Ah New York, The Big Apple, the city that never sleeps – out of all of the places I have seen in my travels there is nothing quite like NYC. I always find something about the energy in the City that makes you feel as though anything is possible. After my first visit in 2012 I was hooked… and after another 2 trips since then, I continue to be fascinated by what Manhattan has to offer. No matter how many times you visit NYC you will never feel satisfied and before you have landed back home you are already dreaming of the next time.
Like any major tourist hot spot, all the standard places are a must. Walk amongst the madness of Times Square, take a selfie on the top of the Empire State Building and max out your Credit Card in Macy’s. But there are also things you may not think about doing, and here are a few of my tips that are a NYC must.
TOP OF THE ROCK
While the Empire State Building is a must visit attraction for its history and incredible views, the ‘Top Of The Rock’ located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, is often a forgotten viewing deck. It allows you to view the city in a different angle from the Empire State Building, and comes at a slightly cheaper cost.
Located within Rockefeller Center, it’s a great starting point to then venture around the Plaza as well as walking distance to Fifth Avenue and MOMA (The Museum of Modern Art).
Book your tickets online before the day and you could save up to $15/$20 and earlier in the morning, the smaller the line is.
30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY
When you are in New York, its easy to get caught up in everything that Manhattan has to offer that you forget about the towns surrounding it. It took my third visit to realise there was sand and ocean just a subway ride away, and if you are there in Summer its a great spot to get some Vitamin Sea and escape the heat.
Coney Island is part of the Lower Bay in the southwestern part of the borough of Brooklyn. Like any typical beach side board walk, it features a array of Restaurants, Tourist shops and Bars. Whats special about Coney Island is its history, with some of the theme parks being close to 100 years old and referenced a lot in Pop Culture. An example of this is the Parachute Jump amusement ride which is also referred to as the Eiffel Tower of Brooklyn. Built in 1939, it stopped functioning in 1964 but is still a popular piece of architecture with its vibrant red colours.
Accessible via the D, F, N & Q trains, it’s easy to forget about the hustle of the big apple thats only 20 minutes away.
WATCH THE SUNRISE
While the sun does rise every 24 hours wherever you are in the world, there is something special about watching it happen in the big city. Get up at 6am, grab a coffee from one of the many Starbucks on every corner and walk down to the Hudson river. As the sun rises over the multitude of buildings you can feel the energy in the City waking up.
It is one of the most peaceful settings I have had the experience of watching and once you do it, that feeling will stay with you forever.
GRAND BAZAAR FLEA MARKET
When in NYC you must get amongst the locals and rummage through the array of Flea Markets scattered through the City as well as in Brooklyn and Williamsburg. I have stumbled upon quite a few over my visits but Grand Bazaar (previously Green Flea Market) is my pick of the bunch.
Established over 30 years ago, the market is supported by the NYC Department of Education and proceeds from the market are donated back to 4 public schools in the area. Part of Grand Bazaar NYC’s mission is to keep New York City creative and authentic. Therefore it provides selected vendors with much needed affordable retail space, and a positive and vibrant shopping environment to call “home”.
100 W 77th St, New York, NY
I must admit I haven’t got a clue about Basketball (or most sports) and normally sitting through a game would send me to sleep, but just being in Madison Square Garden amongst the atmosphere is enough to make you want to learn.
If you can, go to a game where the New York Knicks are playing and live out your inner-90s childhood of wearing their Baseball Hat purely for the fashion statement. During halftime grab a Budweiser and a Hot Dog, and try and spot Celebrities in the front row (I have spotted The Beastie Boys and Donald Trump at one game).
The Highline is a 1.45-mile-long park, greenway and walking trail that was created on a old Railway track on the westside of Manhattan. The “park” runs from Gansevoort St along the Meatpacking District in Chelsea, to the north of 34th St.
Open daily from 7am – 7pm in Winter, and 10pm in Spring/Summer, it can be reached from 11 separated entrances along the trail and has those special money-can’t-buy views of the city skyline and the Hudson river. The park is also known for hosting consistent short term installations along the trail by New York based artists and sculptures.
With a city that can feel quite congested and compact, it is amazing the way New York can turn an industrial space into a green haven to escape the hustle and bustle of it all.
I don’t think there is ever enough ways you could see the views of the city and get tired of it. Whether its the Empire State Building, Top Of The Rock or the Brooklyn Bridge, every opportunity to see the city in a different light from up above is truly a incredible experience.
If you have the opportunity and don’t have a fear of them, going on a Helicopter ride over Manhattan is a absolute must. No viewing deck is going to give you that wide-angle shot of Central Park or the Hudson quite like this.
There is many Helicopter tour options out there, and my recommendation would be through New York Sightseeing who operate Monday-Saturday 9am-7pm.