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How to Live Like a Local in New York

Ticked off Central Park when you first visited New York? Is the Metropolitan Museum of Art as familiar to you as the Tate Modern here in London? Have you already been dazzled by the soul-stirring vistas courtesy of the Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building? If you’ve ticked off a good few of New York’s most famous sights – or even if you haven’t – why not try and live like a local during your trip and visit a few under-the-radar spots, familiar to only those that are in the know?

Here are my top suggestions of how to live like a local in New York:

Stay away from the tourist trap

If I was visiting London, I wouldn’t stay near Leicester Square, so don’t make the same mistake in New York and stay in the midst of theatreland and Times Square. Instead, book a hotel in a happening neighbourhood such as the East Village, Williamsburg or LIC. Chances are the hotels and apartments will be a lot cheaper and you’ll be rewarded with an abundance of tasty local restaurants away from tourist traps.

Sightsee in Long Island City

Long Island City (LIC) is the new Williamsburg, didn’t you know? With its cheaper rents and warehouse spaces, it’s fast becoming the place for the city’s artists who are being priced out of Brooklyn. What’s Brooklyn’s loss is LIC’s gain. LIC is a cool neighbourhood, home to weekend market LIC Flea & Food, which is worth browsing and chomping your way through. But it’s more than a hotbed of foodie destinations; it’s actually home to art galleries MoMa PS1, Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art’s younger sibling. While you’re there, why not pop into to Noguchi Museum get your sculpture fix?

Take a dip into a Greek and Roman bathhouse

Admittedly heading to a Greek and Roman-inspired bathhouse might not have been on your list of things to do in New York, but we all need a little pampering now and again and Aire Ancient Baths serves up the most decadent experience.

Once you step into the baths in the stylish neighbourhood of Tribeca, you’ll be greeted with a subterranean cavern filled with flickering candles, exposed brick walls, wood-beam ceiling and an open bathing area, featuring hot and cold pools, a glass-domed steam room, propeller jet bath, salt water floating pool and relaxation area, where clients can rest up on the heated marble ledge and sip herbal tea. It arrests all of your senses and makes you feel like a million dollars.

Aire Ancient Baths New York
88, Franklin Street
TriBeCa, New York, NY 10013
Tel. 212 274 3777

Watch a film in a foodie cinema

Nitehawk is a foodie cinema in Williamsburg that serves up a great selection of indie films combined with delicious food. And you’re definitely not eating it from your lap either – every seat comes with a triangular table and a menu plonked on top. When I ventured there I tucked into cheese and cilantro, a veggie burger and may have polished off an ice-cream brownie, caramel, praline and whipped cream sundae. It was bliss. Oh, and you can order a cocktail or beer. You’ll only wish there were Nitehawks all across the UK.

136 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249, United States
+1 718-384-3980


Written by Suzanne Bearne

Suzanne Bearne is a freelance journalist specialising in retail, fashion, small businesses and travel. She’s also a travel blogger and can be found blogging at and tweeting at @sbearne.

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