“New York. Where dreams are made of concrete. Perfect for bleisure and workation – more than ever.
Two journeys, two views, one tenor: there‘s nothing you can‘t do here.“ Kai Böcking, Sylvie Konzack
Kai: I‘ll be back in the Big Apple in September for the first time in years. What has changed? Definitely the prices. New York has become quite expensive for us Germans. The strong dollar against the euro and the global price increases are certainly reasons for this. The desire to travel after the pandemic is another.
New York is packed around the 11th of September. I really wanted to go to the south of Manhattan and booked the Sonder Apartments near The Battery. An American start-up for short and long stays, mainly in the USA and some European cities like London. Before leaving I receive all the important information on the app and and I am soon standing in front of a former office building that now offers about 350 serviced apartments in all sizes. There‘s also a golf simulator, fitness centre, co-working space, pool with roof terrace and beautiful Hudson view, and if you want, you can order a Peloton bike to your apartment. Mine is a large, modern room with white wooden flooring, a large kitchenette and an excellent WIFI in case I still need to work during my bleisure trip after my business meeting in the city. But I want nothing more than New York at the moment – and that’s exactly what I get.
It’s September 11th 2023 when I‘m standing at Ground Zero impressed. The museum, the two water basins as a reminder of the Twin Towers, the mighty new underground complex with the Oculus Center as a wing-wielding bird – everything has been reinvented here, and at the same time I still get to witness old institutions: McSorley‘s Old Ale House, a few blocks from 9/11, is not only the oldest Irish pub in New York, it is also the heart of the city‘s firefighters. To get a beer there on the 9/11 anniversary, let alone finding a seat, is virtually impossible. Fire engines are parked outside, while colleagues from all over the world crowd inside to support their comrades in New York on this day.
And to drink beer, that‘s all there is here. Light or dark, two are always served at once. Sawdust on the floor, cash only. It‘s been like this here since 185 I was allowed in that day and will never forget it.
On the other days, I‘m drawn to Manhattan‘s Chinatown, among other places. Because it‘s especially delicious there. I definitely recommend going to this shop, which doesn‘t look inviting at first glance: Dim Sum Go Go. Here you sit on plastic chairs and eat such incredibly good dim sum that you forget you‘re in New York. However, that doesn’t happen to me when I‘m out and about on my bike – and that‘s great. It feels like you can find hire bikes on every corner in New York. One of the most beautiful routes leads from Battery Park to Central Park, past all the new art buildings and renovated neighbourhoods such as the Meatpacking District on the Hudson River. My Town.
Sylvie: New York on the boat and on ice
I was also in the south of Manhattan at the end of October, in a hotel with a skyline view of the 9/11 site. On my first visit to New York over 15 years ago, the 9/11 wound was still gaping wide open. Now everything has been reinvented twice and three times over. And the 9/11 Memorial? It is truly impressive and gripping. What happened here is made unforgettable.
When I arrive in Manhattan, however, I first want to “get away“ from the city: The Staten Island Ferry is within walking distance. A ferry crosses over here every few minutes free of charge. I jump on and soon the most famous borough is at my feet with its skyline around the towering One World Trade Centre. Then I wave over to Miss Liberty, get off the boat on Staten Island – everyone has to do that – and after a brisk walk through the ferry harbour building, take another boat back. Pure bleisure deceleration! I’ll have to do this again at sunset.
Manhattan has added a few skyscrapers in recent years, which is unmistakable from the ferry. I want to climb Summit One Vanderbilt near Central Station and have already booked a fixed date in Germany. When it’s time, the mega tower is covered in clouds and I‘m allowed to come back on another day – a great service. With the new attempt, the sun and the hall of mirrors on the observation deck give it their all. The good old Empire State Building, which used to be the only building everyone climbed – within reach. I‘m at the Summit with friends, and I have a small, expensive cocktail and three hours‘ worth of watching. Afterwards, I spontaneously fulfil a princess dream and go ice skating in front of Rockefeller Center – my town.
Dumbo is also new to me. A few years ago, as tourists, we didn‘t walk to the end of the Brooklyn Bridge. We thought it was far too dangerous. Today, and for a long time now, Asian wedding shoots are being held in the restored Dumbo neighbourhood with the Manhattan skyline in the background and cool shops are lined up next to each other, while coworking opportunities flash up in between. But I don‘t want to work during the day and even go offline from my smartphone.
And then suddenly it‘s Halloween in New York. I‘ve never been to the USA during this time and had imagined it to be more dominant. But it‘s not until the end of the working day that more and more blood-soaked shirt costumes with axes as accessories appear on the underground. The parade we want to go to is unfortunately too full and we leave soon. Nevertheless, no jostling, polite requests, everyone is relaxed. That‘s another thing that makes New York great
Kai Böcking & Sylvie Konzack …
… .are both Team New York and not London, if they had to choose.
In the city of cities, a few weeks of workation would actually be a highlight for them – but unfortunately probably also the costs.
BLEISURE TIPS NEW YORK
Food & Beverages: Dim Sum Go Go (Chinatown), Gallaghers Steakhouse, McSorley’s Old Ale House, Food Market in the Central Station
Tower: Summit One Vanderbilt, Empire State Building, One World Observatory, Edge, Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center)
Parks & Squares: The Battery, High Line Park, Central Park, Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center and always Times Square
Being Mobile: Rent a bike stations, Ferries, Subway
Fotos: © Konzack/privat, Gregorius