#ProjectMNYC – Shopping in New York

I love grabbing an iced frap’ and strolling around the shops.

Especially in New York.

There are many reasons why I love shopping in NYC.

It’s a destination of sartorial satisfaction.

With its wide, open pavements, glorious old buildings, fluttering American flags and every shop from Bloomingdale’s to Sephora, it’s a shopper’s paradise.

Grab your purse and hail a yellow cab — we’re going shopping!

Guys (and ladies too) if you’re not into shopping: get yourself dropped off at Barnes & Noble, put your feet up, grab a coffee and lose yourself into a good book.

 In the meantime, fellow shoppers — If you’re a scrimper with a thirst for designer goodies, I would take you to Century 21.

I warn you, it’s always packed with keen tourists. And with good reason — you won’t leave empty-handed. I fluttered past discounted Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton & Mulberry bags, Versace watches and Timberland boots.

Pleased with myself, I left with: a-very-American Tommy Hilfiger bag, some shiny statement jewellery, a pair of designer sunglasses and a huge grin.

Nordstom Rack is another discount haven — check it out online to avoid the crowds.

 Seeking the latest designer collections? Do your friends compliment you on your new season styles?

You’ll be squealing with excitement in Macy’s, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom.

 Did you know that Macy’s has 11 Floors?! I couldn’t cope.

 If you’re a make-up and beauty hoarder buff — you’ll heard of Sephora.

A department store dedicated to the likes of NARS, Urban Decay, bareMinerals, Bobbi Brown, Lancome and every beauty brand you can think of.

It’s a beauty blogger’s paradise.

 Cheers, Sephora.

Right ladies, it’s time to treat you to some underwear. You sexy thang.

What’s the most famous lingerie brand in the US? (Shh, I’ll tell you a secret Victoria, you’ll know it when I give you a clue: angel wings.)

Victoria Secret, obviously! See what I did there? (I’ll stop calling you Victoria now.)

 My lovely friend Tineal couldn’t resist a perfume purchase. During my uni years — I worked in A&F / Hollister, so I’m not really a fan of apparel store scents.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Victoria Eau de Parfum. It’s my kind of scent — it’s light, floral and summery.

Tineal and Ana also brought some PJ’s, bras and underwear.

I much prefer a different American lingerie brand.

It’s called Aerie.

Created by American Eagle. This is the first thing you see when you walk in.

 Besides Aerie’s engaging brand values, I much prefer their prints, touches of ribbon and lace on flirty shapes. I also brought a bikini — it’s like Seafolly but without the price tag.

 One of life’s greatest pleasures is strolling into a beauty salon after a long, hard day of shopping.

 You jump back into the world feeling and smelling a million dollars.

Welcome to Red Door Spa New York by Elizabeth Arden.

 Tineal is very happy with having her hair played with here. Bless her.

It was time to be released back into the streets that never sleep.

Are there any shops that you think I’ve missed out on this post? I’d love to hear from you.

Location: New York

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#ProjectMNYC – The Big Apple Eats

The food in New York. Ah man. Where do I begin?

New York City is a microcosm of the world, where you stumble upon four different ethnic eateries right next to each other.

You name it. New York has it. Mexican, Chinese, Italian, Indian, American… The list goes on. With New York’s diverse population, if you come across the right spot (especially the local areas) the food is pretty damn authentic.

Ok, let’s list the food I would urge you to try. Let’s start with the all American fave’.

NEW YORK PIZZA!

I’m talking about the 1$ cheap takeaway-on-a-napkin kind. None of the gourmet stuff. Thanks to New York’s historic Italian influence, this pizza is just dying to meet you. It isn’t shy of hearty tomato sauce & elastic cheese. Carbtastic and oily as f**k. I love it. You can get it pretty much everywhere in NYC.

NYC Pizza 5/5.

 

 Another American favourite incoming…

The bagel.

The bagel is a New York institution so I had high hopes for this one.

I opted for salmon, capers, onions and cream cheese filling.

This is a vain picture of me holding a bagel. Yes I know this is lame. I’m expanding my readership to the Korean target market, there seems to be some online trend of watching chicks eat ATM.

 The New York bagel is packed full of flavour. I find bagels in the UK a bit bland.

But overall, I wasn’t massively over the moon about them. I wasn’t craving them afterwards.

New York Bagel 3/5

Next up.

Meatloaf.

I first heard about meatloaf in F.R.I.E.N.D.S and in some other random American TV shows. I’ve always wanted to try it. When I told a New Yorker about my latest life goal, she laughed and said, “…ewww why? That’s gross because we used to eat it in 5th grade and it’s the kind of meal your grandma would force you to eat”.

