New York. There’s something about those two little words that make me feel an instant sense of thrill deep inside. It’s like whenever I think of these two words, nothing else matters for a few moments. My mind drifts and becomes struck on the city that never sleeps.
For me as a traveller, New York was never a priority. Some are surprised when I say this, other’s not. I’ve learnt that New York is a place that most either like or lump. There’s no in between. I’d heard stories from both sides. I was granted the chance to travel to NY and figured I would take my chance and go see what all the fuss was about.
I spent two weeks staying in the centre of Manhattan. Initially, I was worried that two weeks would feel like forever in a city of such scale as New York. I’ve done London and Paris multiple times. And even though I absolutely love London, and most cities in Europe for that matter, I don’t tend to think of myself as a ‘city lover.’ As I think about this more carefully, I think the older I become, the more tolerant and intrigued I am with cities around the world.
New York just seems to pop into my mind, every now and then. And for some reason, I desire to go back. I ponder to myself what it would be like to be walking the streets of fifth avenue right now, or riding a bike in Central Park, what is currently happening in time square, or wondering which teams are playing the NY Knicks at Maddison Square Garden this coming weekend, or what it would be like on Broadway tonight. Seriously. There is just SOO much happening! And this is just Manhattan.
I even love the food in NY. From the typical American diners scattered throughout the city, to grabbing coffee at Starbucks at the Rockerfella Centre, to eating burritos from a street stall, NY is honestly a foodie’s heaven. And would you believe I even ate a meat pie and tomato sauce in the centre of NYC. Who would have thought?! It has it all!! But be warned, even supermarket food comes with high price tag in this big city. However there are many affordable eats, including high quality street food.
The trains in NYC are a great way to site hope and the subway even has a typical ‘NYC feel’ that I just can’t explain. The trains here are easy to use and Americans are super helpful to ask for advice, even in NYC!
In fact, the only bad things that I can think of in the city are that Taxi’s can be on the expensive side, traffic builds easily and becoming oblivious to the constant sounds of car horns will never actually happen here. But, the thing that annoyed me most about NYC was America’s unnecessary use of $1 bills. I’ve travelled to South-East Asia, where there money makes you feel like a millionaire. Yet in America I found my wallet looking like a millionaire’s; bulging, struggling to close and slightly on the heavier side. Yet on closer inspection my trusty leatherwear contained a big fat $15. No wonder my wallet was struggling to close with over a dozen paper notes.
I absolutely loved my time in NYC. It’s a few weeks of my life I will eternally treasure. Here’s my pick of my favourite things to do in NYC:
- Walk across the Brookyln Bridge from Manhattan at sunset.
- The Empire State Observatory
- View the Statue of Liberty from a River Cruise (I didn’t actually go to the island to see it. I figured the best shots would be from across the water).
- Top of The Rock (Gives you amazing shots of the NYC skyscape with The Empire State in the background. Especially great at sunset and night time.)
- Times Square
- 9/11 Memorial Site and Tribute Centre
- Museum of Modern Art – MoMA
- Rockerfella Centre Tour – view the artwork all throughout these amazing buildings and a place to get great photos of NYC skyline with views of the Empire State.
- Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour – See the home of the amazing Rockettes. I also saw a night time concert here too. Absolutely incredible.
- Maddison Square Garden’s All Access Tour + Watched a NY Knicks Basketball game here. Amazing!!
- Grand Central Terminal
- Horse and Cart Ride and Bike Riding through Central Park (3 hour bike rental with NY Pass or there’s also the bike tour option too).
- The NYC Apple Store is pretty amaze.
- Shopping on 5th Avenue and at Macy’s – the world’s largest store.
- Chelsea Markets – for amazing niche shops, foods, etc.
- Ferry Ride to Staten Island where you can get amazing shots back over to the city of Manhattan. There’s also a September 11 Memorial here too.
- 2 hour Circle Line Cruise – Free with NY Pass. Takes you past the Statue of Liberty and does a full lap around Manhattan Island. The view of the city from the water is spectacular.
- See a show on Broadway. I saw Matilda. Was absolutely fabulous! (Sadly no photos allowed).
Other Things You May Like:
- Movie Tours
- Helicopter Flights
- Brooklyn Brewery
- Ice Skating Central Park depending on the time of year.
- Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
- American Museum of Natural History
- Visit SoHo and Little Italy
- New York has 5 burrows: Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island.
- I would suggest having accommodation booked in advance as accommodation in NYC can be very expensive and especially hard to come by last minute.
- The New York Pass: If you are in NY for more than just a day or two it is really worthwhile getting yourself a New York Pass, depending of course how many sites you intend to visit. The longer you are in the city and the more you do with your pass, the more value will gain out of it. The pass gives access to over 80 attractions, grants fast tracked priority entry at the sites and many discounts throughout the city as well.
- The Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing bus is a great way to see all the main sites and find out loads of info, especially if you have the New York Pass.
My Best Tips:
- Buy a New York Pass.. you won’t regret it. And also a Hop On Hop Off Site Seeing Bus pass for around 2 days.
- Go up the Rockerfella just before sunset so you get afternoon, sunset and nighttime pics. You actually have to line up to be given a time to go to ‘The Top Of The Rock.’ So be sure to join the line inside the Rockerfella centre at least a few hours if not more before you want to be at the top, to be given your viewing time. You can always come back later on in the day once you have your admission time.
- Water taxi’s are a thing here also. After crossing the Brooklyn bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn at sunset, we took a water taxi back to midtown Manhattan. It was a weekend and fire works were exploding above us as we were out on the water. You too could check if fire works will be scheduled whilst you will be in NYC.
- And walk!! Just walk everywhere and immerse yourself deep in the heart of the big apple! Best way to see NYC!
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