When: August 2016
How long for: 6 days
New York, where do we start!? You could write a completely different Top 5 for this place every time you go, what a city!
5 – Take a boat
As our Midtown tour guide said “You haven’t seen New York until you’ve seen it from the water”. He was not mistaken. This offers a completely different perspective as you see New York reach for the sky from it’s famous bedrock. Many people take the iconic yellow Staten Island ferry (which is free) to get a view of the Statue of Liberty from the ferry. I took a Circle Line cruise (Purchase a City Pass for a pass to 6 major attractions – $116) which went down the Hudson to the Statue of Liberty and up the East River under the famous 3 bridges. The views of the Statue of Liberty, Freedom Tower, Brooklyn Bridge and Empire State Building were all great from this brilliant cruise. Don’t worry about which side of the boat you’re on as it circles back on itself so all can see. Grab a beer, sit back and take in the views (with the odd snap for Instagram of course!).
4 – Explore Brooklyn
After a few days in Manhattan I was keen to see how some of the 600,000 people who commute into Manhattan everyday actually live. I grabbed my backpack, my phone and my headphones and I was off. Make sure to get yourself a MetroCard to travel on the subway as it’s a great way to get around. First I got off the beaten track and explored China town and sourced some amazing steamed pork buns at Mei Leh Wah.
Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to get great views of both Brooklyn and back towards Manhattan. Dumbo and Brooklyn Bridge Park offer a great place to relax at the other end and offer further scenic points. Take a Subway to Williamsburg or Bushwick where free walking tours are offered of the creative street art. I headed to Bushwick to find some of the Bushwick Collective’s work.
There are some cool cafes around here to take a break. I would recommend stopping off at Roberta’s Pizzeria which despite not being cheap offered delicious pizza in the heart of an industrial area.
3 – America knows how to do sports!
You have to attend a sporting event. It’s just the rules. You also have to don some sort of merchandise! The way the timings fell the only sport on when I was there was football, and by football I mean soccer. We watched New York City at the Yankees Stadium which I was ecstatic about! Get the 4 or D express Subways straight to the Yankees. I was sceptical about the football because being from the home of football I thought it may not be the same. I was wrong. The atmosphere was electric, the experience was great and we had a great time drinking Buds and eating hotdogs! Frank Lampard even scored a hat trick. The standard wasn’t the best but lets skip over that bit. I am sure it would be even better to watch the MLB, NBA or the NFL. A great place to stop off for a drink afterwards is the Hard Rock Cafe where you can celebrate the night away!
2 – Central Park and the Museums
You have to visit this absolute haven in the middle of this crazy city!
Have a wander and visit some of the many famous sites, and it’s all free. Just take it all in. Buy a map off one of the touts and they’ll plan a route for you depending on how long you have. If you’re feeling energetic then get your trainers on and go for a run.
Whilst in Central Park plan a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History. They are some of the best museums in the World. You could spend a whole day in each of them, it all depends how long you have. They are included in the City Pass.
1 – Aim for the top
So we have reached the number 1 spot and you are all eager to see what has risen to the top. Well, it is quite literally, get to the top. I am cheating here really combining these under one heading but whilst in NY make sure you get some views from above. The rooftop bars, the skyscraper observatories and the Highline.
As with the boat ride earlier it was really interesting to observe the hustle of NY from a different angle. This disused railroad gives an elevated walkway through Chelsea and Meatpacking. Take a couple of hours to walk it and you won’t be disappointed.
Some of the best rooftop bars I have ever been to:
Le Bain – order the Cucumber lemonade (it comes with plenty of Vodka)
230 5th Rooftop Bar – Palm trees, cocktails, beers, beautiful people, cool music oh and views of the Empire State.
Plunge (Top of the Gansevoort Hotel) – Insane clubbing. Thank me later 😉
Empire state -Iconic art deco interior. Great views of lower Manhattan.
Rockerfeller Centre – The best views in NY in my opinion. Great views of Empire State and Lower Manhattan to the South and Central Park to the North.
Freedom Tower (One WTC) – The best experience out of the skyscrapers with a great lift ride. Great facilities at the top, panoramic views of NJ, Statue of Liberty, Midtown, Brooklyn Bridge. Go just before sunset to see the daytime and then the city light up. Coincide this with a visit to the 9/11 Memorial Museum for a sobering experience but it’s amazing to see the pride the Americans take in maintaining this and the pools outside.
So I completed my top 5 without even mentioning Broadway, Times Square, shopping, Grand Central, New Jersey and food too much.
What a city. Enjoy.
A big thanks to Henry and Kelly Allen for lots of the information listed above an for being the best hosts you could ask for in NY.
*A quick note on food. The food in NY is amazing. Look out for the Restaurant Week in NY with really good discounts on top places to eat. Some great places to try:
Bodega Negra, Murray’s Cheese Bar and Liberty House in New Jersey.