WELCOME TO THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS!
My first journey to the “Big Apple” was in January, 2012, where my accommodation was split between Brooklyn and Times Square. It was filled with New York City fantasies – Times Square, shopping on 5th Avenue, a visit to the Plaza hotel, ice skating in central park. My second trip was slightly different – spending a week in an air b&b apartment on the lower east side of Manhattan – an area that has turned into a hipster scene with a busy nightlife (Reminding me of Wicker Park in Chicago). This week long adventure gave me a real understanding on how New Yorkers really live – and how cramped their living spaces really are!
HEADING TO NEW YORK?
Spend some time walking across the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge- or include these bridges in your morning running path, and enjoy a coffee or good read at the Brooklyn Bridge Park/Dumbo. I highly suggest visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island – and allow enough time to spend exploring the museum. If you’ve already checked the Statue of Liberty off your list, consider taking the free ferry to Staten Island. You will have amazing views of Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, etc. Once on Staten Island, there are a few museums that are worth checking out (esp. if you have children) (The Alice Austen House offers amazing views of Manhattan as well).
When arriving back to Manhattan, hang out in Battery Park – check out the “farm” and current art exhibits (I loved the sustainability and eco-friendliness the globes represent!)
Check out the Empire State Building, grab a slice of NY style pizza for lunch, head to a Jewish Deli and enjoy some yummy cuisine in Chinatown.
Head to Times Square for some shopping and simply to surround yourself with the energy of the busy, lit up streets. Have tea at the Plaza Hotel (or just stop in to check out the grounds if spending $65 on cucumber sandwiches isn’t your thing), visit Grand Central Station, visit the Rockefeller Plaza, head to the “Top of the Rock” for what many say are the best views of the city and check out the beautiful architect at St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Spend a few hours at the 911 memorial, and make sure to check out the museum – they both hold so many memories of amazing, dedicated Americans.
Looking to escape the city? Consider a Hudson River tour up to the Palisades. We used Classic Harbor Lines for our lovely Fall Foliage brunch cruise and it was wonderful – very relaxing with local wines, lox and other delicious breakfast goods, mimosas and beautiful views of the fall leaves changing colors up the coast.
Check out the Museums! The MET, MOMA, the Cloisters, and more-
There are a few tricks to working these museums on a budget… Buy a ticket to the MET & spend the day there. You will receive free access to the Cloisters in Northern Manhattan for the next 7 days. Head to the Cloisters for half a day, and then you will be able to go back to the MET for free on that same day. There is a lot of controversy over admission to the MET, because technically it is a “requested donation”, yet they act as if it is required. I bought a student ticket online (to escape the lines) and didn’t mind paying the $12 to help support the museums.
The Tenement Museum offers tours of an old tenement building that has been preserved. The building used to house immigrant Irish and Jewish families. The tours are extremely informative and take you back in history!
MOMA is free on Friday evenings from 4pm on. When you receive your MOMA ticket, you will receive a free ticket to MOMA PS1 for the next 14 days, so plan your museums strategically!
The Parks are amazing! Take a stroll in Central Park (There are always bike rental deals on Groupon – the easiest and quickest way to explore this beautiful park — OR better yet, after riding around the park, rent a row boat and row around the lake)! Try to spend at least half a day at Central Park- I think it is my favorite part of the city.
Besides the wonderful Central Park, Washington Square Park, the Union Square GreenMarket and Madison Square Park are all worth checking out. The High Line, an outdoor walking park built over old railroad tracks, is really cool – definitely one of the most unique “Urban Parks” I’ve ever been to.
The city that never sleeps holds true to it’s name. There are so many restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, bars, clubs- you are sure to find a scene that interests you for your time being! And this is the place to pull off whatever ensemble your heart desires.
More Time? Visit Coney Island in Brooklyn, The Edgar Allan Poe Cottage in the Bronx, Catch a baseball game, visit The Westbury Gardens in Long Island & spend the weekend in the Hamptons 🙂