In this tour we will visit some of the most fashionable areas of New York, such as Soho or Greenwich Village, as well as the well-known Chinatown and Little Italy. In this area of New York skyscrapers give way to much lower buildings with lots of charm.
We started in Madison Square Park
We started the route going to New York’s first skyscraper, and for me one of the most beautiful of all of them. Flatiron Building, named for its iron form, was built in 1902 and is located on Broadway with Fifth Avenue and 23th. In the park next door, Madison Square Park, you will find my favorite Shake Shack, where you can enjoy one of the best burgers in New York.
Let’s go to Union Square
If we keep going down Broadway, at the height of the 14th you will find Union Square, a beautiful square in which all kinds of activities are held throughout the year, it is easy to find at any time of the day in a side of it a varied group of people playing chess. On Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays this square becomes a busy fruit and vegetable market, except at Christmas where there is a Christmas market, which is probably the most famous and crowded in New York. From Union Square we leave by the Fourth Avenue, and we go down Bowery Street until Canal street. To the right of Union Square we have intentionally left the district of Meatpacking and Greenwich Village, very fashionable nowadays and that we will visit in the afternoon.
We visit Chinatown and Little Italy
When we arrive at Canal Street, we are in the middle of Chinatown, with its souvenir shops, fish shops and fruit shops with very exotic genre. When we arrive to Canal Street, returning by this street towards Broadway we will turn into Mulberry street, which is where Little Italy is located and its hose mouths with the flag of Italy. In the background we get a nice view of the Empire State.
Before going up Mulberry street, it’s a good idea to go down this street to Columbus Park and see people doing Taichi, playing Mah-jongg… If you want to buy trinkets, souvenirs and imitation things (watches, handbags, …) Chinatown is the best place to do it, and do not forget to haggle.
If you want to go to the Apple Soho Store, to see and try all kinds of Apple items: iPhone, iPads and all the rest of the Apple product range, you must turn on Mulberry street to the left on Broome street and is passed Broadway a couple of streets on Prince street. They allow you to read your email and there is free Wifi connection. On the way to the Apple Soho Store, you can make a delicious stop at Rice to riches in Spring Street, with a multitude of varieties of rice pudding.
Knowing the Village
Then we head to Greenwich Village. If you like basketball don’t forget to visit Court & Spark, three blocks up, which is where a famous Nike ad was shot and you can enjoy street basketball at a very high level. It is located at the intersection of West 4th street and Sixth avenue, right next to the subway entrance. Previously we will go through Washington Square Park, which will remind you of many movies, like everything in New York on the other hand, and that is where Fifth Avenue begins and where we will always find a great university atmosphere, because in the vicinity and surrounding the square is the University of New York.
Dining at Bleecker Street
From here, go to Bleeker street, where you will find many cafes, restaurants, clothing stores and still survive some CD and vinyl stores at very good prices, such as the mythical Generation Records, on Thompson Street, next to Washington Square Park. Here you will find Pasteleria Magnolia, a confectionery where the girls from “Sex in New York” sweeten their sorrows by eating their well-known Banana Pudding or their cupcakes, all of them irresistible. Also nearby is West Village, where the stages where the Friends series was filmed are located.
It is best to finish our visit to Greenwich Village at the end of the afternoon, in order to have dinner in the area as it has a lot of atmosphere. I recommend going up to West Houston street for dinner at Arturo’s pizza, open at 4, at John’s of Bleecker Street, at Bleecker street, Kesté Pizza & Vino on the same street, go to Minetta Tavern to try what, for many, is the best burger in New York, although you have to be willing to pay $32 for a burger, or go to Cafe Wha? (115 Macdougal St with Minetta Lane), this last one on Wednesdays or Sundays from 9 o’clock, they don’t charge you entrance fee but force you to order 2 drinks (about 25-30$ a hamburger with two drinks). The café Wha is a place where you can have a drink with very good live rock music, highly recommended.
Video of Downtown Manhattan
Here I leave you a video in where we show you some of the main points of interest of our tour through Downtown Manhattan: