What to see in NYC: Harlem, Brooklyn & Manhattan

Tiffany sitting on stoop in Brooklyn

I love visiting the East Coast because you can visit several states in one day. I traveled 4.5 hours from Washington DC to New York City (NYC) via the bus. The Megabus, it is a low-cost carrier that usually has wifi to keep you occupied during your ride. Depending on the time and day you can get a bus ticket for as low as $10 or high as $50.

The best way to get around NYC is to utilize the subway. I must admit it can be confusing to navigate the train due to the numerous letters and numbers. If you need assistance with getting to a location ask the attendants or a local Newyorker to help. Download the Metro Subway app to help you navigate. Buy a metro card and load it up with at least $10-$20 to start your day.

I have been to NYC on many occasions and often see the touristy sites. I have gone on Broadway to catch shows such as The Lion King and The Color Purple. I love walking around in Times Square to see the people, lights and stores such as the famous M & M World. I decided to start my mini vacation off by seeing other parts of NYC that I have never seen.

Posing in Manhattan NYC

Brooklyn

Biggie Mural

Christopher Wallace aka the Notorious BIG or Biggie Smalls is an iconic east coast rapper from Brooklyn. He is known for his famous songs “Big Poppa”, “Hypnotize” and “One More Chance”. Unfortunately, on March 9, 1997, after attending the Soul Train awards afterparty he was killed in a drive-by shooting by an unknown assailant. If you love Biggie who is deemed as one of the greatest of all times, head to the mural located at 1091 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216.

Biggie Smalls Mural in Bedstuy in Brooklyn

Soco’s

Check out SoCo’s a southern fusion cuisine restaurant located in Brooklyn. I met up with two women from Nomadness Travel Tribe for brunch. I ordered the red velvet waffle, fried chicken and macaroni & cheese. It was delicious. I highly recommend eating at this establishment for brunch, lunch or dinner.

3 Black women at Soco's Restaurant

Harlem

Sylvia’s Restaurant

In Harlem, I dined at Sylvia’s Restaurant. This establishment has been a staple in the community since 1962. After perusing the menu, I settled on fried chicken, black-eyed peas and mac and cheese. It was ok but I definitely have had better.

Sylvia's Restaurant in Harlem : chicken , black eyed peas, corn bread, mac & cheese

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Within walking distance visit the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a place that is dedicated to the research of Africans, African Americans, and the African Diaspora. They have different floors with various themes.

The Apollo Theater 

Posing in front of the Apollo Theatre

The highlight of my trip was going to the famous Apollo Theater for Amature night. I have always wanted to go but never attended because the show is only on Wednesday evenings. If you are a Harlem resident ask about the local discount if not the tickets range from $20-$30 per ticket depending on your seat. I wanted a behind the stage tour of the theater but was disappointed to find that the guide was on vacation.

The energy inside the Apollo was exciting and electrifying. Prior to the show beginning, the DJ spun classic songs and allowed the audience to dance in the middle of the aisles.

DJ at the Apollo Theater: Michael Jackson

The show began with the children contestants ages 5-17 years old. The children either performed solo singing acts or as group dancers. After the children performed, adult contestants sang and competed to move on to the final round worth $20,000 in prize money.

If you aren’t familiar with the amateur night, the contestants move on to the final round based off of the audience’s reactions to there talent.  The performers were really good with the exception of one woman. The young lady came out confidently on stage but the audience was not impressed and she was booed off the stage. I felt bad for her but that’s the risk you take by performing at the famous Apollo theater.

Manhattan

NYC Black and White Mural with friends

9/11 Memorial and Museum

I don’t think that anyone will ever forget the day of the 9/11 attacks. Although it was years ago I remember being in my History High School class and watching the breaking news on the television.

The 9/11 Memorial is located outside the museum and can be accessed from 7:30 a.m- 9 p.m. daily.  It is the largest man-made pool and was built in honor of the victims that were tragically killed. The pool has the names of all the people who died from terrorist attacks of February 26, 1993, and September 9, 2011.

9/11 Memorial poolsStanding in front of 9/11 Memorial Pool

Tickets for the museum can be purchased online or in person. Please check out the 9/11 Memorial and Museum website for further information. The museum has several different floors and exhibits. The Historical exhibition has 3 separate sections: Events of the Day, Before 9/11, and After 9/11.

