The other day I complained that I haven't had a proper holiday with all my traveling. Well, I didn't really complain because that would be silly and ungrateful but the fact is that my week in New York for my friend's wedding in June was the closest that has come to a holiday in a few years. And then again, New York, love it or hate it, is never a holiday. Some may even say 24 hours in New York is more than enough, though I would usually say it really isn't because there is so much to do and see in the Big Apple.
Then again, I have a strange relationship with the city. I call it my home, my big city love, my one who got away. Being in town after a long absence and for a wedding, missing someone who was far away and a hectic travel schedule, I was feeling all the emotions. So I decided to take my first day back and turn into the perfect mini holiday to rekindle my love affair with New York, get over my jetlag and get ready for wedding pictures. I wasn't going to have a New York minute, but a New York day. If that is all you have or all you need, read on how to spend 24 hours in NYC.
24 Hours in NYC
11pm-5am: Jetlag Cure - The best hotel in Soho
Yeah, yeah, New York is the city that never sleeps. I, on the other hand, am the girl who travels and who sleeps a lot while she does. Especially when getting off a plane after a trip that was a lot longer than it should have been. For a change, I had nobody to blame than myself, though...
Mind you, I arrived at 10pm, actually the perfect time to arrive from Europe because you just need to get to town, fall into bed and should be quite good to go the next morning. That is if you have the proper bed to sink in which I did which leads me to one of the best hotels in Soho, NYC.
The Broome NYC is one of the new boutique hotels in Soho. With all the talk of Brooklyn, Queens, and even New Jersey (oh shock!) being the new Manhattan, my heart still beats for downtown. So I was absolutely thrilled to call this little gem home for my first couple of nights back especially when I discovered Raffaello next to my bed and the best linens in town.
Unfortunately, I hadn't bought melatonin yet and even those sheets couldn't keep my asleep when jetlag kicked in and the kitchen started to bake croissants at 5am. In fact, my room was right above the kitchen and I think this smell was the deciding factor in waking me up. You try to resist the smell of freshly baked baked goods. Impossible!
I spent a couple of hours lounging around before making my way to the courtyard patio where breakfast awaited and yes, croissants. I honestly don't care for big hotel buffets, however, I dig a place that gives me great coffee or tea and something quick and yummy to eat – New York style. I also don't mind a truffled egg and so my 24 hours in NYC were off to a good start.
9.30am: Take a Bikram Class
I resisted the urge to eat all the croissants (you know, to get back at them for waking me!) because my next point on the agenda was yoga at one of my favorite places in the world and one of the best yoga studios, NYC – Bikram Yoga LES.
This is the place where my love for Bikram yoga started and according to trusted sources like Lady Gaga, I am not the only one. They not only offer several classes each day but also a wandering yogi pass for out-of-towners. My only regret was that mat rentals were not included in the pass and cost $5 extra. Mind you, I cannot blame the mat that it was the only class I attended during my week in the city, making it the most expensive yoga class ever. I dare say it was almost worth it and I left as I usually leave a yoga class – wonderfully sweaty and happy.
Bikram Yoga LES, 172 Allen Steet, 2nd Floor, www.bikramyogales.com
12noon: Green Juice Heaven
Next stop after a quick shower and a change of clothes was pressed juicery, basically fresh juice lovers' heaven. For someone who gave green juice many tries and eventually gave up due to the fact that evil celery always sneaks in, two out of seven different versions that are green & celery free were as good as it gets. And needless to say, a mini juice fast – juice instead of lunch – is perfect after a long day of traveling, a hot yoga class and to get the most out of your 24 hours in NYC.*
*I may or may not have eaten a few macarons for dessert but raspberry flavor which is basically fruit juice too.
pressed juicery, 103 Mercer Street, www.pressedjuicery.com
1pm: Stop & Smell the Roses
Yes, even in a big city like New York you can find time to stop and smell the roses. And in fact, you don't even have to go to the park in order to do that.
I headed to Le Labo, a store in Nolita that had invited me to smell all of their roses and take some home too. As I was fresh out of fragrance I was absolutely ecstatic to follow suit.
Self-proclaimed fragrance guru Jenna told me all about their scents. Their scents are so much more emotion than chemistry she explained as smells evoke moods, memories, and feelings. I not only got to smell roses but jasmine, orange blossom, champagne, lilies, and amber. I could only agree with her sentiment. Certain fragrances still remind me of old boyfriends, resolving me to tears when I smell them. Luckily my bottle of Labdanum that I got from Le Labo, a powdery raisin smell, rather made me think of my mother's closet, of suitcases and discovering the world. Of course, it helped that it was freshly blended for and that it got it own The Midnight Blue Elephant label.
For those who don't want to travel with glass bottles, Le Labo offers their own range of solid fragrances too.
Le Labo, 233 Elizabeth Street, www.lelabofragrances.com
3pm: Uptown Girl - The best Spa in New York
Next up on my New York itinerary was uptown or better said the Peninsula Spa. In case you don't know it - the Peninsula Hotel is one of those iconic New York hotels, the ones you see in the movies and usually don't dare to set foot inside. Luckily they are not snobbish and nobody minded that my feet were already dirty again – the New York subway will do that to you even if you only have 24 hours in NYC.
It is one of the best spas in New York and a little oasis that offers treatment rooms, an amazing roof deck, and a pool which I quickly ditched thanks to too many screaming kids. Instead, I headed to the resting room that had an unlimited supply of coconut water and real beds. Obviously, I was about to fall asleep when my therapist Janine came to get me.
I strongly recommend you never go there and get a facial from Janine because if you do you will be spoiled for life and all other facials. Wow. While I may not be a facial expert I know when something feels good and this did. Janine told me that my Healthy Glow Facial (which I just chose for the word glow in it, to be honest) included lots of facial massaging and would I like a little scalp massage while my mask was working its magic? I was happy that nobody really saw me in the dimmed room because I basically jumped up and down in joy. Yeah for massages and facials in one!
I almost cried when it was over and I had to leave. And no, I did not take before and after no-makeup selfies, you will just have to take my word for it and book you a spot with Janine quickly to see how good it can get.
The Peninsula Spa, 700 Fifth Avenue, www.newyork.peninsula.com
5pm: Getting high on the New York High Line
Another coconut water in hand I headed back downtown to give myself some much-needed vitamin D and to finally visit New York's coolest urban development: the High Line.
The High Line is basically an urban park that has been developed on former train tracks running from 14th Street all the way up to 34th Street. You can get on throughout multiple staircases and elevators along the way. Once you are up enjoy the views over the Hudson River on the one side and city life on the other while walking through some greenery. It was the perfect place for me to grab an icicle (again, fruit only!), catch a sunset and take a little, very urban hike.
Someone suggested stargazing from here too and while I was very tempted, my grumbling stomach won and led me in search of something a bit more substantial than fruit.
The High Line, www.thehighline.org - check out the website for access points
7pm: Dine at the best Restaurant in NYC
There is nothing innate beautifying about a big plate of pasta and red wine you say? I would disagree, especially as I was going for Rigatoni Pitti and you obviously haven't looked at the likes of Nigella Lawson and any other gorgeous Italian woman. If you had you would know that pasta and red wine are not only good for the soul.
I got to Bar Pitti early enough and one of the great things about solo travel - it is easy to score a table for a quick meal when a place is full. This place has been around for basically ever, but they don't take reservations so get here early.
Bar Pitti, 268 Avenue of the Americas
After my meal, I headed through Soho to get back to the Broome. Here I fell asleep in a New York minute, no jetlag in sight. And that's how it's done - how to spend the perfect 24 hours in NYC!
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