New York – The Not-So-Big Apple

New York – The Not-So-Big Apple


When you plan a vacation to New York, you think of Central Park, The Empire State Building, The Statue of Liberty, Broadway and Pizza.  You don’t think about the fact that everyone else is also thinking that way.  In today’s society, it is hard to have a unique vacation. Millennial travel – countless online booking sites, travel blogger recommendations and travelling on the cheap – is making tourist attractions more touristy and hidden spots less hidden.

Take our trip to NYC for example.  Four days in one city – one romantic city with plenty of attractions.  How is it then, that on our last night away, we bumped into another English couple who had just completed nearly the exact same itinerary as us?

  • Journey up to The Top of the Rock.
  • Walk The Highline.
  • Try a famous slice of New York PizzaIs it really better though?
  • See Times Square at night.
  • Admire famous paintings at the Museum of Modern Art.
  • Cheap out on the ferry to Staten Island just to see a glimpse of The Statue of Liberty.
  • Cross the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • Dine at hipster Five Leaves in Brooklyn.
  • Enjoy Chicken Soup at Katz’ Delicatessen.
  • Happy hour hop in East Village.

Now some of these items are obvious.  I mean, who goes to New York and doesn’t walk around Central Park?  It is one of the most iconic urban green spaces in the whole world.  Same goes for Times Square.  These are the tourist hotspots.  They have been for years due to Hollywood’s frequent romantic depictions of the city.

What was surprising was the fact that our new buddies also went to the same Brooklyn restaurant as us.  Brooklyn is really a food-lover’s heaven what with its countless array of eateries that serve up everything from bottomless brunch to decadent set menus.  The night before we decided to head to Five Leaves for breakfast, we sat in bed in our quiet Queens Airbnb and researched our options extensively.  I am not joking when I say that I google-mapped the area clicking on every red pointer that was a restaurant.  I also read at least five blog articles all named somewhere along the lines of “Where to eat in Brooklyn”, “The Best Breakfast in Brooklyn” or “Top Brooklyn Brunch Spots”.

We flitted between a few different restaurants that came up.  Five Leaves was not even my first choice.  We were actually going to try the Japanese-Jewish restaurant Shalom Japan due to it’s interesting concept of combining these two diverse cultures together.  It didn’t open till 11am – wasn’t going to work with our itinerary.  Then we thought about checking out Milk & Roses to get their brunch deal which features one hour unlimited mimosa, coffee or tea and a choice of one breakfast food item.  That didn’t open till 10am – still too late for our planned day of adventures in Brooklyn.

Leo actually picked Five Leaves out for me.  It wasn’t even on the list I had just compiled.  When we arrived the next morning, around 9am, we noticed that there was a crowd around the entrance.  We looked at each other in disbelief – this was ridiculous.  We should have known better though – it was a Sunday.  But we just had no idea how much of a reputation this place had.  This line up was for dining inside so we opted for outside patio seating and we were served straight away. It was minus two degrees outside but we were wrapped up warm, so didn’t see the problem.

The food in Five Leaves was divine.  If you follow my instagram, you will see that I already fan-girled the details of my breakfast there.   I opted for the Chia Pudding with matcha, almonds, pear and candied ginger.  I can’t describe to you how yummy and healthy this bowl of green goodness was!  It is one of my favourite breakfasts to date.  Leo had their version of an “English Breakfast” and devoured it very quickly.  Five Leaves pride themselves on using local and sustainable ingredients so it is 100% worth eating there.  You can really taste the difference too – no pre-packed hash browns here, that’s for sure!

We thought we’d hit a winner with Five Leaves.  I remember thinking that most of the other visitors must have been locals not tourists, that this was a less discovered location.  But when we heard that the only other tourists that we interacted with over the weekend had also been there, I was disappointed.  So it begs the question – how do we find authentic experiences in an industry that is saturated with information?  And am I adding to the problem by writing this?

New York Grand Central

Please note: All photos taken by Leo Cox.  All images copyright © Leo Cox 2017.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

About The Author


Hannah is a keen traveller and lover of the outdoors. She completed a degree in English Lit & Creative Writing in 2013 and has been constantly moving countries ever since!

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