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Apple of your eye

PUBLISHED: 16:06 24 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:24 24 August 2010

Hello New York! Andy McCorkell greets the Big Apple

Hello New York! Andy McCorkell greets the Big Apple

NEW YORK by Andy McCorkell Brooklyn is the Bomb, man. At least, that s the way the native New Yorker tells it. And they are right too. At least, as far as the neighbourhood of Williamsburg is concerned. One subway stop from heady business

NEW YORK

by Andy McCorkell

Brooklyn is the Bomb, man. At least, that's the way the native New Yorker tells it. And they are right too.

At least, as far as the neighbourhood of Williamsburg is concerned.

One subway stop from heady business of Manhattan Island puts you right in among the Big Apple's artists, musicians and creatives as well as some of the best bars, open mics, and clubs that the city has to offer.

Williamsburg is the 'hood that drew in all the musos and artistes once they were ousted from the famed Greenwich Village, when rents rose by virtue of the kudos they brought to the area.

Once you recover from a night on the tiles you will probably find yourself pouring maple syrup over a breakfast of pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs and a ringlet of sausages in one of New York's many diners.

And after saving hundreds of pounds buying a laptop with your fistful of dollars, and cramming as many bottles of perfume and pairs of jeans as you can into your suitcase, you may find yourself crying out for a Sunday roast and a half of ale.

Try the 150-year-old McSorley's Old Ale House with its sawdust strewn floor and a menu that includes lamb and roast taters with dark or light ale.

McSorley's watering hole is mentioned in works of art and literature and was graced by such luminaries as John Lennon and President Abe Lincoln.

Next up, call your friendly neighbourhood Big Apple Greeter for the inside track on what the city has to offer beyond the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.

The greeters are New Yorkers who volunteer to offer visitors free informal, unscripted walks through neighbourhoods in any of the five boroughs, revealing breathtaking, tailor-made surprises you will not find in a library of guidebooks.

They offer a lifetime of experience and enthusiastic insight to help visitors to find their feet in a town that is as wild as it is exciting, offering invaluable instructions to get around safely and to explore independently.

This might include a visit to Harlem's Lenox Lounge and Zebra Room where Billy Holiday once had a regular seat reservation, or perhaps the celebrated Apollo Theatre, which launched the careers of so many of the soul stars of the 1960s.

And when you are done, make sure you make time for the Blue Note Jazz club in Greenwich village.

If you arrive without a table reservation at around 10pm and ask politely, you might just get a ticket to see Dizzy Gillespie's pianist from a $20 seat at the bar.

andrew.mccorkell@archant.co.uk

How to get there

Virgin Atlantic flies from London Heathrow to New York six times daily. Book fares from £320, inclusive of taxes, either online at www.virginatlantic.com or call reservations on 08705 747 747.

Top sights

Big Apple Greeter

Arrange your trip three to four weeks

before arrival.

(212) 669 8159

visitrequest@bigapplegreeter.org

www.bigapplegreeter.org

McSorley's Old Ale House

15 East Seventh Street

New York, NY 10003

(212) 473 9148

Blue Note Jazz Club

131 West Third Street

New York, NY 10012

(212) 475 8592

Lenox Lounge and Zebra Room

288 Lenox Avenue

Malcolm X Boulevard

124th and 125 Street

New York

(212) 427 0253

Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc

253 West 125 Street, Harlem

New York, NY 10027

(212) 531 5300

Where to stay

Jazz on the Town

Lively, cheap and youthful hostel with friendly, helpful staff. One stop on the subway from Williamsburg

307 East 14 Street

New York, NY 10003

(212) 228 2780

www.jazzhostels.com


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