If you’re on the search for the best value Portuguese wines in New York City we’ve searched far and wide so you don’t have to. Finding a good amount of value Portuguese wines in the city was quite difficult actually.
When I think of NYC I think you can find anything you want. Well, it wasn’t like that when it came to Portuguese wines. I have a couple of theories on why it is like this, but the point of this article is to give you a quick shortlist of great value Portuguese wines that you must try.
So after walking all over the city on a beautiful Friday afternoon, and after a quick stop at Jacob’s Pickles to refuel, here are the top options:
Beautiful red wine in case you like Malbec! Like walking a violet field!
Xisto ilimitado white
$24.99 / bottle
Here you have an amazing old oak-aged white for 25 bucks. Spices, caramel, vanilla… where’s the cheese?
Sidonia de Sousa 2015 red, Bairrada
$14.99 / bottle
I would compare this to a Pinot Noir or a funky Barbera. I love baga for one reason. Most of them give you that hay, barnyard, turnip and earthy character that is just lovely, but still on the lower end of tannins.
Quinta santa da teresa, Vinho Verde
$15.99 / bottle
I am going to sum this one up in one word: LEES! Who the hell said Vinho Verde is that watery fizzy drink only? Grow up…
Any wine geek or adventurous person that wants a skin contact wine? YEAH! What a ridiculous price! 100% Avesso here. Down this list you will have a skin contact 100% Loureiro. Please get both and drink them together!
Alvarinho casa capitao mor 2017, Vinho Verde
$14.96 / bottle
Another ridiculous wine that screams lees and batonnage. What a concentration of flavors this is. $15 bucks. FIFTEEN BUCKS!
Casa mouraz tinto 2014. Dão
$15.99 / bottle
Do you want an old fashion taste of Portugal? This is it. A blend of 9 grape varieties. Yes, very common to blend lots of stuff in Portugal. The result? An organic wine that has tannins that tell you that you better go get a ribeye because it will give you a great time!
Filipa pato rosé 2018. Bairrada
$15.99 / bottle
You know, we all have that friend. That friend that thinks they know it all or that always complains it is not good enough. Or the other way around, where that friend is really excited to taste different stuff. This is it.
Please give it blind to your friend, ask them how much it costs and how good it is and then tell them this insane price because here you have an organic rosé sparkling wine with beautiful lees aging.
Please Please Please, of them all, if you had one wine only you could try, please let it be this one!
Great Alvarinho here, literally from a neighbor of mine, beautiful skin contact here. Compare this to the other skin contact we saw above and decide if you like skin contact more with a floral or fruity character.
To sum up, I am a bit disappointed with the poor selection of Portuguese wines in New York City. For the city that it is, I was expecting more.
Anyone can have that great French or Italian wine that everyone knows. But few can find the great undervalued wine from Portugal and I hope I will see more of them next time I visit because back home I taste lovely things with unbelievable prices!
Who the hell am I?
I am Rafael de Lima, aka Raf, owner of de Lima’s wine bar in Porto, Portugal, and de Lima’s wine experiences. Winemaker for fun in Monção, making a weird alvarinho that only my geeky friends get to taste. I am also currently about to finish my WSET level 4 in London. I am honored to say that I make my living spitting wine and making other people discover the beauty of Portuguese wines.
If you love nautical activities and are visiting New York City, maybe the Central Park Sailboats have been on your “must-do” list of experiences while you’re here. If you’re a local just searching for a way to spend a leisurely Saturday check out our thoughts on what it’s like to sail the “open” waters of Central Park.
Is sailing RC boats in Central Park the most exciting activity in the city that never sleeps? Definitely not. We rented a sailboat for 30 minutes and quite honestly that amount of time was just the right amount for us to learn that maybe sailing isn’t our skill set. For most of the time, the wind was pretty tame resulting in most of the sailboat rentals stay still in the water.
It’s hard to get excited when your sailboat isn’t doing anything. Maybe that’s just a product of wanting instant gratification, but it may be frustrating for you too. It took us half of our rental time to really hone in on how to make the sailboat move.
When to Rent
Quite honestly, we arrived right when the Central Park sailboats opened on a Saturday at 1:00PM EST. The line quickly grew behind us and I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets much busier throughout the day.
So if you have your heart set on sailing your blues away, or reliving your Stuart Little dreams, I would recommend arriving when the stand opens for the given day, OR be okay with having to wait a bit for an available sailboat on some of the busier days through the week. I heard one mom buy six rentals for her kids, so I’m sure the boats go quick.
The Central Park sailboats rental stand is located on the east side of the Conservatory Water pond. You will see a little stand with sailboats outside where you can rent your sailboats.
