Spotlight: New York City
Bright lights in the big city that never sleeps


“If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” –Frank Sinatra

Frank was on to something. After all, the island of Manhattan is filled with chaotic, fast-paced streets of cabs, construction, and people (most of whom are looking down at their gadgets or speed-walking to their next destinations).

Throw in the tourists and you’re in for the exhilarating, vibrant concrete jungle that is New York.

A sightseeing checklist can be daunting, so find your speed and knock out one neighborhood at a time, from the funky boutiques and charming brownstones in Carrie's West Village, the perpetual buzz in trendy Chelsea and Meatpacking District, the chic shopper’s dreamland of SoHo, upscale restaurants and cool fashion finds in TriBeCa, edgy bars and tasty delights in the East Village and Lower East Side, and glamorous shopping and pretty park scenes in Upper East Side.

Checkout my Foursquare list inspired by New Yorker Magazine's Adam Platt, and his top restaurants:

Freedom Tower in the sunset

Freedom Tower in the sunset

Must See Sight: Central Park. Avoid the entrances with all the (smelly) and sad-looking carriages and go up to the 90th Street entrance for a stroll around the 2.3 mile reservoir, and for a nice walk down Museum Mile.

Predominant Language: English

Memorable experience: Top of the Rock at 30 Rockefeller Center, because you get an incredible view not only of Manhattan, but also of the Empire State Building.

Best places for a single girl or groups of girls to go out:  For some generally wild or euro-trashy fun, try the Meatpacking District. If you can, get to the top of the Standard Hotel for the Boom Boom Room. Catch some stellar views of the city, and dress to impress. Catch is a tasty seafood restaurant with nightclub/lounge on the top floors, and they always play a great selection of the latest hip-hop/pop hits. Walk around the Meatpacking for a plethora of nightclubs but beware, the Meatpacking = Meatmarket.

For dance clubs go uptown a bit to Chelsea for 1Oak and Avenue. Check out this list from Guest of a Guest's "Top NYC Party Avenues for 2014."

Some of the best restaurants in NYC are concentrated in posh West Village. Try Perry Street, Minetta Tavern, Waverly Inn, and Babbo. Posh wine bars and lounges are also scattered throughout.

For some un-pretentious fun try the East Village and Lower East Side. Numerous bars and intimate watering holes line every block; chances are you’ll stumble into a hidden gem. We like the Stanton Social and Sons of Essex for nibbles or chillaxing, and its bigger sibling, Beauty and Essex, which on the splashier and formal side. Prepare for guaranteed fun in tight, confined spaces. 

Central Park SummerStage, an annual experience

Central Park SummerStage, an annual experience

Safety & Medical Tips 

Walking alone and at night:
Safety Scale - 1: Generally safe, however remain cautious to your surroundings 

Walking around and riding subways up until 1am is generally safe. After that try hailing a cab or call an Uber. Remain in the main traffic areas and steer clear of emptier blocks. Always look after your belongings and beware of your surroundings.


Medical Advice:

  • Popular over-the-counter drugs for cold/flu symptoms:  Theraflu for cold/flu, Tylenol cold or sinus pills, Alleve for pain
New York City skyline by night

New York City skyline by night

  • Process to acquire birth control pills: 

In New York City a doctor’s prescription is required to obtain birth control pills. If you are travelling from overseas, try to recall the foreign brand name so a doctor may research the most similar drug composition to prescribe.

Popular pharmacies in NYC are Duane Reade and CVS. There are walk-in clinics at several Duane Reade pharmacies. If you’re a tourist or don’t have medical insurance prepare to pay for services up-front. Locations are at Wall Street, Chelsea, Times Square West and Union Square

Planned ParenthoodProvides birth control, STD screenings and gynecological care. 212-965-7000, 26 Bleecker St, NoHo 

Contributed by Shindy Chen