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New York Travel Tips
Someone once asked me what I love about New York. The answer was “Everything”!
61 Million people visited New York in 2017. The overall economic impact of those visitors is more than $60 Billion pounds to the economy of New York (according to 2014 reports from Reuters) That’s an awful lot of $$$’s and no wonder New Yorkers make you feel like the most important person on the planet. 359,000 jobs in the city are tourism related
As a first time visitor it took me a while to conquer the intimidation of the very tall buildings, but once you get used to them, it’s quite a place to be. Big buildings, big crowds, everything really is bigger and better in America.
I’ve teamed up with a few New Yorkers to write some tips about New York, that I hope you will find useful when you take your visit there.
Saving Money Tips
1. Pre Planning Your Excursions
Group together the sights that you want to see on each different day. This will save you journey time and more importantly, money. For example, as the Statue of Liberty & Wall street are close to each other, make those your day 1 attractions, then maybe day 2, Central Park & Times Square, etc etc. Does really make life so much easier a bit of pre-planning!
2. Buy a Tourist Pass
A 3 Day tourist Pass will set you back around $270 but you can save incredible amounts if you want to visit most of the attractions. For example, the Empire State Bulding on its own can cost upto $39 & the 911 Memorial & Museum at least $24. It’s estimated that a 3 day pass can save 50% off if you visit the average 15 attractions in the 3 days. The average cost to see an attraction is around $35 x 5 attractions per day= $525 but you only pay $270 and at time of this review there’s even a sale on at $223 so even more savings for you. See here for more information and booking guides. www.newyorkpass.com
3. Check out the FREE attractions
Some attractions are totally free, such as Central Park. And don’t worry about safety issues if you’ve been watching any old 70s movies. New York is now officially one of the safest cities in the USA. Here’s a list of some of the FREE attractions:
- Central Park
- Coney Island Boardwalk
- East River State Park
- Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Brooklyn Heights & Promenade
- Chrysler Building
- Flatiron Building
4. Search For Reduced Admissions
If your planning to visit museums, you should search for them on-line to see if they have any reduced admission costs. Some museums offer reduced admission and sometimes even free between certain periods for pre bookings. One of our top New York Travel Tips!
5. Take the Ferry
The Staten Island Ferry is still free and you get fantastic views of New York Harbour. Or you can pay for expensive Harbour Cruises with the tourists?
6. Want to Watch big shows at a fraction of the price?
Check out New Yorks TKTS booths, where you can find lots of discounted tickets for top Broadway shows. Or search online at BroadwayBox.com for major discounts on some shows. You could also try turning up at the box office of the show you want to see if they have any unsold seats just before the performance at discounted costs. Another one of our top New York Travel Tips.
7. Take the Subway rather than a Cab
Taking the subway is pretty cheap at around $3. It’s also faster than a cab and about a quarter of the price!
Once again, don’t be afraid of the subway, it’s quite safe, especially in the daytime.
8. Stay in a Hostel
There are lots of hostels in New York, so as long as you don’t mind sleeping in a room with others
9. Visit the Zoo for free
The Bronx Zoo has donation based admission every Wednesday. This means you get in for free or very little money!
10. Park outside the City & travel in
Parking in NYC will cost a premium especially for all day parking. So if your staying outside the City, it’s an idea to travel in by train or water taxi.
11. Explore Away from the Tourists Traps
Try to get away from all the tourists and visit some of the other areas of New York, such as Greenwich Village or Brooklyn where you can try out the local Cafes & bars, or find cool stores to discover.
12. Choose the right Season to visit
The busiest Tourist period is the Christmas & New Year period, where New York’s magic really gets into full swing. But it’s also the dearest period, along with early summer & later Autumn, so try to arrange your visit for some other periods to save on money.
13. Save money on food & drink
Hot dogs, Bagels, Coffee & Burgers are all staple New York Foods. But you can save money by buying from a Kiosk or Store rather than a restaurant. Another New York Travel Tips favourite!
Other New York Travel Tips
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
The view from this bridge is simple spectacular. The pedestrian walkway is 276 feet above water & just over a mile long so will take you around 20 mins to cross over from Brooklyn to Manhatten or vice versa.
Join in the New York Tours
There are many tours in New York, from the famous Hop On Hop Off double-decker bus tours, where you simply Hop off, when you see something you want to visit, to the 9/11 Memorial & Ground Zero Walking Tour. This is a guided tour of where the World Trade Center once stood and is a must for all sightseers. Costs around $35
Top 10 Foods to try in New York
New York without Bagels would be like London without a British Breakfast. Bagels were made by immigrants of Jewish decent in the late 1800’s. They can still bring locals to tears. A Bagel is a long rise yeast made ring bread, boiled before baking to give the shiny exterior and are incredibly tasty.
2. Fried Chicken & Waffles
You might not think this would work, but one taste and you’ll be hooked. Invented in the Southern states in the mid 1900’s it the appeared in Harlem as part of the New York Soul Food range and another of New York Travel Tips favourite things to buy
OK. you can get Pizza just about anywhere, but not like New York Pizza! Italian immigrants in the 1800s are, not surprisingly, said to be responsible for its adoption by New Yorkers. It has a thin crust, topped with marinara sauce and heaps of mozzarella cheese topping. You can find lots of Pizza spots around the streets of New York, or you could go to the original Pizza store, Lombardi’s on Spring Street.
