TravelNancy Nguyen

New York

TravelNancy Nguyen
New York

The first time I went to New York, it was for a conference and I stayed only 2 days and 2 nights. This time around I was determined to not feel like I was rushed to do everything so I traveled two days with Brandon for his birthday and then 2 days with friends for the Meadows Music Festival. Don't bring up Kanye's early exit from his performance, I'm still bitter. 

Throughout those 4 days I was able to soak in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Williamsburg, and Bushwick. 

I also spent way too much money on ubers and food.

The first time I was in New York I stayed in Manhattan, this time around Brandon and I decided to try out the Brooklyn scene. A completely different vibe from the city, this borough was much more diverse, with pockets of Orthodox Jewish communities to a bar scene with evident LGBQ/T pride. Highly recommend staying at our Airbnb host's place.  Bruno had a trendy loft that was fully equipped with anything you could want and bagel delivery in the morning. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/13181991

The first time I was in New York I stayed in Manhattan, this time around Brandon and I decided to try out the Brooklyn scene. A completely different vibe from the city, this borough was much more diverse, with pockets of Orthodox Jewish communities to a bar scene with evident LGBQ/T pride. Highly recommend staying at our Airbnb host's place.  Bruno had a trendy loft that was fully equipped with anything you could want and bagel delivery in the morning. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/13181991

Brooklyn style homes were the Yeezy season 2 color palette for all you Kanye lovin' fanboys. 

Brooklyn style homes were the Yeezy season 2 color palette for all you Kanye lovin' fanboys. 

Stumbled upon every blogger's favorite matcha shop in soho. If it wasn't for the pink aesthetics, the other major draw to this quaint spot in Soho was the matcha coconut milk drink. Come on, look at it, no wonder every fashion instagrammer stopped by this place during fashion week. https://chachamatcha.com/

Stumbled upon every blogger's favorite matcha shop in soho. If it wasn't for the pink aesthetics, the other major draw to this quaint spot in Soho was the matcha coconut milk drink. Come on, look at it, no wonder every fashion instagrammer stopped by this place during fashion week. https://chachamatcha.com/

DOUGH.  Jesus, I have not had a more juicier hibiscus doughnut in my life.  With a shop in Brooklyn and I think some more flag ship stores around the area, Dough is a must go for your donut cravings.  http://www.doughdoughnuts.com/

DOUGH.  Jesus, I have not had a more juicier hibiscus doughnut in my life.  With a shop in Brooklyn and I think some more flag ship stores around the area, Dough is a must go for your donut cravings.  http://www.doughdoughnuts.com/

If you are in the Bushwick area, you need need need need neeeeed to check out the Bushwick collective. I'm sure you'll run into it anyways since it's a collection of small to giant murals covering a few blocks of the town. Lots of local bars and restaurants to stop by as well, it's also a dense area for thriving hipsters.  https://www.instagram.com/thebushwickcollective/

If you are in the Bushwick area, you need need need need neeeeed to check out the Bushwick collective. I'm sure you'll run into it anyways since it's a collection of small to giant murals covering a few blocks of the town. Lots of local bars and restaurants to stop by as well, it's also a dense area for thriving hipsters.  https://www.instagram.com/thebushwickcollective/

Lucky to stumble upon not only one...

Lucky to stumble upon not only one...

...but TWO Tristian Eaton murals on our way to brunch in Soho.

...but TWO Tristian Eaton murals on our way to brunch in Soho.

When you uber from Brooklyn to Manhattan, the quickest way is normally by the Manhattan Bridge (pictured above), but If traffic allows, and your uber driver is nice you can get over by the Brooklyn Bridge, which I think is far more interesting to look at. Unfortunately I wasn't able to walk along the bridge, but I was able to drive along and under once. Definitely recommend hitting up the Brooklyn bridge at least once if you visit. 

When you uber from Brooklyn to Manhattan, the quickest way is normally by the Manhattan Bridge (pictured above), but If traffic allows, and your uber driver is nice you can get over by the Brooklyn Bridge, which I think is far more interesting to look at. Unfortunately I wasn't able to walk along the bridge, but I was able to drive along and under once. Definitely recommend hitting up the Brooklyn bridge at least once if you visit. 

