Once you touch down in NYC, it's possible to keep busy until you return to the airport. So these are just a few of our highlights from our weekend in New York for Womens Travel Fest 2016.
Stay: Hotel 91, Chinatown
A no frills three star hotel with impeccable beds and a great price point. If you’re a light sleeper make sure to pack ear buds as the hotel is literally next to the Manhattan Bridge with 24 hour trains. While the shower amenities are super basic, the rooms are clean and are equipped with AC/heating units. The rooms also, do not have a safe for your personal items, so plan accordingly. We only stayed a few nights and decided to keep the DND while we were out. The lobby offers a free coffee and tea station and the staff were very helpful, relaxed and kind. Pick up city and subway maps right at the front desk. During the day, this part of Chinatown is bustling with business, but after dark finding a cab is difficult. There’s also no “secured” entrance for the hotel, although the neighborhood felt very safe.
#WTD // Visit the Empire State Building:
It’s easy to write-off New York City tourist staples, in lieu of newer and hipper hotspots in Manhattan, but a visit to The Empire State’s 86th floor observation deck is still worth all of the hype. I might be ashamed to say that I was guilty of downplaying a visit to the city’s tallest building, but am happy to have rectified my traveling faux-pas this weekend. And to somehow reward me for realizing the error of my ways, the traveling gods bestowed upon me amazingly clear visibility, a lean crowd of fellow tourists and a stunning landscape at twilight. The ticket price is still a bit of a sticker shock at $32 for a trip to the 86th floor and $52 to include the 102nd floor. And that was just for a party of one. I can’t imagine paying that price for each member of my family. Still, despite there being other destinations in and around Manhattan that boast of a panoramic rooftop views of the city at large, there’s none quite as good (or family friendly) as that of the Empire State Building. Of course, the marble hallways and art deco architecture play a role in the experience, as if to almost announce the specialness of being inside this pillar of NYC history. As well as the classic style uniforms worn by the staff team ushering you to and through your trip. So, If you haven’t done it, do it. But you only really need to do it once.
#WTD // Hotel Indigo, Mr Purple
Being a young adult in NYC, will almost always include a small collection of bar experiences by the trip’s end, and this time was no exception. The night my travel conference activities kicked off, I reconnected with an old college friend at the coolThe Grand Bar
at The Soho Grand hotel, followed byThe Jimmy
rooftop bar just around the corner at The James’ Hotel. Saturday after Women’s Travel fest, we met up at Remedy Diner
and continued onto the One and One
bar in the East Village to usher in Sam’s birthday once the clock hit midnight. But it was after our Brooklyn birthday brunch at 5 Leaves
, that we arrived at my favorite bar of the weekend, Mr Purple at Hotel Indigo. Let me just say, that this IS a designer hotel with a healthy helping of whimsy, where the lobby features larger than life polaroids on the ceiling. Mr Purple features an array of sitting, including sofas and plush chairs upholstered in leather, concrete stools and woodblock communal bar tables. Despite the cold weather, I immediately felt like I was transported to the coolest new bar in Melbourne’s Fitzroy district. The best part, is that the crowd was mixed but relaxed. A crowd of cool looking people, with cool attitudes. A lot different from our walk on Bedford in Williamsburg. I have no complaints on the cocktails. They were a nice size and good enough - but after the weekend of bar hopping, I think there are only a few places you get truly exquisite cocktail outside of places like “Employees Only
.” But ambiance abounds in Mr Purple and it’s now one of my new favorite NYC places.
#WTE // The Graffitti Room for Ramen With A Twist
After the welcome party for Womens Travel Fest, Sam and I went out to hunt for some good eats. We saw a rad looking Ramen spot during our walking tour and headed back to Little Italy in search of a nice bowl of these noodles. We ended up at The Graffiti Room, which boasts a mural of David Bowie on it’s outer wall. Patrons are given a dry erase menu and marker in which to customize your order. The broth choices were either a pork and chicken combo or miso based. I added pork chop - which was literally a well done (but uber delicious) pork chop in my ramen, plus all of the fix ins.’ Theres a DIY bar with a variety of pickled additions, but I was happy with my bowl without them. A reasonable price of $14 compares to my all time NYC favorite ramen spot, Ippudo, but without the long wait.
Next time you're in NYC, get connected with a local and tour the city in a unique way with Lokafy Walking Tours
Lokafy Walking Tours
Offered to guests of the Womens Travel Fest, Lokafy is a new start-up, started in Toronto, that matches travelers with locals for a unique tour experience. We were matched with Paula, a young and knowledgable flight attendant from Staten Island who saw a need for this type of service when she has layovers in different cities. And from that need, she signed up to offer tours as well. Personally, I think she’s building great travel karma. The peer-to-peer tour concept isn’t new, but Lokafy’s offering in NYC is. The Holiday Girl was a part of the inaugural tour, which explored Chinatown and Little Italy. In a city like NYC, there’s a lot to see and even more that you don’t realize is right under your nose. The highlight for me would have been finding the #WhatLiftsYou wings in Little Italy - an interactive piece of street art from Kelsy Montague
, that encourages people to share empowering stories on social media along with their photo in front of the many wings Kelsy has painted across the globe. It’s my favorite type of travel related outreach - connecting us through our passion and encouraging us to do more with it.