Shopping, dining and dancing for 5 days in New York

By Marla D · Nov 1, 2016

New York, USA
Main mode of transport
Aeroplane (Asiana and Air Canada)
Cost per person
Mid range
I stayed with a friend in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

Marla partying in NYC Photo credit: Anthony Delanoix

Best Bits

Having the energy of one of the most exciting cities in the world as the backdrop for our birthday celebration. Drinking and dining al fresco. Discovering that Brooklyn is really cool.

Worst Bits

The NYC airports - I flew in to JFK and out of Laguardia and they are both crummy, like most airports in the US. Also, I took terrible photos.

Trip Dates and Comments on Timing

End of June — Excellent. The weather was balmy and perfect for drinking and dining at any time of day al fresco. The nights stayed hot as well - no need to cover up your club clothes!

Arrival Logistics

Taxi from JFK to my friend’s place in Brooklyn. It should have taken 30 minutes but it took 1.5 hours because of traffic - also, the driver took the worst of the two routes. He said that a law was passed in NYC prohibiting taxis from using any kind of digital device while driving - even GPS mounted on the window (which would have given him real time info about the traffic that lay ahead). I found it hard to believe, but other taxi drivers that weekend said the same thing.

General Route

Shop, eat, drink, dance, rest, repeat.

Main Activities

Shopping, dining, clubbing.

Food and Drink Highlights

You’re spoiled for choice in Manhattan for food and drink and I learned the same to be true of Brooklyn on this trip. I didn’t have a bad meal, but the absolute standouts were:

Farm to table restaurant, Watty and Meg in Brooklyn Breakfast bagel delivery from Brothers Bagels in Brooklyn Barbuto in Manhattan - I go every time I’m in NY and it stays at the top of my list for group dining at the chef’s table. Lucali - serious pizzeria in Brooklyn Tacombi in Manhattan - good fish tacos, great margaritas in an open air garage setting.

Marla partying in NYC Photo credit: Tacombi

Essential Packing for this Trip

Pack light to make more room for shopping. Get a data plan so that you’re not ducking into cafe’s for a wifi connection. NY is a walking city - take some stylish, comfortable, day-time shoes that won’t leave your feet ruined for dancing later that night.

Marla’s Experience…

I made a short stop in NY for a friend’s 40th birthday on my way home from Canada. Our plan was pretty simple - shop, dine, drink and dance. It’s all very indulgent of course, and NYC is very obliging. I lived in Manhattan for 2 years a few years ago and I’ve been back since, but the city can change so quickly I’m never quite sure if it will feel familiar or not. This time I stayed in Brooklyn with a friend of mine and had it not been for her, I would have never given Brooklyn a chance. Despite all the hype about it being so cool, it’s across the bridge…

I would recommend that you cross that bridge - Brooklyn is so cool! It’s a fresh contrast to the big personality of Manhattan and it’s no small feat when someone can hold their own, unique identity next to such an extrovert neighbour! And Brooklyn really is different. Think stylish sneakers instead of stilettos, dog walkers with labradors instead of labradoodles, playgrounds filled with children instead of park life and artists instead of art galleries. They both have their charm, which was the icing on the cake to ‘having it all’ on this 5 day trip in both boroughs.

Day 1 - Evening Arrival

  • Dinner at Watty and Meg in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn - I highly recommend this small, corner restaurant. Very fresh, farm to table ingredients, great small patio for people watching, and lovely staff who were on top of everything.
  • Drinks at Sanitorium in Manhattan - the bar had only recently opened and followed the apothecary theme that I can’t believe is still keeping so many bars afloat. The trend is over, in my opinion. Drinks were good, the bartenders were pushing shots, the scene was Lower East Side rocker chic. I give it a year.

