The Mole Diaries: New York City
Uptown, Downtown, Brooklyn Bound…NYC
Most people will agree that there’s more to New York City than ‘Times Square’ or ‘The Empire State Building’. It is a city that is ever changing and adapting to meet the needs and interests of a progressive society. Bars and shops open, close, re-name, and re-shape themselves so often it’s hard to decide what’s best to see, especially when there’s enough to cater to even the most extraordinary person. Whether you’re just travelling through or living in NYC, a trip to one of the great museums is usually on the agenda – and usually not cheap. However, two of NYC’s biggest and most famous museums can be free with some planning and a strategic approach. The Modern Museum of Art is absolutely free on Fridays between 16.00 and 20.00. Be aware that there may be a queue and a bit of a crowd, but it also may save you $12-$20. The Metropolitan Museum of Art can also be free. What may not be obvious is that the admission price for the MET is recommended – there are admission desks where tickets are purchased, but the price is recommended and you can donate whatever you feel suitable. If you’re keen to embrace a more intimate cultural setting, don’t forget the many galleries in the West Village, which often hold events that include some great free art and free booze.
For a city that offers so much, what is severely lacking are internet cafés, which can be problematic for those heading here without a computer. It doesn’t have to be detrimental to your Facebook profile...You can simply visit Apple’s magnificent glass building on 58thStreet and 5th Avenue, peruse the beautifully expensive computers, and use them to check your emails for free; and if you’re shopping in Soho, don’t worry because there’s another Apple haven on Price Street.
A really cool place to go for a drink is ‘Welcome to the Johnson’s’. What did a typical 1970’s American living room look like? Have a drink in the lower East Side to find out. Not only does this exceptional place offer dirt cheap drinks, but it will certainly paint a clear picture of American décor – with real high school portraits on the wall, nostalgic sofas, and even a Ms. PacMan game! It may not have the best bathroom facilities, but it’s definitely far from the typical ‘bar scene’.
What was underrated for many years has now become Manhattan’s rival. Brooklyn, which was once only mentioned in rap songs, has now become quite a trendy alternative to the typical uptown and downtown New York City scene. Bedford Avenue is lined with a variety of cosy restaurants, shops, and hipsters just walking about (check out Hugs, which is a combination cave/bar with cheap drinks and good music).
Well connected to Manhattan by the L Train, Williamsburg is certainly worth a visit. Start with some vintage shopping at Beacon’s closet on 88 N.11th St. (off the L Train) where you can not only buy clothes, but sell your unwanted treasures as well. The impressive store holds virtually every sort of clothing, classed by era, with eccentric and unique styles, all of which are colour coordinated. From quirky glasses frames to 1980’s tie pins, you can guarantee you’ll find whatever you’re looking for. To quench even the most thirsty shoppers, exploring the shops around the area ticks all the boxes, from vintage to little boutique stores. Just a few steps away from Beacon’s closet is the Brooklyn Brewery. Yes, beer is brewed in Brooklyn, and it’s much better than those ‘light’ beers you find in America, I find.
NYC proves that tradition can live peacefully with modernity – enjoy traditional Manhattan, but a little travel South brings an entirely new view of what the city can offer.