Now let’s be honest – very few of us are ever likely to spend “just” 24 hours in the Big Apple. New York City is the sixth most visited city in the world today, with around $18.5 billion added annually by us tourists. Most people either crave another chance to get a slice of the city that never sleeps or have it on their bucket list of places to visit. With careful planning you can cram a lot into just 24 hours – after all sleep is so over rated isn’t it?
The question is where to start? Let’s assume you’ve negotiated the immigration process at whatever airport you arrive at and have chosen the most appropriate ground transportation option for your traveling party and budget – there is little point in offers any advice here apart from always use the official options. It is incredibly sensible to look at what events are in the city and whether there are any cheap tickets –www.stubhub.com is an excellent resource for any gigs and sporting events such as the baseball where you can pick up last (and I mean last) minute tickets for some events for a dollar.
New York has lots of things to do that are free. The Staten Island Ferry arguably offers some of the best views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty 24 hours a day and is completely free, whilst the 9/11 Memorial Site is now fully open and you can look in awe at the size of the reflecting pools where the Twin Towers once stood. Central Park is a beautiful place to wander in the summer whilst the area around Lower Manhattan is littered with historic buildings which can be entered free of charge such as the Federal Reserve Bank (you need to reserve a spot in advance to see the Gold Reserves where half a million gold bars are kept for safe-keeping) or Hook and Ladder on North Moore Street, a working fire station but used as the location for the filming of Ghostbusters. If you are lucky you may also see Lindsey Lohan stagger home across the street. If you are feeling energetic then a perfect way to spend a morning is to walk The High Line, a reclaimed railway line that through the West Side and has art galleries, restaurants and bars along its 1.45 mile route. Alternatively head across the walkway on Brooklyn Bridge for some decent views of the city’s skyline.
There are numerous options to get a birds-eye view of the city these days. The Rock, aka the Rockerfeller Center is in mid-town at 49th Street and the viewing platform here is often less busy that the Empire State Building on 5th Avenue although is open longer. The new spot in town to see and be seen is undoubtably the 1,776ft, the fourth tallest building in the world and the biggest in the Western Hemipshere, One World Trade Center. Be prepared to queue if you want to ride up to the 102nd floor to get some outstanding views of the city and beyond. Tickets can be booked online from $32 for Adults. For a less energetic way to see the city, hop on one of the helicopter tours that leave from the piers on the East and West sides of Manhattan.
If the city gets too much then head across to the picturesque town of Hoboken in New Jersey either by a 10 minute ferry ride from lower Manhattan or on the PATH train. The way of life here is more relaxed, the restaurants and bar not as busy and the views across the Hudson to New York are stunning. The Main Street here is where you will find the original Cake Boss shop too.
There are thousands of places to eat and drink in the city, which is often best explored without recommendations. However, a couple of our favourites are:-
- Chinese Soup Noodle Dumplings – Joe Shanghai on Pell Street – expect to queue around the block for these delicious treats.
- Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich – Charly’s Diner on Trinity Place at the east end of Zuccoti Park is the place to go – cooked in front of your eyes.
- Steak – There are dozens of decent steak houses in Manhattan but one of my favourites, if not the cheapest, is Bobby Vans on Broadway.
- Tapas – Cafe Barca in Little Italy is a great spot – decent choice of dishes and cheap as chips
- Fried Chicken – How about Fried Chicken served on Waffles? Then you need Sweet Chick in Williamsburg. Expect to queue for the privilage to eat here.
- Breakfast – Why compromise? Cafe Charlie opposite Grand Central Station, under the Park Avenue approach has the best breakfast in town.
- Smoked meats – Route 66 Smokehouse in Stone Street, lower Manhattan is a great spot in the summer – in fact the whole of Stone Street is a brilliant place to hang out when the sun is setting with outdoor seating and bars such as the Becketts, The Growler and Bavaria Bierhaus.
- Strange and wonderful things – Apparently in the top 10 bars in the whole of America, The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog is a strange one. A ground floor compact Irish Bar, with its own craft beers provides the foundations to two floors of booth seating for over 100 cocktails and some fantastic small portions of fusion food. Get here early or you will be queuing for ages.
The list could go on and on. Take our advice. Ignore our advice. Share our advice. Damn it, just go and do New York your way – you wont regret it!