48 Hours in New York City

What was the first city you fell in love with? I first visited New York in 2004 and fell head over heels in love for this magnificent city! It is truly bigger than life. Each time I visit, it’s a whirlwind of electric brilliance that I have never experienced anywhere else. I never stay in New York City much longer than 48 hours and it always leaves me wanting more. So whether you stay for a weekend or decide to extend your stay, you will find that New York City is in a league all its own.

From the magic of Broadway, and the bright lights of Times Square, to the historical significance of The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  New York has so much to offer! But it is so much more than the places that the travel books tell you to visit.  New York City is a state of mind.

“New York State of Mind”

When you are there, you can’t help but feel like anything is possible. Inspiring stories are around every corner, along with the greatest food, fashion, cocktails, and cultural trendsetters in the world.  This is truly, as Hamilton sang, “The Room Where It Happens.” and whether you visit NYC for the sight seeing, shopping, or just to experience the electricity of being there, I promise you will not be disappointed.  But instead, 48 hours in New York City might just leave you energized, and perhaps just like me; in love with one of the greatest cities in the world.

Where to Stay:

I have been so lucky over the years to go to New York to visit friends.  And whether I was visiting Romy or Lorie,  our plans always included a mix of Manhattan and Brooklyn.  You really must see both!  

I Love NY: The Williamsburg Edition

I encourage you to make the unique and vibrant area, or Borough of Brooklyn your home base. Brooklyn has been shaking things up for a long time in the world of music, art, and culture, but only in the last 10 years has it become a can’t-miss destination. My favorite neighborhood in Brooklyn is Williamsburg. This neighborhood is young, trend-setting and always blossoming.  Williamsburg has the same electricity of Manhattan, but with more of a relaxed and creative vibe.  

Whether you stay at the William Vale, Wythe, or Hoxton Hotels, you really can’t go wrong.  The area has street art, numerous restaurants, beautiful parks, and top notch coffee shops, that you could easily spend your entire 48 hours in this New York City neighborhood.  

Tip:  New York City is served by three major airports:  John F. Kennedy International (JFK), Newark Liberty International (EWR) and LaGuardia (LGA).  When choosing an airport, keep in mind that New York City is massive! It helps to know what Borough you will be staying in before you book.

48 Hours in New York City: Day 1 – Classics and Icons

Start your day with COFFEE.  Partners and Devoción top my list, but there are many more in Williamsburg with a seriously strong caffeine game.  Breakfast at The Wythe would also be an exceptional choice before heading out for the day. Depending on what time of year you go, the weather in New York can be tricky, so don’t be afraid to dress in layers, and wear comfortable shoes. Then make your way to the nearest Subway station. We are heading to the Borough of Manhattan and Central Park!  

Central Park

Chances are, you’ve seen this 843 acre urban space in a movie, as it’s one of the most filmed places in the world!  You will find bodies of water, monuments, and my personal favorite: The Mall.  American Elm Trees create a beautiful arching frame around a walkway just begging you to stroll on through.   The poetry of this promenade will take your breath away, and I think the historical figures of the Literary Walk would find it quite fitting.  

And in the distance, keeping a watchful eye over the lush greenery you will find the skyscrapers of New York towering overhead.  They create such a picturesque contrast of strength and beauty- and a fantastic photograph. 

48 Hours in New York City

Tip: My friend Lorie would tell you that everyone walks or takes the Subway. Walking allows you to see more of the city, but the subway is the fastest way to get around. Taxis and Ride Share services are also available. Due to traffic and cost, we only recommend you use them to travel at night.

Heading South From Central Park, you have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of The Chrysler Building, The Empire State Building, or witness the bright lights and larger than life energy that is Times Square. But I warn you not to get lost in the sea of people and glittering billboards – we have so much more to see!

Tip: When it comes to restaurants in New York, do your homework ahead of time and mark your favorites on Google Maps. This will give you lots of options to choose from that you KNOW are good, instead of making a snap decision. But when in doubt? Make a reservation and don’t forget that side streets will always be better than the busiest street.  

Classic New York

For Lunch, I recommend State Grill and Bar at the base of the Empire State Building.  The decor is so CLASSIC New York City.  As you cozy up to the counter on the comfy red-orange bar stools, look right.  There is an almost wristwatch-like analog clock above the revolving door that truly pulls the art deco look together.  The menu has something for everyone, and as I enjoyed the greatest Cobb Salad I’ve ever had, I decided that this space was perfectly timeless and just so New York.  

