New York City – Local Spots and Hidden Gems

Posted on 23rd August 2018 by Jordan Holmes

As you all know by now, we’re offering one lucky individual from our partner agents the opportunity to win three nights in New York for two people, with £1,000 spending money in our exciting new ‘Christmas Starts in August’ campaign. Last week we discussed Our Top New York City Hotspots to Visit in 2018. This week we will be looking at the local spots and hidden gems of the huge city. So, let’s get started and cover some inside knowledge of the places we discussed last week.

The Cliché’s – Let’s start with the clichés; yellow taxi’s, corn dogs, slushes and hot dogs. These are a great one off but can get very boring very quickly; they’re not quite like a Greggs sausage roll. We suggest you try them for the novelty but don’t expect to be blown away by the “delicacies”. Regarding yellow cabs in particular, we suggest riding a couple of times but once you’ve stuck your hand out for the 100th time and seen the price you’re paying to get everywhere at half the speed, you’ll quickly change your mind their novelty.


New York City - Local Spots and Hidden Gems
New York City – Local Spots and Hidden Gems


TravelThe subway is your own personal chaperone to the city. A little dirty and overcrowded at times this is the best, quickest, and cheapest way to see the cities cites and squeeze in a full day’s sightseeing. On your first day of exploring, we recommend taking one of the many hop-on-hop-off tour buses. You can get a 24-hour pass and just sit on the bus for the entire route, taking in the little spots you may not catch underground. Audio commentary is also available providing insights into all the landmarks you pass.


A Morning Must – A morning must is to take a walk along Brooklyn Bridge during Sunrise. The sun rising over the world-famous skyline is a magnificent sight. While the winter winds may make it a little harsher, you do have the bonus of not getting up so early to capture the amazing spectacle. When we say early, don’t get too excited, you will still have to be at the Brooklyn Bridge for 7 am.


New York City - Local Spots and Hidden Gems
New York City – Local Spots and Hidden Gems


Central Park – As we mentioned in our previous blog, Central Park is an 874-acre gem of the city. However, 874 acres is a lot to cover in just three days, especially when you’ve got so much more to see. We recommend walking the park width ways and head towards a bakery called Levain, stated by our very own Tom as “THE best cookies in the world”. On route you will be able to stop off at the John Lennon shrine as he was murdered nearby at The Dakota – A cookie will certainly cheer you up after that.


Time Square – Time Square will be unmissable, not because most of the hotels are there, but because of its bright lights and central location. We recommend a visit to take in the iconic location, however, don’t stick around too long, it is very crowded and flooded with people. Once you’ve seen it, there’s not much reason to return. While you’re there, however, we recommend stopping off for a sweet treat at Milk. A patisserie whose founding premise was that they use the milk leftover after you’ve had a bowl of cereal as an ingredient in their baking. Off-putting we know but you can get a wonderfully named treat called a ‘crack pie’ – named after its addictiveness.


The Empire State building – You can queue for ages to get a great view of NYC or you can pick up a ‘beat the line’ ticket direct or from one of the hundreds of touts who will approach you outside; this will save you some valuable time. There is also a nice brewery called Heartland Brewery, under the Empire State Building that does some tasty ales and good food. Our advice on getting the best views of NYC would be to do the Empire State Building on a clear evening and go up the Rockerfella through the day, giving you fantastic views looking directly over Central Park.


Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island – An iconic site and something not to miss, however with only three days you need to be smart. Ellis Island is very crowded, expensive and eats into your time with possibly the worst views of Lady Liberty. Our advice would be to get the free ferry from Battery Park to Staten Island and back. That way you get the best view and waste no time or money.


New York City - Local Spots and Hidden Gems
New York City – Local Spots and Hidden Gems

The Important Stuff: Bars

Dead Rabbit – Let’s start with the best. Located in the financial district of Manhattan, Dead Rabbit is a must for any cocktail lover. While its appearance doesn’t quite fit that of your usual cocktail bar, don’t be fooled, this place has got it all, including the crown for World’s Best Bar 2016 and the Best Bar in North America. This 2-story spot combines a lunch taproom with a parlour serving small plates and vintage cocktails – the perfect place to reignite your Irish spirit.


230 Fifth Rooftop Bar, Manhattan – A classier affair but a beautifully located bar. This rooftop bar just north of Madison Square Park on 5th avenue is a brilliant place for professionals to drink and take in the stunning views of the Empire State Building.


New York City - Local Spots and Hidden Gems
230 Fifth Rooftop Bar (Source: Yelp).


