Five Day Trips to Escape NYC

When you need to escape the hustle and bustle of New York City, you can always rely on the Northeast’s well-connected and affordable transportation systems to help you escape. You can take advantage of the Metro North, for example, to escape the city within reasonable time and distance. Or take a bus down from Port Authority or a train from Penn Station, and within a few hours you can be down at a Jersey shore boardwalk or touring some of this country’s most historic areas. So where can you escape to?

1. Cold Spring is tiny village located on the always beautiful and scenic banks of the Hudson River. Getting there is as easy as taking the Metro North from Manhattan and the real hard part might be leaving behind Cold Spring’s scenic views of the Hudson, which can be enjoyed from various points on their “Main Street.” Main Street is lined with small shops, cafes, diners, and slopes down into the banks of the Hudson.

2. West Point Military Academy has a beautiful and historic campus, being that it has been the United States Army’s elite training ground since 1802. West Point was originally established as an outpost in 1778 and now has famous alums including former presidents Eisenhower and Grant and one of the first humans to step on the moon, Buzz Aldrin. Visitors can buy a travel package that gives them access to a tour of the campus.

3. Skydive in New Jersey is fun is you are feeling adventurous, and unfortunately skydiving in Manhattan is likely very frowned upon. Luckily, our neighbors across the Hudson have plenty of space for us to jump out of a plane and safely land.

4. Kykuit is the name of the John D. Rockefeller Estate, a 40 room mansion located in Hudson Valley. It was built in the 1900s and is now open for tours and picnics on its immense lawn.

5. Atlantic City if its the weekend and you feel like luck is on your side, heading down to Atlantic City is always an option. Catching a bus from Port Authority or a train from Penn State is super convenient and you can spend a weekend surrounded by beaches, games, and casinos. You will not run out of things to do.


Top 5 Tourist Attractions in New York City

Xavier Capdepon tourists in NYCAs a native New Yorker, I have had numerous experiences with each of these tourist attractions due to family and friends coming up to visit and wanting the full “tourist experience.” Below are my top 5 tourist attractions in New York City.

1)   Central Park – Central Park is a multi-faceted park that is great for walking around all year long.  The park contains numerous beautiful patches of land that people don’t typically get to encounter in New York City. From sunbathing to ice-skating, Central Park has it all. Food, a Zoo, multiple lakes, a Museum, walking paths, biking paths, and a concert area are only some of the activities that this picturesque park has to offer.

2)   The American Museum of Natural History – Simply put, this museum is awe-inspiring. The museum contains multiple exhibits organized by time period. From Dinosaurs to the modern day human, this museum contains life-size replicas of some of the most incredulous and amazing animals of all-time. This is a must visit if you are looking to spend some quality time in New York City.

3)   The High Line – If you are looking to take a nice stroll throughout the city, the High Line has become increasingly popular. The abandoned railway track has been restored with lush greenery and smooth pavement. This paired with a magnificent city view from the west side makes the High Line a high priority for many tourists coming to visit New York City.

4)   Rockefeller Center & The Empire State Building – I had to put these both in the same category because both these buildings offer an extraordinary panoramic view of the city’s landscape from within.  Rockefeller Center is famous for its popular ice-skating rink and enormous Christmas tree during the holiday season.  The Empire State building is the city’s second tallest building (300 feet shorter than One World Trade Center).

5)   Time Square – As a native New Yorker, I typically never want to go to Time Square. If you are a tourist trying to gather as much as the city as possible, then you should definitely walk through Time Square.  Filled with tourists, Time Square is home to numerous shopping, restaurants, bars, and entertainment.

Honorable Mention: Smorgasburg – Located in Williamsburg, a tourist should cross over to Brooklyn on a Saturday, and grab some food at this popular flea market open to the public. Not only is the food great, but the location is spectacular. One can get a beautiful view of Manhattan that they wouldn’t be able to get inside the city.

The 5 Museums In NYC That Will Actually Blow Your Mind

Xavier Capdepon NYC The Tenement MuseumWant to visit a museum and get some cultural enrichment without getting bored in the process? You’re not alone — one of the biggest complaints from younger audiences is that museums don’t sufficiently engage their audiences. Check out this list of 7 interactive and engaging museums to get an exciting dose of culture without all the yawns. You’ll never feel the same way about museums again.

The Tenement Museum: Take a guided tour through this series of restored tenement apartments in the Lower East Side to get a glimpse into the lives of the 7,000 working class immigrants who lived there a century ago. The Tenement Museum is a captivating time capsule that preserves the history of this iconic neighborhood and also exposes visitors to current debates about public health and immigration.

Xavier Capdepon New York City The Frick MuseumThe New Museum: The New Museum is New York’s only museum solely dedicated to contemporary art. Founded in 1977, The New Museum has become internationally respected for its adventurous projects and interactive exhibits. Don’t forget to check out the incredibly spacious elevators and the amazing view from the roof deck!

The Museum of Sex: This museum is as much about the captivating exhibits as it is about the joy of perusing through the gift shop. Throughout the exhibitions, you’ll learn about the sex lives of animals, the history of porn, and perhaps even a little about your own sexuality!

The Frick Museum: The Frick Museum hosts some of the greatest European art in the world. But the amazing story behind the gigantic museum is that it used to be one man’s house! Henry Frick was a famous art collector in his time and always intended his lavish residence — and all of the art, furniture, and decorative objects inside it — to become a public museum.

The Cooper Hewitt Museum: If you find yourself interested in the future of design, then the interactive Cooper Hewitt Museum is the museum for you. Located in the former mansion of Andrew Carnegie, this place will give visitors fascinating insights into how extensively the world revolves around design.