The Flat Iron Building: An Architectural Icon

Just South, you will find more lunch options like Almond, Marta, and Little Beet Table.  You will also see the Flat Iron Building.   This triangular icon was built in the Beaux-Arts style by the great Daniel Burnham in 1902.  And whether you walk here for the perfect photo, or just to be in its presence, I promise you that it’s a special sight to see.  

As you make your way back to your hotel, you can take the subway, OR you can take a ferry across the East River from East 34th Street to Williamsburg (weather permitting). Seeing the New York City skyline from the water is just another perspective that will make this trip even more memorable.  A Water Taxi will do the job as well.

Exploring Brooklyn: Park Slope

For dinner, I recommend Sisters, located in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn.  Restaurants in New York have this ability to create an ambiance that is one of a kind, and Sisters is no different.  They wow you from the moment you approach the building with a rustic facade and analog clock to  tell you that you’re right on time for some seriously delicious food.  The Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower were incredible! 

For after-dinner drinks, continue to enjoy the Northwoods-Chic vibe of Sisters, or head across the street to Hanson Dry where we enjoyed a few beverages and a dance off with the locals. 

48 Hours in New York City: Day 2- The Stars of the Show

Start your day with a coffee in Williamsburg, and a stroll around the Park to take in the skyline.  For Brunch, Shelter will give you exceptional food and an atmosphere that is somehow both rustic AND glamorous. Only in New York! Or you could snag a reservation at another divine New York establishment: Pastis.  This classic, Parisian style bistro will welcome you with traditional dishes, a vibrant atmosphere, and a sensational decor of white subway tiles and dark wood. If you’ve seen “Sex and the City”, you’ll recognize it from an episode in Season 6 when Carrie and “The Russian” sit at the “star table.”  I promise that this gem in the Meatpacking District will make YOU feel like a star as well- no matter where you sit.  

The rest of the day is up to you! You could continue enjoying the Meatpacking District, shop in SOHO, or head back to Brooklyn to explore the famed DUMBO District (“Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass”) that pairs the Industrial side of the waterfront with cobblestone streets.  There is no wrong answer here.  I have done it all and can’t wait to enjoy it all over again!

foto: skyline

A Night On The Town

For your evening plans, It’s time to explore a neighborhood with a unique character all its own: Greenwich Village. “The Village” has been at the center of many artistic, cultural, and history changing movements since the mid-20th Century. And? It still has a free spirit. From the iconic Washington Square Park to the unique buildings, this true neighborhood has a welcoming, dynamic, and creative vibe to it.  You have SO many options, but here are my favorites:

All That Jazz

I will never forget the time Romy and Edward took me to The Village Vanguard, also known as “The Camelot of Jazz Rooms.”. You venture down a small creaky stairwell and into a room that could easily be your Grandmother’s dark basement. But this room just so happens to have a stage with red curtains in the corner. Now what if I told you that this basement has an incredible acoustical sound that is one of a kind? Because of this, a long list of musical legends have walked down that same staircase since 1935. From Miles Davis, to Wynton Marsalis, to Thelonious Monk- all of the jazz greats have played here. “The Carnegie Hall of Cool,” must be filled with thousands of magical musical moments, including mine. If only the walls could talk! 

Let them Drink Champagne 

This past New Years Eve, I rang in 2020 at Airs Champagne and Tokyo Record Bar with my friends Lorie and Mike.  A night out at this cozy champagne parlor was nothing short of decadent. We drank champagne all night with new friends, and dined on delightful bites like creme fraiche and caviar on toast.  Downstairs, I chatted with the Chef while he prepared foie gras on brioche with a mandarin orange marmalade. Everyone was singing karaoke and dancing the night away. This space brought an eclectic romance to the art of drinking champagne! The warmth of the staff truly made us feel right at home. 

“They Say the Neon Lights are Bright on Broadway”

Seeing a play on Broadway will undoubtedly leave you with stars in your eyes. And on Broadway, as George Benson sang, “There’s always magic in the air” . From Wicked, to The Producers, to Chicago, I have always been in awe of the talent I’ve seen on stage.  To see a Broadway Show in New York City is a special event!  Make sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time.  

48 hours in New York City is clearly not enough time! And even after 7 visits, I know I still have more to see.  No matter how long you stay, I hope you enjoyed my small slice of “The Big Apple.”  

Many thanks to my favorite New Yorkers, past and present,  for their hospitality, contributions to this article, and for all of the brilliant memories <3

To learn more about Julie, you can read her bio here or read more of her articles here and here.

Please Note: Before traveling during these uncertain times of COVID-19, I encourage you to research rules and regulations ahead of time. Every State and Country may look a bit different regarding wearing face masks, social-distancing, and mandated quarantines. It’s also advisable to call a place of business ahead of time to make sure it is open.

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