nyc favorite things

2016 Look Back: NYC Favorite Things Series

Our family had an incredible 2 years living in New York City. Our hopes and dreams for living in the city were far surpassed by the experiences that we had and we will forever be shaped by these experiences. Here are some of the posts that I wrote as I processed through our 2 years in the city sharing some of our Favorite Things:

 

NYC Favorite Things - A Few More Things

There are so many things to love about New York! There are so many things that we want to share! As I wrap up this blog series, here are a few more things that we love and will miss in New York City:

     Cultural Diversity – this is the biggest thing that we will miss! In our brownstone alone we lived with families from Vermont, Boston and France. Throughout every day we interacted with people from so many different cultures. I liked to interview my Uber drivers and my first 10 were from different countries all outside of the United States. The cultural diversity in the city of New York is like nowhere else in the world and is such a beautiful thing!

     Subway/Mass Transit – the subway system can feel overwhelming at first, but once you adjust it becomes such a natural way to get around the city. I loved the people watching and not having to drive in the city. It also makes your commute time much more predictable as train traffic doesn’t really compare to car traffic. The biggest question is really how crowded the train will be rather than how long it will take. If you have personal space issues, the subway system is probably not for you.

     Unique Neighborhoods – every neighborhood in New York is unique! We loved finding an excuse to check out different neighborhoods and unique spots in each. From SOHO to Williamsburg to Hells Kitchen, we enjoyed the uniqueness of each!

     Parks – a park in New York is not just a park. The creativity of space is so unique in every park. Every square inch of Central Park and Prospect Park is so optimally used. Experiencing a park like the High Line that was an above ground rail line that was converted to a park. The parks in New York City are just so energizing!

     Delivery Everything – we thought living in New York might be inconvenient with groceries, transportation, etc. We quickly found Fresh Direct who delivered our groceries not just to our door, but up 4 flights of stairs and directly into our kitchen. We also found the Seamless app which delivered take out food to us from 300 different restaurants in our area. Oh yeah, and Amazon Prime added 1 hour deliver shortly after we got there.

     Accents – we absolutely love the native New York accent! There’s nothing like a well said “Forget About It!” We had hoped our girls might pick up a little bit while here. Time will tell on that one.

 

We will sure miss New York City! This experience has been indescribable and we’re so grateful to have had this opportunity. There are so many things that we have loved, but we are excited to see all that God has ahead for us. This season has only fueled the desire for more family adventures in our future. We cannot wait to get to Texas and see all that is ahead. While we will no longer live in New York, we will be back often and cannot wait for the adventures ahead!

NYC Favorite Things - CoWorking Locations

One of my best finds in New York was Croissant. This is an app that allowed for me to utilize various co-working spaces around the city. I loved having both this convenience and the excuse to visit various areas around the city. I also loved picking up differing creative and productivity vibes created by each of the co-working spaces I was able to visit. Here were 5 of my favorite co-working spots on the city:

     LMHQ - this was my go to place to get things done. Their location in Lower Manhattan was ideal for me and I loved the creative energy in this place with the create paint (dry erase on all walls) and layout of the space. They also always had a great playlist on in the collaborative area.

     Joynture - this was my second go to location right off of Wall Street. They have a high class and creative space with dedicated call booths (very important to me). They also have a stocked fridge, abundant snacks and an espresso machine. Oh yeah, and they have an oversized Jenga game in the back.

     Workville - location, location, location. This incredible spot right in Times Square is fantastic with a wrap around outdoor balcony with a beautiful view of the Empire State Building and most of Midtown. They also have great call rooms and good coffee. I would have been more of a regular here if it weren’t a longer commute from our apartment in Brooklyn.

     Rise - I loved the energy in this space and the overall creative energy. They have a great location right next to the Flatiron building and some cool elements like a Recording Studio and 3D Printer. They only had 1 call booth, which was often occupied making this location challenging for me with all of the calls that I have every day.

