New York Bucket List
I've been living in New York for a bit over a year now, and although I've already been to a fair amount of attractions, I've been getting bombarded with people asking me, "Have you been to such-and-such place yet?!" Mainly I've avoided visiting certain tourist traps because I hate the large crowds, and because I'm honestly just not that interested in many of them.
But I've decided to make a bucket list of places to visit, both for my own entertainment and to get some particular family members off my back about all this touristy nonsense. So here's my NYC Bucket List, in alphabetical order.
1. Big Gay Ice Cream
An interesting alternative to the popular Magnolia Bakery, which features fancy cupcakes that are apparently not even all that great. Why not check out Big Gay Ice Cream in the West Village instead? With treats named Salty Pimp and Mermaid, it appears to be a pretty fun place to get a treat, with the benefit of not having a 45+ minute wait in line at Magnolia.
2. Boats in Central Park
I've already been to Central Park a few times, and while I'm completely opposed to the idea of taking a ride in the horse drawn carriages (poor horses), renting a little rowboat on the pond sounds like a pretty relaxing time. Hopefully I can find a time of day when it isn't crowded with 80 other people paddling around.
3. Brooklyn Bridge
Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Not sure what all the fuss is about, but guess I'll find out!
I love gardens and castles, and since I won't be making it to Ireland anytime soon, this seems to be about the best I'm going to get within a fair distance from where I live. It's not really a castle, but it's got some great medieval architecture that was built in the early 1900's. There's also a series of Unicorn Tapestries that I wouldn't mind seeing.
5. Coney Island
As much as I love beaches, I'm not entirely thrilled about going here due to the excessively large crowds, but I may as well check it out at some point. Maybe grab a hot dog and feed some fries to the seagulls.
6. Flushing, Queens
From what I've read, it's far better than the Chinatown in NYC and has better food.
7. Greenacre Park
I'm a sucker for waterfalls, and this appears to be a quiet, semi-secret park that people can pop in and sit at the benches for lunch, a nice change from the bustling streets.
8. Greenwood Cemetery
With roughly 600,000 graves across 478 acres, this cemetery was created in 1838. I've always thought cemeteries were interesting, and I've never been to one nearly as large as this, plus the graves and some of the monuments look beautiful.
To make my trip across the Brooklyn Bridge more worthwhile, I've found this popular pizza place that offers pizzas baked in coal brick ovens. Sounds good to me! In my continuous search of New York's best pizza (let alone pizza I find worthy of being considered good, period- NYC's pizza has been very disappointing thus far), we'll see how this one fares.
10. Jekyll & Hyde Bar
Not only does the bar look fucking awesome, but they have a Chamber of Horrors, which is considered New York's most terrifying haunted attraction. I've never been to a place with a live action horror show, and seeing as this is accompanied by a bar, I'm all over it.
11. Keen's Steakhouse
With over 90,000 pipes decorating the ceiling, Keen's was established in 1885 and is listed as one of New York's top 10 most popular bars. Their menu features steaks costing up to $135, so we'll have to save up some money before making it a date.
12. La Caverna
I happened across this bar when searching for themed bars in the city. It's interior is decorated to look like a cave, complete with rock walls and rock formations coming down from the ceiling, with tapestries and dimmed lights adding to the ambience.
13. Liberty Island
I'm really not all that interested in seeing the Statue of Liberty, but some of my family members are kind of up by butt about it, so I added it to my list to get them to stop asking if I've gone.
14. Minus 5 Ice Bar
This place just looks way too gorgeous not to go!
15. PJ Clarke's
This was another bar that was listed in NYC's top 10 most legendary bars, and since the menu seems like it has a few things I wouldn't mind eating, I figured I may as well check it out.
16. Staten Island Ferry
It's cheap and popular. Why not?
17. Sunset Park
Since I'm not fond of the idea of waiting in line for 2 hours to get to the top of the Empire State Building, I searched around and discovered that Sunset Park, in Brooklyn, boasts a pretty nice view of the city, minus having to deal with expensive tickets and long waits.
18. Trump Tower
My aunt recommended I visit Trump Tower, informing me that it has a spectacular waterfall wall. There's also a few places inside to grab a bite to eat, so instead of spending an hour or 2 going there just to step inside for 10 seconds to look at the wall, and come back home, at least I make it worth my time with lunch.
I'm not entirely sure what the sphere is all about, and honestly don't care, but it's got a pretty big fountain. I love fountains. It's located in Flushing Meadows, Queens, so I could make a day of my trip to Flushing (alternative to Chinatown) with stopping by the unisphere while I'm out.
That's it! So far at least. Now for my list of tourist attractions that I've already visited, in order to avoid anyone trying to recommend places I've already been.
1. Bronx Zoo
Both of those photos were taken by me. The peacock was one of a few that just happened to be strutting around out in the open right next to me as I was sitting on a bench waiting for my boyfriend to return from the bathroom.
2. Brooklyn Botanical Garden
This photo was also taken by me. I wanted to go there because I heard that they had a lot of cherry blossom trees, which are one of my favorite trees (had one in my backyard growing up), but I went there a bit too early. They only bloom during a few weeks of the year, and they weren't quite ready yet. Better luck next time.
