Bite Size New York Neighbourhood Guides

We've broken the Big Apple down to bite-size chunks by taking a look at three distinct New York neighbourhoods. We sent our Spontaneity Champion, Jamie Bezenecenet, to get a flavour of New York by visiting two out of the five New York Boroughs: Manhattan, and over the East River to Brooklyn. Read on to find out his highlight guides to Chelsea, Greenwich and DUMBO.

Chelsea - Manhattan

Named after the London Borough, and not the football team, Chelsea is on the west side of Manhattan alongside the Hudson River. It's this location near the water that gives it a bit of an industrial look along with its prettier historic buildings.

Shopping

There are lots of high-end shops here (which my girlfriend was excited about, but I’d never heard of), including Stella McCartney and Jeffrey. For a slightly more alternative experience, head to the Limelight Shops which is a small department store in a converted church.

Bars

If you’re looking for somewhere chilled out then head to the brand new Gansevoort Market for a selection of great looking pop up bars selling craft beers, champagne and seafood. For something a bit special head to The Tippler in Chelsea Market for cocktails. I recommend the Humdinger to get the evening going. (White and dark rums, grapefruit liqueur, cardamom, hibiscus and egg white).

Chelsea Market
Chelsea Market

Restaurants

For an exceptional steak you’ll be hard pushed to find better than The Old Homestead. A more casual option is The Chelsea Market, which offers everything from tacos to sushi and oysters - all of which can be eaten ‘on-the-go’ as you explore the rest of the market.

Brunch spot

The Standard Grill at The Standard Hotel is a mecca for brunch in Chelsea. It lived up to the hype and the setting is beautiful.

Grill at The Standard
Grill at The Standard

Where are the best views?

The High Line (see not to be missed, below)

How does it compare to the rest of New York?

The Meatpacking District has a really distinctive feel about it. Its industrial architecture is now filled with high-end fashion and pop-up food and drinks venues.

What do the Locals go there for?

Partying. The locals I spoke to all mentioned that the Meatpacking District in particular is the go to place, any day of the week, for late night partying. Try HILO or Cielo if you’re looking to get your dance on

Not to be missed:

The High Line is a 1.4 mile stretch of park built on a disused industrial railway, elevated 30 feet above the ground. It really is a fantastic way to see the borough.

Getting there

Manhattan is made for exploring on foot. I recommend walking from one end of the High Line to the other so you can see the whole area.

Greenwich Village - Manhattan

Referred to as "The Village", this is one of the most famous neighbourhood's in New York, due to its "Beatnik" and "Bohemian" history. You'll find The Village over on the west side of Manhattan, with the Hudson River to the West and just south of Chelsea.

Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village

Shopping

Greenwich has a bit of everything, but my favourite place was Fight Club which offered a vast selection of retro trainers, caps and sports wear. Ladies might like to visit Otte NY for a selection of designers and styles from casual to super smart.

Bars

I love live music so one of my favourite places to visit was Arthur’s Tavern, which has live music every night and even claims to have had Charlie Parker as a regular.

Restaurants

Definitely one of the best places of the whole trip was the Mermaid Oyster Bar on MacDougal Street. Unbelievably fresh and well-priced seafood in a beautiful chilled out setting in the heart of Greenwich.

Mermaid Oyster Bar
Mermaid Oyster Bar

Brunch spot

Whilst being dragged over to Perry Street to visit Carrie Bradshaw’s house by Pru, we stumbled across Extra Virgin, a very pretty brunch restaurant with seating outside. Unfortunately the food and service could have been better in our opinion so I suspect you might want to keep looking.

Where are the best views?

The view from the fountain in Washington Square Park, through the beautiful Washington Square Arch, and up 5th Avenue is definitely worth seeing.

How does it compare to the rest of New York?

If I had only one borough to visit it would be this one. It has a lot of everything and has a really great feel about it.

What do the locals go there for?

Well priced food and drink and also to walk their dogs. I have honestly never seen so many dogs in my life. As usual Pru had to stop and pet every single one, so we made slow progress.

Not to be missed

Washington Square Park is a great place to kill time. Watch the old guys playing chess or the buskers play amazing jazz.

Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park

Getting there

Greenwich Village is so central and so packed with stuff that it honestly doesn’t matter how you arrive. You’ll need a whole day to explore everything on foot.

DUMBO - Brooklyn

The name DUMBO stands for "Down under Manhattan Bridge" and thanks to its views of Manhattan across the East River, one of the most sought after photographic and filming spots.

DUMBO
DUMBO

Shopping

It’s here under the iconic bridge that you’ll find some great independent and unusual shops, ranging from rare books (Powerhouse Books) to fantastic cakes (One Girl Cookies).

Bars

If you fancy a game of pool then head to Superfine as it’s free. This cool bar feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, and they offer live music too.

Restaurants

The concierge at our hotel told us we had to try Grimaldi’s pizza restaurant, for the ‘best pizza in town’. A bold claim! It was indeed excellent, but make sure to get their early as it gets very busy. Oh, and they only take cash.

Grimaldi's Pizza
Grimaldi's Pizza

Brunch spot

We ventured south from Dumbo to Carroll Gardens specifically to have brunch at The Buttermilk Channel which we’d been told did amazing fried chicken and waffles. Definitely worth a visit.

Where are the best views?

So many to choose from here. It has to be either Manhattan from Brooklyn Bridge Park or Brooklyn Bridge from Dumbo.

View from Brooklyn Bridge Park
View from Brooklyn Bridge Park

How does it compare to the rest of New York?

Whilst definitely not as affluent as Manhattan, it has a great ‘up-and-coming’ buzz about it.

What do the locals go there for?

To escape the madness of Manhattan and get the best views of the city.

Not to be missed:

An excellent stroll through Brooklyn Bridge Park, looking back over at Manhattan.

Getting there:

The best way to arrive in Dumbo is definitely to walk over Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan.

Inspired and need a place to stay?

We have loads of hotels in New York to choose from. Jamie stayed centrally in Manhattan at the four star Flatiron Hotel, ideal for reaching both Chelsea and Greenwich Village.

An evening in the Flatiron Hotel
An evening in the Flatiron Hotel