New York, the city that never sleeps ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

As I just had a day to explore (as is the life of a flight attendant) this is a whistle stop tour of the city that never sleeps featuring the 11 things I chose to do on my first ever visit.  I will be back!

1.  Dumbo

This is an area in Brooklyn and it stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.  Start your day with looking at Manhattan before you dive in. If you head to the intersection of Washington and Water street there is a brilliant view of the George Washington bridge at the end of the street between buildings.

Top Tip: Try to go early as this area can become very busy

Dumbo, New York

2.  Pebble Beach

This is just a short walk from the intersection at Washington and Water street and offers an amazing view of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan across the East River.  There is even a small beach but it is pebbly, hence the name!

Pebble Beach, New York

3.  Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge

This is a suspension bridge that is 1834 metres long and became the first fixed crossing over the East River in 1883.  It connects the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan.

It doesn’t take long to walk across and you get some lovely views of Manhattan and the George Washington Bridge.

Top Tip:  Stay out of the bike lane or risk being shouted at by an angry cyclist!

Brooklyn Bridge, New York
view from the Brooklyn Bridge

4.  Wall Street and the Charging Bull Statue

This is the 8 block long financial district in Lower Manhattan and possibly the most famous financial district in the world.

During the 17th century it was a slave trading marketplace and a securities trading site as well as the home of Federal Hall, which was New York’s first City Hall.  In the early 19th century the area was occupied by residences and businesses and at the beginning of the 20th century it became home to a couple of the city’s skyscrapers.  It is also home to the world’s 2 largest stock exchanges: The New York Stock Exchange and The Nasdaq Stock Market.

Also located in the Wall Street area is the Charging Bull sculpture, which was created by Arturo Di Modica in the wake of the 1987 Black Monday stock market crash.  It is a symbol of Wall Street and the financial district.

Wall Street, New York

5. Statue of Liberty

This is New York’s most iconic statue.  It was a gift from France and was designed by Frรฉdรฉric Auguste Bartholdi. 

 The statue itself is a figure of Libertas, a Roman goddess of Liberty.  In her right hand she holds a torch above her head (to attract the notice of the incoming immigrants) and in her left hand she carries a tabula instate inscribed with July 4th 1776, the date of the US Declaration of Independence.

At her feet there is a broken shackle and chain, which commemorates the abolition of slavery.

The statue is an icon of freedom and a symbol of welcome as this is the first thing immigrants who arrive by sea see, when they arrive in New York Harbour.

As I didn’t have time to visit Liberty island and do a tour, the best thing to do is to take the Staten Island ferry over to Staten Island and then come straight back on the return ferry,  It passes very close to the statue and you get a great view along with some excellent pictures.  The best thing about this trip, the ferry is free!

Interesting fact: The base of the Statue of Liberty is built on an island in New Jersey waters!

Top Tip: On the ferry, go to the third level and stand on the outdoor viewing platform (right side when leaving Manhattan and left side when leaving Staten Island).  It can get quite windy so be prepared! Make sure to carefully clean the lens of your camera afterwards, in case you have sea salt from the spray stuck to it. It could scratch the glass!

Statue of Liberty, New York

6. Oculus Transport Hub

This is located in the New World Trade Centre giving you two things to see in one.  The unusual architecture makes for a brilliant picture.

The memorial garden is located just behind this building, which is a lovely place to stop and remember.

Transport hub, New York

7. Grand Central Station

This is one of New York’s most famous and busiest stations and well worth a picture if you can dodge all the commuters.

The large ceiling is decorated with a mural of constellations including those of the winter zodiac, Pegasus and Orion. It is a beautiful building and one of New York’s top tourist attractions.

grand central station

8. Times Square

This is a huge commercial intersection, tourist destination and entertainment centre located in midtown.  It is also known as ‘the centre of the universe’.  The brightly lit billboards and advertisements make for great pictures at night and there is always something going on.  It is also the location for where the ball drops at midnight on New Year’s Eve in New York.  It is a great place to grab a drink, sit down and absorb all the activity around you. There is also plenty of shopping around this area!

Times Square
Times Square

9. Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Centre

This is probably my favourite NYC attraction.  Where else can you see this amazing view stretching all over the city with the Empire State building in one direction and Central Park in the other?

Take the lift up to the observatory on the 67th to the 70th floor, which offers awesome views across and as far as the eye can see.

Top Tip: Go on a clear day and pre-book your tickets

top of the rock
top of the rock
view from the rock

10. Central Park

This is a lovely place to go to unwind after a busy day (or if you just need a 10 minute pause to reset yourself before the next event!)

Central Park is the most visited urban park in the USA and covers 843 acres.  There are some very peaceful areas surrounded by trees which can be lovely places to sit and relax.  In the autumn the park is full of beautiful colours with all the fallen leaves.  If you are there at the right time, autumnal colours make for a truly spectacular panorama.

