New York City Travel Guide

New York City Travel Guide

Fifteen-course tasting menus, the rarest vintage clothes, exotic cocktails, panoramic views from above and unexpected waterfront pleasures. This is New York, where hundreds of years of ambition, concrete and American dreams have culminated in a city where there’s so much to do that it became famous for never sleeping. The city is quite literally filled with things to see and do, all in a compact space that gives the impression of a never-ending pavement of skyscrapers. If planned correctly, New York City can still provide those quirky, tourist-obligated experiences, but also elevate the traveller’s experience to a whole new level of exhilaration. Wondering what to do in NYC? Mr Hudson has got you covered.

The best hotels in New York City

Ace Hotel is affordable without sacrificing anything that appeals to young creatives. The buzzy lobby cocktail bar and on-site, Michelin-starred restaurant offers all the essentials under one roof in Midtown Manhattan. A stay at The Standard, East Village places you just a skip from Greenwich Village, NoHo and SoHo. NO BAR, the hotel’s new-wave gay bar, hosts dance parties, drag shows and late-night DJ sets.

The Hoxton, Williamsburg is the British brand’s first opening in North America. Stay here for spectacular skyline views and proximity to all the ultra-hip things to do nearby in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick. Even more stunning views await at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, where you can enjoy cocktails overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline at 1 Rooftop Garden & Bar.

Ace Hotel New York | Photo: Fran Parente

Ace Hotel New York | Photo: Fran Parente

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Recommended hotels in New York City
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Things to do in New York City

New York is a vertical city. Take in the view from One World Observatory, the tallest building in the city (and the sixth tallest in the world). While the big museums often steal the spotlight, New York’s real treasures are the independent galleries in art-forward Chelsea. Don’t miss David Zwirner, a Renzo Piano-designed gallery that exhibits international contemporary artists like Diane Arbus, William Eggleston and Yayoi Kusama. For a classic museum experience, the nearby Whitney Museum of American Art (also designed by Renzo Piano) focuses on works of 20th and 21st-century American art.

No visit to New York is complete without a trip to Brooklyn. Head to Grand Army Plaza to visit the 1938 Central Building of the Brooklyn Public Library, one of the best-preserved Art Deco buildings in the United States. A short walk away, the Beaux-Arts Brooklyn Museum features works by Edward Hopper, Norman Rockwell and Georgia O’Keeffe. Further afield, visit Brooklyn’s Little Italy and relax in the outdoor patio at L&B Spumoni Gardens, where locals go for the Sicilian pizza and stay for the spumoni. Or head all the way to the end of the line for a Nathan’s hot dog on the Coney Island boardwalk.

The Whitney Museum | Photo: Karin Jobst

The Whitney Museum | Photo: Karin Jobst

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Recommended experiences in New York City
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The Brooklyn Bridge (and the view from it) has always been one of the best things to see in New York

Things to see in New York City

If you want to know what the New York waterfront was like for all of the 20th century, just watch On the Waterfront. Regarded as one of the best American movies ever made, the crime drama paints an accurate picture of the industrial areas as crime-ridden and filled with mobsters. All that changed with the revitalization of the South Street Seaport historic district in Manhattan. In the last decade, the East River waterfront has opened up with new parks, restaurants and hotels on both the Manhattan and Brooklyn sides of the river. A brand new fleet of ferries operated by NYC Ferry is the best way to explore the city’s waterfront neighborhoods. Just hop on the ferry at Wall Street / Pier 11 landing and jet across the river to Brooklyn in mere minutes. Visit DUMBO for art galleries and river views. Or take a ride to neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Greenpoint for concept shops, inventive restaurants and acclaimed cocktail bars. During the summer, arrive by ferry to New York’s underrated city beaches like Jacob Riis Park in just 57 breezy minutes.

The Empire State Building and Top of the Rock need no introduction. But if you can, avoid tourist-packed Midtown and enjoy the sights south of Houston Street. In the ’70s, the late artist Keith Haring created an original mural for the Houston Bowery Wall, a fixture at the intersection between the East Village and Lower East Side. Decades later, established and emerging street artists continue to create murals at the high-traffic corner. Continue the public art tour at The High Line, one of New York’s favourite parks built on a historic, elevated freight line with murals and installations.

