Destination Guide: NYC

“New York is always a good idea”

Destination: The Big Apple

Number of times visited: Three

Mode of transport: I fly British Airways! They have great connecting flights & then I hop in a yellow cab to get into the city. They have a flat fare of $52, plus tolls so there is no chance you will be ripped off just because you’re a tourist. ( Warning: I know people dream of getting in a yellow cab but believe me it is terrifying – They drive like maniacs)

Getting around the city: If you manage to understand the Subway system then you’re smarter than me. Unfortunately, it is outdated, not easily accessible and therefore a nightmare for tourists. NYC cabs are not a fabulous means of transportation either – You do get used to the manic driving. But unfortunately, city traffic means you sit in one spot forever! On that note, I recommend you pick a fairly central hotel and put on those walking shoes. NY is a city best explored on foot.

Favourite places to eat:

  • Juniors, Times Square: If you love desert anywhere near as much as I do, then this is the place for you! Their cheesecake is the food of the God’s and I could drink litres of their fresh lemonade. Try it, I promise you will not be disappointed.
  • Grimaldi’s, DUMBO, Brooklyn: I have eaten Italian pizza by a Venetian canal and I have eaten award winning pizza on a cruise liner. But nothing. NOTHING. Beat’s Grimaldi’s.
  • Crumbs: Yes my love for cake shows itself once again! Crumbs cupcakes are divine and with shops dotted all over the city, there is no chance of you missing them. Funny story my love for Crumbs is so strong that my Mum once went to NY without me and flew me cake home. Yeah, you heard that right. That cake travelled 3,332 miles!
  • Pretzel’s: Every street vendor you pass by has these, grab one to snack on as you wander the city. I know personally doing this makes me feel like a native New Yorker.

Typical tourist activities that are NOT overrated:

  • People watching in Times Square: Sit on the red steps and watch the world go by. New York is like no other place on earth, it is a truly magical city. Take a moment to just take it all in.
  • Watch a Broadway show: You may think this is not for you but it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Plus, I promise you will come out with a smile on your face.
  • Eat pasta in little Italy: Not only is the food divine the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. It’s a cosy little pocket in a busy city.
  • Wander through China Town: A tiny collection of culture, another world within the city. China town will both leave you speechless and make you laugh hysterically. Explore strange delicacies and get the giggles over the genuine fakes being sold.
  • Sail on the Staten Island Ferry: This iconic NY experience gets you away from the hustle and bustle for a while. Plus it provides a FREE view of BOTH the city skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Not to mention that in summer it is a great way to cool off, providing a welcome breeze that does not permeate the city skyscrapers.
  • Visit the Statue of Liberty: If you want to get up close and personal you will have to hop on one of the Circle Line boats. Just remember if you want to go inside Lady Liberty and climb to the top, you need to book in advance.
  • Explore Central Park: I feel like you could spend a lifetime in New York and still not see every inch of this vast expanse. Dedicate some time to exploring it, even if you only see a corner. Or take a horse and cart around the outside – The guides are a brilliant source of knowledge on the city.
  • Wander around famous shops: Get lost in Macy’s or Bloomingdales. Embrace your inner child in FAO Schwarz. Some of the bigger department stores give discount to tourists if I remember rightly you do have to show them your passport, so make sure to have that handy. But even if you don’t want to purchase anything these labyrinths are entertainment in their own right. Especially if you find yourself in a distinctly wet New York.
  • Visit Grand Central Station: Grand Central is very much a functioning train station and during rush hour commuters can be seen scrambling for trains. But architecturally this New York landmark is breath-taking and definitely worth a visit.

Things I love to do that are a little more ‘quirky’:

  • Top of the Rock: I know every tourist visiting the city for the first time wants to see life from the top of the Empire State Building. But I’m here to tell you something…That que is not worth it! The Rockefeller Centre provides a much better view of the city.  Personally, I advise going up after dark, there is just something about late nights and city lights that leaves you speechless.
  • Brooklyn Bridge: Walk or cycle across the Brooklyn bridge. Sounds bizarre right? The first time someone suggested this to me I looked at them like they were a Martian because I thought the Brooklyn Bridge was just for cars. But far above the city traffic, there is a boarded walk way; the right for cycling and the left for walking. The view is stunning plus once you’re on the other side you can reward yourself – With pizza from Grimaldi’s or ice cream from the Brooklyn ice cream factory down by the water. Once you’re finished, hop on a water taxi to the financial district and explore a whole new section of the city.

Shopping: If all the women in the world were honest they would admit to dreaming of shopping in New York, with an unlimited budget. But shopping in this famous city doesn’t have to break the bank. Go to the port authority bus station and hop on a bus to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets. Here you will find all of your favourite brands at bargain prices!

Whatever you do while you’re in New York remember that it is the city that never sleeps! Plenty can be packed in, it may leave you exhausted but at least you will spend the long flight home dreaming sweet dreams of this wonderful city.