I spent my first full day in New York walking around the city with Greg from Real New York tours and some others who were staying in my Hostel. It was such an eye opening experience and I really wanted to share some of the highlights with you. If you are interested in seeing authentic side to the city, and not just sticking to the tourist traps while there, then I cannot recommend taking a tour with these guys enough.
Here are some of the spot we visited:
- The New York Aids Memorial – Greg spoke to us about the history of the aids crisis in New York, and it actually gave me goose bumps. New York City has lost more than 100,000 men, women and children to AIDS over the years and Greg told us about how the community came together to support each other. The memorial itself is a really striking design.
- Vincent’s hospital – This was the hospital where the passengers of the Titanic were brought when they first landed in NYC and it is also where most the first victims of 9/11 were taken.
- The West Village – This is a really cool spot in the city. The streets are beautiful and it’s actually where 66 Perry Street is – the house that was use as the home of Carrie Bradshaw in Sex & the City.
- The Stonewall pub (the most famous LGBT bar in the world). When we were here Greg gave us an insight into the history of the Sodomy laws in New York which meant it was illegal to be openly gay up until the 1970s. The Stonewall is the site of the first ever Gay Pride march and a famous riot took place here – I’ll link the Wikipedia page here if you would like the read more, it is actually really interesting – HERE
- There is also a park beside the pub called Christopher park, where the Gay Liberation Monument by American artist George Segal is located – really worth seeing.
- Washington Square Park – this park has been a focus area for artists, writers, activists and photographers throughout the years, one of its most famous guests was Mark Twian! There is the most beautiful outdoor Chess area in the corner of the park and it is a great place to catch a live street Jazz band.
- Greenwich Village – Bohimina neighbourhood
- Caffe Reggio – The cafe which introduced Cappuccinos to America.
- The Comedy Cellar – for the who’s who of comedy over the years – from Robin Williams to Jerry Sinfield.
- Cafe Wha? – The starting place for the likes of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen & Woody Allen.
- The Blue Note – Jazz club performed in by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett, Liza Minelli, and Quincy Jones.
- Over Thrown New York – awesome female boxing club in NoHo
- Bowery – This street has been mentioned in songs by the Beastie Boys, Billy Joel, Tom Waits, The Clash, the Ramones, The Lumineers, and Lady Gaga, Kygo to name a few.
- CBGB – Music club where bands like the Ramones, Patti Smith Group, Blondie, and Talking Heads played. It is now a vintage clothing store to the rich and famous – pretty cool to see though, lots of old posters and memorabilia still in there.
- Jean-Michael Basquiats studio – Andy Warhols protégé
- Search & Destroy – A punk/vintage clothing story. It is full of really quirky and creepy stuff. Could have easily spend an hour in here just browsing.
- Papaya King – BEST hot dogs in the city!! Actually, I’m going to say in the world. I don’t say that lightly – I would go back to NY just for them alone!
- The Cooper Union’s Foundation Building – The site of a historic speech that put Abraham Lincoln on the political map.
- McSorley’s old Ale house – Oldest Irish Pub in New York where women were banned from until 1970!!!
- Dumbo, area in Brooklyn – we visited a community garden here. These are dotted all over the city. A place where residents of New York can grow vegetables and plants to their heart’s content. They are a little pocket of wilderness amongst the concrete.
- Williamsburg – Our final stop was Williamsburg in Brooklyn, lots and lots of awesome street artwork can be found around here and it really is the most up and coming area of the city. Have a read of Time Out magazines guide HERE!
All in all it was a fantastic day and I can’t wait to go back and take another tour with these guys.
Written with love,