I've tried numerous Mexican restaurants in NY, and this one is by far the best there is (take it from me). Their chicken quessadillas are the best, and they don't skimp on cheese and they're packed with flavor.
After a long, terrible photo shoot with a super creepy, pervy, inappropriate photographer in Brooklyn last year, I happened by this Italian restaurant called Carmine's, not knowing what to expect, and it's become my absolute favorite restaurant in all of New York. Everything I've gotten there- spaghetti and meatballs, linguine with white clam sauce, caesar salad, bread, dessert- has all been amazing. They come in huge family style portions, so there's no ordering separate dishes unless you want to take home pounds upon pounds of pasta. They never disappoint, and I will continue going back for as long as I live here.
5. Central Park
First of all, it's huge. I've gone a few times already and still have yet to cover the entire park, and I probably never will. It's a nice escape from the city, at least on weekdays before 4pm, before all the people getting out of work and celebrating their weekends come out to play.
6. Central Park Zoo
Aw, red panda! He's so cute. The photo was taken by me. Went there last summer. Cute little zoo, had a great time, is easier to get to than the Bronx zoo but a lot smaller. Still, it's worth the trip and I'd definitely be up for going back again if someone visiting wanted to check it out.
I fucking hate Chinatown. It stinks, it's dirty, and it's crawling with skeevy fuckers trying to sell illegal faux-designer handbags. Fuck that place.
8. Columbus Circle
I actually really enjoy Columbus Circle. The fountain, while it can get a bit crowded sometimes, is a really refreshing, relaxing place to have lunch, meet friends, or just sit and read a book.
I've gone here once or twice, and am really not a fan. It's good for a quick slice, but I don't understand why it's so popular. The pizza really isn't that good.
10. Fat Cat
This is my kind of bar. Beer, pool tables, ping pong, scrabble, and a plethora of other games, and it's not too terribly crowded.
That's a photo from the fireworks show that took place last year on Independence Day. It's actually really impressive, they shoot off from 3 different barges on the Hudson River. The crowd is absolutely insane, so if you ever find yourself in NY for the fireworks, make sure you go a few hours early to get a decent spot, otherwise you'll be backed up 6 blocks away.
12. Flatiron Building
I've been here a number of times because the Sprint store is there, and I didn't realize until the umpteenth time that it was a famous building. So that's
why everyone's stopping and taking pictures!
13. George Washington Bridge
I basically live there.
14. Grand Central
It is pretty impressive.
15. The Highline
It's a long park that was built over a railroad track, about... maybe 2 stories high off the ground? Something like that.
16. Javit's Center
I went there for ComicCon in 2012.
17. Katz's Deli
I just went here about a week ago. I avoided going there for the longest time because I don't like pastrami, which is what they're famous for, but thankfully they have a number of other items to choose from. Those chili hot dogs were my lunch.
18. Little Italy
Little Italy is basically right next to Chinatown, and is a lot more pleasant. The empty streets, outdoor awnings, and cute street decorations attracted my attention, and the food did not disappoint. Oh, and it isn't stinky! Big bonus points.
19. M&M Store
Photo by me of their giant M&M wall- part of it.
21. Madison Square
22. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
I went there a few years ago for the Alexander McQueen exhibit.
23. NY Public Library
I was dragged in here last year while out running errands. It is pretty interesting, but I don't think I'll ever be going back for anything.
Their pizza is actually pretty good, though I wasn't a fan of the giant basil leaves on top of the pizza.
25. Rockefeller Center
I've been there twice, and I took that photo last year on Christmas Eve. I have yet to go ice skating there and doubt I ever will. Again, I hate crowds.
26. Shake Shack
I'd walked by this place a bunch of times while on my way to the dentist, and finally went last night to the one in Times Square. Hot dog was great, cheeseburger wasn't very impressive. I've had better at McDonald's.
27. South Street Seaport
Most people go there for the shopping, but I wouldn't bother. The ships are nice and I love the ocean, so that's all I cared about. But don't think I'm biased about the shopping for preferring the water- you'll find hundreds of people warning you against shopping at this tourist trap. It's not worth it. Save your money.
28. St. Patrick's Cathedral
I went here about... 3 years ago when some people I was working with at the time drug me in there. I'm not religious so I never would have gone in on my own, and while it is pretty, it's not really my cup of tea.
29. Trailer Park Lounge
Against my better judgement, I popped in here for dinner after getting off the bus from one of my trips to NY before I moved here. Severely disappointed. It might look interesting, but... no.
30. White Horse Tavern
I went here right after walking along the Highline, having searched all over for a decent, affordable, normal restaurant. The atmosphere is really homey and the food is pretty good. I didn't know until last night when I was compiling this list that the tavern is supposedly haunted. Some famous writer (or something) used to drink there, and once he went in, drank 18 shots of whiskey, and died right outside the door. People claim that his spirit haunts the tavern, and the employees spot people trying to talk to ghosts. I'm not buying it.