Friday, August 5, 2016

A Guide To Get You Started

I've provided my readers with some recommendations of places to go and things to see. I've also provided some tips and tricks of navigating the city. However, to answer all and any questions my readers may have, I have decided to compile a master list. I've compiled everything into 3 categories: logistics, food & drink, and sightseeing. So here we go, lets get started. 

Plane, Train, Automobile 

Penn Station 
Now for anyone planning a trip, transportation is one of the first things to be sorted out. 
  1. Driving (this option is especially appealing to those that live in the Tri-State area, or anyone who can handle a road trip.) 
  2. Train (taking a train from your hometown into Penn Stations through Amtrak is a great way to relax while getting to NYC.)
  3. Flying (although sometimes a more expensive option, flying into either LaGuardia or JFK Airport is a convenient option. Plus there are low fare airlines that fly into both options.

The next thing everyone figures out is where they'll be staying. In New York the options are seemingly endless, but finding the hotel that is right for you isn't as hard as it seems. It's important to remember to check websites such as Expedia, Travelocity, and others. (Hint: these can be used for finding cheaper flights too) Some things are important to keep in mind:
  • Price (costs can get steep in NYC, so make sure you find a hotel that is in your budget, after all, how much time will you be spending in the room? It might not have to be anything fancy.)
  • Reputation (now, while I just said the hotel won't need to be anything spectacular, it is important to find one that won't rip you off or give you bed bugs, so read reviews and don't go with anything sketchy.)
  • Location (it's important that your hotel won't be hard to get to, especially if you've been out exploring all day. It might be helpful to get a hotel that is in a central location to parts of the city you might be venturing off to.)
Here are 2 travel planning sites/apps that I always find really useful: 

Getting Around NYC

Now that you've made it, it is especially important to have some sense of direction. Taxi's are always an easy way in case you really have no idea where you're going, but they can get pricy. Uber is also a great way to get around and sometimes cheaper than taxis, I personally like using it at night if I don't want to take the subway. 

The subways may seem complicated, and sometimes they can be. You don't have to memorize every single stop each one makes, but knowing downtown from uptown is always a good start. Luckily for newbies, there are apps that make riding the subways a whole lot easier. 

EmbarkNYC is my personal favorite for finding out which subways to hop on or avoid. My favorite part is that it works offline, so if you've already entered a subway station you can still use it. 

Grabbing A Bite 

This list I'm about to give you could go on and on. I'm going to give a couple options that might work depending on what you're in the mood for. 

The Comfort Diner: Yes, I am recommending a diner, but it's the diner I had been looking for, for a long, long time before I came across this one. It's got the retro look that any old school diner would have and they served me some delicious pancakes at 11pm. There surprisingly aren't many places like this in NYC which is why it made the list. It's located on the corner of 46th and 3rd, so be sure to get over to check it out. 

Black Tap milkshakes 
The Black Tap: This is the place that has received all the buzz for their outrageous milkshakes. So if you're looking to experience something that you might not get back home, go here. They've got the Instagram and Snapchat worthy milkshakes, but they've got great burgers. Their menu is unique with a load of traditional and non-traditional toppings, so if you want the classic burger & milkshake meal amped up to the max, check this place out down in Chelsea. 

Pick A Bagel: New York City is known worldwide for their bagels and you can't leave NYC without trying one. I say to give Pick A Bagel a go, they've got a dozen different types of bagels, and dozens of toppings. Everything from Chocolate Chip cream cheese to a seafood spread can be added on top of a bagel here. The possibilities are endless. If you venture to the Upper West Side, make sure to make a pit stop here. 

The Smith: Brunch in NYC can be just as amazing as it seems on television and in the movies. If you know a good spot and grab a group of friends it's always a good way to spend a Sunday morning. The Smith has a few locations in Manhattan, and their brunch never disappoints whether you choose to go sweet or savory. 

Sights To See 

  1. The MOMA, Met, Guggenheim: Especially good for a rainy day, checking out an art museum is something that everyone should do when visiting NYC. Some of the museums throughout the city have pieces that are highly coveted and their changing collections are always extraordinary
  2. Central Park, The Boathouse: You have probably seen it on TV or in a movie, but checking out the pond and the boathouse that are often used as film sets is something you should want to do. You can feed turtles and ducks on the pond, and take rent out a rowboat to enjoy a nice, breezy afternoon. The boathouse even has a restaurant built in with outdoor seating that would be a great place to check out. 
  3. Central Park Boathouse 
  4. Ellis Island & Statue of Liberty: As a little girl, I always loved taking the ferry to see both of these landmarks, but it's great for people of all ages. Climbing up the steps of the Statue of Liberty might not be for everyone, but seeing it in person is. Plus, I loved looking up my great-grandparents up in the Ellis Island registry to find out more about my heritage, it's a great learning experience for anyone. 

New York is a massive city so I could add so much more to this list. But just to give you an idea of how major of a city it is, here is a video I found that really puts it in perspective. 

I hope this was helpful to some of you who may not know quite where to start if you want to visit New York City. This obviously isn't a full list of everything you can see and go, but it is a beginning to help give you ideas. No matter what you decide to do in NYC, just make sure you have fun above all! 

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