Wednesday, 11 May 2016

VISITING NEW YORK; Where we stayed, Eating in NYC, Things to do and my Top Tips

Part 3 of my Visiting New York post is Things to do and my Top Tips. If you have some tips of your own that aren't here, pop them on the comments page- hey, sharing is caring...

Things to do;

-Highline (free)- this was my Little Sister's suggestion, and what a fantastic place for being snap happy. The highline is an old railway line that has been refurbished into a safe walkway (totally kid friendly too- there is things for little ones to do whilst taking the route!) and you have several exits on the way where you can pop into neighbouring areas for a bite!

- One World Observatory (around $30 admission but they do family deals too!)- While my myself and my Mum visited the 9/11 memorial site + museum, my sister Grace and my Dad visited the world observatory. I was pretty jealous when she came back with these photos....

 - Street art- your spoiled for choice in New York with some of the most creative and interesting pieces around the city. Street art fanatics would have a field day- and I say you could base your entire stay around certain tags around the city. We just got snap happy when there was something we liked...

-2 day ticket for the Hop On Hop Off bus tour ($55)- I totally recommend it, it was the best way to get all the hotspots over and done with in one day. Tour guides obviously vary- the chap + lady we had on the first day was brilliant, super cool and gave you a heap of knowledge. The next days tour guide wasn't so much into it...but hey it's hit and miss! We got off at the main attractions- Grand Central station, Times Square, all the bridges linking to Manhattan, Fifth Avenue, Central Park etc in New York on each route and hopped back on when we were tired from walking.

-Broadway show (price range from anything like $40-$200+). We chose premium seats to see Matilda, but even at $135 each, we were three rows from the stage! The cast came up all around our seats and there was a really cool stunt scene with 'Lavender' literally a breathe away from me that I am still trying to work out. We spent the next few days belting our 'Revolting Children'...But if Matilda is not your cup of tea- there are soooo many Broadway shows, dance performances, operas, jazz shows really is a city of performance and your spoilt for choice.

- Central Park (free) We spent half a day strolling around the park. Blessed with such good weather, we were able to take in several of the street performers and have a mooch around a quarter of the park. Plan your trip there, there are so many entrances and scenic spots from movies/tv shows that you will want to see so plan plan plan. If I was back in the late spring/summer, I'd take a boat trip and pack a picnic! Also make sure to check out the loos (we had such much fun in them lol!)

-MOMA- an absolutely un-real museum with pieces I only dreamed of seeing. Some of my favourites were pieces by Andy Warhol, Helen Frankenthaler, Chagall, Umberto Boccioni, Picasso, Roy Litchenstein and Jackson Pollock. An adult ticket with MOMA costs $23 but you could easily spend the whole day there. I only managed to get through 2.5 floors and definitely missed out on some work that I regret. Download the app (they have free wifi in the museum and avail of the audio options!). The museum, the pieces and the supporting material are so educating- I felt like I was back taking an art history lesson!

-Brooklyn- we actually used one of the tour buses to take a trip to Brooklyn and I wanted to see how the neighbourhood varies from the concrete jungle of Manhattan. It does and it's still quite cool looking. Cue 'Jigga what...Jigga who' through the whole trip there! My parents previously took in a game in the Barclays Centre and they highly recommended it. Tickets were pricey- but it was a derby- Nets v Knicks and they said the atmosphere was priceless. For my trip- it was either a musical or a sports game. And I went for the musical.

- 9/11 Memorial site- We visited the memorial site and museum on our last day in New York. It was right in front of our Hotel so we didn't have far to travel, but queuing happens from early on, so get there first if you don't want to be waiting. Strict security measures in place, so be sensible too! The museum itself is tastefully done- we all remember where we were the day the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened, I was in London on my way to a ballet class, when my friend shouted from her flat for us to run up and look at the news. We stood transfixed on the terrifying images that flood the screens. The museum paints a picture of being there in that moment. The lives that changed. The lives lost. I highly recommend the site- even just for reflection.

- What I would like to do should I get the opportunity to visit New York again- Metropolitan Museum of Art (met museum!), take in a game/concert at either Madison Square Garden or the Barclays Centre and Brunch on one of the rooftops during the Summer- our hotel rooftop only opened up in the warm season- but check out the Loopy Doopy rooftop bar and it's insane cocktail menu here!

Top Tips;

- Comfortable shoes- I'm a trainers type of lady anyway, but my Air Max Flyknits were my saviour. You want to look stylish but also be able to belt down the subway stairs...If AM's aren't your cup of tea; these Nikes, these Reeboks or these Adidas bad boys will always pair well with your exploring outfit.

- Subway pass is $32 for a 7 day pass- it's the cheapest city I have been to for a while with regards to public transport. Working out at just over $4 a day for unlimited metro travel- it's by far cheaper then travelling in London (which I have found to be way too expensive now!) and the subway system is so simple to use. It would be nearly impossible to get lost!

- Walk! The layout of Manhattan all together is so well designed, streets are perpendicular to avenues, and we saved so many locations on google maps so that it was simply easy to get from place to place by foot! If you are a geographical nightmare though- so many subway stations have wifi hotspots, so simply nip down, load your maps feed and then set back on foot again.

- Haggle for tour buses- we got ours cheaper then advertised. What's the worst that could happen? They just say no!

- Plan. Plan and Plan. Everyone I have talked to about New York says it! You can get lost in the all hype and spend your entire time walking around places like the M and M factory in Times Square- which might be appealing to some people but isn't really my cup of tea.

- Research;

Research your shopping- The exchange rate is so poor at the minute for the dollar that you don't necessarily save big. I instead bought items I couldn't get back at home (my April bill from Sephora was not pleasant!) or that were cheaper- I teach 6/7 days a week so bought new work gear from Nike that costs me a fortune back home.

Research your eating places- if your a fussy eater and fast food is your cup of tea your fine- NYC is full of junk food! But if not, and you like expanding the palette- research Yelp reviews, ask friends who have similar tastes and experiment. It's such an international city!

Research you sightseeing places- we tried to match our sightseeing places with where we were going to eat- sort of like killing two birds with one stone. Ok, so I know people will be like hey your on a holiday, so quit planning and go with the flow, and sometimes that happened- we stumbled upon streets we liked and places that looked interesting and got off stops earlier then we were supposed to but New York has so much to do, and it's not cheap to fly to or stay at. It's certainly not a 48hr trip to a European city with Ryanair so the way I see it- you want to make the most of every part of it.

- Take some 'me' time. Every day spent in New York, we would give an hour or so to chill back in the hotel rom before changing and getting ready for dinner that night. Whether it was having a Nespresso and something sweet you had picked up that day, or sprawling on the bed and reading- 'Me' time abroad is so important for you mentally and also who is travelling with you.

What would you recommend to do in New York? What are your top tips?