Bright Lights in the Big City: 72 hours in New York

Unless you have been living under a rock your entire life, you will know that New York City is the place where dreams come true; where stars are made, and where you will inevitably fall in love and drink too many cosmos.

A longtime Unicorn Team favourite, the city that never sleeps continues to mesmerise us each and every time we land.

As the wheels touch down on another weekend adventure, we wanted to share with you our ultimate 72 hour guide to exploring the big apple.


Day 1

Afternoon: Take the latest flight out of the UK that you can. Although it feels counter-productive to reduce your time on the ground, landing late in the evening is the only way to beat jet-lag and ensure you make the most of your trip.

Land at JFK (do not battle from La Guardia) late afternoon and take an infamous yellow taxi into Manhattan. Make sure to ask your driver to take the bridge and not the tunnel so you don’t miss the view coming into the city.

Dinner: Cafe Mogador in the East Village is undoubtedly the best Lebanese/Moroccan food served in the city. It also has an extensive wine list and wonderful staff.

Start with mezze style tapas and every type of hummus under the sun. For the mains go for the Bastilla. If you don't know what the Bastilla is, don't worry. Just order it, you will not be sorry.

Night Owl catches the worm: Stay up late to see NYC in an entirely new light.


Party: You are now on St Mark’s Place and you can’t get better than this for bars and nightlife. Sing Sing is the smallest, dingiest, most wonderful karaoke bar in the area, and Pyramid Club is just around the corner for dancing to 80s tunes until 4am.

At the end of the night get a cab right into the middle of Times Square, it’s the only time of day that it’s worth seeing. With no tourists, the lights make you feel that you should flashdance right there in the street.

Hotel: The Evelyn Hotel is boutique, and quirky and smack in the heart of midtown. Book 1 night here, You only need 1 night in the bustling centre of Manhattan, trust us.



Day 2

Morning: Start in Brooklyn. Get there for sunrise (or stay up from the night before, also something we have done. Sit on the edge of the water and watch Manhattan come to life. There is no sunrise like it.)

Brunch: The One Hotel is a new property on the edge of Brooklyn Bridge Park with a rooftop overlooking Manhattan. If Sex and the City was filmed now, Samantha would be causing trouble there over a boozy breakfast. The views are unrivalled and the food is excellent.

Afternoon: Hop back over the Brooklyn Bridge and get dropped at South Street Seaport. It has spent what feels like the last decade being refurbished but it is entirely worth it for the boutique shops, strings of festoon lights and quirky coffee shops. From here you can walk right across lower manhattan until you hit the Hudson River on the west side and admire the view out to Jersey.

Before heading back to the hotel, stop off at Grand Central Station for champagne in the concourse bar. There are never too many times in your life to do this. It’s classic romance and the perfect way to continue your love affair with the city.

Dinner: Dress down and hit the burger shack at The Le Parker Meridien. We have never taken anyone there that hasn’t been fascinated. Head into the lobby of the 5 star hotel and look for the red curtain. We won’t give too much away but allow extra time for queuing, extra attitude for table fighting and extra room for the best burger in midtown.

Party: Sneakers on, you don’t need to dress up to head out in Manhattan. Walk across the park to 86th (at the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and then head into the Upper East Side for a string of bars and a hive of activity.

Hotel: The Empire Hotel is on the lower west corner of Central Park and is perfectly located for exploring the lower portion of the park as well as the bustling atmosphere of the upper west side.

Day 3

Wake Up Coffee: Head to Bryant Park. We know anything around 5th can be a little touristy but this park is a small haven of tranquility nestled behind the New York Public Library. It’s a great way to watch the city workers start their day.  

Breakfast: The Egg Shop in Soho. Hop on the subway and head down into super cool Soho and Greenwich for Day 3 exploring. We love the egg bowls served here at this, 12 seat only, walk-in brunch spot on the edge of Soho and the East Village.

Morning: Walk through Soho and meander at leisure off the streets filled with boutique stores and pop-up shops. Stop in at Artists and Fleas on Broadway and Prince Street for quirky design and one off pieces. Continue walking through the centre of Washington Square Park and wander up and down the blocks around Bleecker Street in trendy Greenwich.

Late Lunch: John’s Pizza on Bleecker Street is our favourite pizza in the city. It is quirky, loud and lodged in the 1930s. Ask to be seated in the back-room to watch the pizzas being hand rolled and sit right up in the top window overlooking the busy street.

Depart: Fly home on the red eye. You can leave Manhattan at 8pm and be in work at 8am the following day. There really is no reason not to do this trip weekend after weekend after weekend.

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Hannah Luffman