Our first Sunday in New York was at a considerably slower pace. After a huge Saturday of walking 20 kilometres through SoHo & West Village followed by a night out in the Meatpacking, I was ready for a slower pace wandering around the Upper West Side.
Zabar’s Jewish Deli, Upper West Side
Our first stop was UWS institution, Zabar’s Jewish Deli. We wandered around the deli part first, drooling over the mouthwatering deli cabinets and wishing there was a Zabar’s in South Melbourne. Then we lined up for bagels – I got the salmon & cream cheese from the cabinet, David got a fresh one from the bakery with a side of cream cheese. Cream cheese isn’t as much of a thing in Australia I guess, because I only really know Philadelphia Cream Cheese, which is nice but has nothing on the fresh cheese they give you at Zabar’s. I could have eaten the whole tub!
I was a little surprised that it comes wrapped up, pre-made and waiting in one of the fridges, but it was still delicious – and very dense! And kind of oily on the outside…not sure what is up with that. It was yummy, and I’ll definitely try one at Russ & Daughters when I make it there but I won’t be adding bagels to my diet any time soon – they really sit heavily in your stomach!
Theodore D Roosevelt Park, Upper West Side
After this my walk-hating boyfriend wanted to “just walk around a bit”, which I soon realised was code for “looking for a Starbucks.” We walked down a few beautiful streets lined with seriously enviable townhouses, until we found a Starbucks.
David got the acai & strawberry ice refresher, which are actually insanely delicious! Normally I don’t see the point in drinking something if it isn’t wine, a flat white, gin or water (…those came out in a telling order ), but I can make an exception for these. Totally understand the need to find a Starbucks now, and why just about every New Yorker is toting around an icy Starbucks cup at the moment.
Naturally, we stumbled across a beautiful park, which seem to be everywhere in New York. This one is Theodore D Roosevelt Park, and while I wouldn’t suggest you make a dedicated trip across town to visit, it was a lovely spot to sit in the shade.
79th St Greenmarket, Upper West Side
Outside the park was the 79th St Greenmarket, where I bought a delicious yellow nectarine – a much better choice than the street hot dog I was eyeing off. It was super sweet, and I loved being able to just pick up a piece of super fresh fruit on the street.
American Muesum of Natural History
The park also backs on to the American Museum of Natural History, which was our next stop. The suggested price is $22, but you can pay what you like.
We spent a couple of hours here. My favourite exhibit were the ones about Amazonian tribes, South American indigenous cultures and the Native Americans. It was a fascinating insight into these cultures and their ways of life. The Mexican exhibit is also really cool, with an enormous sun stone and other larger than life artefacts.
I can imagine for kids that the animal exhibits would be really cool too, and a great way to learn about different animal species. Seeing the pre-historic collection was cool, but my favourite animal exhibition was of the Mouse Lemur – just as cute as they sound.
The Upper West Side is exactly how I imagined New York City to be, and while it doesn’t have as many flashy attractions as other neighbourhoods, it’s a great place to spend a low key day in the city.
What’s your favourite neighbourhood in NYC? Any tips for things I should do next time I’m on the Upper West Side?
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