The closest bus stops include bus access to M1, M2, M3, M4 @ 5 Av/E 75 St
For our ultimate guide on New York City public transit: READ HERE
Costs to Rent Central Park Sailboats
In total after tax, we spent $11.98 for 30 minutes of RC sailboat playtime. It’s super affordable, don’t get us wrong. If you’re taking a kid to the park and need to keep them occupied for 30 minutes so you can have a breather than spend the money. If you’re going on a date, walk a little further to the rowboats instead and pony up the extra cash to be romantic.
We were afraid that they would only take cash, but have no fear they accept cash or card!
Rental, Sailors hat
Rental, Sailors hat, & t-shirt
You may be tempted to buy the sailors hat like we were. But trust us, don’t do it because you will get done with sailing and be glad you didn’t.
In the end, if you’re into remote control things, sailing, or you are with kids this may be the perfect activity for you. For everyone else, I would recommend perhaps renting bikes to explore Central Park or head over to the Loeb Boathouse and rent a rowboat on the water for about the same price for an entire hour of fun.
If you spend any amount of time in New York City you’re bound to take the MTA Subway a time or two. For those that live in the city, they can chew your ear off with all the crazy stories, people, and experiences they have had while underground on the subway. In this episode, we bring in our friends and colleagues to share some of their craziest subway encounters while living here.
About to visit New York City, or already here and need to quickly find a place to put your luggage? In this article, we’ll cover options for luggage storage in NYC so you won’t need to fuss with bags. Get ready to have the time of your life in the best city on earth.
We have this exact problem all the time when we travel the globe.
We get into a new city and want to go explore, but we can’t. We have an awkward amount of time where we’re left with our bags to lug around the city before check-in. Well lucky for the world, awesome companies have developed solutions that will help luggage storage in NYC be a breeze for you.
Luggage Storage Apps
Luggage storage has finally caught up with the times and now it’s easier than ever to shed yourself of your heavy burdens to explore a new place. Here are a few of our favorites and recommendations.
My favorite solution of all the storage apps would be BounceFull Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.. I just heard about this luggage storage app on one of my favorite podcast’s The Pitch. Their model is pretty cool and it’s super easy to use.
Just download their app and then find a local small business to drop your bags off at. It’s pretty simple and only $6/per bag/per day. Not bad if you think about all the lugging you’d have to carry alternatively.
They also offer a transfer service if you’d like to drop your luggage off at one location and have it delivered to another (say an airport or train station like Grand Central or Penn Station). This service is newer and really interesting if you’re like me and hate luggage lugging. Prices start at about $15 and go up from there for transfer. They have a $5,000 Bounce Guarantee so you can rest assured they are going to take care of your bags.
I’m a sucker for a nicely designed mobile app and website and of all the solutions on this page, Bounce wins the prize for this.
Because you rock, they’re offering 10% OFF to Life Nomading readersFull Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. so just click the link and it will automagically be discounted upon purchase.
Also available in New York City, this luggage storage app is competitively priced at $6/per day and extra days are charged at $4/ per day. No size or weight limits and free cancellations make it a very appealing solution as well.
Priced a bit differently but still offering a similar service is Luggage Hero. You can utilize them hourly for $1/hour or by the day for $10/day. This is great if you decide that you only need storage in New York City for a few hours as you will save a few bucks.
Be warned they do have a one time $2 handling fee and if you are using them for all day use I would recommend Bounce instead.
We’re just getting a little petty about the price at this point. Vertoe scrapes just under most of the others at $5.95 per item per day. If you’re trying to save every single penny for one more meal at Tortaria then I understand. Security seals, $5,000 in insurance coverage and all that is included with Vertoe luggage storage so you can rest easy that your bags are going to be OK.
Free New York Luggage Storage Solutions
If you’re staying at an Airbnb or a hotel there is a chance you could just give them a call or message and ask if you could get an early check-in. If your host isn’t able to do so, perhaps ask them if you could at least drop your bags off. Most times, if it’s a shared space with a live-in host, they will be more than happy to accommodate. It’s worth a try if getting to your lodging arrangements is just as easy as a bag drop-off location.
Hotel Bag Checks
This is terrible, but if you’re really on a budget and need to find storage for your luggage then hotel bag checks could be an easy solution for you. Even if I’m not staying at a hotel, often times I will just act like I am in a rush and ask if they could hold my bag for me. They will give you a tag and then when you come back, thank them graciously and woohoo you just saved money on luggage storage.
I do however advise that if you have some dollars to spare, tip the hotel staff.
If you’re anxious or worried they’ll call your bluff than this tactic isn’t for you. Instead, use an app storage solution like BounceFull Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.. Confidence is key.
Drop luggage off at a friend’s place
Think reaaaaaaaallllyyy hard. You must have at least one friend in the city that never sleeps. If so, give them a text and if you haven’t seen them in a while first inquire about their lives (eye roll). Then make the ask if you could drop your bag off for a bit while you explore the city. Who knows, maybe they’ll even show you around the city. If they don’t, no biggy, we have a tour for that! 😉
It’s no secret that with a city this big, you have plenty of luggage storage in NYC options at your fingertips. Don’t stress too much, you’re not alone and you’ll be okay. If I were you, I would suggest using an app service like BounceFull Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. or the hotel bag check hack, but at the end of the day be sure to choose an option that gives you more time exploring and less time stressing.
