Are you looking for somewhere to visit over fall break? We would highly recommend the SoHo area in New York City. Here are a few spots that we’ve checked out over the past summer.
Why New York City?
New York City — even during morning hours on the weekend — carries electrifying energy. During our trip, we felt this energy in intangible ways — buses gliding down the crowded streets, chatter filling the air, and the rhythm of shoes tapping against the pavement. The domino of people piling into the subway, one after another, was oddly comforting after a summer of limited public transportation usage. Between sunrise and sunset after months of restrictions, NYC exuded a sort of chaotic, yet composed vigor as it was slowly recovering from one of the highest death tolls of the COVID-19 pandemic. By visiting the city, you can rediscover the kind of liberation that comes with moving through the tunes of the city — of the subway bells, bustling cars, and laughter — and losing yourself in a crowd of strangers.
We decided to grab breakfast at Flipper’s in SoHo, known for its Japanese soufflé pancakes. Though we arrived around opening time, we were told to wait about half an hour in a line that was already 15 people long. However, the wait was certainly worth it — the soufflé pancakes were delicious and aromatic! Their airy pancakes have been dubbed “miracle pancakes” for their fluffy texture and soft edges that are created by constant flipping. Their pancakes also came in a variety of flavors, including matcha and strawberry. Sometimes individual pancakes collapse into a low tower, especially if you don’t eat them with two forks, as per the directions on their menu.
Shopping In Soho
For any avid readers or those in English classes, we recommend McNally Jackson Books, an independent bookstore in New York City, which organizes books by nations and also has niche sections for staff favorites, general bestsellers, and memorable novels through the decades. The store operates as a triple threat of bookstore, café, and publisher, making it a vibrant spot on Prince Street in Nolita. Patrons were a mix of neighborhood locals trying to find a good read for their Sunday afternoons and tourists from all over the world. It felt simultaneously local and global, rustic and cosmopolitan.
McNally Jackson is known primarily for its diverse selection of hardcovers and paperback books — housing over 14,000 books in the literature section alone. The wide variety of genres includes Romanian poetry and Nigerian fiction.
Given the large heap of books that we both already had sitting on our shelves at home, we chose to purchase only a few books while we were there: “The Five Wounds” by Kirstin Valdez Quade, “Crying in H Mart” by Michelle Zauner, “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë, and “The Age of Innocence” by Edith Wharton.
Museum of Ice Cream
After shopping in SoHo, we went to the Museum of Ice Cream, located on 558 Broadway, New York, which we think you should hit up. Because we had already purchased our tickets beforehand, we were able to enter the museum without having to wait in line for too long, unlike when we were at Flipper’s.
Inside, there were several exhibits, ranging from a three story ice cream slide, New York City’s only sprinkle pool, and an ice cream subway. The museum was ripe with spaces for Instagram photo ops. We also got plenty of free ice cream!
Keep Track of Time!
It’s tempting to wander around SoHo, and we did — until we realized that we only had about 15 minutes until our train was about to leave! We ran to Penn Station as fast as we could, but, alas, Aditi’s train had already left (we were going on different trains home). Luckily, however, there was another train available that would arrive in around an hour. Before it was scheduled to arrive, we decided to walk around the city again, but this time we actually made sure we got to the station 10 minutes early. We ended up getting home at around 8:30 p.m. Don’t make the same mistake we did, and keep track of when your train comes!
Overall, we enjoyed our time in SoHo and will definitely reminisce over the happy, carefree summer day we spent in New York City, with only fluffy pancakes, ice cream, books, and friends to think about (and maybe a missed train). As we roll into fall, the city landscape is undoubtedly changing — decorated with autumnal shades and leaves. If you are in the nearby area or looking for a few eventful spots to visit during the fall break, be sure to visit some of our recommendations!
Rebecca Cao is a Staff Writer for The Prospect who often covers book, music, and film reviews, and self-reflection pieces. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Instagram @rebeccaaacao.
Aditi Desai is a Senior Writer for The Prospect and Newsletter sections and often covers healthcare issues. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @aditidesai0806 on Instagram.