New York City, the city that never sleeps, the big apple, the fashion capital of the world, the list goes on and on. Ya gotta admit, not many cities in the world can rival, “The Big Apple.” It almost has too much of everything. Actually, remember that kid in the candy shop? That’s me every time I’m there. I want to do and see everything! However, let’s face it, most of us only have a few days to pack in as much as possible and deciding what to do can become an overwhelming task. So for you New York City newbies and returnees, here are my 11 New York City travel tips.
1. Getting into New York City
Definitely try to fly into LaGuardia (LGA) Airport as it’s the closest to the city. If you are coming from abroad, then your choice will either be Newark (EWR) or JFK. Getting to the city from the airport is super easy. You can take the train, bus, taxi, Uber or a car service. I always use Dial 7 Car and Limousine Service. Call ahead to make a reservation. On my most recent trip, the charge from LGA to Manhattan for four of us, including luggage, was $38.00 without tip. Pretty reasonable, right?
2. Getting around in the city…to Uber or not to Uber
New York is a walking city. And, trust me, after eating like I do, I need to walk a lot! However, there are definitely times and places that are not walkable. The least expensive way to get around is the subway. If you aren’t a subway lover, like me, then a cab or Uber is for you. I was an Uber virgin until my most recent trip to New York. Before I left, I downloaded the app and was set to go. The first time I tried Uber, I didn’t realize that I had to move the pin to my exact location and guess what? Yup, you guessed it, the driver couldn’t find me! Uber tip… always move the pin to your exact location. The second and third time I used Uber, the drivers weren’t parked exactly where I was so I had to walk to them. Once in the cars, the drivers and service were great. My advice… in New York City, if there’s a cab right there, take it, it’s easier!
3. Deciding where to sleep
The city that never sleeps, certainly has plenty of choices of where to sleep. For first timers, I would definitely recommend staying in the midtown/Times Square area, as many things you’ll want to do are within walking distance. On my most recent trip, I stayed at The French Quarters Guest Apartments, a small boutique hotel, in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. What I liked best about the hotel was the location. Other than that, the hotel was reasonably priced and fine for a short stay. The bathrooms could have been a tad larger and better designed and I missed the amenities that larger hotels offer. For families, the Kimberly Hotel has suites and enough space to give everyone some much-needed alone time at the end of a long day!
4. Viewing the city
You just can’t top the view from The Top of the Rock. You may ask, why? Because the view from the top, includes the Empire State Building. Tips
- For photographers, head to the 70th floor for an unobstructed view.
- Go early to avoid the crowds.
- Afterward, head right downstairs to watch The Today Show being broadcast.
5. Surviving Times Square
This takes some survival skills. If this is your first visit, picture wall to wall people, bright lights and lots of music. Still need a visual? See below! If you have the patience to do more than walk by, there’s plenty to do. For you chocoholics, the Hershey Store sits right on Times Square. Or if you are feeling romantic, stop by the Kiss Cam.
No trip to the Big Apple is complete without seeing a show. My favorite show of all times is the Carole King musical, Beautiful. To save money on tickets, visit the TKTS Ticket Booths throughout the city. However, be forewarned, they do not have tickets for every show. So if you are not flexible, purchase your tickets online beforehand. It may cost you more, but you won’t be disappointed. My favorite pre-theatre restaurant is Carmines. Carmines is a family style, reasonably priced restaurant located right in the theatre district.
7. Strolling through Central Park
After fighting the crowds in Times Square, head over to Central Park for some much needed rest and relaxation. Take a stroll, or let the horses do the work and take a carriage ride. Want some cardio? Rent a bike. Have kids? Enjoy the carousel or the zoo. There’s plenty to do and see for kids of all ages.
Definitely make time in your schedule to visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum. The memorial museum has photographs and biographies of almost all the victims as well as artifacts, phone messages left for loved ones and other documents. You will also see The Last Column, which is the last thing that was removed from the site. Plan on spending at least a few hours there.
First, a little High Line history. The High Line was built in the 1930’s. It was a rail line developed to lift freight traffic 30 feet high in order to remove dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan. No trains have run there since 1980. In the 1990’s there was a push to demolish the site. To prevent this from happening, community members formed a group called Friends of The High Line. This small group, with the eventual support from the community at large, led the way for the area to actually be developed into a park and become a place for all to enjoy! It is on the actual freight line and is, in fact, elevated above the streets of Manhattan. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues.The High Line is beautiful. It’s a great place to take a leisurely stroll and admire the views and beautiful flowers. If you need a rest, there are plenty of benches to relax on. And, there is no shortage of refreshments. The best part about this park is that it’s free! If you’ve worked up an appetite from walking, head to Bubby’s in the Meatpacking District for a bite to eat.
After enjoying Bubby’s, take a walk into Greenwich Village and then into Washington Square Park. Here you will see canines, students from NYU, and plenty of people playing chess. Sit and relax for a while. The park makes for a great place to people watch.
Where else can you sit in a park with a perfectly blended cappachino while starring at one of the most photographed buildings in the city? The answer is… Madison Square Park with your food purchased at Eataly and the building is the triangularly shaped Flatiron built in 1902. Might I mention that my new favorite place for my distinctive palette is Eataly and I can’t wait for it to open in Miami! Where ever you go and what ever you do, enjoy your stay in the Big Apple.