Have a great time in the city that never sleeps and best of luck getting rid of those heavy bags.
Let’s get real, doing your laundry is a necessary evil whether you’re visiting NYC or living in this wonderful city longterm. What isn’t so wonderful is navigating the NYC laundromat. Which one to choose? Should you do it yourself or have them take care of it? What about just having someone pick it up at your door? Take a deep breath in, we’re going to answer all your dirty laundry qualms, and before you know it, you’ll be ready to have pine tree fresh laundry in no time.
The NYC Laundromat
For most normal humans, doing their own laundry is a common occurrence. If you’re living in New York City without a trust fund, then you’ll likely sling a bag of dirty underwear over your shoulder and venture to your preferred laundromat at some point in your life.
However, when it comes to picking your allegiance between the hundreds of laundromats that’d appreciate your quarter paying business, there are a few things to look for before committing.
First Check Your Basement
First, you must be thinking, “But Ian, I’ll have a washer and dryer in my apartment.”
Oh, how beautiful a sight that would be.
You walk into an apartment that is no larger than your midwest walk-in closet and 80% of the space is taken up by a washer and dryer. Keep dreaming, future Broadway star.
However, there is a small chance that your apartment building or wherever you’re staying has communal laundry in your building’s basement. I know what you’re thinking, the last place you want to go is your shady apartment building’s basement.
I get it, but dirty laundry isn’t going to clean itself.
The downfall of this option is that for the most part, you’ll have to pay these machines with quarters. Truthfully, this is one of my least favorite aspects of living in the city. The stress I have for making sure I keep $10-20 worth of quarters laying around at all times is incredible. Maybe I should see someone for that.
The pro-side is that you have a limited number of people using those machines, however, your maintenance guy will likely never fully clean the machines or maintain them so you’re guaranteed to at least have them break on you once…every week.
Might as well go to a New York laundromat, honestly.
Okay, so you have no laundry in your building. No big deal. You will join the ranks of almost every New Yorker to come before you. But how will you be prepared for the experience?
2 words: bring quarters.
Most laundromats in the city still operate on quarters. Like mentioned above, it’s a pain in the butt, but it’s out of your control.
If you don’t have quarters on hand, some of the laundromats will give change if you ask, but don’t expect them to be jolly and happy about doing it. Just make it a habit to go to your local bank and ask to withdraw all the quarters, but make sure it’s not a holiday or a Sunday. Hoard these things in a mason jar. You’ll look cool and feel old school like you’re saving for a trip when in reality its all going to cleaning beer spills and mustard stains.
Find a Laundromat that gives you a laundry card
A gift from the laundry gods
It’s this magical feeling when you finally stumble upon a laundromat in New York that offers a prepaid re-usable laundry card. Gone will be the frustration of quarters and welcome in an easy swipe and start.
How to best spot these?
Well for one, most will advertise they use them and, heck, you may be able to save $5 if you load it with X amount. If not, peek inside and look at the machines. If you see what looks like a credit card swiper or a vending machine money slot then you are golden!
Just ask them for a card and they’ll direct you to where to load it. I think our card cost’s $1.00. Worth it!
How much does it cost to do laundry in an NYC Laundromat?
Pricing varies depending on where you live, how sketchy the laundromat is, and what machines you use. I will say from my experience a normal wash will run you anywhere from $2.75 – $5.00 a load. Drying is a bit less than that.
Hope those H&M clothes are worth the Prada level wash prices. :/ #irony
Quality Over Price Every Day
Your clothes are important and the last thing you want is for a crappy wash to ruin them. I know it’s pretty basic, but I judge NYC laundromats by first checking Google reviews and then giving it a good old-fashioned visual check. If it looks dirty and like its the local spot for the random drug deals… just move on, there are five more on the block.
If they are clean and take laundry cards, you can bet their management company takes pride and prioritizes keeping them a place for people to use.
When To Do Your Laundry in NYC
If you’re visiting or have a flexible job, it is so much less stressful to go to the laundromat in NYC anytime on the weekday between 10:00 AM and say 3:00 PM. Everyone is at work and you will likely have the place to yourself. Pop in an episode of our podcast and begin getting your clean on!
I avoid weekend laundry days like the plague unless you get up nice and early to beat everyone’s hangover sleep-ins.
Wash & Fold
For those visiting the city or perhaps in a pinch on time, there is a service that many laundromats offer in the city called Wash & Fold.
It’s easy, you pack up a laundry bag and take it to the local laundromat. They will weigh the bag, give you a slip, and tell you to come to pick it up in a day or two. It’s very convenient, but will run you on average about double the price of doing it yourself.
