I’ve been to New York 3 times and its been a blast every time!
Check out more photos from my trips here.
The first time I went to New York was the New Year’s Eve of 2009. My friends and I decided to celebrate the beginning of 2009 on Times Square and watch the ball drop. We arrived to New York just a few days before the celebration, and let me tell you the city was amazing. It was festive, full of people and actually quite warm.
The second time I came to New York was in Summer of 2010. This time I spent a full week in the city and the third time was in February 2011 – I just came for a long weekend with a very specific plan – explore the Broadway.
Here are some of the activities you might want to engage in while you are visiting New York (I personally participated in all, which is why I mention them):
1. Skating in Central Park or Ice Skating by the 30Rock Plaza – don’t worry about bringing your personal equipment, skating rinks offer rentals at a very reasonable price!
2. Rollerblading or Biking trough the Central Park. Renting bikes is inexpensive and to bike through the whole park takes only about an hour. Make sure to wear comfy clothes and bring tons of water.
3. Walking by or even walking in to the high end shops on 5th avenue. Most of the time I was just drooling and staring at the one of a kind pieces through the window display. If you plan on spending, make sure you come prepared…
4. Visit an art gallery or two, or even more, there are more than 30 art museums and galleries in New York. Check this list to see what sparks your interest.
I personally visited the Guggenheim not only because it’s an architectural marvel, but because collection is quite inspiring. I also went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is also quite mesmerizing.
Tip: Guggenheim is located right beside Central Park, you might want to stroll through the park before or after the gallery!
Click here to see some of art pieces that caught my eye at these museums.
5. Macy’s and Century 21 are always packed because they offer major sales on everyday items. Make sure to hide all your tags if you don’t plan on declaring your purchases when crossing the border back.
6. The Canal Street – yes you can get amazing deals on totally fake brand name purses, watches, jewelery and much more, but be aware! Make sure that when you come there you have a clear idea of what item you want to purchase, maybe even bring a picture. It will not only expedite the whole process but also give you a visual guide. Do not settle on the asked price, always negotiate. You may even get a deal if you purchase more than one item from the same establishment.
But on a very serious note – purchasing counterfeit goods is illegal and it damages our fragile economy!
7. Statue of Liberty – one can not go to New York and not visit the Statue of Liberty. You will need a full day to explore the Statue and the Ellis Island. It’s a one of a kind experience. You can go up to the observation deck or even into the Crown. If you want to visit the Crown you will have to order tickets online in advance, they are usually sold 2 – 3 months in advance, but cost only $16!
8. Empire State Building – is absolutely breathtaking and only because its super high up in the sky, but because of the amazing 360 view. You should plan your trip so that you arrive to the observation deck around 6 or 7 just before the sunset and way there until the sun sets and the city lights up. That way you get to see the city in the daylight and at night. Make sure to bring your camera!!!
9. High Lane Park is an interesting recycling idea! Stretch of old highway in the middle of the city was converted into an eco friendly park! It’s not fully build yet, but its open for visitors everyday.
10. Secret Subway Station under the City Hall is a unique marvel of the New York City. This subway stop was abandoned many years ago, but is not open for tours. Another way of getting a sneak peek of this interesting piece of architecture is to do this: If you ride the 6 train to the end, when you reach the end of the line, keep going. Click here to see more.
11. See a Broadway Show! You’ll be surprised that tickets are not that expensive. The city also offers discounted tickets for the same day shows. Tickets range in price from $40 to $100 depending on the show and seating. Broadway is also full of celebrities and its quite possible that you will run into a couple.
For example, while attending a Broadway show starring Al Pacino I ran into Fergie, Josh Duhamel and David Hyde Pierce. The next day I saw another Broadway show starring Billie Joe Armstrong. All that in a span of one weekend!
The list goes on and on, so make sure to plan ahead and tailor your trip in accordance to your schedule, likes and finances. New York is not a cheap city, however if you play your cards right and plan ahead you can always save a buck or two.
Getting Around: The best way to go about traveling is by the MTA – the subway system. You can purchase one week unlimited ride for under $30.
Food: In my opinion New York has very diverse “Street Food” choices. You can get anything from a street vendor from pancakes and eggs to halal and noodles. Basically there’s food everywhere. Make your pick – gourmet and lush or fast and delish you can dine in New York anywhere from &5 to $100 per meal. Click here to see my favorite food guy in New York.
One time we stayed at a small hotel/guest house. Its small and dingy, but it’s only $80-$100 per night and its right on a subway line. If you plan on being outside for the most part and you are there for only a few nights – that’s the right place for you.
Seafarers & International House
It’s located at the corner of East 15th Street and Irving Place in Manhattan, one short block away from Union Square Park and a Subway Stop.
Another time I stayed at a 4 star hotel, which was quite lovely and clean, yet it came with a price tag of $200 per night. So if you have the means or if you plan on staying there for a few nights only its a nice place to be Wyndham Garden Hotel
Wyndham Garden Hotel – Times Square South
341 West 36th Street, which is also close to the subway