She accepted my plea and took us to Chat N Chew.

How American is this menu?!

 Meatloaf wasn’t what I expected to be honest — I thought it would have a steak-like texture and shaped like a piece of bread. It’s actually a big stodgy piece of mincey meat. I can see why the Americans eat it — it’s easy to make and makes great convenience food. It’s a bit like pate accompanied by gravy, mash and veg’.

Tineal had some good ole mac ‘n’ cheese. Can’t go wrong with that.

Oh, before I forget: meatloaf 3/5.

Hi battered Oreo.

I love Oreos. I love dipping them in breakfast tea.

 This is my reaction when I discovered these bad boys on the menu.

 

 Giggling to myself, I tried a battered Oreo.

 It’s so weird. You eat the first one and you’re like, ‘nah, this ain’t right’. And then you eat another and another and you’re like, ‘no actually, this is really good’.

 Crispy batter, warm melt-in-the-mouth biscuits with jammed icing.

 It tastes like the lovechild of a fat chip and a cookie.

 Battered Oreo 4/5.

Ok, so I’m really sorry about the next one. Because I ate it before I could take a picture of it.

It’s a cake from the famous Magnolia Bakery. Yes, I obviously got confused and thought I was in Sex In The City at the time. I licked the cream and then next thing I knew, it was gone. I know. Naughty Monica.

 Magnolia lemon cake 4/5

Magnolia chocolate cake 4/5.

Have you tried any of my favourite NYC eats? Whatdya’ think?

Have I missed any nibbles that you think I should try?

Location: New York

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#ProjectMNYC | Coney Island

Seaside beach town is not the first thing that springs to mind when we think of New York.

Pre-visit, I hadn’t heard of Coney Island. I was surprised to find that New York’s playground is only an hour from the city.

Grab your swimwear, sunglasses and lilo. I’m going to take you to Coney Island (yay!).

Famous for the Luna Park amusement hub, the Wonder Wheel and Cyclone roller coaster — if you’re a big kid like me, it’s the place to bring out your inner child.

This a follow-up from my Aqua post — where I pretended to be a mermaid for the day.

Ok, so the beach is no Bali — but in the summer, it’ll do a good job of charging your batteries after a long week of working in the city (which is what you need if you work in NYC).

Coney Island is famous for and home to the Nathan’s hot dog.

I had to try one of these bad boys for myself.

It is really good. Big, hearty and delicious. I’ve always said that there’s something different in the meat in the US in regarding the taste, texture and flavour, and this hot dog didn’t let me down.

Feeling naughty, I had chilli fries to go with it, I’ve fallen in love with this US classic since I demolished them in L.A. I mean, come on! Fries, creamy cheese and tomato soaked mince. I could just roll in it; it’s delicious.

Smiling (and pleased with ourselves) with our candy floss, teddies and hotdogs, we hesitantly trotted back to the subway to make our way back to the city.

Everyone has that place that brings them back to their childhood. C’mon spill! Where’s yours?

Location: Coney Island, New York

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#ProjectMNYC – Brooklyn Brunchin’

Dear fellow Brunchers,

I’ve always thought that London did Eggcellent brunch.

But oh no, no no. New York. Brunch in New York. It’s something else.

It makes sense; brunch is a New York institution. I would have had a strop if it wasn’t all cracked up to be. Ha, get it? OK, no more egg y̶o̶l̶k̶s̶ jokes.

Every weekend the NYC streets are jam-packed (on toast) with hungry (Bloody) Mary’s. I love a good melt-in-the-mouth eggs Benedict (my favourite) with creamy avocado on sourdough bread, topped with those hipsters chia seeds and the whole shebang. In London, I’ve noticed that all the little benedicts compete for creativity (dependent on what cafe you decide to go to on your brunch day).

My New Yorker cousin Amy ushered me to a little place called Colonie in Brooklyn.

Best brunch I’ve had by the way.

Amy told me that ‘Bottomless Brunch’ (hehe, bottomless) is very popular. New Yorkers love their breakfast with all-you-can-drink Margaritas, Bloody Marys, Mimosas or Sangria. I physically cannot handle more than one drink (my friends call me one-shot Wong) but who doesn’t love unlimited top-ups of anything?

Amy had the ‘Biscuit Benedict’. Sublime smoked ham & hollandaise, this type of sunshine is just the wake up call you need.

The ‘Mushroom & Asparagus Scramble’ is like a pick & mix bag of breakfast goodies stacked on top of each other. I, of course, opted-in for added chorizo (I was ready to eat my arm that morning). Paired with eggs: it’s crunchy, fluffy, comforting and works well together.

