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How to experience New York City like a local as a creative

August 14, 2018.Jenny.4 Likes.0 Comments

What is the electricity in New York that makes you feel like anything in this world is possible? Perhaps it’s the collective energy of 8.5 million ambitious souls who have come from every corner of the globe to succeed in their respective industries. Or the heaving diversity of languages, cultures, religions and races that have birthed a culture unique to this city. It’s our world’s cultural mecca, a hurricane of humanity.


If you’re a creative type, you owe it to yourself to have a love affair with this city at some point in your life (and call it research). Book yourself an apartment in one of Brooklyn’s boroughs (Booking.com have many options for all budgets, as well as a sweet $40 discount you can knock off on your next booking ;)). Go for Bushwick or Greenpoint if you want to be immersed by artists, but you can’t go wrong with any of them. I stayed in Flat Bush – it was cheaper and just as convenient by metro.


“New York has a thousand universes in it that don’t always connect, but we do all walk the same streets, hear the same sirens, ride the same subways, see the same headlines in the Post, read the same writing on the walls. That shared landscape gets inside of all of us and, in some small way, unites us, makes us think we know each other even when we don’t.” – Jay Z, ‘Decoded’


The creative’s checklist to experiencing NYC as a local:

  • Pick a Brooklyn borough and get an apartment. It’s cheaper and the commute into Manhattan is a fundamental part of the experience. On Booking.com you can easily filter by ‘Apartments’, ‘Guest Houses’ or easily filter by budget per night.
  • Get a 7-day unlimited metro pass. You’re not a local until you’ve taken the metro the wrong direction at least once.
  • Cover the city a section at a time. It’s a walkable city, but if you get sick of walking, grab a Citi bike. Especially if you’re going in summer.
  • Sprinkle in work days in a Williamsburg or Bushwick cafe between sightseeing days. A/D/O is an open creative space which showcases these gorgeous rotating gold pillars in its courtyard, as a metaphor for the energy of the city. As well as giving you much-needed downtime, having work days will allow you to truly tap into the creative energy here and meet other creatives while coworking.
  • Fill your days with inspiration and have a journal ready to catch your new ideas. Feast on the plethora of museums, galleries and theatre shows available at your fingertips. Here’s a list of which days of the week NYC museums are free.
  • Use Bumble and other apps to meet new people! Everyone has a cool job or is doing something awesome. Meeting new people is half the experience of this city – you’ll meet people here you’ll never be able to elsewhere. Make the most of it!


NYC is a walkable city, but I really missed a proper gym session by the end of my stay. Also, it’s impossible to do NYC and not eat way too much. On my journey back home, I checked into the Sheraton next to the LAX airport for the end of my stay. I wanted to take advantage of Booking.com’s $40 discount specifically so I could use its gym and get a good night’s sleep before flying back to my little island home of New Zealand at the bottom of the earth. (Legitimately, I wasn’t even working with Booking.com at this point).

If you’re anything like me, I very rarely book myself into luxury hotels unless I feel like it’s required, and after six weeks of travel, I wanted to do some self-care. The Booking.com discount turned the Sheraton into roughly 180USD which I was grateful for; NYC fills you with energy but depletes your bank account.

Going from New York City to New Zealand was a cultural shock I don’t think I’ve gotten over yet. I had grown so used to the level of thinking and high energy that home felt sleepy and backwards in comparison. The thing about travelling is that it displaces you – your concept of home evolves. My soul’s still very much in New York, and if I had to do it all over again, I’d do it in this exact same way. I hope this helps if you’re going to the city.


Thank you so much to the team at Booking.com for working with me to bring you this guide. I’ve used them consistently for years to book accommodation so it’s really lovely to feature them now. If you’re ready for your next adventure hit this link here for $40 off!

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