The must do's for New York

Everybody that goes to New York is all about going to the 5th avenue, Rockefeller center, Empire state building, Central Park, Times Square, and last but not least Lady Liberty. But I’ve been to New York a couple of times now. And let me tell you there is more to New York than that. It is in my opinion the most beautiful city in the world. There is a lot to do and a lot to see.

So how long do you need to see it? Well, the city surprises every time I go there. Because the city is more than Manhattan itself. It’s Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem, the Bronx and Coney Island to, And maybe ( Sorry Yankees ) New Jersey to.  So maybe 10 days or maybe 14 it depends how fast you can do it and if you want to take the Subway or go by bike or even on foot. It also depends on your budget and your interest. Because if you like museums more than just Food or relaxing in a park.

So what are those do’s in New York…

Let me first sum them up for you and then explain:

  • Soho
  • Little Italy
  • Public library and Bryant park
  • Battery park
  • Washington square park
  • The intrepid museum
  • New jersey shore Exchange place
  • Brooklyn bridge park
  • Colombia university
  • Yankees stadium

And some of my tips for the city.


What 5th avenue shows is also available in Soho. One of my favorite neighborhoods. Not those big streets that go straight but more the small streets were you can wonder off and look for the Big brands that you can also see on 5th. Not only that but you can see the old warehouses being transformed in to stores. there is a lot to see in soho, Cobblestone roads, great architecture, Food (for gastronomes out there) and the art is all around. Don’t always keep yourself focused on the windows full of dresses, purses and new shoes. But look up and see what this neighborhood is best at. Amaze you and keep you there for an entire day… Minimum. You probably have to drag your wife out of there. But be gentle because the NYPD is always keeping the streets safe.

Shops: All the big names are there but also visit the small shops like Back in Time.

Food: You can find every fast food or coffee restaurant there but for  good food and drink you have to go to the Soho Kitchen & Bar located on 103th street.

Little Italy

This is my favorite neighborhood, full of history and stories about mobsters. But also because of the food. The neighborhood is full the Italian culture. It is there since the late 1800 when a lot of Italians came to the land of freedom. Mulberry street is the main artery running through little Italy from North to south. A lot of nice restaurants are located at this street. Best you can do is  avoid the guy in front of the restaurant and watch at the menu if you want to get a good price for the food (budget is important like I said). Go there quick because there is a lot of problems nowadays  with the Chinese taking over. Little Italy had better times. But being reduced by the growing Chinese neighborhood it stands vast.

 If your fan of mobster tales, like me, you will love this part of town. From fiction to nonfiction, it’s there. Godfather and Sopranos, they used this neighborhood for their scenes like The Old St Patrick’s Cathedral where don Corleone is awarded the Order of St. Sebastian, Elizabeth Street where Joey Zasa is gunned down.   And take a look now the Mulberry Street Bar maybe you find the scene that was shot there. and the Mietz Building on 128 Mott Street (China town) Genco olive oil was based here The Customs House at 1 Bowling is one of the meeting places in the Sopranos.

And the real mobsters did their parts to the neighborhood to. Crazy Joe Gallo was shot at the corner of Hester and Mulberry. John Gotti who was in charge of little Italy, maybe the last don, spend his time in a few restaurants and shops. Sparks Steak House was one of them and what about Taoromina. Maybe you will feel a little bit like a wise guy yourself. But don’t get carried away

Festivals in little Italy.  If you go there in September, you probably bump in to the San Gennaro festival. It around the second or third week of September. Just enjoy how the Italians celebrate one of their biggest patrons. But through the entire year there is stuff to do.

Public library and Bryant park

Time for some education. And its free! The public library is free of charge and has a lot to offer. Sometimes there some expositions but for the beauty of the library just look at the sealing of the main reading room. Like looking in to a sunny sky. Or look out one of the windows and see the empire state building or one of the other famous buildings.

The Bryant park is something different. Check out the chairs that you can put every were in the park to relax and enjoy and enjoy the buildings that conceal the park. Maybe want to play a game? Well the city of New York has the solution. There is a game area right in the park. You just ask if you can play a game and they help you it is at the right side of the park if you see the back of the library. 

Battery park

Battery park is the part of New York where it all started. The first settlement, New Amsterdam,  created by the Dutch it ran from the tip of new York to wall street (wal straat) because this is where the defense wall was. But New Amsterdam was finally taken over by the British for a found guilders and the country of Suriname. You can still see a lot of Dutch in this area. The flag still waves at the entrance of the park.

Walk a little bit further and you see the fortress were you can take the expensive tour to Lady Liberty and Ellis island it is definitely worth every dollar. but the budget way is if  you take the Staten Island ferry and take pictures along the way of this marvelous statue. Before entering the fortress look at the cracked statue on the field. This is the only statue saved from the wreck of 9/11.

