Spring Break is every student’s favorite time of the year. Even if I prefer not to share my vacation with hard-partying college students, this year, in need of a quick and sunny getaway to plow through the remaining weeks of winter, I was looking forward the typical “beach, bars, and bikinis” vibe. My girlfriends and I wanted a chance to get away from the stress of the City and just chill on Miami beaches.
Regrettably, for reasons beyond my control, we were unable to travel. I don’t know about you but personally, situations like this make me feel like a caged lion. I was frustrated. Then it hit me: I live in New York City for God sake! If I can’t scratch out our itch to travel, I can simply make the most of the City. There’s almost no city (except Abidjan;-P) quite as magical as New York. Alicia Keys said it best:
“The streets will make you feel brand-new, big lights will inspire you.”
Since my “stuck at home” situation really made my antsy, I discovered and rediscovered some standouts of this city. New York may not carry the same “party-hard” reputation as other spring break locales, but it still offers plenty of fun activities and nightlife.
SPOTS TO LEAVE THE CITY BEHIND
Central Park is the only place where you can leave the city behind. With its merry-go-round, ice rink, pavilion, ponds, playgrounds, zoo, carriage rides, Central Park is the Alice in Wonderland area of NYC. If you are lucky you might see a movie being filmed, models photo shoots, or celebrities with their kids.
New York City’s Chelsea Market (Meatpacking District)
75 9th Ave
One of New York’s best kept secrets and a foodies dream. It’s one of those special destinations which makes NYC so great. It’s really like a European covered market, but a bit snazzy and NYC-paced. It’s one of my favorite places to visit, especially when the rest of NYC is freezing!
The High Line (Meatpacking District)
A mile-long elevated park built on a historic freight rail line on the city’s West side. It’s cool it you want to enjoy the High Line’s unique winter landscape. Even when the elements call for an umbrella, the park offers a chance to relax.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters at The Ace Hotel (Midtown West)
20 W 29th Street
Located within the Ace Hotel, it is a classy, quiet, and trendy spot that’s perfect to chill or to read a great book. Their coffee hails from Portland so they have got to be top quality.
Bank of America Tower (Theater District)
1 Bryant Park (Sixth Ave between 42nd & 43rd)
In this glass-enclosed atrium, designed to be one of the most ecologically friendly buildings in the world, if you want to socialize, you can join one of the manyTHINKING SPOTS IN THE CITY chess games that occur there daily. If you seek privacy, you can take a seat behind one of the various indoor trees.
CULTURAL SPOTS OF THE CITY
Museums (Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Midtown, Chelsea)
If you are into museums, head to Upper East Side, where Fifth Avenue’s Museum Mile is dotted with cultural standouts like the Cooper-Hewitt Museum of Design, the Met and the Guggenheim. Then, visit the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side. For more modern diversion you can heck out the Chelsea art galleries. You can’t also make your way towards the Top of the Rock in Rockefeller Center, that offers a panoramic view of the city (Empire State Building included).
Nuyorican Poets Cafe (Alphabet City)
236 East 3rd St.
For four decades, this venue has been a fixture of the Lower East Side arts scene. It has consistently been an incubator for artists, actors, writers, filmmakers, and musicians from diverse backgrounds, and influenced the popularization of competitive performance poetry.
NIGHTLIFE SPOTS IN THE CITY
Comedy Cellar (Greenwich Village)
130 W. 3rd Street (Between 6th and MacDougal)
Before hitting the town,make your way up to Greenwich Village’s Comedy Cellar for some stellar stand-up (Chris Rock and Aziz Ansari have been known to drop in on occasion).
The Apollo in Harlem also has the legendary Wednesday night new talent showcase.
The NoMad Bar (Midtown)
10 West 28th St.
Some of the city’s best cocktails are served up inside the iconic NoMad hotel Bar. The bartenders are real bartenders, and they serve you a selection of classic and proprietary cocktails crafted by Leo Robitschek the award winning mixologist.
Le Bain (Meatpacking District)
848 Washington Street
For a pulsing clubby night out in the city, head straight to Le Bain at the Standard Hotel, a penthouse nightclub and rooftop bar featuring world-famous DJs and boasting its dance floor with sound system.
Bagatelle New York (Meatpacking District)
1 Little W 12th St
Bagatelle is open for dinner nightly but is mainly known for its boozy Sunday brunch parties : Saturday Afternoon Fever. Things begin innocently with a brunch, and around 3pm (until 6pm) the party starts. This place takes “Sunday Funday” to new heights : bottom drops out, music gets louder, waiters fly out of the kitchen with sparklers, champagne starts spraying, and every table top become a dance floor.
You may not leave in the City, but if like me, you are unable to travel, try to explore your hometown, you may discover hidden gems.