Welcome to my place ... Manhattan

‘No need to pop anything in the suitcase – you’ll only need room in the memory bank’

Suzie Blaney, Patrick Coyle and Blaney Coyle in Manhattan

Suzie Blaney, Patrick Coyle and Blaney Coyle in Manhattan

 

Suzie Blaney lives in Long Island City in New York with her husband, Patrick Coyle. She has a one-year-old son, Blaney, and two cats called Rock and Roll. The couple moved to New York from Sydney, Australia with her financial services job seven years ago. They lived in Manhattan first, but have since moved to Queens.

Where is the first place you bring people to when they visit NYC?

I love to bring people down to the East Village and Lower East Side, where every street corner tells a story of a time past. While the down’n’dirty dive bars are fast disappearing in favour of nail salons and dumpling restaurants, you can still find a spot full of those hypnotic NYC folks born and bred in old-time Manhattan who are happy to share story. Don’t forget the amazing $1 slice of NY pizza to wash down those $3 happy hour beers with.

A trip to Broadway to see a show with any of the many world-famous actors headlining deserves a mention, and I’d also recommend a trip to Williamsburg to visit the world famous Smorgasbord, where you’ll always find something unique and odd such as the Ramen burger. It boasts amazing views back on to Manhattan and on a nice day you can dip your toes in the East River (at your own peril). Get to Williamsburg by walking across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. NYC is all about the vistas, and this bridge offers some of the best.

The top three things to do there that don’t cost money are ...

Hop on a ferry from midtown Manhattan across to Long Island City, where you can sit out on the grass and take in the views of Manhattan, while sharing a picnic in the free space on the waterfront. It’s a great way to enjoy NYC at no cost. With the UN headquarters laid out before you and the towering Empire State and Chrysler buildings, hang around for sundown and watch the city come to life.

Take a break in Central Park and marvel at the peace and calm you can find in the middle of a dense island that serves more than four million people daily. Visit the Dakota building and see where John Lennon was shot, and drop a flower at his memorial in Strawberry Fields near Central Park West between 71st and 74th Streets.

Where do you recommend for a great meal that gives a flavour of New York?

Striphouse Steakhouse just off Union Square is the quintessential steakhouse, with its red walls adorned with Hollywood stars and its crisp white table tops. Their filet mignon is to die for, and you will never forget the potato au gratin. Afternoon tea at the Plaza just reeks of old-school NYC, so it’s always worth a visit, but it’ll cost you.

Where is the best place to get a sense of New York’s history?

The Statue of Liberty is recognised the world over, so hopping the free ferry to Staten Island gives you an up-close-and-personal view of that iconic statue and reminds us all that the US is a land built by immigrants. It’s even more important today to remember that that is still the case, and that the city heaves with every nationality under the sun, making it truly the capital city of the world. The icing on the cake is coming back on the ferry, where you can’t help but be wowed by the towering Wall Street skyline, representative of the power and money and pace that this city thrives on.

What should visitors save room in their suitcase for after a visit?

New York is all about the now. You have to come here and live it to feel the heartbeat of the city. No need to pop anything in the suitcase – you’ll only need room in the memory bank for all the memories that will be firmly carved out for years and years to come.

If you’d like to share your little black book of places to visit where you live overseas, please email your answers to the five questions above to abroad@irishtimes.com, including a brief description of what you do there and a photograph of yourself. We would love to hear from you

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