11am – Chelsea Market
We left the hotel bright and early, but took forever to decide on somewhere to eat. I’m not kidding – we walked miles.
But after a quick Google of local breakfast spots, I settled on Marta’s – a nice restaurant tucked away at The Redbury Hotel. It was a little pricier than the croissant and coffee cafes I’d relied on throughout the week, but my sourdough toast with a side of chicken sausage was delicious (although a slightly bizarre choice, maybe).
After our fancy breakfast, we walked straight to Chelsea – I had my heart set on browsing the markets and unearthing a hidden gem or two.
Now, this might sound stupid, but I didn’t realise ‘Chelsea Market’ was an actual building. I’m not sure what I’d imagined – maybe rows of stripy awnings and hagglers in fingerless gloves?
In actuality, I was faced with a massive building that looked like a warehouse inside. But it was pretty lovely, if you like exposed brickwork, twinkly lights and fountains. And I do.
My favourite spot at Chelsea Market was, hands down, Artists and Fleas. It’s an indoor daily market, with rows of stalls showcasing all things art, fashion, design and vintage. In other words: it was my idea of heaven! I managed to limit myself to purchasing just one item, and I chose a dainty gold ring, with a star and crescent moon design, made by Rhea Kulcsar. I absolutely love it.
I’d also recommend browsing the huge independent bookstore there (another thing checked off my NYC wishlist!) and having a delicious walk through the food hall. There are a lot of food halls here in New York. I’m not complainin’ though!
2.30pm – McDonalds
I’m currently sitting in McDonalds. I wanted to test the hypothesis: ‘An American McDonalds tastes different to an English McDonalds’. I was not a fan of my American McDonalds. Hypothesis confirmed.
But before my disappointing nuggets and fries (maybe I should have ordered a Big Mac?), I’d been gallivanting around the Garment District. I revisited Macy’s, took my first trip to Old Navy (and spent too much money because there were absolute bargains there), and H&M (just to check if it was the same as back home – it was).
5pm – Heaven (Serendipity)
‘Nikki, you have to visit Serendipity!’ my friend advised, a couple of months ago.
I added it to my NYC wishlist, knowing little about it other than they made hot chocolate and it had been featured in a film (Serendipity (2001) starring Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack). That was enough to persuade me to visit!
I ordered their frozen hot chocolate, which is their signature beverage. When it arrived with four straws, I realised that maybe I was meant to share it – but hey, what can ya do? I ate it all myself, a fact I wear as a badge of honour. It was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted – I can’t recommend visiting enough!
En route to Serendipity, I walked past Trump Tower (cue Imperial March theme) and popped into Tiffany’s. I’d been fully rained on and dreaded the scowls I’d get from the staff. When you work in a terribly fancy jewellery store, you don’t want sodden ragamuffins coming in and putting off the posh people now, do you? Actually, I was totally wrong. The staff were the loveliest people ever – I see why Holly Golightly picked this spot as her favourite.
‘Welcome, the store is yours’ the doorman told us. Honestly, that melted my heart a little bit.
Other than the sweet staff, there are two notable things about Tiffany’s:
- it smells amazing. But not like someone’s been running around spritzing perfume, it’s more subtle than that. Perhaps the store itself just emanates delectable scents.
- There are no prices on the jewellery, so it feels more like viewing a museum exhibit than browsing a store.
9pm – The Liberty
I’m feeling super festive after drinking hot chocolate in a tinsel-spangled cafe – and now, back at the hotel, they’re broadcasting the Rockefeller tree lighting!
It’s happening just a few blocks away but, as much as I’d like to see this New York tradition in person, I couldn’t face the thousands-strong crowd (especially not in the rain). I did get to watch Dolly Parton perform though, that was nice.
Thanks to the miles of walking I’ve been doing every day, I didn’t relish the idea of walking far for dinner. Luckily, The Liberty is just across the road, where I’m currently devouring a pepperoni pizza, so perfect it looks like an emoji.