Go off the grid in Greenwich Village, where the city’s orderly, numbered streets and avenues turn into angular, cobbled roads where you’ll find charming cafes, restaurants and shops. In Washington Square Park, a 19th-century arc modeled after the Arc de Triomphe is one of the city’s most recognizable monuments. Nearby, pause in the much smaller Christopher Park (across from the legendary Stonewall Inn) for a quiet moment of reflection with George Segal’s Gay Liberation Monument. The Brooklyn Bridge (and the view from it) has always been one of the best things to see in New York.

The High Line

The High Line

Photo: Dimitar Belchev

Photo: Dimitar Belchev

Brunch in New York is serious business

Where to eat in New York City

Fanelli Cafe in SoHo with its neon sign and red gingham tablecloths is a classic, old New York experience. First opened in 1847, it’s considered the second-oldest restaurant in the city. Sit at the bar and order the no-frills burger. Brunch in New York is serious business. Friend of a Farmer, a pioneer in the farm-to-table movement since 1986, is designed like a Vermont farmhouse. Across the river, the late Heath Ledger’s Five Leaves restaurant has one of Brooklyn’s best brunches.

Pizza, the city’s undisputed favorite snack, is a food group all its own. Step out of New York and into Naples at San Matteo, where more than 20 varieties of Neapolitan-style pizza emerge from a hand-built, wood-fired oven. Excellent toppings include house-made mozzarella by owner Fabio Casella, an authority on Italian cheeses. In Brooklyn, Paulie Gee’s serves inventive pies topped with unusual, locally-sourced ingredients like pastrami from Frankel’s Delicatessen and Mike’s Hot Honey.

Plenty of more inventive options are found in every corner of the city. In the Lower East Side, teen wonder Flynn McGarry helms the kitchen at Gem restaurant. Reserve a table in the 16-seat dining room for an always-changing, 15-course tasting menu. Located inside Roberta, Brooklyn’s buzziest pizza spot, Blanca offers an upscale tasting menu in a tiny, reservation-only loft space with an open kitchen.

Paulie Gee's | Photo: Regina

Paulie Gee's | Photo: Regina

The Hoxton, Williamsburg

The Hoxton, Williamsburg

Shopping in New York City

Well-heeled locals head to the cobbled streets of Tribeca to do their shopping. Even the J.Crew Men’s Shop in this storied downtown New York neighbourhood is a special experience. Located in a former bar, shop the brand’s signature styles, browse vintage finds, or grab a drink at the small bar. Around the corner, Best Made Company is an outdoor lifestyle concept shop where you can get clothes and gear for a trip to upstate New York.

In the West Village, you can shop for coffee-table books and Marc Jacobs trinkets at Bookmarc. There’s no better place for high-end fragrances than New York-based Le Labo. At Drama Club in Brooklyn, owner Jack Sachs curates the perfect blend of contemporary brands, vintage finds and all the accessories you’ll actually want, like Gitman Vintage shirts, Comme des Garcons zip-around wallets and D.S. & Durga fragrances.

Best Made Co | Photo: Adrian Gaut

Best Made Co | Photo: Adrian Gaut

Photo: Daniel Schwartz

Photo: Daniel Schwartz

The hipster set goes to Royal Palms for shuffleboard and tiki cocktails, while an edgier crowd heads to House of Yes in Bushwick

New York City nightlife

The late Sasha Petraske is said to have ushered in Manhattan’s modern cocktail culture when he opened Milk & Honey on the Lower East Side in 1999. The bar is no longer, but across the East River in Long Island City, Dutch Kills (one of Petraske’s bars) with its wooden booths, dim lighting and cocktails made with hand-cut ice is worth the trip. There’s a menu, but tell the bartender what you’re in the mood for and they’ll create the perfect cocktail tailored just for you. In the far reaches of Chinatown, you’ll find mostly locals only at Mr. Fong’s, known for its Chinese-inspired cocktails, bar bites and jukebox.

In Brooklyn, Long Island Bar is an old-school diner that was transformed into a retro cocktail bar by Toby Cecchini, who invented the Cosmopolitan in the ’80s. Sophisticated cocktails are on the menu at Henry Public in Cobble Hill, Clover Club in Carroll Gardens and Ramona in Greenpoint. The hipster set goes to Royal Palms for shuffleboard and tiki cocktails, while an edgier crowd heads to House of Yes in Bushwick. Located in a former ice warehouse, the performance-fueled night club hosts eclectic events and dance parties. For a classic dive bar experience, High Dive in Park Slope offers free popcorn and a summer patio.

House of Yes | Photo: Kenny Rodriguez

House of Yes | Photo: Kenny Rodriguez

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