Smorgasburg Saturdays was a must go for us. Located on the Williamsburg riverfront, you got all your local vendors...even Rain Drop Cake! Alim almost wanted to buy two to try the different flavors but I advised against it just in case the $8 silicon titty dish was just all hype. Thank God I did, because it was. But you got everything from ramen burgers, to Asian fusion dishes, to coffee, to ice cream, etc etc etc. Plus it's located in the buzz of Williamsburg so you can wander around the bars or local shops or take a ferry to the Brooklyn Bridge. We opted for the first option. http://www.smorgasburg.com/

Smorgasburg Saturdays was a must go for us. Located on the Williamsburg riverfront, you got all your local vendors...even Rain Drop Cake! Alim almost wanted to buy two to try the different flavors but I advised against it just in case the $8 silicon titty dish was just all hype. Thank God I did, because it was. But you got everything from ramen burgers, to Asian fusion dishes, to coffee, to ice cream, etc etc etc. Plus it's located in the buzz of Williamsburg so you can wander around the bars or local shops or take a ferry to the Brooklyn Bridge. We opted for the first option. http://www.smorgasburg.com/

Originally the crew was set on brunch at the Egg Shop in Soho before heading off to day 2 of the Meadows, but sadly it was packed to down the block. We opted for Bread which was conveniently next door, and were pleasantly surprised with our meal. With a perfectly poached egg on top of a benny and avo toast accompanied by the best hiphop brunch playlist, I was okay with not having the infamous eggslut sandwich next door.  http://www.bread-nolita.com/

Originally the crew was set on brunch at the Egg Shop in Soho before heading off to day 2 of the Meadows, but sadly it was packed to down the block. We opted for Bread which was conveniently next door, and were pleasantly surprised with our meal. With a perfectly poached egg on top of a benny and avo toast accompanied by the best hiphop brunch playlist, I was okay with not having the infamous eggslut sandwich next door.  http://www.bread-nolita.com/

Craving our first omakase experience in the city, whilst trying to not break the bank, Brandon and I found Sushi Katsuei around the Brooklyn area with a deal and rep you can't pass up. $45 for nigiri omakase and $65 for nigiri&sashimi combo omakase, that was far more palatable than $120/person at Nakasawa. 

Craving our first omakase experience in the city, whilst trying to not break the bank, Brandon and I found Sushi Katsuei around the Brooklyn area with a deal and rep you can't pass up. $45 for nigiri omakase and $65 for nigiri&sashimi combo omakase, that was far more palatable than $120/person at Nakasawa. 

Never had I had sushi with so much flavor and complexity. Brandon is a hard camper to please when it comes to over hyped dining experiences, but he LOVED it. Trying everything from Tasmanian trout (pictured above) to eel spine, and finally trying an uni that didn't make us both want to vom. The service wasn't too overbearing either, and the sake recommendation had us ordering more a la carte. Oops.  http://www.sushikatsuei.com/ 

Never had I had sushi with so much flavor and complexity. Brandon is a hard camper to please when it comes to over hyped dining experiences, but he LOVED it. Trying everything from Tasmanian trout (pictured above) to eel spine, and finally trying an uni that didn't make us both want to vom. The service wasn't too overbearing either, and the sake recommendation had us ordering more a la carte. Oops.  http://www.sushikatsuei.com/ 

While trekking towards the Bushwick Collective, we stopped at a local brunchy coffee shop for grub before exploring more. Pitanga is one of those super eco friendly, non gmo, gluten-free, health-centric, hippie coffee and tea shops that I found later to also have their own line of juices. The service took waaaayyyyy too long but the food was tasty. Would we go again? eh perhaps.  https://www.yelp.com/biz/pitanga-brooklyn

While trekking towards the Bushwick Collective, we stopped at a local brunchy coffee shop for grub before exploring more. Pitanga is one of those super eco friendly, non gmo, gluten-free, health-centric, hippie coffee and tea shops that I found later to also have their own line of juices. The service took waaaayyyyy too long but the food was tasty. Would we go again? eh perhaps.  https://www.yelp.com/biz/pitanga-brooklyn

Tips on traveling to the New York area if it's your first:

Stay in one location at a time: having our airbnbs in Brooklyn and traveling over to Manhattan everyday, back and forth, was just too pricey via uber and just too long via subway. plan your schedule to stay in one location, either Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, or wherever so you don't have to cry at the damage the upcharge of your uber did to your bank account.

Don't be afraid to do the touristy things here: You all already know, I hate crowds and touristy things that draw in outsiders like flies to a lamp. But going to Time Square at night and seeing the Brooklyn Bridge and walking along Highline were probably one of most memorable parts of the trip. You see these locations in the movies all the time, but it doesn't hit you how surreal and large and beautiful these places are until you're physically there.

Along with going to touristy hotspots, try the iconic New York grub: Yes, go get a New York style bagel, go try their donuts, go get a slice of pizza, even go get Halal Guys although you could probably get better halal food in your hometown. 

Spend a night bar hopping: You can legit do this in any part of the city you're at, and most bars are open 'til 4am unless it's Sunday and they close at 2am. The less bougie the bars, the better. Avoid the ones with long lines and $500 bottle service admission, not worth it. Go to LES and start at Max Fish and work your way up. Or do what my friends did and wander the Bushwick Collective at night and hop along the gay bars in that area. Or Korea Town is never not a good idea. 

- Heels are a no-no: Nothing says "I'm a tourist" more than strutting up and down the city in heels. Just don't do it, your poor feet will thank you later. 

Until next time New York.