When in New York...
This article is for people who are thinking of visiting New York and want a quick article to outline some tips and tricks. The first word of advice is don’t go to New York! Cause once you have been you will spend the rest of your life wanting to go back. New York is the one place that I have visited and not gotten over. Below is a list of some of the best places and things that must be seen and done. As they say when in Rome… when in New York, act like a New Yorker.
Where to start
You can’t visit New York and not visit the Empire State building. Make sure you purchase your tickets in advance or you will end up losing half your day before you get to the top. Once you get into the elevators the excitement starts to build. Once you come out onto the observation deck you feel like you are on top of the world, you can see the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and as far as the eye can see in every direction. I’m not sure if it is due to Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan but there seems to be some magic up there
The Statue of liberty is an Icon of New York, when you hear the words New York you instantly picture her standing there welcoming boats into the city. If you plan on climbing to the top ensure you book your tickets early as they do book out. I found the best way to see the statue of Liberty was on a cruise that left from Midtown on the Hudson River and headed down and around Liberty Island. Although you do not get off on the island you do get some great pictures of the statue of liberty along with a running commentary of other sights along the way. Whatever your plans are make sure you book.
What should I eat?
I could write all day about the food of New York, but one staple that stands out is a pizza pie cooked in the coal fired brick oven at Grimaldi’s Pizza in Brooklyn. Chances are you will have to line up out the front and wait to get a seat but I can assure you it is worth the wait. The atmosphere inside the restaurant and the distinct smell of American Pizza makes you salivate. The pizzas are huge and the crust is a perfect example of the New York thin crust. Grimaldi’s have been cooking pizzas for 100 years and nestled safely under the Brooklyn Bridge will hopefully be making pizzas for another 100 years. If you decide to go to Grimaldi’s Pizza in Brooklyn make sure you get off the subway early or get your Cab to drop you off at the start of the Brooklyn Bridge. Enjoy the slow stroll over the bridge and take in the sights of New York and Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States.
The only way to feel like a New Yorker is to eat like a New Yorker; I will run you through my typical day of eating.
Breakfast: Starbucks Coffee and a “smear” of cream cheese across a bagel, I found a great bagel shop in Times Square near the police station.
Lunch on the run: Grab a chili dog off a food cart or a hot dog, you wouldn’t think it but the food that is made on the food carts is amazing. No wonder New Yorkers love their hot dogs.
Afternoon Snack: Each day I found myself lined up outside Magnolia bakery for one of their amazing cakes or cupcakes.
Dinner: Five Napkin Burger, you will have burger juices dripping down your arms and face but you won’t care as you will be so engrossed in your mouth watering burger.
Grand Central Terminal more commonly known as Grand Central Station is a must see. When you walk down 42nd st amongst all the modern buildings, suddenly it appears in front of you; this historical gem was built in 1903 and is the world’s largest train station. The terminal see’s 125,000 commuters come through each day heading to the subway, as well as tourists who are coming to stare in awe at the chandeliers, Statues and the famous four faced clock in the centre of the terminal. In my opinion the movies have ruined the subway for most tourists. The truth of the matter is that my wife and I travelled on the subway at all hours of the day and night and did not feel unsafe once. Catching the Subway is an experience of its own; on one occasion 3 buskers came through the carriage singing to the passengers. If you decide to use the subway ensure you buy a 7 day metro card.
Central Park is 2.5 miles (4km) long so if you want to cover the entire length of Central Park I recommend getting your hands on some hire bicycles. It is an amazing ride through the trees; we stopped at the Boathouse restaurant for morning tea and looked out at the people rowing boats on the lake. It is amazing how large the park is not to mention the facilities in the park, Ice Skating Rinks, Baseball fields, restaurants and even a castle. The only hard part of the ride is the hill near Harlem. Make sure you plan your journey through the park to ensure you don’t miss anything. Try to find some of the areas where Law and Order had their crime scenes.
Baseball and Souvenir Shoes
The ultimate souvenir is a pair of custom designed converse all stars. Down in Soho is a Converse Shoe store with a difference. At the back of the store they have their very own custom design area. The way it works is:
1st you pick a pair of shoes from the shop.
2nd you use an iPad to design your shoes; I put my name on one side and a picture of the Brooklyn bridge and the words “New York” on the other.
3rd you get one of their designers to look over your design
4th Pay the man and come back the next morning to pick up your custom shoes.
Well worth the price coming in under USD $100
Go and see the Yankees. I know absolutely nothing about baseball, but what I do know is that I sat through 9 innings and 3 hours of baseball and it felt like 10min. The atmosphere sitting on the bleachers and watching the Yankees beat the Red Socks whilst eating nachos and drinking a Budweiser was addictive.
I can guarantee if you decide to go to New York you will come home a different person and when you are sitting at home watching American sitcoms such as Law and Order you will dream of returning to the places you see on the TV, New York, New York