Last month I returned to New York City for my umpteenth time… yup I’ve been that much I can’t even remember how much I’ve been, what an achievement! Still, New York never loses its wow factor, there is always a thousand new things to be uncovered. Here are a few new New York City secrets I learnt on my latest trip…

Starbucks is a Public Toilet

We all know Starbucks is a place for free wifi, a toilet break and perhaps good coffee, but in New York, a clean free toilet for all is part of their official ‘job’ in the city. Starbucks signed an agreement with the city to allow anyone to use their toilets in exchange for being able to open on virtually ‘every’ street in New York. This is brilliant for those with weak bladders such as me, but is it great for independent coffee retailers?

Basilia coffee

We think Starbucks is everywhere in the UK, but you haven’t seen anything until you go to America. Free toilet spots are definitely one small benefit to this international superpower taking over the world with their ‘non-fat, half soy, light blend, caramel, no foam lattes’.

I’m starting a new slogan…

‘Starbucks, spend a penny without spending a dime’

The Best Coffee ISN’T at Starbucks

I’m not a big coffee drinker, (despite spending much of my time making coffee at Basilia), but I do love the aromas and I do love to find new quirky independent coffee shops around the world.

coffee NYC

In the midst of Greenwich Village, we found the coolest coffee shop around. We could have sat there for hours watching as their machines pulled fresh coffee beans through tubes, across the room and into the coffee machine for each individually, freshly ground cup of coffee. It was like being in a walk-in coffee machine, part of the action, as you hear that sound of fresh coffee beans falling into a grinder and sniff the scents of 20 different coffee flavours from across the world.

To make it even better, the hot chocolate was good too and the staff friendly, knowledgeable and full of smiles. If you like coffee (or hot chocolate) make sure you make a visit to Roasting Plant.

Brooklyn is hipper than Manhattan these days (or so they say)

Fellow travel blogger and lover of New York City Vicky Flip Flop was there around the same time I was. We didn’t quite manage to meet up but have since exchanged travel tales and Vicky or Flippers as I like to call her has found a new heaven in Brooklyn, not Manhattan. Here are a few words on why she loves this new place to ‘hang’.

Photo from http://vickyflipfloptravels.com/flipflops-guide-williamsburg/
Photo from http://vickyflipfloptravels.com/flipflops-guide-williamsburg/

I love New York and went for the 7th time in April this year. After watching the TV show Girls I decided I wanted to check out Williamsburg and so I booked three nights there. It was so cool. I think it was actually the most hipster place in the world. The thrift stores were amazing, the coffee shops full of character and I just loved sitting with a cocktail outside and people watching. Itโ€™s really easy to get to from Manhattan โ€“ just a 15minute subway ride from Union Square. You need to go for at least a day if youโ€™re in NYC.

Vicky has written lots of great tips about Williamsburg in Brooklyn on her blog. You can follow her latest travel adventures on her Twitter and Facebook, she is pretty awesome!

Photo from http://vickyflipfloptravels.com/flipflops-guide-williamsburg/
Photo from http://vickyflipfloptravels.com/flipflops-guide-williamsburg/

The best waffles are in New York City

If anyone asks me for any recommendations for New York City, I always say Petite Abille Belgium restaurant. I have many memories of visiting here with friends when I was living at Lawrenceville in New Jersey. I’m not sure which part I loved most, the mimosas on the roadside in the sun or the delicious fresh waffles with toppings to die for. Mmm

Waffles NYC

There hasn’t been a single time I have visited the city without stopping by this little cafe. Only a couple of blocks from Ground Zero and down the road from trendy Greenwich Village. It is definitely worth the extra walk.

strawberry waffle NYC

I have extended my menu choices since first visiting to include more than just waffles and am pleased the main meals and appetizers are just as tasty, though very filling, you need to save space for dessert… Let’s be honest, two waffles are always better than one.

Do you have any secrets of New York that perhaps shouldn’t be kept a secret for too long?

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6 Comments

  1. Good choice on Petite Abille! Not only do they have fabulous waffles but they have a great happy hour specials. It was the only place the residents could afford to go when I worked at Beth Israel Hospital nearby. I’m heading to NYC this weekend, thanks for reminding me to get a waffle while I’m there!

    • Jen Lowthrop Reply

      yay. So glad someone else has found and loves Petite Abille. I don’t think I have made it for happy hour yet but will definitely give that a go next time I am in NYC ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Hmmmm, waffles are good, but I miss New York’s bagels and cream cheese the most! Awesome tip about Williamsburg. I’d like to check it out next time I’m in the big apple ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. i spent 6 weeks there this summer, and i loved Mollys Cupcakes (whoever invented the lemon meringue cupcake is my god) and Murrays cheese bar – two of my favourites. I didnt get over to Brooklyn or Williamsburg too much, but I plan a revisit.

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