For a lot of tourists, New York City is a modern and exciting place. From Central Perk – that still attracts tons of friends hoping to revive their memories of Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Ross, and Chandler – to some of the most amazing shopping spots in town, things seem to be looking digital, modern and fast-paced. In fact, there isn’t one tourist who expects the Big Apple to have a vintage feel to it. But, as surprising as it might sound, you can transform your New York stay into a time travel capsule that would take you directly into the glorious 1930s. If you want to see NYC at its most glamorous time, come and discover its past hidden in plain sight.
In NYC, you can choose when you want to be
If you’ve heard the adage, in Rome, do like the Romans, it’s likely that you’ve been giving New York the local tour. But forget for a moment about following today’s local, and take a trip down the memory lane. Yesterday’s locals would have booked a room at the Park Manor Hotel and enjoyed their breakfast, reading the newspapers and watching the town come slowly to life through the window. They would have also loved the sense of service, that reminds you of your favorite location in the Great Gatsby: Excessive yet elegant luxury with a delicate touch of idealism. Modern hotels have replaced this feeling by a sense of clinical minimalism.
The NYC of the 1930s
Minimalism wasn’t a known concept in the 1930s. Art Deco was the big hype and, you can still spot some exquisite examples of it in town. The Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building are some of the most famous skyscrapers in the world and have made NYC the official Art Deco capital. They are the last symbol of the last glamour of the city, and yet are tight to the modern metropolis story of NYC.
The iconic dishes
New York has developed its gastronomy during the first half of the 20th Century, creating a variety of iconic dishes that attracts visitors from the U.S. and all over the world. The city’s oldest restaurant, Delmonico, has been around since 1860 and has enjoyed the rush of tourism through the 1920s and 1930s to establish its staple dishes, including the eggs Benedict. Chinatown’s Pekin duck has been a favorite for generation and remains an attraction for gourmets. The elegant simplicity of these dishes is symbolic of the glamorous period of the past. No need for superficial additives and colorants. Just a real taste.
Take a look down the flea market
Finally, if you want to complete your visit to the past with a real vintage outfit, you need to check some of the best vintage shops in town. Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn have fantastic destinations where you can spot an original pair of shoes, or even a period vintage dress if you can find your way through the jungle of clothes.
The New York of locals has many faces. Why not discover what it looked like in the 1930s?
I went to the Big Apple once, about 10 years ago and it still remains one of my fav trips. I would have loved to have seen the streets of NYC at this time. And for one thing, I’m sure rent would have been cheaper down 5th Avenue