Day 2

  • Breakfast delivery from Brothers Bagels in Brooklyn - highly rated! The next best thing to being in a bagel shop and eating them hot out of the oven is having fresh bagels and one of their homemade cream cheeses (scallion!) coffee delivered to your door, with no minimum spend!
  • power shopping in the Meat Packing district of Manhattan for the afternoon (great mid-range to high-end boutique stores like Jeffrey, Intermix, Vince, Alice and Olivia…)
  • Dinner at Kitchen restaurant in Brooklyn - good food but didn’t stand out as a place I must go back to

Day 3

  • start the day looking great with a blow at Dry Bar on 16th Street in Manhattan. Dry Bar has multiple locations around the city and they just do styling - no cuts or colours. They know the difference between a curl, a wave, a ringlet…I love them! Best to book a day or 2 in advance.
  • Lunch at Tacombi on Bleecker Street - great neighbourhood vibe, garage style setting, good service, good margaritas!
  • shopping around the West Village and quick manicure at QQ. A basic manicure in NY generally costs around USD $12 before tip which is amazing. At this salon they gave us a 5 minute shoulder massage as well!
  • dinner at Barbuto - one of my favourite restaurants and they do Italian family sharing plates for groups very well. The best table for a group of 8-10 is the private table by the kitchen. The service here is fabulous, every dish whether it’s a main, side or dessert is delicious, the portions very large and the prices are very reasonable. I think we paid about USD $80 / person for the group set menu.
  • dancing afterward at Le Bain club, which shares the top floor of The Standard Hotel (across the street from Barbuto) with Boom Boom room. Our friend who had all the inside scoop on the NY party scene said that Boom Boom has lost its mojo which is why we went to Le Bain. It’s called Le Bain because there is a plunge pool inside which becomes increasingly busy as the night goes on. There are also great views of the city from the club, but especially from the washrooms. You must use the washrooms - each room has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Manhattan skyline.

Marla partying in NYC

Day 4

  • Brunch at Michelin starred breakfast joint Buttermilk Channel in Brooklyn. It was good but I didn’t fall in love.
  • Massage at Element spa in Brooklyn
  • Sidewalk drinks at Bar Bruno in Brooklyn
  • Drinks at The Jimmy at the James Hotel in Soho - it’s a gorgeous setting with an outdoor deck and pool, and beautiful views of the city, but the service was horrible and it attracted a crowd of young posers. It was absolutely packed on a Sunday afternoon.

Marla partying in NYC

  • late night burger and crinkle chips at the Shake Shack in Brooklyn. Yum!

Marla partying in NYC Photo credit: Shake Shack

Day 5

  • Shopping in Brooklyn on Court Street and Montaque
  • Lunch at Nature Grill - cheap and cheerful chain restaurant with high quality and healthy food
  • Jog along the east river and piers to Brooklyn Bridge
  • Dinner at Lucali - this place is one of the hottest places for pizza in Brooklyn because it’s so small and because Jay-Z and Beyonce often go there on Sundays. It’s got none of the attitude though and after having tried to get in the previous day, the hostess very kindly squeezed us in (they don’t take reservations) despite the fact we were wearing our workout clothes. It was a bit embarrassing but I had to try the pizza before leaving. They only have about 5 ingredients which they select each day, and you choose which of those you want on your one size (very large) pizza. The pizza was delicious and the place and neighbourhood had great character.
  • booked a taxi through Malone’s to go to Laguardia. Great service, on time and nice car. I’d book with them again.

About The Traveller

Gender & Age Range
Female, 30 - 34

I’m from
The Canadian Rockies


My favourite trip as of late
A long weekend in Byron Bay

Travelling Style
Book the important stuff, but leave some flexibility in the schedule.

I like to go on the following types of trips
Culture, sporty, beach, gourmet, relax

It’s a dealbreaker when
Fatty meat. It’s a weird one, but it’s true and it makes enjoying meat around Asia a bit of a challenge. So if I ever recommend restaurants, you can bet I ate nice, lean, tasty meat there!

Continent I know the best

First Last Name

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

I’m from Perth, Western Australia

My favourite trip as of late is New Zealand, solo travel in lots of nature for a soul-refresher.

My travelling style is to Book the first night, then wing it from there!

It’s a dealbreaker when I’m stuck around large groups of package tourists.

Continent I know best is Asia.

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