Battery park is nice to go and look at the water, see some street acts (some are great). Have your picture taken with a living statue of liberty. Be careful though because after the picture they want money.

Washington square park

I look at it as the university garden. But it wasn’t always the place of fun and happiness. Around the 1800 it was a grave yard. Until 1825 it remained that way. The graveyard is gone but the people buried there still remain.

There is a lot to see every day. Street performances like dancing, guys playing the piano under the big arch, people protesting and the homeless people telling jokes to score some cash. What I love the most about this park is the houses next to it. Some may know them from the movie “I am legend”.  And what about the Judson memorial Baptist Church on the other side of the park. But the best thing is the Arc at the exit of the park. Here is where the 5th avenue starts. 

The Intrepid museum

The Sea-Air-Space museum. Based at pier 86 in the Hudson river. Great if you have the kids with you. Show them around on a flight carrier 3 decks full of airships, science and a view on life on board the ship. The lower deck is filled with kitchens, mess halls and sleeping quarters. The middle deck tells you about the technology of the ship and the science behind flying. The upper deck has the entrance to the ships bridge, planes and helicopters, The space shuttle and an amazing view of Manhattan.   Next to the Intrepid is an nuclear submarine and an Concorde airplane.

The Intrepid is a nice museum and more orientated to families than the Guggenheim or the MoMa.

New Jersey- exchange place

It’s nice and cheap. You just take a PATH train to New jersey from the station next to the freedom tower. Get out at the first station and walk up to the ground floor. Look for the skyline and enjoy. Go there at night and you probably take the best pictures from that side of the city.

Radio City music hall

Radio city is famous because a lot of famous artist from all over the world  performed there. Plus the Radio city Christmas spectacular starring the Rockettes. It is hosted from November 9th to 30th of September. But why not take a tour and see what is behind the scenes. Buy your ticket in the candy store next to the main entrance and let yourself taken away to the mysteries from behind the scenes. the elevator system the long maintenance corridors. Even the old toilets that are still in style of the 50´s. Even get your photo taken together with a Rocket. But take your husband with you after that because the Rockettes look great.

The concert hall is probably the greatest thing of the tour. The stage is like a setting sun and hosted a lot of big events. Every year the NFL draft is hosted there. Be quick to get your tickets because everyone wants to see it.

Brooklyn Bridge park

From harbor to park. It is a great addition to Brooklyn. walk underneath the Brooklyn bridge and take a look at the amazing view of downtown Manhattan. Take a sit while you put your kids (if you have any) in to Jane’s Carousel or go to Bubby’s on 1 main street, Brooklyn. No worries you can see it from the carousel towards the Manhattan bridge. 

Columbia university

So what is so great about a university? It’s long history of great leaders like Theodore Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Barack Obama. And it’s buildings like the Butler Library, low memorial Library and Pupin Hall with the observatory above it. That’s what makes this university in the middle of the big city so great. Or maybe you’re a movie fan and want to see the ghostbusters university, or Mona Lisa’s smile, Malcolm X, Spider man and many more.

Yankees stadium

The Yankees stadium is nice to see from the outside. But come there while the team is getting ready for a match and it’s crowded with Yankee fans from around the world. Maybe you can buy tickets for a few dollars. It depends on when you go. During the world series you probably go bankrupt buying a ticket. But in regular season a 5 dollar bill would do just fine.

Take a walk around  the stadium and see the Bronx. If you take a look at the buildings on the left side of the stadium, Jerome avenue. These buildings are the park plaza apartments this is one of the first art deco buildings erected at the Bronx.

Take in mind that the Bronx isn’t a good idea at night or while the Yankees aren’t playing. Don’t wonder of in the neighborhood with a camera or your wallet hanging out.

Great views and tips

  • Great view and food? go to 230 5th avenue. It has a rooftop bar and is better than going up the high-rises and pay the same amount  but without the food.  it’s close to the Flatiron.
  • Empire state building. But go all the way up to the top deck 102 floors up. Go there before the sun sets. And see the lights go on in the city.  
  • Rockefeller centre. With the best view over Central park. And make sure you enjoy the elevator ride up, and down.
  • Take line 7 from time square or grand central. its elevated on the other side and takes you through Queens and shows a lot of New York Skyline.

Tips for a cheap stay

  • If your military take your ID with you or go in uniform. It’s free that or with discount.
  • Don’t go to the big restaurants go in to the buffet places sometimes you have an all you can eat for small bucks.
  • Ferry boats like the Staten island ferry is free.
  • There some free days at the big museums they change them from time to time. Take a look at the internet pages of the museum you’d like to visit and search for the free entrance day.  
  • The public library is free just as grand central station.
  • Buy a 1 week metro card if you like to go underground during your stay and if you take more than 15 rides on the subway. It’s about 29 dollars. It isn’t valid for PATH trains or the bus.