     Rough Draft - this spot in Williamsburg fits the vibe of that area perfectly. Honestly, I’m not nearly cool enough to work here regularly. I loved being here and so dug the vibe. I highly recommend others check it out, especially if you are doing creative work.

 

Co-working is a trend that is not just growing in New York City, but all over the world. I expect to see more places continuing to pop up around New York and throughout cities everywhere. Not every co-working location is for everyone. I would love to hear your thoughts on co-working and any experiences you have had through venues like this.

NYC Kids Favorite Things

Most people assume that New York City is not a good place for kids, but we have found the city to be very kid friendly with so many great things to do. We asked our kids for their Top 5 favorite things in the city that they would recommend to other kids. Here’s the list they came up with:

1.     Carousels- the girls were quick to say: “Carousels!” Every park in New York seems to have a unique carousel. Highlighted by the Sea Glass Carousel giving a more modern experience and Prospect Park giving a really unique historic experience. Here are their favorites:

a.     Sea Glass Carousel in Battery Park

b.     Prospect Park Carousel

c.     Central Park Carousel

d.     Prospect Park Carousel

2.     Times Square: Disney and M&M stores – for the girls Times Square never got old. They loved going upstairs at the M&M store and filling a bag of M&Ms as well as going upstairs at the Disney Store and hanging out in what they called the “Clubhouse”.

3.     Staten Island Children's Museum – there are so many great museums including children’s museums around New York in all boroughs. Our girls fell in love with the Staten Island Children’s Museum and said this is the most fun.

4.     Transit Museum – this is a fun experience for both kids and adults in Brooklyn. It’s fascinating for adults to learn the history behind the subway system and bridges throughout the city. The kids love playing on the old subway cars and turnstiles. This is a really unique experience that you can’t experience anywhere else.

5.     Sledding Prospect Park – this is the best free entertainment in the city. If it snows while you’re in New York, the best sledding spot we found was not far from our apartment in Park Slope. You can get a plastic disk for $5 at a local hardware store and have hours of fun in the snow sliding down the hills. Build a snowman while you’re at it!

 

Not Favorite: Ice Skating – the girls were quick to say that ice-skating was not their favorite. Before actually ice-skating this was something they were really excited about so we signed them up for lessons. After the first week of lessons they decided that ice-skating is the “worst”. On week 2 of ice skating lessons I even laced up with them and I have to agree: ice-skating is the worst! Ice-skating is just not for our family; if it’s for yours, have fun!

NYC Favorite Things - Tourist Recommendations

After living in New York City people are always asking us what they should see when they visit the city. Many people think they want to see the non-tourist spots, but the truth is there’s a reason why everyone wants to visit the same spots: they’re really cool. Here are our top 5 recommendations to tourists:

1.     911 Museum - this is worth a half-day and a trip to the top of One World Trade. While this is a heavy emotional experience, it speaks so much to the core of America and New York City. It’s well worth taking the time. I would do it on the front end of your trip rather than finish with this.

2.     Top of the Rock - best view in the city hands down. There’s so much to do in and around Rockefeller Center like the NBC Studio Tour and watching the ice skaters, but the best part of Rockefeller Center is the view from the top. It’s worth the ticket and long wait in line.

3.     Staten Island Ferry - this is the best free show in New York City. Jumping on this 30 minute ferry ride gives you an incredible view of the statue of liberty and a nice look at Lower Manhattan as you come back into Manhattan.

4.     Ellen’s Diner - this is the most unique dining experience in the world! If you enjoy Broadway tunes this is the place for you as the wait staff goes above and beyond serving you food, providing live music non-stop. They’re all incredible performers!

5.     Chelsea Market/High Line - this spot is becoming more popular with great shopping and even better food. Stop in for a treat and then spend some time walking up and down the High Line Park just a block away.

 

Additional recommendation:
     Double Decker Bus Tour - we’ve taken many tours before moving here and the best one we took about a year ago on a double decker bus. It’s worth paying for one day in the city as you can see so much more by taking advantage of these bus systems. Beyond the ride, the tour guides are all great and can point out details about the city that are always fascinating!