The Big Apple is known for its grid-like streets, towering skyscrapers, the hustle and bustle of pedestrians, the endless sea of yellow cabs, and both great shopping and great food! From dumplings in Chinatown to handcrafted jewellery in Greenwich, there is something for everyone. What makes this city great is its unique and diverse neighbourhoods. Similar to Toronto, NYC is a collection of small cultural centres that together make the whole of the city. Over the next few weeks we’ll look at some of these neighbourhoods to find those hidden gems and popular attractions
With its eternal light provided by the massive video billboards and so many pedestrians that they threaten to run you over, a trip to New York would not be complete without a stop first at Times Square. While avoided by New Yorkers for being too touristy, visiting Times Square for the first time is truly unforgettable.
If it is your first time in Times Square, be sure to check out the three-storey M&M store, where M&M’s come in every colour you could imagine, right across from the two-storey Hershey store! You could go for a ride on the Ferris Wheel inside ToysRUs or check out one of the many other flagship stores in Times Square, including American Eagle, The Disney Store and Forever 21.
Also, keep your eyes open for the street artists. In Times Square, it’s not uncommon to find an artist painting the New York skyline (typically with a planet or other astrological body in the background, using only spray paint, lids and a scalper, completed in under 10 minutes. Well worth the $20 price tag.
As for souvenirs, while it’s easy to grab a shirt or pen from one of the many gift shops in Times Square, I'd recommend waiting on these until you are in Chinatown. The t-shirt may fade or the pen will dry out quickly, but they’ll cost a lot less and looks just the same.
New York is famous for its cuisine, and right in Times Square, you can find some of the very best pizza in the city. 44th Street is home to John’s Pizza, with its thin crust and mouth-watering toppings. There may be a bit of a wait to get a seat, but there's a reason why people are lining up.
For those wanting to try New York style cheesecake, head over to Junior’s on 45 th for the best cheesecake in town. If you haven't had New York cheesecake before, you’re in for a treat! It is incredibly rich, thick and delicious, with flavours like Sea Salt Caramel and Brownie Marble Swirl, you’ll be glad to share it with a friend.
Enjoy the cheesecake on the Red Steps and take in the sights and sounds of Times Square!
Next time, we’ll look at the SoHo district of New York, which is a great place to shop and grab some bargains as well.