It has been 20 years since the pilot of Sex and the City aired for the first time, the show that single-handedly catapulted NYC into the dreams of wannabe Carrie Bradshaws around the world, myself included.
Since SATC ended in 2004 I have been to New York twice. The second time I was travelling in the US alone and stayed in New York for a week, which was a great way of getting to grips with the city.
Of course I am still an NYC novice compared to the locals, but from the planning of my trip to the time I spent in the city I gained a good knowledge of the different neighbourhoods of NYC and the best places to stay.
The Upper East Side was the home of Carrie Bradshaw, and also gained notoriety as the home of the glamorous Gossip Girl gang.
The Upper East side has long been known as the hotspot for the upper class, however the area is also increasingly being viewed as one of the ‘coolest spots’ in Manhattan thanks to a surge in restaurant, bar and retail openings.
Carrie wasn’t the only SATC girl who resided in Uptown Manhattan – Charlotte was said to live on the chic Park Avenue, also in the Upper East Side, while successful lawyer Miranda owned an apartment on the Upper West Side – another esteemed part of the city.
Fans of SATC and GG should definitely look at visiting Uptown if you want to walk in the footsteps of your favourite characters. Plus, if you’re looking for a sophisticated night out and a taste of the Manhattan high-life make sure to pop through to the Upper East Side during your New York break – you might even spot some famous faces.
Midtown Manhattan is where you’ll find a plethora of the top tourist hotspots – from Fifth Avenue to Central Park to Times Square and Broadway; Midtown is where it’s at. If you want to be within walking distance of the main attractions then staying in Midtown is a no-brainer really. Likewise, if you’re looking for a quieter place to rest your head you would be better off staying further afield and using the city’s excellent transport links to visit the Midtown landmarks.
Key things to check out in Midtown include the famous Central Park. The park is the most visited urban park in the United States and one of the most filmed locations in the world. The park includes a zoo, the famous Alice in Wonderland statue and an ice-rink. In contrast to the relaxing Central Park, Times Square in Midtown is the epitome of ‘the city that never sleeps’, with its buzzing atmosphere, bright lights and late night openings.
And of course, you can’t head to New York without taking in a show on Broadway. If you’re planning a theatre-packed New York break, staying in Midtown would be your best bet.
Between Midtown and Downtown
There are a couple of hotspots between Midtown and Downton that are also worth considering when deciding where to stay in New York. The up-and-coming Chelsea neighbourhood is where I stayed during my week in New York, and it is a perfect mix of uptown class and downtown style – where you’ll find cultured art galleries, bustling bars and world foods.
If you’re a foodie, make sure to check out the Chelsea Market – one of the best indoor food markets in the world. The Chelsea area also has a thriving LGBT scene and is a popular choice with LGBT tourists and locals.
Not far from Chelsea is the Meatpacking District – another neighbourhood famed by Sex and the City. The area has been continually developing over the past 20 years and is now one of the hippest areas in Manhattan. The Meatpacking District is celebrated as a ‘24-hour neighbourhood’ – popular with artists and designers, the area is an epicenter of activity and is filled with restaurants and nightlife to keep you entertained into the small hours.
If you’re looking for somewhere lively and stylish to stay, while not being too expensive, Chelsea or the Meatpacking District are a great choice and I certainly felt safe and comfortable during my Chelsea stay, and was easily able to travel around the city using the subway.
Downtown is the traditionally trendy area of Manhattan, packed with bars, restaurants, exciting events and hip people. Whether you head to Greenwich Village – known as the Bohemian Capital – or the trendy Soho area, you’ll find a variety of quirky boutiques, artistic haunts and food markets.
Downtown is also home to the famous Chinatown where you can enjoy the best Chinese food in Manhattan, and the equally famous Little Italy – which as its name suggests is a little taste of Italy in Manhattan.
If you’re looking for culture, bohemian chic and lots of tasty food – Downtown is the place for you.
The Borough of Brooklyn
Of course, Manhattan isn’t your only choice of location in New York. Brooklyn has been an up-and-coming destination for many years and is now seen as the hipster capital of New York. While in SATC Miranda was somewhat chastised for giving up Manhattan to settle down in Brooklyn, the trendy area was shown in a far more positive light in Girls.
From quirky coffee houses, to trendy boutiques and eclectic bars – Brooklyn is the place to head if you’re looking for something with a modern twist. Plus, Brooklyn is typically a cheaper choice than Manhattan but is only a short tube ride or a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan.
If you’re planning a New York break I hope this helps in finding the best area in New York for you to stay in.