Ah New York. The Big Apple. The City that never sleeps. The melting pot of America. From the Bronx to Manhattan and Queens to Staten Island, New York is the city where you could live your whole life and still not be able to tick everything off your list, simply because you could never keep up with the ever-changing face of such a rapidly evolving city.
Over the past two years, I have had the privilege of visiting New York on two separate occasions. Having spent 14 days on my first trip and 10 the second, attempting to soak up every New York minute that I could, I quickly realised that everything I had wanted to do there, soon became a challenge. Tens of kilometers of walking daily, mixed with the hustle and the bustle of millions of people and cars, combined with a few big nights out, before you know it you’ve burnt the candle at both ends and need a holiday from your holiday!
Whilst the days are big and you may be battling the frighteningly harsh cold of the Christmas period or the extreme heat of the summer months, it is possible to achieve everything you would like to see and do in New York. To help get an idea of a day in NYC, I have mapped out an intense day of visiting some of the most spectacular and sometimes underrated sights of New York which will leave you hanging for more.
6:45am – Breakfast at your Hotel
Maximise your time and your budget by having your hotel package inclusive of breakfast daily. Many hotels have a great range of breakfasts ranging from continental to full buffet and to top it off, you can have as much as you like! I have stayed in both B&B and Hotel style accommodation in New York, where breakfast was included in the room charge.
I can highly recommend each establishment, both of which are listed below:
Tip: Get your credit card ready and save time by using your hotels free wi-fi to pre-purchase and print off tickets for the day ahead of you. These may include, Empire State Building and Basketball tickets for Madison Square Garden. Details for both are below.
Now that you have your energy from breakfast, make your way on foot, via cab or Subway to the Empire State Building and weave your way up the floors to the Observatory Deck. Take in the breathtaking 360 degree views of New York from the height offered by this iconic New York landmark; it truly is nothing short of spectacular. You can purchase tickets online or from the Empire State Building on the day or pre-purchase prior to arriving. Tickets can be purchased on the Empire State Building website http://www.esbnyc.com.
Advice: If it is going to be a clear day, you can expect to run into lines of varied length given the popularity of tourists on good days. Be prepared to spend at minimum 1.5hours and up to 2-2.5 hours enjoying the magic of this spectacular New York icon. It is worth every second!
10:00 – 10:30am – The Highline
You’ll be on Cloud 9 after your Empire State experience, although if you can get off it, hail a cab and make your way to the Highline. The Highline has many entry and exit points from 34th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues, and ends in the Meatpacking District on Gansevoort Street. My advice would be to start mid-way at West 23rd Street between 10th and 11th Avenues and make your way along this beautiful urban space South to the Meatpacking District.
The Highline is a reclaimed piece of New Yorks history, having being converted from freight train lines into one of New Yorks most striking and interesting pieces of urban space. Once servicing New Yorks distribution hub, freight trains operated in and out of New York from the mid-1930’s to 1980 transporting goods from the Meatpacking District up along the West Side of Manhattan out of the city.
From the initial concept of the parkland in the late 90’s, the design and construction of the Highline spanned over a decade from 2002 – 2014. Check out the Friends of The Highline page for more interesting facts about this iconic piece of New Yorks past and present http://www.thehighline.org
Make your way off the Highline at West 16th Street and descend upon the doorstep of one of New Yorks most enchanting markets, the Chelsea Market. Located between West 15th and 16th Streets on 9th Avenue in The Meatpacking District, the Chelsea Market is the site of the National Biscuit Company that operated between 1890 and 1958 before the production relocated out of Manhattan. Currently, there are 35 vendors who call the Chelsea Market home, where you can get everything from postcards to pasta, pizza, cheese, wine, art work and everything in between. The fascinating history of this beautiful red and brown-brick building is etched in every nook and cranny, with original solid timber doors still lining the walkways of its interior, paired with artefacts and items from the days of the National Biscuit Company days.
If you pine for a moment of New Yorks history, the Chelsea Market will undoubtably give you a taste of nostalgia that will stay with you forever.
