Start Spreadin’ the News, I’m Leavin’ Today, I Want to Be a Part of It New York, New York!
Welcome to my home away from home…NYC!!! My love for New York happened in March of 2014 and since then I have been back 9 times. There is something about the hustle and bustle of the city, the constant stream of people watching, and the amazing food that has stolen my heart and keeps me coming back. My first time to New York, I remember how overwhelming it was trying to decided which pizza place to eat at, who had the best cheesecake, and where exactly to visit. If you are thinking of visiting I hope that my following suggestions will help make planning your visit a little less stressful.
Getting Around NYC
Getting around NYC can be stressful, but we have found that most NYC locals have no problems helping answer any direction questions you may have. Downloading the NYC Subway app will definitely help you figure out which line to take. Each ride on the subway is $2.75 and if you are there for more than 3 days you will want to buy a 7 day pass which is $30 and well worth it. You cannot share it as it makes you wait 20 min between swipes so each person will need their own. Avoid taxis at all costs as they are being paid by the min and are in no hurry to get to your destination. If we don’t take the subway, we use Uber or Lyft as they are much cheaper and we have found they are a little more motivated to get you to your destination since they are paid by the trip.
My all time favorite Pizza joint is Johns of Times Square! This was my first meal in NYC and since then it is tradition that we always eat there first. Johns has been voted one of NYC best pizzas because the pizzas are made to order in a coal-fired brick oven that has aged over time. What also makes Johns unique is that it is located inside an old gospel tabernacle that is over a 100 years old. Whether you are sitting downstairs or in the balcony you can look up and see the original beautiful stained glass ceiling.
Now, let’s talk cheesecake! Everyone says Juniors Cheesecake is the best but in my personal opinion, Magnolias bakery has the best cheesecake!!! There are multiple locations across the city and my all-time favorite is their caramel pecan! Be prepared to pay $7.50, but in my opinion it is worth every penny! If you are not a cheesecake person, they also have amazing cakes, cookies and their banana pudding is to die for.
If you decide to visit Little Italy you need to go to Da Gennaro and try the Ravioli Bella Napol! I have visited this family owned restaurant located in the heart of Little Italy 3 times and it has yet to disappoint. It is located on a picturesque corner that has windows that can open during the warmer weather seasons and momentarily transport you back to Italy with its authentic food, atmosphere and hospitality.
Who loves a good burger or Lobster? Well, let me introduce you to Burgers & Lobster, a chain first introduced in London that has grown to several other countries including the only location in the US, NYC! My first time there I chose the burger and lobster combo and it was a sheer heaven.
My favorite spot that I have been to 6 times is Top of the Rock which is located in Rockefeller Center. It offers breathtaking views of Central Park, Downtown and a 360 view of the city. You can go up during the day or night and if it is your first time and you cannot decide between which time, either choose night or get the Sun and Stars ticket. Nighttime is so beautiful seeing everything lit up, and the Sun and Stars allows you to visit twice in a 24 hour period. I have been up in many of the buildings in NYC but this is personally my favorite because of the views, plus you are able to get a great look at the Empire State Building and several iconic photos on any of the 3 floors you visit. I would definitely suggest buying your tickets ahead of time so that you don’t have to stand in line to get them, plus you can pick out what time you want to go.
Lady Liberty is another favorite of mine. If you are wanting to go up into her crown, you will need to buy your tickets months in advance as they sell out quickly. We chose the Reserve with Crown Ticket which gave us access up to the crown of Statue of Liberty and access to the grounds of Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Going first thing in the morning is the best option as later in the day the grounds become heavily crowded and longer wait times for the ferry. If you are planning to do both Liberty Island and Ellis Island, you will want to set aside a good 4-6 hours to be able to get a good tour of both islands plus the time it takes to ferry between them and NYC.
The 9/11 memorial and museum is a must-see while in NYC. I have visited the memorial many times as it is free whereas the museum you will need to purchase a ticket. Make sure to set aside several hours if you are planning to go through the museum as there is a lot to take in and can be emotionally hard. I would not recommend for young children as there are some areas that are graphic.
Central Park is another iconic sightseeing spot that I probably walk through each time I go. It is quite large and I have found the best way I saw a lot of iconic spots and learned my way around was doing a walking tour. It lasted about 2 hours, but we saw where the ice skating park was, the carousel, several iconic spots that are used in films, the Bethesda fountain and the Bow Bridge over central park pond. If you are there during the warmer months, definitely rent a boat and go out on pond for a while as it truly is beautiful. There are many horse and buggy rentals around the park, but they are overly priced and do not give you a good view of many of the locations listed above.
I hope these few suggestions help make your next trip to NYC a little simpler. Visiting NYC is definitely an experience and there is something there for everyone no matter the age or what their interests are!
- Sallie Snipes