Welcome to this week’s Postcard From – the feature where I chat to some lucky explorer about their recent travels. If you would like to take part please get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org or @em_luxton – I would love to hear from you!
This week I’ve been chatting to Katie, a journalist and travel lover who blogs at Stories My Suitcase Could Tell. In recent years, she’s lived in the U.S. and China, and has just hauled my suitcase full of stories back home to Britain from the Big Apple. Don’t forget to visit her lovely blog and Facebook Page.
Hi, Katie! You’ve travelled around quite a bit – where have you been most recently?
I spent time in and around New York City, which is quite possibly my favourite place in the world – it’s a city unlike any other. New York has this energy I’ve not experienced elsewhere: perhaps because the idea of New York City is so present around the world – in books, movies, and music – it has this exciting edge to it that other cities don’t. It really is iconic.
Ooh, New York, I’m jealous already! Can you recommend a good place to stay?
When I visit New York I usually stay across the Hudson in Hoboken. It’s a small city right on the river, and only a 10-15 minute subway ride from the middle of Manhattan. The views of the New York skyline from Hoboken are incredible – I still get excited every time I see it.
We’ve had a rubbish summer in England so far – did the weather in New York treat you any better?
I got back into Britain last week, so the cold, wet weather has been a bit of a shock after the lovely summer sunshine in New York City!
What did you get up to?
I’ve been to New York numerous times now, so I’ve already experienced the must-sees – climb to the top of the Empire State Building, stand in Times Square – but there is always something new to discover here.
I adore the West Village: the confusing cobbled streets, the beautiful brownstone homes, the little cafes and restaurants on every corner. The High Line, an old railway that has been converted into a park, is also nearby. I never tire of walking the High Line, although now I prefer to go in the evenings, when there are fewer people and you can enjoy the elevated views of the city as the sun sets. Central Park is always a pleasure too – it’s a real gem in a concrete jungle.
Do you have a highlight?
Smorgasburg, the food-focused Brooklyn flea market, was one of my favourite experiences this time. On Sunday the market is held in the Old Tobacco Warehouse right next to the Brooklyn Bridge, and not only is the food fantastic, but you can enjoy it while lounging on the lawn by the river, admiring the drama of the Manhattan skyline. It was the perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon with my fiancé.
I had some amazing food when I was in NYC a few years ago – did you eat well?
Food features frequently in all my travels, whether I’m in the next town or another country; eating local food is a great way to get a feel for the place. The food finds here seem never-ending – you could easily eat your way around the world in Manhattan alone.
A new discovery for me was Mission Chinese Food, an amazing Sichuan-Taiwanese-American-Korean restaurant in the Lower East Side. The flavours were intense and unusual (plus everything was spectacularly spicy) but that just made it a more interesting eating experience.
I stopped by some old favourites too, like Rosemary’s, an Italian in the West Village, and the Burger Joint in the Le Parker Meridian Hotel in Midtown. You simply can’t visit America without eating a real burger, and these are some of the best!
And finally, do you have any tips or advice for anyone planning a similar trip?
Bring comfy shoes, and be prepared to walk! Walking and wandering are the best ways to see a city, especially one as electric as New York. If you only have a few days to discover the city that never sleeps, get ready to walk: across the Brooklyn Bridge, down Fifth Avenue, through Central Park, around the West Village, in between subway stops and scenic sites. But you’ll have to hail one of those famous yellow cabs at some point, of course; it’s an experience in itself.
NB – all photographs are owned by Katie.