… and a fairytale it is!
I’ll be honest with you, when first approaching New York City in a shuttle from Newark Airport, I was slightly worried as it look old and scruffy from a distance, but how wrong I was!
New York has been on my bucket list for years and years and it certainly lived up to my expectations.
Bright Lights, Big City indeed… what a place!!
It was so surreal walking around, looking up to the enormous sky scrapers, walking down Times Square to huge, lit up billboards, shops open until 2am, street entertainment, new districts, old districts (Washington district was my fav), beautiful Central Park, chaotic Wall Street. It’s true what they say…. it’s a city that never sleeps.
So I’ve decided to share my 5 day itinerary and top tips with you guys so that you can share my experience and know what to expect or plan if you visit yourself.
We arrived at our hotel (Manhattan at Times Square) around 1pm. We left our luggage at reception as we couldn’t check in until 4pm, so we walked to Central Park (about a 10 minute walk from the hotel) and had a wander around.
Once our friends arrived (check out Dream0graphy for a vlog on our trip) we checked in and had a look around Times Square and went up the Empire State Building and saw New York by night. This was probably one of my favourite things we did during the 5 days.
Tip – if you’re scared of heights, then don’t go near the edge, or just look at the views from inside instead, but DO NOT let this put you off going up because I promise you it will be worth it.
We visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum. It’s a museum to remember and honour those that were killed in the September 11th attacks as well as the bombing in February 1993.
There are two pools with waterfalls where the Twin Towers stood, both nearly an acre in size!
This is a truly amazing tribute and something that should be on everyone ‘to do’ list when visiting NYC.
Following this we went to see the Statue of Liberty.
Tip – if you don’t want to go up the Statue of Liberty, you can get a ferry for free to Staten Island which goes right passed it.
Then on the way back, you can walk by Brooklyn Bridge and even over it if that’s something you wanted to do. This walk is supposedly around 40 minutes. At this point, we already had sore feet so we didn’t walk over it. We just got the subway to Ellen’s Stardust Diner. This is basically a musical diner where singers that want to get on to Broadway, sing and practice here.
Tip – we bought subway tickets for unlimited journeys for a week. It’s a great way to get around New York. If you don’t plan on doing that and plan on walking and getting the odd Sub, then it may be worth remembering that if you’re in a group, it’s often cheaper to get a taxi (yellow cab).
Today was the big day. It was Dan & Abbie’s wedding day in the City Clerk’s office. This was a really cool experience and you get to see all kinds of outfits, both bride and groom.
So if you or someone you know isn’t getting married then you have an extra morning here to do something else.
In the afternoon we went on a hop on hop off tour (and had the best guide ever may I add). This is a great way to see New York and learn things you may not have just by walking around.
I finally had my F.R.I.E.N.D.S fix. We saw Bloomingdales (or Bloomie’s) where Rachel worked on the bus tour the day before. But today we visited Chandler’s office building and Monica, Rachel, Chandler and Joey’s apartment building.
This was in the Washington district and my favourite area in New York. It is so beautiful!
Tip – apparently phoebe’s apartment building is just down the road too, but I didn’t know this at the time so make sure you check that out if you’re a big F.R.I.E.N.D.S fan!
We also cycled around Central Park which is approx 6 miles. This is so much fun and so beautiful to see and cycle around some greenery in comparison to the rest of New York.
We were not ready to leave NYC today! Could have easily spent a few more days here.
We went to the Rockefeller Centre and to the Top of the Rock to see New York by day. This building is spectacular and the views are amazing. You can see Central Park, Empire State and Statue of Liberty from up here.
I can’t even begin to explain how amazing this place is! Everyone was so friendly and more than happy to stop on the street to give you directions or recommendations on places to visit and eat. Another thing I noticed was that there were very little bins on the street, yet no litter… take note Britain!
Anyway, Here are a few of my top tips before visiting NYC:
Think comfort not style! Take a rucksack and a pair of trainers. Everyone wears dresses and trainers out there, you won’t be the odd one out! You’ll be surprised at how much walking you do even with a sub ticket. Also, you don’t want to be lugging a heavy handbag around. Rucksacks are far more practical and comfortable and can probably fit more in than your handbag.
Food and drink is expensive here. You’ll be lucky to find a beer for less than $8, and a bowl of pasta for less than $18, and that’s being generous. But remember you don’t have to eat out every night. You can easily get street food or a giant slice of pizza for approx $5. You can’t go to New York and not have a giant pizza slice!
You are expected to tip, tip, tip for everything and anything. We mostly tipped, but sometimes didn’t feel it necessary e.g. when we ordered our food all via an iPad and the waitress only bought the food to us. We didn’t really feel this was worthy of a 20% tip.
Get an explorer pass from here… We paid £100 for entrance to 5 attractions. This easily saved up about $200 per person and there are hundreds of places on the list that you can visit.
Do a bit of shopping! Even if you aren’t a big shopper (like me), I guarantee you will end up doing some and it is definitely worth it. Most shops are open until 2am and they have some great bargains around.
If New York isn’t on your bucket list then you must add it. I am not a city girl but absolutely loved it here and would most definitely return.
Go and experience the hustle and bustle of The Big Apple and have the time of your life!