When I was a visitor in the city I would do this because it was easy and also, at the time, it blew my mind that I could pay someone to do my laundry and not have to take out a loan for it.
Let’s call it about $20 for an average load. They’ll wash, dry and get this… they fold your laundry too! I’ve never seen people fold like that. So crisp. So perfect.
Pick Up & Delivered Laundry Services
The boujiest of bouji, pick up/delivery laundry services are available to you right at the tap of a button on your phone.
Just like Wash & Fold, with pick up/delivery app’s like Cleanly you can request a person to come to your door and pick up your laundry. 24-hours later they will bring it back with perfect folds and in most cases the laundry is still warm.
Crisp and warm, like a perfectly toasted New York bagel.
Now let’s get real, this is most definitely the priciest of laundry options available to you in the city. We have to admit, we have succumbed to this temptation a time or two.
It’s honestly worth a try, and a good way to treat yourself every now and again especially on super busy NYC weeks. To the right, you will see what it cost us to get laundry done for a week’s worth of both Caroline and I’s clothes. This is after a $10 OFF coupon so in reality, you are looking at $35-45 for a week of laundry. If you’re like myself and hate laundry days, sometimes the money beats the two hours in a laundromat.
If you’d like to get $10 OFF your first two Cleanly washes use our offer code IANHO13 after downloading the Cleanly app.
Ready to take on the NYC Laundromat scene?
Do you feel ready to clean those clothes and get back to the hustle and bustle of the city? We believe in you, you’ve got this! We’d love to hear about your most crazy laundromat experiences in the city. Leave them in the comments below. Stay fresh fellow nomads. 🙂
Whether you’re here on business or just visiting to cross some city sights off your bucket list, New York is for single travellers: A place where you’re never alone, but can make decisions for yourself (and no one cares). New York bliss. NYC has something to offer everyone, but here are a few things to welcome you to the world of New York for single travellers.
Don’t be scared. Take public transportation.
Not only will it save you money (and potentially a new pair of shoes), but it will give you a deeper appreciation of the people and the construction of this city. Get it? Deeper? As in tunnels?
I could go on and on about Subway tips for tourists, but I’m going to leave that to this in depth article. Read it. Memorize it. Stand clear of the closing doors, please.
Where to Stay
Lodging can be daunting as it’s sometimes the most expensive piece of the travel puzzle, depending on the length of your trip. As a single traveller, you most likely won’t be wanting to drop $100+ a night for a hotel room. Other options?
As we all know, hostels are a fun way to meet other travellers when you’re alone. If you’re looking for hostels directly in Manhattan, the prices are sometimes in line with hotels. Be sure to widen your zoom when looking at a map! There are some really awesome hostels in Queens and Brooklyn that offer way nicer amenities and are generally $25/night. Compare to the subway map, as long as it’s off a subway stop, you’ll be in the chaos of the city soon enough!
Game changer. Sometimes I think about how people traveled pre-AirBnb; It revolutionized how people experience the city!
Having a local at your fingertips for recommendations, a home-base to make coffee in the morning, and the ability of walking down your front steps to a neighborhood rather than Times Square – that’s what makes a New York City experience real. You can average about $30/night in a New York Airbnb, but don’t forget about the extra cleaning fee when you book. Same with hostels, zoom out to take a scan at rooms in all 5 boroughs. Staying in these areas will get you some better prices!
What to do
For a full list of things to do in New York, I could talk for days. The greatest part about the city is that just by going outside for a walk, you’re in for an adventure. Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to wander. These are the things that I suggest doing on your own:
A built in friend group of travelers just like you!
If you want to get away from the family’s with fanny packs, take a tour of a less popular areaFull Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. (it’ll widen your horizons anyway). At the very least, you have the attention of a local for at least an hour or two. Ask for recommendations; I’ve sometimes planned an entire trip that way!
Great for a rainy or cold day, but also one of the top attractions in New York. You could spend a whole week touring NYC museums, so pick which one will appeal to you the most. You can wander around by yourself for hours, which I tend to do even if I come with a group!
Pro Tip:The Natural History Museum is actually “pay what you wish” when you buy your ticket in person! Don’t feel bad about skipping out on that hefty $23 recommended admission. There’s a family of five right behind you that will fall into it’s traps.
Jazz at Lincoln Center
If you’re a sucker for jazz, like me, but have no idea where to go, why not go to the center of it all? Located at Columbus Circle, you can find formal concerts here, but the best thing to do alone is Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club. Grab a glass of wine, sit in the back and take in the amazing talent. It’s a low lit, single traveller’s dream that will leave you feeling classy and fulfilled!
Top of the Rock
Because if you have to do one touristy activity, this should be itFull Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.. For sweeping views of the New York Skyline and maybe a moment of silence overlooking the chaos, Top of the Rock provides you just that.