I love Brooklyn: quaint streets lined with inventive restaurants, stylish bars and eclectic shops. It’s just so damn cool.

A typical Brooklyn inventive hipsterish hang-out is Royal Palm.

It’s a retro Shuffleboard bar. It’s got a 60’s vibe and you feel like you’ve walked into an all-American diner/bowling alley.

 I know this is a Brunch post, but I have to share with you this ramen I had in Brooklyn.

The story starts with an octopus salad and a hint of lemon. It ended with a crispy + squishy happy ending.

A generous amount of Pak Choi and a good meat to noodle ratio = happy Monica.

But, the real key to a good ramen is the broth. Spicy and fragrant, it was Souper.

I’ve already shared this waterfront view in Brooklyn with you in my Yellow post. But, I love it so much; here it is again. It doesn’t need much of an explanation so I’ll end this post and leave you to the city.

Brooklyn, you melt my heart.

Your’s truly,

Fellow Bruncher.

Location: Brooklyn, New York

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#ProjectMNYC | Taking New York

Welcome to New Yawk baby! Watcha twaking bout? (You should read that in the Godfather voice, just FYI.)

Who wouldn’t want to go to New York? Seriously, though, if you come across a weirdo that doesn’t, send them this post.

If you grew up watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S – then you must go and take me with you – so I can go again.

Anyways, it’s time.

Time for what? You may ask.

“Ooh……. New York. Ooh……. New York. Grew up in a town that is famous as a place of movie scenes. Noise is always loud, there are sirens all around, and the streets are mean”.

“If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere, that’s what they say. Seeing my face in lights or my name on marquees found down on Broadway”.

Alright, I’ll stop pretending that I’m crawling all over the karaoke, whilst, forcing you to sing – before you take the microphone off me.

At JFK airport, we discussed whether our booked Airbnb could potentially be a catfish. Like a Tinder date, we prayed that our match looked like the advertised photos. We (‘like totally’) wanted the New York apartment experience, but we had one hurdle.

I got stopped by the Mr Border Control man. I thought to myself, “Oh s**t, what have I done?”. He said, “Mam, I’m going to need to seize your apple”. (He desperately tried to keep a straight face).

Yes, that’s right. I had my apple seized, in the Big Apple.

While the others wet themselves, I managed to wriggle myself in.

And while you’re at it.

2. Head to Washington Park. Unfortunately, it’s not home to the F.R.I.E.N.D.S fountain, but lots of people (like me) hop into it and pretend it is anyway!

3. Ah, the Empire State Building. Try imagining New York City’s skyline without its towering spire. Our New Yorker buddies showed us the ropes and ushered us up to a rooftop bar for epic views. You know all those movies you’ve seen set in New York? You’ll end up pointing at everything saying, ‘ahh, I saw that’ and ‘ahh, and that one’.

4. Times Square is mesmerising: it’s bright, loud, chaotic and has the best Broadway shows.

5. Wall Street is a pretty cool spot to check out. Have a stare off with the bull and then walk to Wall Street to see where bankers destroyed the economy. Try and go on the weekend or during work hours to avoid the wolves – who come out to play.

6. There’s City Hall for if you decided you wanted to get married.

7. On a hot day, a stroll on The Highline is actively encouraged. It’s a mile long walkway built up high on the old New York Central Railroad. And don’t forget to stop for some gelato along the way!

8. Brooklyn Bridge is a must. Head to this romantic, iconic suspension bridge for the ridiculous views.

9. Don’t forget to meet The Statue of Liberty. She’s really friendly and kindly let me poke her torch.

10. We paid our respects to The World Trade Centre. Send your love at the two memorial fountains – in memory of a dark tragedy in New York’s history.

We had a friend who let us sneak into the top of a new building.

The view is just, breathtaking.

11. I overheard a little nugget from a local that The Rockerfella Centre gives you a better view of the skyline than from the Empire State Building. Let me know what you think?

12. Grand Central Station looks exactly like in the movies; it felt surreal to see this it as a functioning train station. (I don’t know why I always thought it was a film set.)

By the way, I love 7Eleven. We need it in the UK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that’s that!

I know. I took a zillion pics (it’s in my genes). There is just too much to do in New York.

And that was just the touristy stuff! (I’ll be writing a post soon on the local gems so watch out for that.)

What’s your favourite spots in NYC? Any hidden gems that I missed?

PS, if you’ve been reading my Blog, you might of noticed that I’ve done a switch-a-roo from Vietnam to New York. Just to let you know, my backpacking adventures will be back very soon. Hasta la vista!

Location: New York
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