April 15, 2015

BEA Part Of It: Parks & (Food) Rec

I'm so thrilled to be joining in on this BEA tips series for the third year in a row! (Check out my recs for bookstores, coffee & tea spots, and tourist spots.) It's always fun to share the things I love about this city that I now call home. This time around, each of the participating bloggers is getting a little personal and sharing their favorite things to do in the city. So, without further ado, I wanted to share my ideal day out in New York City.

I usually kick off my mornings with a cup of coffee (though I've been trying to get into the groove of drinking tea or juice these days). My latest favorite haunt for coffee is Blue Bottle Coffee, where the coffee is always freshly roasted. I'd take my cappuccino to go and find a place to sit in Bryant Park, where I'd kick back and relax with some music. I often go there to read, journal or just hang out. It's right in the heart of midtown, and right behind the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library. There are chairs scattered around the rectangular lawn in the center, a lovely fountain, a few stalls selling food, and some fun games and activities for visitors. (Bonus: There are clean bathrooms!)

For lunch, I'd drop by Crisp, which is a restaurant that serves fresh food made to order. (I'm sensing a theme in my food choices here.) There are pita sandwiches, burgers, hummus/rice bowls, salad bowls and more to choose from! (Personally, I really like the authentic pita sandwich.) (And I have to give credit to Lili for introducing me to this place!)

After lunch, I'd hop on a train and get off near Central Park. It might be a popular tourist spot, but because it's so vast, you're almost always guaranteed a patch of grass or an empty bench to sit on. I love walking down the paths, and if I have the time, getting lost within the park boundaries! Some of my favorite spots to visit are the Bow Bridge, the Central Park Boathouse and the Bethesda Fountain.

If my stomach started rumbling, I'd find myself meandering towards Levain Bakery to snag one of their chocolate chip walnut cookies. Warm and melty, it'd be perfect to eat as I walked down the avenues towards the Boat Basin. This spot boasts an open air cafe with a fun atmosphere during the warmer months of the year, with a perfect view of the Hudson River and the marina where boats can be in residence year round. I like to go there to see the boats and daydream of sailing away on one, plus it's just a lovely view when the light hits the water just so. 

And to round off the day, I'd go to Shake Shack to grab one of their 'Shroom Burgers, a side of cheese fries and a Fair Shake. Even though I've had this particular combination of food so many times, it just never gets old - and it's always delicious. Definitely a great way to cap off the night! I hope you enjoyed spending the day with me in NYC! If you do wind up checking out these places during your NYC visit, feel free to leave a comment or tweet telling me about it. 

And now, as a special treat, here's a recommendation from the lovely Corey Ann Haydu, author of OCD Love Story, Life By Committee and the upcoming Making Pretty and Rules for Stealing Stars! You can find her on her website & Twitter and info on her books here.

Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, and spend some time exploring beautiful downtown Brooklyn. It's a nice way to see a different part of the city than the busy, touristy parts most people end up visiting. Plus there's an amazing pizza place-- Grimaldi's-- right under the Brooklyn Bridge. Pizza and a gorgeous walk outside with views of the city? You can't get better than that. It's way more of a must-see than the Empire State Building or Times Square in my opinion!

I also asked Corey for a bonus NYC book rec, and she suggested Valley of the Dolls. In her words, "it's fun and dark and fascinating and fun. It's one of my favorite books, and seeing what NYC was like for a young 20-something girl decades ago is the BEST. It's an addictive read and captures both the glitz and underbelly of the city." (It's definitely going on my list of books to check out!)

YOUR TURN! Have you ever visited New York City? If yes, what were your favorite places? If no, which places have you heard about and want to visit? I want to hear your stories!


  1. I'm sorry you didn't quite like it :(
    I loved it so so much and I cannot wait for the 2nd to come out! :)

  2. I like the UK book cover and Echo, you made me like her. I skipped your review after her part bc it might spoil me and lose my appetite to read it. Anyway, I hope that the next book would be more certain on you. :)

  3. It's always hard to review when you love many things about the book but it still doesn't seem to resonate with so emotionally as much because you don't connect with the characters... Great review Alexa!

  4. I'm not sure how much time or energy I'll have to visit around NYC but thank you for all the pointers!

  5. I love so many of these places (especially Bryant Park)! I would also recommend visiting Miamoto Kitchoan for delicious Japanese desserts, Melt Bakery (they usually have an outpost on the Highline which is another amazing place to view the city from) and Georgetown Cupcakes in SoHo!

  6. SHAKE SHACK! I've been there a couple times and yes it is yum yum. I'm going to BEA this year, so I'll have to see if I can get my buddies to try these things :)

  7. I have this one on my "to read soonish" pile. I'm excited but I have seen a few mixed reviews so at least I know to manage my expectations.

  8. Nicole @ The Quiet ConcertApril 17, 2015 at 10:21 PM

    AW I loved this one. It just hit all the right notes for me. But I do wish the romance was a little more developed. And I wouldn't mind this becoming a movie! I like how you wrote this review :)

  9. Katherine @ Neon Yeti ReadsApril 18, 2015 at 8:43 PM

    I loved, loved when I visited NYC for a weekend this past year! I think my favorite part of my short trip was visiting a cute little NY style pizza shop just off Times Square. It was super cool to see some of the places I had seen on TV for years in real life! I really want to go back and explore some more.

  10. YAY I always love these recommendation posts! We sadly won't be in NYC to experience too much extra stuff this year but I daydream about when I have the time! I need to plan a vacation outside of BEA!

  11. I LOVE that you included Crisp on here! I try to find diverse places to eat when I intern and I have both you and Lizzy hooked! I'm just an evil foodie mastermind.

    Levain...Shake Shack...Bryant Park...you have the best recs, girl!


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