Ask a stranger to take your photo (they’ll probably ask for one back), and then just take it all in. It’s way better than the Empire State Building, just trust me on that.
If you’re staying in an AirBnb, you’ll probably get a marketing email or two leading up to your trip, but AirBnb Experiences are open to anyone! They’re an awesome way to get a unique experience that’s off the beaten path, and with a host that is passionate about a niche topic. Take a tour, make a souvenir, or try some food that you wouldn’t normally have encountered!
CitiBike through the Park
For someone new to New York, I wouldn’t recommend relying on CitiBike to get you from destination A to B (those cab drivers can be pretty scary on the road).
However, a nice ride through the park gives you a fun activity and a great way to see as much as possible. Central Park is a great one to bike through, but for a park a little less obvious, try out Riverside. There’s also a bike path closer to the Hudson which runs from 145th street all the way to the Battery. Get on it and go! …Just be sure to dock your bike every 30 minutes so you don’t get charged.
A day pass is $12 for unlimited 30-minute rides, or a single 30-minute ride is $3.
See a Show
Can’t come to New York and not see one, right? There are a lot of options for discount tickets on the fly. The easiest one being on your phone: Download TodayTix. Right now. Just do it and see what it is. Another option includes going to the theater’s box office as soon as it opens (do a little research and make sure they do same day rush tickets before going). If all else fails, line up at the TKTS Booth. They sell same day tickets that are 20-30% off: Worth a shot, right?
Where to eat
When friends and family visit, they probably think all I do during the day is eat… I’m just very passionate about food offerings in New York City. These are the places that I can recommend on a medium budget (no, not Michelin restaurants), but will get you out of the Times Square Applebee’s.
Tortaria (Union Square)
I love a good taco/marg joint, but this is the perfect blend of quick tacos and a full-on restaurant. Perfectly placed between Union Square and West Village, stop in even if just for the chips and queso (And obviously some tequila, if you’re into that).
Top Secret Tip: They have this smoked barbecue sauce that sits on the tables. PUT IT ON EVERYTHING. Mix it into the queso, pour it down your throat, whatever it takes. If I could buy it by the gallon, I would.
Jacobs Pickle’s (Upper West Side)
#1 favorite place in the city. Don’t even think about going for Sunday Brunch since they don’t take reservations, but if you go on weekdays for any meal you’ll be able to walk in and snag a table (or bar spot). The cocktails are amazing, but the food is the winner. Southern with a twist, comforting, and large portions. Hello, leftovers! I’ve never left without complete satisfaction from the grub or the service.
Clearly, Ian loves Prince Street Pizza
Prince Street Pizza (NoLita)
The BEST pizza. It’s not what you imagine as typical NY style pizza, but it’s the style of pizza that I want while in New York (that counts, right?). You can usually see the line stretching down the sidewalk, but well worth the wait. Grab a square, take in those tiny peps, perfectly crafted sauce, and fluffy dough. I can smell it a mile away. The perfect end to an unsuccessful “shopping” day in SoHo.
Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (Flatiron District)
You may have seen their name at some point in life. This place is a cheese-lover’s dream. Fun cafe on the ground level, but the magic is downstairs in the cellar. Amazing, affordable happy hour with a good selection of wines to pair with your mini cheese board, but you CANNOT leave without trying the Mac and Cheese. Mom’s mac is good and all, but woah. I have dreams of this pixie dust infused mac.
Playa Bettys (Upper West Side)
I was originally drawn into this place during my search for queso that could compare to my tex-mex loving roots. They did not disappoint. Neither did their drinks or burritos, which have french fries in them… casual. Playa Betty’s also broadened my food-loving horizons to include tachos (tater tot nachos, brilliant) and ice cream churro sandwiches (I mean, come on). If it’s nice outside, they open their windows and create a patio. Perfect for Upper West Side dog, people, and dog people watching.
Ippudo (Multiple Locations)
Amazing ramen. If you’ve had NY pizza, bagels, doughnuts, and cronuts, you may be looking for something a bit less alarming to your digestive system, and you can’t miss out on a classic Japanese soul food. Ippudo has several locations in New York, making it easy to take a break from tourist food.
Black Seed Bagels (East Village)
We all know NY bagels are good, but while there are several places that claim to have the best, I generally think they all taste the same. Black Seed definitely does not. I promise you will have a life-changing bagel experience here (All I’m saying is that one more than one occasion I have eaten multiple in one day). It’s the water in New York that makes our bagels special, but they add a touch of honey to that magic water to make it even more magical. Bliss.
Rosemary’s (West Village)
When you’re ready to sit down for a nicer meal, indulge in a bottle of wine, and have an experience of culinary arts, this is the place. It’s large, and always lively so you can enjoy your meal even if you’re dining alone. It’s reasonably priced for the quality of the food and well worth it if you’re treating yourself. Located in prime West Village, they feature produce from their rooftop farm in a magical setting that takes you from Greenwich to Tuscany upon entering through the doorway.