The Memorial Exhibition is a room with pictures of all the victims. On a small screen, you can find the victims by name to learn more about there life. I happened to come across one of the youngest victims, 11-year-old Rodney Dickens who was traveling with his teachers. He happened to be flying on the plane because he was chosen to study ecology alongside National Geographic Society researchers in Los Angeles, California.

While walking through the Events of the Day exhibit, I learned about flight attendant CeeCee Lyles. Ms. Lyles managed to call and send a final voicemail to her husband letting him know that the plane was being hijacked. When she first began to talk she attempted to sound strong, but by the end of the message, it was clear she was in distress and told him that she loved him in case she didn’t make it back home alive.  After hearing her voice, several thoughts ran through my mind as a frequent traveler.

In the After 9/11 exhibit they talked more about the terrorist who committed the crimes and showcased items found after the attacks.

Walking around the Museum can be very emotional. I cried several times while walking around and viewing the exhibits. Despite the sad occasion for the memorial and museum, I highly recommend putting this on your itinerary when visiting NYC.

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After reading about some of the Boroughs (Manhattan and Brooklyn) in NYC, which one would you be most interested in visiting?

If you are looking for a place to stay in NYC, don’t forget to check out Booking.com

30 Comments

  1. I’ve always wanted to go to the Apollo just to see them boo others off the stage lol. I think NYC is so cool with so many things to do and so much food to eat.

  2. This post made me wanna go to Brooklyn! I’ve been to NYC so many times but just haven’t done it yet. So cool that you had a little Tribe meetup as well

    • When I go back I want to explore the Brooklyn Bridge and the DUMBO area. I love meeting up with tribe, they are everywhere

    • I just LOVE this guide to NYC! I’ve been a few times but I have never seen this side of New York. That’s what so great about the Big Apple. No matter how many times you visit, there is always something new to discover. And notorious BIG is one of my all time favourite rappers!

      • Thank so much, Im glad you enjoyed the guide! Its so true you can go to NYC for a week and still not see everything there is to offer. Next time you visit, you have to get a photo opp in front of the mural. 🙂

  3. I love New York City, it is always a good time. It was also my first home for 7 years. You checked out some great places, I love the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. You went to some great places to eat too.

    • I could never live in NYC but I enjoy visiting. I can’t wait to go back to explore more like Coney Island and Central Park. I really enjoyed Soco;s restaurant.

  4. You better explore NYC. I hate NYC is getting so gentrified in Brooklyn but I know there are still places there with soul.

  5. I am so guilty of always hitting up the same places when I’m in NYC. I really need to go beyond mid-town and explore the other areas.

  6. Wow I loved reading this! I’ve visited NYC many times but have never been to the places you went! I guess it’s time to take another trip 🙂

    • Hi Stevie, Thank you so much for reading. I appreaciate your positive feedback. I enjoy visiting NYC because there is so much to do. I agree you should go back soon. Sooo when are you planning your next trip.. lol

  7. Love the street art! NYC is full of some great work. I’m sure my brother would like that mural of Biggie 😉

  8. I’ve been to NYC more times than I can count! A benefit of living on the East Coast haha. I’ve never taken the time to explore Harlem or much of Brooklyn though. I’ve heard of Sylvia’s, but good to know that it’s not actually that great. With so many food options, don’t want to waste time going somewhere that isn’t worth it! Lol!

    • I used to live in Washington DC, I miss living there. There is def an advantage to living there, so many cool states to visit in a short amount of time. Yes, I wished I would have chosen Red Rooster next door to sylvias. Harlem and Brooklyn are great places to explore, Check it out sometime

    • I love NYC as well. Hopefully you get to check some things off your must see list. Have fun!

  9. Is that the macaroni and cheese in the pic next to the red velvet waffle? It has to be, no wonder it looks so crazy-delicious! Cheese makes everything good, right? I’ll have to put this place on my bucket list for next time we visit NYC.

    • Yes its yummy cheesy mac and cheese. I love cheese I agree it makes things taste much better. Let me know what you think if you visit

  10. I had been to NYC long time back. I wish I could get those days back, would have loved to visit Brooklyn then. The place seems so cool and now I am determined to visit there back soon.

    • I hadnt been to NYC in about 5 years so I was def exciting to get back to the city. Hopefully you will get back soon and visit Brooklyn.

  11. I’ve never been to NYC but heard and read so much about all these places. The SoCo food looks yum and the Biggie mural is beautiful. I can’t wait to go there soon!

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