The park is also home to several attractions such as the Wollman Rink (October to April), the Central Park Carousel, the Central Park Zoo and the Delacorte Theatre.  If you have had enough walking for the day you could treat yourself to a horse drawn carriage tour around the park.

If you feel like a drink and a bite to eat, take yourself off to Tavern on the Green, an iconic American cuisine restaurant situated in West Central Park.  It has won awards for having the best wine menu and being the best restaurant on the Upper West Side.

Keep your eyes peeled when you go as it is frequented by actors, musicians and politicians.

Top Tip: Book a table in advance as it can get very busy

Central Park

11.  5th Avenue

What is something that always comes to mind when you think of New York? SHOPPING!

New York has loads of places to shop but the most famous has to be 5th Avenue.  This is a major thoroughfare in Manhattan and stretches from Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village to West 143rd Street in Harlem.  It is considered one of the most expensive and elegant streets in the world.  Shops that can be found here include Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani and Valentino just to name a few.  These shops are way out of my price range but I do enjoy walking along 5th Avenue.  Iโ€™ve also found it fun to venture into a couple of the shops and to just look and dream!  Even the dressing rooms are like no others you will have seen before.

fifth avenue

The other best places to shop are:-

  • Colombus Circle.  This is a small manageable mall located in the bottom west corner of Central Park near 8th Avenue.  It features well known brands such as H&M, Hugo Boss, Sephora and many more.
  • SoHo.  This area is in downtown Manhattan and has an artistic charm.  It features shops from luxury brands and boutiques as well as more common brands such as H&M and Forever 21.  There are some lovely cafes in Soho for when you need to rest your feet after a strenuous shopping workout.  There is also an ice cream museum!  Top Tip: Come early on a week day (less busy)
  • The Meatpacking District.  This is near the beginning of the High Line in downtown Manhattan and is a really contemporary area of the city.  There are expensive boutiques as well as an Ugg store and an Apple store.  This is also home to Chelsea Market, an extensive food market that would please every palate.  If, like me, you were wondering how this district was named,  it used to accommodate over 250 slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants so was very literally named.
  • Herald Square.  This is a hotspot for tourists and quite a hectic area.  I recommend nerves of steel to cope with the droves of people and the noise level.  This is home to Macyโ€™s NYC which is great for browsing and also a flagship store of H&M, among others.  In close proximity you will find Zara, Mango, Levis, Victoriaโ€™s Secret, Gap and Forever 21 plus loads more!  Top Tip: Come early and during the week to beat the crowds.
  • Lexington Avenue.  This can be found on the Upper East side of Manhattan.  This avenue boasts a mix of some luxury boutiques and more well known brands such as Zara and H&M (which is everywhere). It is also home to one of NYCโ€™s most famous and beloved department stores; Bloomingdales.  This area is a good alternative to 5th Avenue.
  • Times Square.  For all those people who are after a souvenir or an NYC gift, then come on over to Times Square.  In different parts of the square are all sorts of souvenir shops selling everything you could possibly want from models of the Statue of Liberty to t-shirts and tea towels and to state license plate keyring with individual names and tote and carrier bags!  If there is something you are after Iโ€™m sure that one of these shops will be able to find it for you!

12. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Often referred to as The Guggenheim this world-famous art museum was opened on 5th Avenue in 1959 and houses, preserves and interprets different forms of art including pieces by Vincent Van Gogh, Cezanne and Gauguin. The collection can be viewed online and includes exhibits from the Guggenheim museums in Bilbao and Venice.

What sets the Guggenheim apart from other museums in the city is its eye-catching cylindrical architecture.

Book your tickets here.

Top Tip: Pay – what – you – wish – admission on Saturdays from 18:00-20:00

Guggenheim

13. World’s Largest Chessboard

Looking for something quirky in New York? Then head over to the World’s Largest Chessboard located at the North Wall of 212 East 48th street. The game is played every Wednesday at lunch time and the pieces are moved using a cherry picker. There is a flag which indicates whose turn it is and the winner.

Chess

Foodies

For more tips on places to eat, please visit this website, which gives you 50 best restaurants in NYC

New York is one of those cities where there is always something new to do and you can never get bored wandering around; there is too much going on.  Samuel Johnson (an english writer) once said ‘…when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford…’  I think this quote applies to New York as well.

If you have limited time like I did, pop across to my Handy Travel Apps page for useful apps for getting around, where to eat and what the weather will be doing!

C.King

Brit girl on a bummel. A solo female traveller accompanied by her camera, aiming to see as much of the world as possible and sharing what she's learnt along the way!

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1 Response

  1. Vera says:

    Very interesting with some excellent photography and useful tips.

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