Cuba (Greenwich Village)
Mojitos and Empanadas. Considering getting this mantra tattooed on my forehead. Cuba gives you the real deal. It’s a small dining space with a lot of flavors. Brunch can get crazy, but go for a quiet weekday meal.
If you’re super into the sweets and find yourself on the Upper West Side, I dare you to make it through the Top 5 Desserts on the Upper West Side. It’s a challenge, so if you only choose one, I won’t judge.
Cafe Lalo (Upper West Side)
A cafe to sit and read a book… at least according to “You’ve Got Mail.Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.” I’ll take my latte with a side of Tom Hanks, please. Treat yourself to a little cheesecake and take in the quaintness of the Upper West Side.
Levain Bakery (Upper West Side)
Six. Ounces. Of warm, gooey, cookie that is. Levain’s perfectly baked cookies are a dessert that will be in your memory forever. Chocolate Chip Walnut is classic, but you cannot go wrong with any of the cookie flavors. Located at W 74th and Amsterdam, it would be easy for you to overlook the tiny basement bakery if it weren’t for the line stretching down the block. Well worth the wait though, and if you deem that it’s not, there’s a second storefront right around the corner. You’re welcome.
Follow their instagram if you want serious FOMO before your trip. These decadent rings of bliss come with lots of napkins and a craving for more. Go in the morning for a fresh batch, or in the evening when you can normally get two for one (Although I highly suggest heating it up before eating for maximum satisfaction).
Milk Bar (Multiple Locations)
Cliche, I know, but you have to try it if you haven’t. It’s famous for its cereal ice cream, and for good reason. The first time I tried it, I audibly said OMG after every bite. I promise you’ll be able to find one within a reasonable distance, so take the time to go and enjoy. Your life will be changed, and ice cream will never be the same.
So if you’re coming the New York City by yourself, just remember that this city is made of 8.6 million people that are alone. Don’t be afraid to sit in a restaurant or go to the park and read a book. Always be aware and diligent, but soak in the bliss that is independently wandering through New York.
The New York underground can be pretty daunting, but here are our New York Subway tips for tourists. Deep breath, it’s going to be okay.
Take a look at your Google Maps to figure out the best route to your destination (and don’t be afraid to ask a friendly-looking New Yorker for help, we’re nicer than we look). It may be daunting, but worth the experience and the time saved! Subways can normally get you places in New York faster than cars.
*Google Maps Tip* You can download the New York City area locally to your phone so that your maps can work even if you lose reception while underground on the subway.
One ride on the train is a standard $2.75 no matter how far you go, and the card itself costs a dollar. This MetroCard will work on both subways and buses; No need for a separate New York Bus Pass!
Time Vs Value Card:
Time can either be a 7 day or 30 day unlimited pass.
Unlimited Subway passes are activated on your first swipe, so if you’re here for two weeks and buy two 7 day passes only use one at a time (or wait to buy your second after your first card has expired). The days continue to be used whether or not you use the card (so you can’t save days and use it on your next visit).
Value is a dollar amount preloaded on the card ($2.75/ride). If you’re here for multiple days and really plan on exploring multiple areas of the city (And you should – there’s more to New York than just Times Square), I would recommend buying the 7 day unlimited pass. It’s $32, which means if you use it 12 times you’re saving money.
You can activate your subway card simply by swiping in the turnstiles on your first ride.
Buying your Card
How to order a Subway card online?
You don’t. Online purchases of metrocards are really for people who buy them monthly. But don’t worry, it’s incredibly easy to buy them once you arrive! Just go to any station and use one of the touch screen kiosks.
If you need to buy a metrocard at the airport:
Head straight to the train or bus station you’re hopping on. You can purchase them at the station!
Does the subway take debit cards?
Yes! Most station kiosks take both credit card and cash, but the smaller kiosks only take card.
One of the most important things to understand about our subway system is the concept of uptown/downtown. Before you head out for your excursions, take a look at a map. Is your destination further North than your current location? Take your subway line uptown. Destination further South? You guessed it, head downtown.
Take a look at the signs overhead on the platform. Generally, at express stops one side of the track will be express and the other local (same platform). At local stops, there will be one entrance for uptown, and one entrance for downtown.
*Some local stops won’t let you transfer sides without exiting the station and re-swiping. If you have a value card with money on it, you’ll be charged again. If you have an unlimited card, it won’t let you swipe again for 18 minutes.
Express Vs Local:
Local: Stops at every station on a line. These stations are on maps as a black dot.
Express: Skips some stops to get you there faster! These stations are on maps as a white dot.
*Sometimes the conductor will announce that certain trains are running local/express. Pay attention if your destination is at a local stop. You may end up zooming right past it!
