First time in New York City - what to see, where to live and how
January 1, 1970
by Jana Fridrichová
Flight is more and more affordable
New York (NY) as a beautiful, famous and big city is not only dream of people who love to travel. I know plenty of people who never been farther than in neighbor country but they would like to see NY. They know this city from hundreds of movies and series and shows. Thanks to this it’s considered as some awesome place where everything is happening and everything can happen to you. And what else it is totally different from Europe which is already ordinary for me. Fortunately for people who are not so adventures or rich it’s getting much easier and cheaper to get to NY by the time. Today you can easily find flight tickets from Europe to NY for 300-400 euros. On some airports and specific airlines it can be even less. What I want to say is that making dream like this comes true is not so hard anymore.
Where to live
But what if I just bought ticket and found out that everything is so expensive? It’s either expensive living on Manhattan, either time consuming transportation from other parts of NY. Sorry but I don’t have recommendation about best and cheapest hostels that’s something you can Google. And another reason why I can’t recommend anything is because both times I was there I had couchsurfer to stay with (Hi Maxim!). And that was the best part about my visit in NY because it was my first experience with Couchsurfing and best experience as well. Maybe you will be same lucky as me and if not you still can try to find some facebook pages where are gathering people of your nationality living in NY. There is plenty of Slovaks, Germans, Polish or Armenian (or whatewer country you are from) people in NY and USA generally because that’s what makes America so great and big. Usually these people have tendency to make communities, today even virtual communities, on social networks. Just try to contact them and it can help you with accommodation or at least it will find you friend in unknown area. Another obtion is always Airbnb. This website full of local people providing their apartments or houses is very usefull and I’m sure every tourist or traveler already know about it.
How you can save money on attractions
If you already found place to stay which fits you the best I have one perfect travel tip for you. It’s possible that you already know this one but it saved me lot of money and brought me to places where I wouldn’t go without it. What I’m talking about is New York Pass. It’s a small card you can buy online and pick up in NY. This thing guarantees you free access to the most attractions and museums in NY. You can buy same thing for other cities like London but I think that for NY it’s the best deal because entrances to museums and skyscrapers are quite expensive and what’s more important there are very long lines.
I had 3 days pass which cost around 200 dollars but if you can, you should rather buy 5 days pass because it’s just around 30 dollars difference. With my NY pass I could go to the Top of the rock (Rockefeller center) and Empire state building without waiting. And don’t forget, just standing in line would take maybe 2 hours without my pass. Then I could visit various museums and I think one of the best was Museum of Modern Art. If you like little controversy and fun there is even free entrance to Museum of Sex with your pass. Another great activity you can do is to rent a bike and go to Central Park or take a boat or NY water taxi to see Statue of Liberty. If you still have time and energy don’t miss Madame Tussauds wax museum. There is one thing I would like to recommend to you all if you choose to bike around Central Park. While you will be biking you can notice that there are some places where you can’t go on bike. Because of this you are losing chance to see some beautiful hidden places like statue of Alice in Wonderland or Belvedere castle. This park is really like small town in the middle of big city so take your time to explore it.
From which skyscraper is the best view
Because I like to mention not only positives let me give you some advices. There are few things you wouldn’t be so happy about in NY. Because it’s a huge city full of people you can feel little and unnecessarily. Then you will start to realize more and more how much waste is there and how dirty city can look. Sometimes, you will meet strange people and in subway you can feel like in horror movie. It’s ok, because even if you find thousand negatives most probably you will be waving to this extraordinary place, during your way back home, hoping you will come back again.
And that was my case. I came again next year few days before I went to work in Miami. That time I have already seen all these touristic places and must go places so I decided just to walk around and enjoy even riding subway. Because in my opinion this is the best thing about going back to place you’ve already been. You don’t need to rush so much and you can just sit for a coffee and watch people, feel the atmosphere. Only place I wanted to visit was One world observatory, new skyscraper built on place where Twins were. Ok I have to admit that it’s majestic and huge. View is spectacular but not as much as from Top of the rock. That one will be still my favorite because it’s not so crowded with tourists, you can see Central park from one side and city with Empire state building across on the other side. What else your view is not blocked by glass like in One world or metal structure like on the top of Empire state building. By the way, best time to go on skyscraper is maybe one or two hours before sunset so you will see everything in light then in sunset colors and at the end in night lights.
Don’t miss if you have more time in NY
Of course, half of the day I dedicated to walk around Central Park because there is always something new you can explore…well this is true mostly if you don’t live there. And what else, I had one lazy night in this crazy city so I could feel for a moment like I’m living there. Just sit in apartment on Manhattan and watch Roman holiday with couchsurfer.
And what do I regret? Of course there are few things I would maybe do differently if I plan my second trip. (Because with plan it wouldn’t be just lazy walking around the city.) For sure I would like to visit Long Island and explore little more other parts of NY, as Brooklyn for example. Of course as a single woman traveler maybe I was little afraid to leave well known Manhattan. But I believe that I will come back again so there is still chance. And because food is important part of traveling experience for me I would eat more local for sure. But probably I saved situation at least a little when I crossed Brooklyn Bridge and tasted real Brooklyn ice cream 🙂