McSorley’s, Manhattan – A time capsule in the heart of New York City that only sells dark beer or light beer. Nothing else – so we hope one of the two is for you. Mcsorley’s is a unique and interesting bar to visit, located in the East Village just off Lexington Avenue. Like the choice in beer, the place hasn’t changed much in 200 years, still having sawdust covered floors and only recently allowing women in about 15 years ago. Don’t let that put you off though; if you want to step back in time and keep the old working traditions alive, then this is the place for you.


New York City - Local Spots and Hidden Gems
McSorley’s Old Ale House (Source: 6sqft)


Hotel Chantel, Manhattan – A unique jazz bar on the lower east side of Manhattan that makes some of the best cocktails in the city. It also has some amazing live music. A particular performer to look up is Dandy Wellington, who sings jazz music from the 20s. He is there most weeks and is worth checking out. It takes you right back and makes you feel like you are in 1920s New York, perfect for adding some romance into a day of travelling.


Radegast Hall, Brooklyn – This is a prominent German place on Bedford and 3rd Street in Brooklyn. Half of it is a bar and restaurant, the other half is a beer garden. The site is like a traditional Munich style beer hall with big steins of beer and a delicious stand that does traditional BBQ’d German food. It’s a whole load of fun, and with the communal seating, it’s the perfect opportunity to speak to people who aren’t just tourists.


Smalls Jazz Club, ManhattanA jazz club located at 183 West 10th Street, Greenwich Village. Established in 1993, Small earned a reputation in the 1990s as a “hotbed for New York’s jazz talent” with a “well-deserved reputation as one of the best places in the city to see rising talent in the New York jazz scene”. Its jazz musicians are noted for being “talented, though largely unknown” while its music is characterised as “modern”.


It Wouldn’t be the Big Apple Without Food

Tree Bistro, Manhattan – Located in the lower east side of Manhattan, Tree Bistro serves thoughtfully prepared bistro food in a casual friendly atmosphere, from small plate charcuterie delights to delectable standards like steamed PEI mussels or steak frites with parmesan truffle fries, along with a full and eclectic seasonal menu. In addition to a selection of delicious food, Tree has a well-rounded drinks and desserts list – the fried Oreos are a must. Guests can eat in the intimate dining room for a cosy meal, or in the more expansive canopied walled garden – an enchanting secret spot in the heart of the city, however, this may not be the top choice to sit in the middle of winter, so you may need to check for reservations.


Freemans, Manhattan – A very picturesque restaurant hidden in a back alley behind Chrystie Street just at the top of Little Italy. It’s the perfect place to experience the delicious food Little Italy has to offer while capturing the traditional essence of hearty American indulgence.


Freemans (Source: Freemans)


Peter Luger, Brooklyn – If you want a steak, you must head into Brooklyn and check this place out. To say it does a good steak is a bit of an understatement. It has won best steakhouse in NY 27 times in a row. Again, you’ll need a reservation (they are quite essential), but it is worth it. You won’t have a steak like it.


Peter Luger Steakhouse (Source: Peter Luger)


Artichoke, Throughout NYC – If you want Pizza, then this is the place to go. Besides your everyday pepperoni and Margaretta, Artichoke also sells a creamy artichoke and spinach pizza as well as vodka pizza and much more. It is about $4 a slice, and we highly recommend the pizza they’re best named after.


Katz Deli, Manhattan – No-frills deli with theatrically cranky service serving mile-high sandwiches in the East Village since 1888. While you shouldn’t expect to receive the service of some of our other suggestion, we’d highly recommend buying their giant sandwiches – if you can finish them. It’s also the spot where Harry met Sally.


Katz’s Delicatessen (Source: Katz Deli)


Almar, BrooklynAlmar is centrally located on Front Street in the historic area of Dumbo (an acronym that was first created to highlight the area’s location – Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). Dumbo is one of Brooklyn’s most scenic neighbourhoods and well worth a visit if you have time. An authentic and much-loved local venue, Almar is the perfect spot for breakfast before you tour the waterfront, a quick and healthy lunch away while passing through Brooklyn, or a romantic dinner on the weekends.


If you can’t decide on what to eat and want to wander the streets and let the smells take you, we highly recommend Soho and the Washington Sq Park area; having a lot of nice little restaurants dotted around the area. The upper east side also offers some great food, if not a little pricier but you really can’t go wrong if you stick to the West Village.


Please note: Some of the information and links have been sourced from travel websites, but all information is factual and has been written in our style and language. 

Jordan Holmes

Marketing Executive

My name is Jordan Holmes and I am the Communications and Media Production Lead at iamproperty. I have a BA (Hons) in Marketing and Advertising Management which I obtained from Leeds Metropolitan University. Read more posts from Jordan
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