*Pay attention to the letter or number on the train! Colors will only help you so much! Lines of the same color sometimes split in opposite directions and can make you end up somewhere different than expected!
If you need to transfer trains, and you’ve confirmed from the map that they both stop at the same station, you don’t need to exit and re-enter. Most staircases have clear arrows for you to make it to your next train.
People can live in New York for years and not take the bus once. When I first started using it, I was mad that I had missed out on the convenience for so long! Generally, buses save your tired little NYC legs from walking those extra 10 blocks. Or, if you don’t want to transfer trains and prefer to just sit for an extra couple of minutes, the bus is for you!
How to Swipe
There are two type of buses in New York:
Normal Bus: Hop on the bus when it pulls up. There’s a machine by the driver to insert your metrocard (it’s an aggressive pull – beware). It’ll spit back out, then have a seat!
Select Bus Services: Technically a premium ticket. Rather than swiping your card as you board the bus, these buses always have machines on the street to insert your metrocard before you board. It will spit out a receipt. HOLD ONTO THIS! You won’t need to do anything or show anyone your receipt, but NYPD does random checks on select bus services to make sure you’ve paid your fare. I’ve seen it happen, it’s not worth the $100 ticket from the police.
*The M60 is a select bus service from LaGuardia Airport to Manhattan. WAY cheaper than an uber or taxi, so if you aren’t in a rush after landing or on your way back to the airport. Hop on the M60!
Navigating: Here’s where a good sense of direction comes in handy. Similar to navigating uptown/downtown, make sure you’re looking at a map for where your destination is. Google Maps will tell you which bus to take, but it’s up to you to make sure you board on the correct side of the street. If you board on the wrong side, you’ll be heading clear in the opposite direction.
*Find some mile markers to give you a general sense of direction: The grid system is super helpful (higher numbers mean North, etc), or a few recognizable buildings (Empire State, Chrysler, One World Trade).
Stop at your Stop: The bus doesn’t always stop. If the driver doesn’t see anyone waiting at the bus stop, they will keep on plugging away. To make sure the bus lets you off, press the “Stop Requested” button on the poles once you’re one stop away. This lets the driver know, “Hey, I’m getting off at the next stop!”
Etiquette is a very real thing on NYC Public Transit. Here are a few tips that will keep you from making New Yorkers grumpy on the train (trust me, if we’re happy you will be too):
Boarding: Like your mom taught you the first time you got on an elevator, step aside and let people off first. There will be more room for you once they’re on their merry way. There is nothing worse than trying to get off the train and having a wall of people standing in front of you getting mad because they can’t get on themselves.
Whilst on Board: Things not to do…
Try to Subway surf and not hold on. You’ll look like an idiot and everyone will hate you.
Talk obnoxiously loud. You’ll sound like an idiot and everyone will hate you (or you could end up on @overheardnewyork).
Try to make friends with strangers. We know we’re standing inches apart, but eye contact just isn’t a thing. Talking DEFINITELY isn’t a thing (unless you really need help with directions). This is not the elevator in your Toledo apartment building. New Yorkers value our hard to find silence.
Manspread. Time to get cozy with your neighbors. Bucket seats monitor this a bit, but on bar seats slide over to make room for other passengers. No one hates a manspreader more than New Yorkers.
Eat. Seriously? No one’s immune system is strong enough for this. No one wants to smell your halal food on the train either.
Things You May See
For nightmare worthy Subway sights, follow @subwaycreatures on insta. On a normal day, there may be a few alarming things, but nothing worth causing a scene over. If you truly feel uncomfortable, quietly remove yourself from the situation or notify nearby security.
Panhandlers: It’s no secret that you’ll bump into a few homeless in the tunnels, on your train car, or on the platform. They will hop on your car, tell a sad story, and ask for money. You’re the judge of what you do in those scenarios, but coming from a New Yorker, know that they are always there (sometimes with the same story, and sometimes different). I’m not a totally insensitive jerk though, I’ve given money to those I believe are being honest. As a fun fact, an average New York panhandler makes about 60k a year.
Showtime: Breakdancers, magicians, musicians, even comedians hop on the train and give a little performance. If you don’t plan on handing them money, don’t stare or record (I know, it’s hard not to sometimes). If you watch or video, they’ll be expecting you to pay for the performance.
Have questions about the New York City Subway? Leave them in the comments and we’ll answer them for you!
Why should you get tickets to Top of the Rock in New York? There are several observation decks in New York, but here are my reasons why that beautiful skyline is best seen from Top of the Rock.
You’re in the heart of midtown New York! If you have time to kill before or after, take a stroll past Radio City Music Hall, the ice skating rink, Magnolia Bakery, or Saks to see their infamous holiday windows. There certainly isn’t a lack of things to do around this area where the charm is always present. If you’re really intrigued with what midtown has to offer beyond Top of the Rock (and the history behind it all), consider a New York Midtown Walking Tour that includes your Top of the Rock ticket; It will help you learn about that concrete jungle you’ll be viewing from above.
