My second to last day in the big city involved doing some last-minute sight-seeing in Harlem, my first New York pizza and a basketball game. Even looking at this sentence is making me tired – how we did this all in such a short trip still perplexes me but I guess it made up for my awful hangover the day before…
We set off in the AM back to Times Square to hop on the bus to do the Harlem tour and Uptown tours which is exactly what I wanted to see when coming to New York. Harlem is mentioned so much in the media as this ‘rough, hard neighbourhood,’ but seeing it with my own eyes really changed my perception. It was so interesting to learn about the Dutch influence and how it became home to so many different races.
Doing the Harlem and Uptown tours (Covering Upper-Manhattan) in one day made me realise how vast and interesting New York really is. It isn’t all just skyscrapers, chic cocktails bars and Wolves of Wall Street. There is a real buzz and grind. It is potentially one of the best places to people watch and just get lost in (like my hangover the previous day).
I guess the only negative about the bus tour was how COLD it was, seriously if you’re considering coming to New York in January or February, please do wrap up and brace yourself.
After being out all day and not realising we hadn’t eaten; we got off the bus at Times Square and headed to the nearest KFC… I wasn’t fussed about KFC as I’ve had it in the US a fair few times so I took a wonder over to the counter selling corn dogs and curly fries.
I couldn’t wait to get back to my hotel room and eat them in bed… not before I passed a pizza restaurant. I figured I’d done enough damage to my body that week, so why not do a little more… I opted for a pepperoni pizza and from memory it was around $3, not bad considering it was the size of my face.
We hailed a cab back our hotel, so we could devour everything in peace… I wasn’t too sold on this pizza if I’m honest, I think my eyes were bigger than my belly and I knew NY had better pizza on offer, it just had to be discovered… But the corndog was everything I dreamed of and more thankfully.
Before long it was time to get ready and head to the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn for the Net vs. Knicks game. Basketball is one of the few sports I actually understand and enjoy; I was so glad we booked tickets before coming. It made me feel like we definitely made the most of New York and in comparison to London, yes I go to the odd concert, but I don’t really make the most of what it has to offer. I could write a whole blog post why I’m over London but not to dwell, this post is about another concrete jungle…
Our seats for the game were SO good and it was great to see so many families, friends and couples at the event. Americans really do know how to put on a show and the actual game was a lot more fun than I thought it’d be. We even saw one of my favourite early 2000s rappers – Ja Rule sitting court side and enjoying the match. It was a shame Aunty Bey and Uncle Jay weren’t around…
All in all – I think I could speak for all of us and that we had such a GOOD time and proceeded to explore Brooklyn for a little bit… Only until the pain of wearing heels started to get to us and the fact that we didn’t actually have a place in mind to go to. We stopped for food at what seemed like a local neighbourhood Turkish restaurant (which reminded me of home). We wondered where we could spend the rest of our night which didn’t involve strippers (I think two nights in a row was enough to be honest). I suggested The Dream Hotel in Midtown which was home to the PHD Terrace bar…
As soon as we pulled up, I could tell I had made a good choice, but when lining up we found out the bar had a hefty minimum spend. For our last proper night, I guess we’d wanted it to be a cheap one so we just got a drink in the lobby instead. I mean what is it with the minimum spend rule in the US?
I guess it stops people coming here to abuse the view and leave (LOL I know I would). Anyway, the lobby didn’t disappoint and the music was so chilled and brought back the taste of nostalgia with old school R&B and Hip Hop. I really liked the vibe; trendy without being pretentious, kinda like Shoreditch meets Chelsea but with a little more energy.
If I’m honest, I kinda gutted I didn’t get to see the views from up high of NYC at night as I’m a sucker for a rooftop bar, but I know I’ll be back so it’s ALL GOOD.
You can read more about my New York adventures here: