There is no shortage of things to do in New York City. However, if you're planning a trip to the Big Apple, it can be difficult to narrow down your list of what to do and see. Thankfully, Chef David Rocco has got you covered.
My favourite corner:
Broadway/5th - I love the energy of this intersection and how it's littered with beautiful historic buildings, including the Flat Iron building, New York Life Building, Toy Centre, and the Met Life Tower. The Courthouse, which is across from Madison Square Park, has some beautiful white marble sculptures as well.
Fun Fact: in 1842, before the area developed, The New York Knickerbocker Baseball Club, one of the first professional American Baseball teams, practiced in an empty sandlot on this site.
My favourite street:
Bleecker - It feels like an old New York neighbourhood with everything from trendy new clothing boutiques to old school bakeries and cafés. Once a breeding ground for bohemian culture, it has maintained its atmosphere but over the years has transformed into one of the best food streets in southern Manhattan. Try to have a bad meal on this street, I dare you! Also, my favorite gelato place in Florence, called 'Grom' opened up on Bleecker to make me feel like I'm right at home in Florence! Fun Fact: One block north of Bleecker, at Minetta & MacDougal, is Café Wha?, where many influential people like Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and Woody Allen got their start.
My favourite park:
Madison Square Park - Situated at Broadway/5th, it's a large park with so many great spots to relax and read, eat lunch or just people watch. There’s a dog park, kids' play ground, benches and places to sit all over. For food, there's the famous Shake Shack if you want to grab a quick lunch in the park and Eataly if you want to get a quick salad, panino, or gelato to have outside. Don't worry you won't be alone; from 11 to 3 it's packed with people eating lunch so getting a seat somewhere could get tricky.
Fun Fact: Free WiFi!
My favourite walk:
High line - It's an oasis in New York city that starts in the Meatpacking district just above Standard Hotel. It is a walking path lined with beautiful gardens, flowers and trees. Many residents along the High Line have purchased their apartments to show them off, so don’t be shy to peek through some windows. This level of surveillance has also contributed to the park’s extraordinarily low crime rate.
Fun Fact: The High Line was originally an elevated railroad track, part of the New York Central Railway, which would go directly through the buildings it was delivering to! The last train to run on the Railway was in 1980 and was full of frozen turkeys.
My favourite place for brunch:
Standard Hotel - The food is always good and I love the atmosphere. They have a beautiful pergola and it's a great place to relax and enjoy a few cups of coffee reading the paper and some people watching.
My favourite place for cocktails:
Saxon + Parole - This restaurant, named after the two most celebrated race horses in America at the turn of the century, is a fun neighbourhood place on the corner of Bowery and Bleecker. The restaurant's decor and design is made to feel like an old 'upscale' horse stable (without the smell of course!). Horse saddles, trophies, and horse blankets make the atmosphere relaxed and comfortable. The food is excellent but I especially enjoy their unique cocktails. Try the ‘Bottled’ Champagne Negroni or the Spritz Cocktail for a modern twist on Italian classics.
Fun Fact: If you enjoy going there, and go often enough, they will keep your very own bottle of gin or whisky with your name on it on the bar shelf to you can have shots from your own bottle..
My Favourite Market:
Chelsea Market - I LOVE the market with its old wooden beams, as well as the Lobster Stop. Their lobster rolls are to die for! Check out my video below to see more:
Fun Fact: This is also headquarters for Food Network USA and where Iron Chef America is filmed !
by David Rocco