From 70 stories above the city and only a glass panel between you and the horizon, you’re sure to get crystal clear pictures without those metal grates that the Empire State Building offers you. Speaking of, you’ll probably want to get the most iconic building in NYC in your photo (which means being on it may not be the best strategy). Skip the Empire State Building and take a gander at it from an angle you can appreciate.
This one is a biggie. Pretty much the equivalent to a Fast Pass at Disney World. Your ticket to Top of the Rock has a time for entry, come back from exploring New York at that time and take the next elevator up. It’s that easy. No lines, which is somewhat unheard of for general ticketed attractions in New York. You’re also able to stay on the deck for as long as you like although the typical stay is around 45 minutes. This is built into our Midtown Walking Tour, with entry time lining up right when the tour ends. Let us take care of the timing!
The going rate for a non sunset Top of the Rock ticket is $39.20 ($36 + tax). For sunset hours marked on their ticketing page, the total is $50.08 ($46 + tax). There is also an option to upgrade to “sun & stars” which allows you to visit once during the day and return after sunset. With this option, the ticket is roughly $59.
Sunset hours are clearly and more expensive, but worth it! Our midtown tours that end during sunset hours include a normal ticket price to Top of the Rock, so travel with one of our evening groups for a deal on your sunset ticket and a tour of the area!
New York is full of options for similar experiences, but for a view of the skyline you’ll want to get the absolute best. Be sure to pack your camera and your walking shoes if you’ll be joining us on a tour. Top of the Rock and Midtown are not to be missed when you visit New York!
If you’re looking for a food tour to explore some of Greenwich Village’s best eats, sit down and prepare to feast.
Living in the city these days means Caroline and I spend most of our time either working on our walking tours or eating at home to save money. We only treat ourselves to the delights of New York City eats every now and again. When the opportunity came up to take a food tour and explore the Big Apple through it’s Greenwich Village restaurants, we jumped at the chance.
Foods of NY Tours is an incredible local food tour business here in the city. They’ve been around since 1999, which means I was barely feeding myself when they began sharing the best food in New York City with the world. So they know a thing or two about food!
While they offer many different food tours around Manhattan and Brooklyn, we chose to join their Greenwich Village “Heart & Soul” tour because it’s one of their most popular experiences.
So What Was It Like?
Our day began with meeting our group at a classic Italian family-style restaurant in the heart of Greenwich Village’s bustling Macdougal St. Joanna, our guide greeted us and instantly made us all feel welcomed. She prepared us for what we were about to experience in the next three hours of our day.
PS… Joanna was a rock star guide who really made us feel like old friends!
After introductions, we headed to our very first stop, Cafe Dante. In an effort to not ruin the allure and surprise of the stops for you, this will be one of the few restaurants I will name in the review. You will have to join them on a future tour if you want to know all the fun stops first-hand!
We kicked off the many tastings with my personal favorite on the tour: Cafe Dante’s Burrata cheeseFull Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. with Sea Salt on honeycomb, cranberry, and pecan sourdough flatbread. If that doesn’t get your taste buds salivating then the photo below may.
One slice of this stuff was not enough for me, but I quickly learned to pace myself as we had seven more tastings to go. The burrata cheese was so soft and flavorful that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go back to traditional mozzarella ever again.
Once we finished with our first tasting, our guide Joanna took us around Greenwich Village. She shared not only the history about the food we were tasting, but also the surrounding areas such as Washington Square Park and the like.
From exploring the Village’s fast-casual Indian cuisine…
Exploring where to get the best coffee beans…
Finding a hidden gem to grab fresh spices, tea, and honey…
To all kinds of desserts and cookies…
Every fifteen minutes we were trying or exploring something new. It made the tour so endlessly exciting!
And last but certainly not least, we need to mention the empanadas. Those sweet, sweet Empanadas.
Caroline’s favorite and a close second fav for me were the empanadas from a place called Cuba.
There, we had a variety of traditional Cuban foods. The crust on the empanadas was perfectly crunchy and thick, while the fillings of spinach, cheese, and beef made for an almost out of body experience.
I wanted to eat more of these but at the tail end of the tour, my stomach was telling me that wouldn’t be wise.
After sampling more than ten different foods, I left this food tour stuffed and extremely satisfied.
Being a New Yorker, I often find myself getting stuck in a routine and forget that there are hundreds, no thousands, of new restaurants and activities I have yet to explore. This food tour was no different. Now Caroline and I have a list of Greenwich Village spots that we must return to for full meals.
At a price of $54 per person, this food tour doesn’t disappoint!
In fact, I am stunned at how affordable it was for just how much food you get during the tour. Alcoholic beverages are not included in the price, so be sure to bring an extra $10-$20 if you’d like to enjoy some wine or mojitos along the journey.