12:00pm Lunch at The Chelsea Markets
After trawling the Market from East to West, the smell and look of the exquisite food on offer from one of the many gourmet eateries will have your belly rumbling! Make the most of your Chelsea Market experience by trying one of Ruthy’s Bakery & Cafe’s pieces of exquisite New York slices, or maybe combine the best of everything at The Green Table for a meal brought fresh to you from the farm. On your way out, make sure to pick yourself up a bottle of vino at the Chelsea Wine Vault, some cheese from Lucy’s Whey for later on.
Check out all the retailers/stockists/vendors at the Chelsea Market website – http://www.chelseamarket.com
After your sensational lunch, whether you wish to walk or hail a cab, make your way down into the Financial District, where you can find the street signs leading you to the one and only Brooklyn Bridge. Hovering high above the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of America’s oldest cable-stayed/suspension bridges, suspended at a whopping 276.5ft or 84.3m above the river. The Brooklyn Bridge connects the New York boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn and has been serving the commuters of New York since 1883.
The architecture of the Brooklyn Bridge is mesmerising. Its beauty is captured every day by passing tourists, daily commuters and the workers and residents of Manhattans towering buildings. The walk itself will only take 45 minutes from side to side, although take some time to study the various angles that the bridge captures, front he Brownstones of the Brooklyn Projects to the skyline of Manhattan from the Financial District right up to Midtown.
Spend some time in the oh so trendy suburb of DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Brooklyn Overpass – learnt that one from a Brooklyn bartender), where the industrial foreshore is being transformed into one of New Yorks most up and coming areas. Once a derelict suburb, full of abandoned warehouses and shipping yards, DUMBO has become a hipsters playground, oozing with cool and swarming with Manhattanites wanting to escape the rat race by night but still have it within reach by day. DUMBO offers everything from converted warehouses into upscale apartment buildings, an array of bars and restaurants and up-and-coming designer brands, softened by a mix of art, books and good coffee. A nice change from the hustle and bustle from Manhattan just a stones throw across the East River.
5:00pm Catch the Subway
Once your Brooklyn Bridge experience has led you to the nearest Subway station either back in Manhattan or in Brooklyn, grab a ticket on the line that is nearest to you. Ensure you check out the MTA Website HERE for directions to Madison Sqaure Garden.
You can’t deny that the New York subway has got to be one of the most spectacular fetes of transport ingenuity in modern history. The story of the subway dates back to 1869 when a demonstration of an underground network was built and conveyed as a method of transport for the growing city, although it wasn’t until 1904, when New York saw the first underground line opened for operation and transportation. With 34 line and 426 stations in operation, the subway is by far the cheapest and most reliable ways to transit around Manhattan and to Brooklyn and a must do of that authentic New York experience.
7:00pm Knicks Game at Madison Square Gardens
By now your mind is probably starting to wander to the thought of your bed, and if you have managed to make it back to your apartment to shower and freshen up, there may have been a chance for a sneaky nap! Although, you wouldn’t have wanted to wander off into too deep of a sleep, as it would now be time to make your way to Madison Square Garden (MSG) for a night of great entertainment and displays of athleticism you only ever get to see on Fox Sport repeats.
Tickets for a game will set you back anything from US$50 to US$47,000 (I’m not joking), you can pick your level of where you wish to be seated and charged in accordance with your viewing privileges. Tickets can be purchased online at – http://www.thegarden.com.
For those going along for the experience but may not be totally familiar with the players, you can always be sure to spot a celebrity or two court-side cheering on their favourite team.
7:15pm A Game Day Hot Dog
Make sure before the game starts you grab yourself a hot dog fresh from one of the many stalls around MSG. It wouldn’t be an authentic New York sports game without one!
9:30 A Beer at Carmines
Its been a loooong day. Your feet are tired and you are weary, although the excitement of the Knicks game should have perked you up enough to keep you awake for one beer at the famous Carmines Restaurant in the Theater District just off Time Square (http://www.carminesnyc.com/locations/theater-district-nyc/). The first time I stepped foot in Carmines, it was 11:00pm on a Thursday night and there were still people lining up for tables to eat; just to give you an idea of how popular this place is. The liquor isn’t the cheapest you’ll find in NYC, although the atmosphere, mouth watering Italian food and on-point bartenders will make your experience worth the late night.
So there you have it folks. My ultimate Ten before 10pm day in my favourite city on this planet, New York. If you have any questions or would like to leave a comment on your love for New York, I would love to hear from you!
Yours in love for NYC, HtH x