Take The SubwayNYC Subway Station (Shutterstock) As we all know, New York’s subway can be confusing and therefore, daunting to take. However, if you want to experience New York like a local, I recommend you take a Metro Card, load it, think of where you’re going and take the subway! The subway, as a matter of fact, is the fastest mode of transportation to get around. New York is as jammed in traffic as you could imagine. The things that may be of help to you are to download a map of New York’s subway stations and route (in PDF or as an image) and purchase the Metro Card (make sure not to get the single-use card. You will save money with this). Brave the train!
Eat Some PizzaClassic New-York-style pizza slice (Shutterstock) Besides Italy, New York is one of the places where you can find a wide selection of pizza. New York-style pizza is one of the many things that they are known for. To get the best New York-style pizza you can get, head on to one or all of these places: Joe’s Pizza in Gramercy specifically located at 14th street serves that quintessential New York pizza. Pizza at Prince St is the best when it comes to square pizzas. Keste in West Village is where you can find Neopolitan pizza. The thin crust Vodka Pizza is amazing at Rubirosa in Nolita. In Patrizia’s Kips Bay located on 2nd Avenue, a combination of calzone and pizza in one plate is heaven! They also serve other crazy shapes for a pizza like the one with the sun shape.
Watch a Broadway ShowBroadway in NYC is a must-see (Shutterstock) You cannot miss the chance to watch a Broadway show when you’re in New York. It may be pricey for a single night but definitely worth it. To get discounts or cheaper tickets, TKTS by TDS is the place to buy your tickets. These ticket booths are located at the center of Times Square near the red steps, at David Rubenstein Atrium Atrium in Center and at downtown Brooklyn corner of Jay St. and Myrtle Ave. Get your tickets on the day of the show to get the best deals for your seats.
Go To International Neighborhood Food MarketsChinese New Year celebration in NYC (Shutterstock) New York is filled with international influences concentrated in their own part of town. You don’t just get the American culture here, countries like China, Korea, Italy, and India contribute to the liveliness of the city.
ChinatownThere are three Chinatowns in New York, namely, in 8th Ave. in Brooklyn, one in East Broadway in Manhattan and one in Flushing, Queens, the best one is in Flushing, Queens. You'll find a lot of choices and places to go like restaurants, markets and the community that is very diversified.
K-townKoreatown is located on 32nd street between 5th and 6th ave. You should try the Michelin star steakhouse called Cote.
Little ItalyTry authentic Italian pizza, pasta, gelato at Little Italy located in Mulberry street. Most restaurants have their raw materials shipped from Italy.
Little IndiaMost Indians are concentrated in the Murray Hill part of town near Madison Park. There is also one in Jackson Heights, Queens, and one in East Village.
View From Observation DecksBird's eye view of Manhattan skyline (Shutterstock) The skyline of New York is a sight for sore eyes both during the day and night. To get the best views, here are some recommendations:
Top of The RockLocated at the Rockefeller Center, this observation deck was reopened in 2005 for tourists to experience a 360-degree view of the city including the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and Central Park from above. To get a good deal, purchase your ticket online in advance.
One World ObservatoryOne World Observatory in One World Trade Center offers a great view of the city whilst you dine.
Empire State BuildingBeing in the tallest height to view New York, Empire State does not disappoint with the view.
Staten Island FerryIf you’re up to a view on deck, ride the free Staten Island Feery for the view of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty.
Go To Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge in the background (Shutterstock)One of the top places for tourists (and locals) to visit is the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Being there just completes the New York experience. To have a more enjoyable trip there, come on weekdays and not on the rush hours like in the morning and evening when most people commute to and from work. Also, the Brooklyn Bridge is beside the Manhattan bridge and if you’re not a local (or even if you are) and you are going there via the subway, you may get confused on which way to go, so make sure you bring a map with you. If you want the best backdrop for your pictures, walk the bridge from the Brooklyn side going to the Manhattan side. The walk may take up to 30 minutes one way and consider that you’re stopping for pictures so plan this trip for up to 1 hour of your day. It is also helpful to note that there are no bathrooms and street vendors on the bridge, so when you walk the bridge, make sure to commit your 30 minutes to an hour to that and bring your own water and snacks and empty your bladder before walking.
Chill at Parks
Central Park, NYC (Shutterstock)20% of New York is composed of parks so finding a park to chill at is not a hurdle. You already know which park is the most famous of them all so let’s start with that.
Central ParkThe most famous park in New York is in every tourist’s itinerary. The park is located in Manhattan stretching from 59th street all the way to 110th with an approximately 8 kilometers worth of walking along its path. Central Park offers a stunning view of midtown Manhattan. It would take you around 1 or 2 hours to walk around the entirety of the park.
Bryant ParkBryant Park is located in the heart of Manhattan one block east of the southern end of Times Square. Because of its proximity to the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Center, you’ll find that most of the population here are 9 to 5 employees having their lunch. You’ll find a lot of street performers especially musicians here.
Madison SquareThis park may not be as manicured as the other parks but this may actually be a familiar sight to you as this park has been featured in a lot of movies especially the Shake Shack stall. This branch of the fast-food chain is actually the very first branch and it is still running successfully.
Battery ParkLocated in the most southern tip of Manhattan, Battery Park is the place to be when you want to book a ticket to see the Statue of Liberty.
Watch The Sunrise/SunsetView of Brooklyn Bridge during sunset in the background (Shutterstock) The best places to go for a view of the sunrise or sunset is at the Top of The Rock Observatory Deck where you see the skyline of the city including the Empire State building. The Brooklyn Bridge also offers a great view of the sunrise or sunset even without being at a very elevated spot.
Visit Islands Or Go To Other BoroughsThe city of New York is composed of people of different national origins. This can be reflected by the different parts of the city. New York is composed of five different counties that are called its boroughs- Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Each borough offers different vibes, sights, and culture. Manhattan may be the heart and center of NYC, however, the Big Apple is not only about the hustle and bustle and skyscrapers. Try to visit at least one of these boroughs and you’ll be surprised how different but familiar each of them can be from another.
Shopping in SoHo, NYC (Shutterstock)Make it your goal to be as fabulous as midtown Manhattan is. You don’t have to spend a ton of money. New York is full of designer brands on big sales and discounts and of course, the eclectic vintage finds. Century 21, for example, sells designer goods with almost 80% off the price. Thrift shops like City Opera also offer good quality shoes, bags, clothing, and other art pieces for a cheaper price. Goldwater Thriftique, L Train, and Tokio 7 in East Village are recommended stores to visit, too.