Widely known across the globe as 'the city that never sleeps', New York City (NYC) is packed with a vast collection of entertaining attractions and unknown gems waiting to be discovered. With a city so immense and full of new experiences, it can be difficult to figure out where to start exploring. Though fear not! Local New Yorker and photographer, Bart Blachnio, offers some local wisdom for upcoming visitors.
Bart has lived in NYC for about five to six years, initially moving up after finishing school. Having always felt a sense of connection with the buzzing city-life, Bart says this deeper link that NYC carries with it proves there's something special about the city.
"Any big metropolitan city can arouse those feelings in me, but New York is that extra bit of special where you almost feel like you're at the center of the universe," explains Bart.
What sights would you recommend tourists take the time to see in NYC?
"Many of New York's best sights are the really touristy spots: Top of the Rock, Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, World Trade Center Observatory. You don't truly appreciate the scale of this city until you see it from a great viewpoint like one of the ones mentioned. Plus Central Park is just a beautiful oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle.
"That said, there is definitely plenty to see off the normal tourist guidebook as well. Go to Williamsburg on Saturdays & Sundays during the summer for a great outdoor food market called Smorgasburg. Head out to Coney Island for a beach day. Rent a bike and ride down the West Side Highway bike path for great river-side views of the city. If you enjoy a night of drinks, there are some amazing speakeasies all around the city. If you're the type to club it up, you can do so just about every single night! The list can go on and on."
Where are some of the best places to eat in NYC?
"Believe it or not, my favorite pizza in NYC is actually out in Jersey City across the Hudson - a place called Razza. NYC has some great institutions like Lucali and Totonno's, but Razza is just as delicious."
"If you're looking for a fancy night out over steaks, gotta check out Delmonico's. Tim Ho Wan's Michelin-starred dim sum is a great option, but get there early enough to put your name(s) down then grab drinks somewhere nearby while you wait!"
Are there any must-eat foods when visiting?
"I think anyone visiting needs to experience NYC pizza. You don't need to go to one of the famous places because, as they say, even bad pizza is good pizza, but it helps!
"Also, there is nothing more NYC than curing a hangover the next morning by ordering an everything bagel with your choice of meat and egg (and cheese). Once you have a New York City bagel, you'll never look at them the same ever again."
Where's the best place to go for night-life?
"Meatpacking (on the expensive side), Lower East Side (generally pretty affordable), Hell's Kitchen (also affordable), Brooklyn (clubs, mostly situated in Williamsburg). This is by no means an exhaustive list, just generally where I find myself most often!"
How long would you recommend someone to stay in NYC?
"The great part about New York is you can come for a weekend or a week, or more! There is never a dull moment, with plenty to see. People live here for years and never experience everything this city has to offer. I can attest to that."
What's the most important thing to know before visiting NYC?
"Have a general idea of things you want to do/see, but don't be afraid to wing it. Also, definitely do a little reading on the subway system. It's not hard to get the hang of, but even knowing a little bit about it (like where to get MetroCards, which stops to get on/off at, what lines get you where etc) will go a long way in making your trip that much simpler.
"NY'ers don't have a terribly great reputation for patience in the face of tourists moving slowly or clogging up sidewalks trying to figure out where to go, but your mileage will always vary.
"Also, there are a TON of street performers, buskers, con artists, you name it. Be vigilant and don't EVER feel obligated to give someone your money."
Be sure to head over to Bart's Instagram page to check out some more of his beautiful photos of New York.