New York City is truly a magnificent city. There is so much to see and do, so many places to eat, or even places to just sit and people watch (not creepy at all). Trying to avoid the Starbucks ridden street corners is more difficult than you think and seeking out original spots in the city is easier than you think.
I had the pleasure of finding an original spot in the heart of Greenwich Village on Macdougal Street. Saigon Shack. Authentic Vietnamese food at a fantastic price.
One of the staples of Vietnamese food is Pho - a rice noodle soup with thinly sliced beef or chicken and herbs. It is a very light soup, but filling at the same time. The Pho at Saigon Shack was nothing short of fantastic. The traditional Pho was perfect! So much flavor, large pieces of beef, herbs, onions, noodles were easy to eat and the broth is superb - not boiling hot!
If soup isn't your thing, then go with the Banh Mi. A beautiful sandwich with mayo, cucumber, cilantro, carrots & daikon, Vietnamese ham, house bacon & pate. It is sweet, crunchy, and with perfectly blended flavors. It has excellent taste and texture. It really is a complete sandwich.
Once you're done filling up on the great food, you can take a walk through Washington Square Park only a few blocks away. Whether you fancy a game of chess, watching some artists performing, listening to music or just sitting and watching all the people, the park is a great place to do it.
If going for a walk isn't enough for your fitness level then you can check out any of the health clubs and gyms in the area. New York Sports Club, Blink Fitness, and Planet Fitness are the bigger names in the area with memberships ranging from $10/month to $85/month. Amenities vary at each location, but remember that you get what you pay for.
Now if you are just visiting or don't need to go to the gym, then having something to do for the evening is a great plan. There are plenty of bars in the area, but they can get busy and noisy. If you are looking for something a little different, check out the Comedy Cellar. A small, intimate venue that holds some of the greatest comedians to ever grace the stage. I personally was able to see the late, great Robin Williams perform before his HBO special some years ago.
If that is going to be all for your evening, I would recommend grabbing a bite to eat at the Olive Tree Cafe because it is right above the Comedy Cellar. The food is Mediterranean in influence with authentic flavors and textures.
NYC is a large place and there are always new things to see and do. By the time you have read this I am sure a few new restaurants have popped up or a new gym is toting their new revolutionary workout. Life is meant to be lived so make sure you do just that! Travel, Eat, Lift & just LIVE! A membership is not required to live your life...so go and live it.