1) The Tenement Museum: I love history and therefore this small museum is easily one of my favorite NY experiences. While everyone goes to Ellis Island Museum to learn about the immigrant experience, the Tenement Museum tells the stories of immigrants who lived in 97 Orchard Street, a tenement built in 1863 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The building was painstakingly restored to illustrate the lives of NY immigrants after they left Ellis Island. Researchers scavenged through the building, which had been vacant for 50 years, combed through archives, and complied evidence about tenants and tenement life. They managed to restore 6 apartments, including the home of the Moores, Irish immigrants who lived at 97 Orchard in 1869. Walking through this building, which can only be seen by guided tour, gives you a sense of how incredibly difficult it was to be an immigrant in NYC. You really can feel the spirit of the people who once resided here and you leave looking at Orchard Street through an entirely new set of lenses.
2) The High Line: This is one of New York’s newest outdoor spaces and it would have even wowed Frederick Law Olmstead. The High Line is located on Manhattan’s West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to 34th Street, between 10th/11th Avenues. The High Line was originally constructed in the 1930s, to lift dangerous freight trains off Manhattan’s streets. Today, it is a gorgeous park that seems to float above the city. The old train rails are incorporated into the design – and the landscaping is spectacular. During the summer you’ll find local sunbathers parked on the benches scattered throughout the park and you may even catch a wedding ceremony taking place! Check out this video about the High Line:
3) Punk Rope: If you’re game to meet “real” New Yorkers, you must try one of NY’s most social fitness raves – Punk Rope! This exercise class is so much fun – you jump rope to punk music and play games that will make you laugh while working out and meeting new people. Each week, Tim Haft, Punk Rope’s Founder and President, offers a new themed class and play list. One of his goals is to celebrate cultures around the world, so you may catch one of their tribute classes such as Japan, Mexico, Sweden, China, Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and India – all while in the Big Apple. Now you’re wondering how you’re going to meet people while exercising, right? Here’s the best part of Punk Rope: they have a happy hour at Otto’s Shrunken Head the first Monday of every month (all drafts only $2). And Punk Ropers are known for their “pizza crawls” – they hit some of NYs best pizza joints together! Feel free to check out their Facebook page for more information. Check out this great video about PunkRope:
4) Food: One of the hardest things about traveling for me is finding the “right” place to eat. I’m a “foodie.” I love to cook, I love to eat and I love to eat “clean” food. After all, there is nothing worse than knowing your dinner has been sprayed with enough pesticides to kill a small army of ants! The NYC solution is GustOrganics, the first and only certified organic restaurant in NYC. And this INCLUDES the bar. It also includes gluten-free options for those of you who are sensitive to gluten. Oh, and did I mention that the food is FABULOUS? From their risotto, to their Argentinian stew, to their hearty soups, you will not be disappointed. And for those of you who don’t normally eat organic food, you’ll quickly taste the difference, you’ll also feel the difference. After all of this incredibly healthy food, I realize that sometimes one must indulge on the sugar “dark side.” My strongest recommendation is Rice to Riches. This is a rice pudding bar and it is so incredibly mouth wateringly delicious that I can’t believe it hasn’t been franchised. My mouth is seriously watering just thinking about this perfect foodie combination!
5) View of the NYC Skyline: Head over to Weekhawken, NJ for the best view of the NYC skyline. This is a photo of me and my beau, Tony, with the view of the skyline. Note the Empire State Building lit up in red, white and blue behind me.