Where we have been

New York. The City That Never Sleeps

New York, the city that never sleeps. It’s one of the most exciting places in the world and a city which oozes excitement, energy and diversity. It can be intimidating walking amongst all the high rises as you walk around the Manhattan district, but if you drift away from the tourist heavy areas (and especially Times Square) you’ll find friendly locals, plenty of unique places to shop, grab a bite and enjoy a coffee.

New York is a very green city, with plenty of parks for a stroll, jog or a quiet picnic. Barring the height of summer, when it can become stiflingly hot, particularly through August, there really is no bad time to visit. Through our good friends at 1 Hotels, we decided to spend some time in Manhattan and Brooklyn at the awesome 1 Hotel Central Park and 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge.

1 Hotel Central Park opened shortly after one of our favourite hotels 1 Hotel South Beach, currently the brand’s flagship hotel. Located in the heart of midtown, just by Central Park on East 58th and the Avenue of the Americas. 1 Hotel is created by Barry Sterlicht the former Starwood Executive. At the heart of the 1 Hotel ethos is the sustainable environment, with recycled touches implemented in every area, yet it’s  a super-stylish and cool hotel which makes being sustainable an aspirational option. The hotel feels like an oasis in the middle of New York. There is ivy crawling on the outside of the hotel, plants and moss spread across the hotel walls and reclaimed timber in the common areas. Even the room hangers are made from recycled love letters and old maps.

During our stay in Manhattan, suffering a little from the New York cold (we’d just flown in from a humid Miami), luckily we found there’s wide variety of food destinations to visit within walking distance of the hotel, starting with Jams Kitchen, situated next door to 1 Hotel Central Park. Createdby chef Jonathan Waxman, this restaurant serves up mainly Californian cuisine in a great setting. Sarabeths is a famous cafe just opposite Central Park but they serve up some great breakfast including pancakes, waffles and french toast if you are feeling indulgent. There is also a Swedish cafe, FIKA, situated right across from the hotel where you can also have coffee and enjoy some Swedish pastries for breakfast.

One of our favourite areas to spend some time in Manhattan is the Chelsea neighbourhood. The Highline is a 1.5 mile long park on an old railway spur elevated above the city, making for an ideal walk on a spring or summer day (although in winter, the Highline is rather barren). Rather busy at a weekend, but worth a visit, is the Chelsea market, which is sprawling with stores and restaurants, including Blue Bottle Coffee where we picked up a takeaway flat white.

Store-wise you’ll find a number of key brands which we, at Short Motivation, support. One being a flagship Malin & Goetz store. A simple and natural beauty company which focuses on formulating blends using natural ingredients and no synthetic fragrances. Another store located just down the road from there are our friends Parke & Ronen who provide some high quality swimwear in simple colours and fantastic patterns and also some great outerwear such as tees, tank tops and sweaters. We later returned to Chelsea to enjoy lunch at The Meatball Shop. As the name would suggest they serve a variation of meatballs and it really is as good as it sounds! They always tend to have a special available and this time it was pizza meatballs. They also serve buffalo chicken meatballs which are worth experiencing.

Whilst we’d recommend staying around Central Park at least once, we’re far more keen on Brooklyn which is a constantly developing part of the city. 1 Hotels recently opened their latest hotel in Brooklyn, just below the Brooklyn Bridge, and we couldn’t resist the opportunity to take advantage of the invite, special opening offer and spend some time in the area.

On similar lines to the Central Park 1 Hotel, it’s Brooklyn brother is a slightly bigger and expansive hotel, sitting right on the waterfront. Most of the rooms include fantastic across the river to downtown Manhattan and some corner rooms, such as ours, include a view of the Statue of Liberty or Brooklyn Bridge, depending on the location. There is also a rooftop pool and bar, with an impressive panorama of Manhattan, due to open in May 2017, which will be even more of an exciting reason to visit New York during the summer months.

Eating options is something Brooklyn offers in abundance. For breakfast we ventured down to Iris Cafe which was only 10 minute walk from 1 Hotel. A quaint cafe set right in the heights neighbourhood among beautiful traditional Brooklyn townhouses. Luckily we got there early as it became busy really quickly, but were treated with fantastic service and some excellent customised food options: we tried a total of four dishes. We highly recommend the chilaquiles – poached eggs on top of nachos (much better than it sounds) and their french toast.! There was also quite a few coffee shops near the hotel which took some finding, one of these was the Brooklyn Roasting Company which is situated in a huge warehouse in the Dumbo area.

During our stay at Brooklyn Bridge, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to get a workout in around such an iconic area. This included running across the bridge, jumping across the stones near the waterfront and the area between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. We found some cool rocks right by the ‘beach’ on the East River where we went through a rock jumping routine. 50 seconds on, 20 seconds off. A great little morning HIIT exercise in some outstanding spring sunshine.

After this intensive workout we grabbed a great breakfast and coffee at a spot we had just located – Bluestone Lane. Located in Dumbo close to the access point for Brooklyn Bridge, these guys serve up a great flat white and fantastic breakfast including egg and bacon rolls and our personal favourite the the breakfast bowl, consisting of poached egg, red quinoa, warm kale, tomatoes, avocado and feta, which is more than enough to provide a nutritious and healthy refill from our workout.

To counterbalance this healthy meal, later that morning we made a sneaky visit to a favourite place of ours, Dough. These guys take doughnuts to the next level, but taste amazing with their inventive glazes and fillings. Our favourites include the sea salt caramel, coconut and also the hibiscus glazed doughnut. If you feel so inclined there is also a great coffee shop called Stone Fruit Espresso located just down the road if you want a good coffee to go with your doughnuts.

There is also plenty of places to eat in Brooklyn, of course. Our problem became narrowing down where to go and what to eat. Luckily, on one night the weather helped our decision. With thundering rain we couldn’t venture too far so we quickly strolled down to a place close to the hotel called Atrium. Along the waterfront of Dumbo, you will find this restaurant with a mezzanine level serving  contemporary menu in an industrial design building (much like the rest of dumbo). The dishes are richly presented and impressed. With a lot of seafood and starters including pork belly and duck eggs.

Our other recommended food destination was Colonie, focused on a farm-to-table fare, this restaurant has award-winning brunches (we can attest to this) but our favourite visit was when returned for an evening meal and found it was extremely busy, resulting in us sitting at the open kitchen counter, whilst we watched our food being prepared. We enjoyed the bavette steak, cooked to perfection, with the chef’s flaming our steaks right in front of our seating position.

We also visited the lower eastside of Manhattan from Brooklyn as it was a lot easier to get there than from Central Park. This is because a lot of the places we wanted to go were located here. For instance Everyman Espresso, which were recommended to us by Colonna Coffee in Bath. This coffee shop did not disappoint serving up great flat whites, which can be very difficult to get, even in New York!  In that area we also found Toby’s Estate coffee, another Colonna recommendation, which also served up some fantastic coffee!

One of our favourite places in the Lower East Side, was Egg Shop. This small restaurant serves locally and organically sourced egg sandwiches. While it may sound simple and probably is, these are incredibly tasting sandwiches including fried chicken and egg. We really recommend the steak and eggs which are served as a panini, with a fantastic chimichurri dressing.

All in all, we felt like we covered a lot in our trip to New York, but truth be told, there really is that much to eat, drink and see that we could keep coming back many times to continue to explore this incredible city! And we will be back.

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About Author

Alex is the co-founder of Short Motivation and currently resides in Texas, heading up the US part of the website. He's busy with his PT qualifications and in the planning stages of Short Motivation events across the US later this year.