Again, you can get cheesecake almost anywhere, but New York Cheesecake is memorable for all the right reasons. Cream Cheese, Eggs and Sugar all thrown into a large serving of New York Cheesecake, will definitely fill you up for a few hours
5. Hot Dogs
Are as New York as Yellow Taxis. And they are everywhere, so it’s not difficult to pick one up, especially street stores. Frankfurter style sausages topped with garlic, mustard & nutmeg are a joy to taste.
6. Shake shack Burger
Shake Shack was started in 2004, from a kiosk opened in Madison Square Gardens. There’s now more than 25 outlets in the New York Borough. All Shake Shack burgers are cooked medium unless requested and are 100% natural Angus beef!
Doughnuts were bought over by Dutch settlers in the 17th Century and have remained a big favourite with New Yorkers ever since. The modern version is a sort of iced Croissant Doughnut hybrid popular since 2013 and locally known as the Cronut. You can try one here Dominique Ansel Bakery (189 Spring St, NY 10012)
8. Pastrami on Rye
This was produced by Kosher butcher Sussman Volk in 1885. It’s made from Beef, then pickled, cured & smoked to make the Iconic taste new Yorkers have marvelled at for years.
New York has a long-standing love affair with Pancakes (or flapjacks as they call them) from Blueberry Pancakes to Almond Milk Pancakes, there are literally hundreds of different toppings to go on the basic Pancake. Try the Blueberry one and get one of your five a day in! Pancakes are one of New York Travel Tips favourites!
10. Black & White Cookies
Featured twice on Seinfeld, this is the unofficially cookie of New York. It’s a spongy based cake base, with half chocolate, half vanilla icing topped. They can be found in nearly all grocery shops and Bagel stores throughout the five boroughs of New York.
Top 10 things to do in New York
1. Visit the 9/11 Memorial & Museum
No visit to New York would be complete without a visit to the Memorial of the World Trade Centre so dramatically reduced to rubble in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The museum holds particular interest with Firefighters uniforms & equipment eerily damaged but still somehow preserved. Very thought-provoking & probably top of our New York Travel Tips
2. Ride the Empire Estate Building like a Gorilla
OK, not quite, but you can go to the top of probably the most iconic building in New York, perhaps even the world. Over 102 stories and over 1,205 feet high. On a clear day, you can see all five boroughs of New York. 5 people unfortunately died during the building of the Empire State Building.
3. Take the Staten Island Ferry
The Ferry operates between Staten Island and Lower Manhattan and takes about 25 minutes. The amazing thing about it is it’s totally free. Passenger only and a great way to view the City of New York
4. Take a jog in Central Park
OK,maybe not a jog, but after all the sugary food you’ve been eating if you followed our 10 best foods in New York, maybe you should try it. For more than 150 years visitors have flocked to this 843 acre site. Central Park is a hive of activity from 6 am till 1 am. Visit the official website to learn what activities will be taking place during your visit.
5. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
Opened in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge provides passage between Brooklyn & Manhattan. It really is a marvel of design and provides spectacular views of the city’s skyline. Takes about 20 minutes at walking pace to cross
6. Grand Central Train Museum
Train buffs like me will love this iconic building, but so will everyone else who loves buildings of this nature. Opened in 1913 this is a world-famous landmark right in midtown. One of the busiest train stations in the world with 750,000 visitors every single day. It’s home to restaurants, shops and the worlds biggest Apple store. There’s an opal faced clock valued at $20 million and the mystifying acoustics of the whispering gallery. Audio and guided tours are also available for visitor enjoyment. A highly recommended visit.
7. Fly over New York in an Helicopter
If you can afford the $300+ you simply have to take the helicopter ride over New York. The ride takes about 20 mins and I promise you, you will remember it forever. Operates from 9 am to 6.30 pm and begins at downtown Manhattan Heliport. You’ll see all the famous skyscrapers, pass ground Zero, then the Hudson River, Times Square & Ellis Island, all with fantastic commentary. Quite memorable. It’s also one of our top New York Travel Tips
8. See the Statue of Liberty
Of course, you simply have to see one of the worlds most iconic statues. Given as a gift of friendship from the people of France, it symbolises freedom & democracy. It was even designated as a National Monument in 1924 and restored for her centennial in 1986. The viewing times are 08.30 till 4 pm but you can expect long queues for this.
9. Visit Times Square
Hectic, chaotic & loud are just some of the reviews from people visiting Times Square. But you have to just go with the flow and experience it yourself. The billboards are lit up and there are crowds of people in every direction. I would suggest a visit to Madame Tussaud’s to see very lifelike recreations of Abraham Lincoln, Marilyn Monroe 7 Michael Jackson to name a few, but there are 5 floors to investigate and something for everyone.
10 See Broadway
Broadway is just around the corner to Times Square so it’s a natural progression to visit. Full of Theatres and bars, it really is something to see. You should make the visit complete with a visit to your favourite show, as they are all here. The Lion King, Aladdin, Phantom of the Opera, and many many more are based here, but unless you buy your tickets at discount rate, you can expect to pay premium prices once there, for example, Phantom of the Opera tickets start from $99
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