Best Late Night Food Spots in NYC

Anybody who has played a long and tiring DJ set knows that those early morning munchies won’t be satisfied by just a quick snack. You need mouthwatering flavors, real nutrition, and supreme convenience. Here are some of my favorite places to get late night food in New York City after I’m done playing a set.

Xavier Capdepon - the meatball shop NYCThe Meatball Shop: The Meatball Shop is the perfect place for a late night stop with friends who are looking for a bite to eat and a walk around town. Located right under Houston Street, between Allen and Orchard, this Italian place gets top ratings for their spicy pork balls, freshly-milled polenta, and full-sized portions. Just make sure to get there before they close at 2am!

Masala Times: When I’m craving quality Indian food in the early, early morning, Masala Times is always my go-to choice. Whether you’re in the mood for spicy Kebabs, Chicken Tikka, or spicy vegetable dishes, Masala Times has the menu options to fit your mood. They’re Zagat-rated, open until 3am, and are conveniently located on Bleecker Street right near the W 4 station.

Empanada Mama: This 24-hour empanada hub is located right in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen. Their chicken empanadas with guacamole and plantain chips can really satisfy a late night food craving without breaking the bank. Sometimes I finish eating my late night chicken empanadas, go to sleep, and dream about eating them all over again. With so many choices, and even some amazing dessert empanadas, Empanada Mama is a great place to let wild and choose what you’re craving.

Cafeteria: If you’re in the moodXavier Capdepon Empanada Mama NYC for some filling and delicious American classics in the wee hours of the morning, then consider checking out Cafeteria on 7th ave and 17th street. Some of my all time favorites there are the chicken and waffles, mac and cheese, and the sweet potato fries. I also have buddies who swear by their lemon ricotta pancakes and fried oreos but I haven’t personally tried them yet. The cherry on top is their classy interior that transports you out of late night Chelsea and into a trendy food haven.

Pommes Frites: If you are done for the evening and find yourself wandering around St. Marks Square, then stop by Pommes Frites to get specialty and authentic Belgian fries. My go-to favorites are sweet chili sauce, parmesan peppercorn, and mango chutney mayo. This place is big on their flavored mayos so you won’t be disappointed with a choice along those lines. Just make sure that you get your order in before they close at 1am!

Best Music Venues in New York City

One of the best parts of New York City is the vivacious music scene. Here is where I take the time to go through some of New York City’s best music venues.

The Music Hall of Williamsburg is a staple for the indie music scene. Beers are on the cheep side and the venue is not overwhelmingly large. It is perfect for the Williamsburg music scene. The venue is intimate with some big names that roll through from time to time.

Xavier Capdepon Brooklyn Bowl

Brooklyn Bowl

Another popular music venue in Williamsburg is the Brooklyn Bowl. This music venue is one of my favorite venues as there is plenty of space for concertgoers. There are two separate areas with one bar each. The first area is located at the entrance, and it includes a restaurant with plenty of seating. The next area is a large dance floor with a bowling ally to the right of it that looks over the main stage. This is a great place to spend the weekend with a large group of friends.

My last stop in Brooklyn is another Williamsburg favorite, Glasslands Gallery. This area is a much more intimate venue that cuts off the crowd before the space is overpacked. The unique lighting and close proximity to the band or DJ give this spot a h
omie feel that you can’t get at the bigger venues.

Xavier Capdepon Terminal 5

Terminal 5

Next on the list: Bowery Ballroom. This venue has been a premier spot in the Lower East Side for decades. The space fits a little over 500 people, as it used to host some of the most popular rock shows in New York City. More recently the concert hall has hosted hip-hop artists and now EDM artists. There are three separate dance floors and three bars, so there is plenty of room to get some drinks and dance.

The last venue I will speak on is another popular music venue located in midtown, Terminal 5. This music venue is fairly massive, and tends to get crowded easily. The acts that they bring on are top notch though. With three floors, an abundance of seating, and multiple bars; this venue is great for seeing some of the most popular acts in not only NYC, but also the country.

New York City – The Greatest Place on Earth

Xavier Capdepon New York CityNew York City. Not a great place for driving; as overpopulation is manifested in its very streets as driving 3 miles can take a half an hour. Crowded restaurants. Crowded bars. Crowded streets. Crowded parks. Crowded transportation. Crowded apartments. Space is truly a commodity in this city that only the wealthiest of the wealthy can afford it. The streets are occasionally riddled with trash. In place of the occasional squirrel scampering up a tree, a rat bursts from one trash pile to another. Sunday is trash day for a city that encompasses 8.5 million consumers in its mere 30 square mile area. You tend to forget about the odder after “assimilating” to the culture here in New York City. Once you take a step outside the city, you remember what fresh air smells like. You can really understand what makes the people here ornery, agitated, and quick to judge. They have to be. Time here moves at a faster pace as you are expected to do more in the time that you do have: a paradox that only lives within the confines of my favorite city in the world: New York City.

Happiness is a weighted list of pros and cons. The cons above were quick and easy and really just take time to get used to (if you have the right personality). For me, as long as I have good friends, family, a job, great spots to go, and convenient transportation; I am content. I have all of those here in New York City and more. Now, it’s time for the pros. However, I don’t have nearly enough time right now to list all of my favorite attributes of this magical city. I will be posting periodically on my favorite spots, focusing on Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. This city has too many incredible places that it’s going to take quite a few blog posts for me to catch up on my list of pros. I hope you enjoy!