A couple of weeks ago, my family and I had the opportunity to spend a few days in New York. We were there for 5 days, and didn’t even come close to doing everything we wanted to do. That’s not a suprise, considering everything that the city offers. And since the primary reason of our visit was a family celebration, our free time to play tourists was reduced.
Rather than give you an account of what we did, I’ll just list some of my impressions of the trip:
- New York is still the city that doesn’t sleep, still as fascinating as ever, still as vibrant as ever
- The subway system is a phenomenal form of transportation. The ride from where we were staying in Brooklyn to Times Square was about half an hour.
- As good as it is, the subway system is most definitely not stroller friendly! Fortunately, there was always someone willing to help me carry it up or down the stairs, or to open the gate for us. Some people went literally out of their way to help us. Cynics said these were probably tourists; they were not.
- If you plan to ride later than 11:30 or midnight, be aware of lines skipping stops or changing routes. Our half hour to Brooklyn turned into an hour and a half ordeal when we left Grand Central after midnight.
- Few scenes are as eye-catching as Times Square at night. This is true both for adults, as well as kids, and even our baby.
- “The Park” is not the only one in the city. Carl Shurz Park, in the Upper East side, on the East River, was a very pleasant surprise.
- Be prepared to walk a lot. Wear comfortable shoes. One night, we walked from Times Square, down Broadway, all around Midtown, up 5th Ave, through Rockefeller Center, back to Times Square. The next one, from Grand Central, up Lexington, to central Park, ending around 90th St. Our final afternoon, we walked for a couple of hours in the Museum of Natural History (in the Upper West Side), and then all the way down to Lexington and 39th on the East Side.
- During those long walks, absorb every sight you can. There may be something familiar, something unexpected, something beautiful, in every street, every corner.
- Be prepared to make alternate plans. Our rainy days derailed our plans to visit Ground Zero, Chinatown, Little Italy, and surrounding areas. We ended up spending more time inside and around Grand Central Station, and visiting the museum. Fortunately, there are plenty of attractions to consider away from the weather.
- Time permitting, visit some of the other boroughs. Each one has a different personality. We had the opportunity to stay in Brooklyn (Crown Heights, to be exact), and to visit several neighborhoods in that borough.
- As in every trip, engage the people you meet, be it locals or other tourists. We spent an hour with great conversation sharing a table at a Starbucks with a Mexican biochemist in town for a conference.
- Enjoy the food and the atmosphere! If there’s one city that has everything type of cuisine available, any type of activity you may want, this is it.
Also, let me point out some useful tools:
- Metropolitan Transportation Authority‘s website give’s you information on the Metro, the different lines and schedules. It even has a trip planner where you can enter your current location, destinations, and it will tell you the best way to get there.
- http://www.nycgo.com is the city’s official marketing and tourism organization.
- The NYC Subway Map app for the iPhone comes in very handy when you’re need a quick look at the extensive map. It’s not interactive, though, so you need to have an idea of where you are and where you’re going.
- Another app, The New York at a Glance City Guide, by Bee Loop, has a long list of attractions, points of interest, shopping venues, restaurants, etc. It also gives you the cost of an attraction’s entrance, and sorts locales by distance from your current location.
There’s always something to do in New York. Perhaps no other city in the US is as vibrant, as electric, as “must see”, than New York. There’s also no wrong time to visit. Each season has its own appeal.
If you’ve visited the city, you know what I’m talking about. Feel free to comment below; I’d love to hear what you have to say.
Regards,Enrique Brener KC Travel N. Miami Beach, FL www.kctravel.jurni.net firstname.lastname@example.org 305-792-0618 FL Seller of Travel Reg. TI-35171