The US’s most popular destination, once there you will realise how GREAT this city is. Commonly referred to as ‘concrete jungle’ due to its concentration of spectacular and monumental buildings of all shapes and heights. But beside its architectural delights which will amaze you with its gigantic skyscrapers, there is NOTHING you cannot find in New York; from museums to bizarre attractions and variety of shops. Here I have collected a few tips to make your visit GREAT (again?).
Where to GO and where to EAT
CHINATOWN, Joe’s Shangai – Chinese local residents’ favourite (and mine too). Winning World Best Dumplings Award and best Chinese food in NYC. Given its popularity beside being known and visited by locals it attracts tourists too, hence I recommend going there for an early dinner/lunch, inquiry about the wait and if any queue: reserve a table and go explore the neighborhood during the time they have told you to wait for.
LITTLE ITALY – Once around China Town also explore, Little Italy (street across)
full of spectacular graffiti and authentic Italian restaurants. I am Italian myself and I was surprised of how good and not so commercial these restaurants were. Loved it!
9/11 MEMORIAL, Ground Zero – Tribute to the victims of 9/11 terrorist attack and a hope for the future. We shall all be united against terror. Terror won’t defeat US.
EATaly if you are craving some authentic and delicious Italian meal/aperitif.
GREENWICH VILLAGE – also known as the bohemian neighborhood. This is the hub of trendy cafes, restaurants and best comedy clubs. When there make sure you check out the Minetta Tavern: a Parisian-American restaurant where to enjoy a very good steak! End your visit in one of the best stand-up comedy clubs: Comedy Cellar located near one of the coolest city-parks I have visited: Washington Square Park.
Day Excursion to NY Islands
Ferries to Statue of Liberty (Ellis Island), Staten Island and Governors Island departing from Battery Park (Downtown Manhattan) are highly recommended. Albeit attracting loads of tourists it is something you cannot miss out. Tickets start from as little as 2$ to Governors Island which after Ellis Island is worth visiting due to its large green area, old fortresses and sensational view of the Big Apple.
Statue of Liberty – Plan your visit AHEAD!
TIP: If you miss out on booking tickets for the statue’s crown (3 months advanced booking required as they allow 500 visitors p/d and tickets are fast selling), try and queue from 7:30am (30 minutes before office opens) from Battery Park Pier to get tickets for the pedestal at least. For online booking, secure your tickets from the official website State Cruises.
The view from the ferry to Ellis Island was for me the best to capture a nice panoramic shot of the Big Apple and Lady Liberty.
TAKE a ride in one of those yellow taxis. It has been my dream and a bucket-list experience after seeing so many US movies.
EAT a DOUBLE CHEESEBURGER like a good new yorker! SO tasty, SO filling, SO good! Try the Emily burger: the new yorkers favourite! You will never know how GOOD it tastes until you try it yourself.
TREAT yourself with New York’s best dry-aged STEAK at Gallagher’s. Beside the prime dining experience you will also enjoy an authentic service and atmosphere.
TRY the 99cent NY Pizza near Times Square. You will be surprised how DELICIOUS it is. Great value for money. More $$$ for your shopping!
BUY your shopping at The World’s Largest Store: Macy’s. You can literally spend the entire day here (easily!). With its 11 floors you will be amazed how much you can find and at such low prices considering they have all the big brands: Valentino, Armani, Gucci, Levis etc. Best outlet prices in in town. A nice alternative to the 5Th Avenue stops.
In Midtown Manhattan is where you will find ALL the major Broadway shows, near Times Square and more NY attractions and museums.
You cannot visit NY and miss out on any of its phenomenal shows/musicals. The most economic way to do so is to book in advance via todaytix.com (also here you will find last minute tickets at best price). Alternatively for same-day tickets go to TKTS booth under the Red Steps in Times Square; the earlier the better!
Where the locals EAT
Penelope – go local for your breakfast/brunch and try some nutritious and healthy food in the core of Manhattan.
PJ Clarke’s – treat yourself with an extraordinary American style burger for your lunch break. I recommend a Wagyu bacon cheddar burger. Alternatively they also have delicious and generous portions of seafood and salads.
Where New Yorkers get their Doughnuts
Doughnut Plant – for a wide selection of high quality handcrafted unique doughnuts. This place will raise the bar for your next doughnut.
Optimise your time in Central Park
Make sure to equip yourself with a map of Central Park before you get in as this vast green space is full of famous movie spots and memorials that you don’t want to miss out on. For instance here you can find: Proposal bridge (from The Spider Man movie), Strawberry Fields (John Lennon memorial), Balto (the rescue dog) statue, Alice in Wonderland bronze sculpture and many many others… Download the map: here
Watch a BASEBALL match like a Yankee
Whether you are a baseball fan or not, top up your NY experience by watching (and indeed experiencing) a baseball match. EPIC to say the least. The atmosphere is sensational: you will love it! Once there make sure to check out Babe Ruth Plaza which recounts the life of Babe Ruth, allegedly the most famous Yankee of ALL times. Find out all Yankee events here.
A-NY POINT OF VIEW
A-must, yet not so crowded, viewpoint/leisure walk to experience is the one from the High Line: an old train track converted into a green 2.33KM walk overlooking New York City. I would recommend starting from access point on: 34th street / 12 Avenue (North-side) and walk all the way down to Gansevoort and Washington St (also end of it so you can say you have done it all!). I know it might sound a bit of a walk but I guarantee you it is so pleasant walking through this greenway, surrounded by skyscrapers, walk through artistic bits with several graffiti, sculptures and shops.
L e B a i n
Treat yourself with a complimentary Jacuzzi service whilst enjoying a spectacular view at Le Bain Hotel. Make sure you also go and check out their rooftop bar/area. TOP!
@Hotel Indigo, 180 Orchad St, 15th Floor, NY 10002
Exclusive rooftop bar and restaurant (with an outdoor pool!). Absolutely perfect for your sunset pictures and drinks with a spectacular view overlooking Midtown and Downtown Manhattan from two different terraces fully equipped with high top tables and a variety of seating options.
Signature cocktails whilst enjoying unparalleled views of Wall Street district, Statue of Liberty and New Jersey skyline.
TOP OF THE ROCK
Despite still being a tourist attraction, it is a view you cannot miss out. There I have experienced some of the best summer sunsets ever. What I particularly like is the view of both Midtown and Downtown and the entire extension of Central Park (something which for instance you cannot get from The Empire State building). Note that it does get a bit chilly even in summer so make sure to bring even a light coat.
Party as a local (and with the locals)
1 OAK – where OAK does not refer to the tree but for One of A Kind. And this place truly is one of a kind. It is a sensational grand venue, often picked by Hollywood celebrities and certainly a local’s favourite for a stylish night out.
Featuring international Electronic DJs, The Marquee is one of New Yorkers’ favourite nightclubs.
URBAN NY – Graffiti
How to get aroundUse the Subway. Avoid buses!
Purchase your MetroCard in any subway station and/or upon arrival at the airport. You will pay a small (non-refundable) fee of $1 for the card which you can keep and top up as you go. Single rides cost roughly $2. Whilst you can opt for an unlimited metrocard which gives you access to the subway unlimited times per person, I recommend to go for a simple pay as you go card which multiple people can use (so you only pay the fee for one card and share the same card with multiple individuals).
Download the map here.
Tourist ESTA or VISA
If your planned stay exceeds the 90 consecutive days you will be required to submit a VISA application. Consult your respective embassy for more detail.