‘The Big Apple is more than just the five boroughs with their breathtaking skyscrapers and, iconic bridges and landmarks. It is also about its unique culinary experiences. Join Mallika Bajaj as she takes to the streets trying out some of the most scrumptious delicacies the city has to offer’
I am in New York City (NYC) and around me several worlds seem to be amalgamating. The sharp Wall Street black suits; the busy netizens and the awestruck tourists… I tuck my hair behind the ears, put on my beanie cap and blend into the stream of humans. With its cosmopolitan fabric, New York, one of USA’s most populated cities, is truly global, where people from across the world mingle. As I walk, my nose picks up the delicious aroma of freshly-baked cookies and I follow it, only to reach Insomnia Cookies, one of the city’s iconic bakeries. Classic chocolate chunk, peanut butter chip, snickerdoodle, double chocolate mint, oatmeal raisin, white chocolate macadamia and even ones with M&M’s – the sheer variety of cookies here has me confused. But I settle for the store’s most-popular offering – two cookies of my choice with a glass of chilled milk!
A holiday in New York City is like a dream I never want to wake up from. It has barely been a day that I have landed in the Big Apple and I have already managed to gorge on a hearty breakfast at Bubby’s – a wholesome eggs Benedict (hollandaise, home fries or salad – choice of meat or avocado and tomato), and also the restaurant’s special breakfast, comprising two eggs, a pancake and meat sausage. New York is a foodie’s paradise. Known as the restaurant capital of the world, it is said there are around 25,000 eating establishments in Manhattan (one of the boroughs) alone! The city is so diverse when it comes to dining options is because the people who have made NYC their home, have brought along their cultures and cuisines.
My next stop is Chelsea Market and my aim is to grab a slice of pizza topped with burrata cheese from Filaga, a Sicilian pizzeria, where Italians claim, food tastes “just like home”. After devouring slices of wood-fired pizza, I walk to the High Line. An elevated park, the High Line is one of NYC’s most popular attractions. A rail track functional till the 1980s, it is now a spectacular park. I make myself comfortable on the steps (made from reclaimed teak) at 23rd street, one of the several distinctive and magical spots in the 2.3-km-long High Line, and watch the world go by.
While there is no dearth of transportation options to go around NYC – the iconic yellow cabs, a well-planned subway system, buses, and even railways and ferries – the best way to go around the city is to walk. Extremely pedestrian-friendly, walking plays a central role in New York’s transportation system. My next stop is Pietro Nolita, an eatery recommended by several friends. Located in a quiet Elizabeth Street block, this pink-themed cosy, “authentic” Italian restaurant is run by a fashion celebrity-turned-chef tossing up his mother’s recipes. My favourite lunch spot in this beautiful big city, this place is about lemon, zucchini puree, parmigiano reggiano topped with ricotta salata and toasted almonds! The food is so healthy, it fuses you with the zest you need for an exciting day ahead in the Big Apple. Expect lots of olive oil and oodles of love!
New York is all about looking up, figuratively and literally, as the city is home to the highest number of tallest buildings in the world. Wherever you go, skyscrapers loom large, shadowing streets and offering some of the most spectacular rooftop views!
There are several rooftop restaurants, but Harriet’s and Skylark are must-sees. Located by the Brooklyn Bridge, the Harriet’s Rooftop and Lounge tops the Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, offering some of the best views you can get over New York.
Even higher up sits the Skylark, towering 30 storeys above the city and offering sweeping views of Broadway and Times Square, other than outstanding hospitality and quirky signature cocktails; try My Doctor is Drunk for sure!
They say, people never forget two things in their life – their first love, and their first day in New York. And they say right. I’ve left my heart in New York, a city that isn’t just a destination. It’s more of a feeling; New York is an emotion.