.
Where to shop:
- Apple Store: 767 5th Ave, Grand Army Plaza
- Tiffany: 727 5th Ave, corner with 57th street
- Bergford Goodman: 754 5th Ave, corner with 58th street
- Abercrombie and Fitch: 720 5th Ave, corner with 56th street
- Niketown: 6 E 57th St
- Hollister Co: 668 5th Ave, between 52nd and 53rd street
- American Girl Place (dolls): 609 5th Ave, corner with 49th street
- Top Shop: 608 5th Ave, corner with 49th street
- Sephora: 597 5th Ave, near 48th street
- Lego Store: Rockefeller Center, 620 5th Ave
- Freepeople: 10 West 49th Street, Rockefeller Center
- Anthropologie: Rockefeller Center, 50 Rockefeller Plaza
- PIQ Rockefeller Center (gift store, design and home accessories): Rockefeller Center, 74 W 50th St, near Avenue of the Americas
Eat & Drink:
- Momofuku Milk Bar: 15 W 56th St, near 5th Ave
- Godiva Chocolatier: 650 5th Ave or Rockefeller Center, 52 W 50th St
- Magnolia Bakery: Rockefeller Center, 1240 Ave of the Americas, corner with 49th street
- Astro Restaurant (diner): 1361 Ave of the Americas, corner with 55th street
- Obikà (Italian mozzarella bar and lunch counter): 590 Madison Ave, corner with 56th street
- The Modern: 9 W 53rd St
- TAO Uptown: 42 E 58th St, between Park and Madison Ave
- Salon de Ning (cocktails): The Peninsula New York, 700 5th Ave