Do not kid yourself, do not think you already know everything about New York if you’ve never been there.
It is true that it is one of those places with which we all feel familiar or think we know a little about the amount of movies, series, news and events that happen there. But I tell you something: the city receives each year about 50 million visitors and each one of them will be struggling to achieve the perfect photo or find that privileged site to admire it. So, not to sink in a sea of slow tourists and newyorkers in a hurry, you better have your first trip well planned.
If you think Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge are a few blocks away or you’re going to find a taxi stretching out an arm and whistling, you better rethink your ideas about New York because you’re going to waste your time deciding where to go And how to get there, instead of actually living the Big Apple. Here some advice from someone who suffered and enjoyed the city:
1. We already know that you love Google Maps, but buy a map
In times of wifi and apps, a map may seem obsolete. But the truth is that that big sheet of collapsible paper is going to be your best friend, believe me. And I do not say it only during the trip (because we know that there will always be a time when the internet or the battery is missing), but before the trip. My recommendation is that you buy a map as complete as possible that includes information about the metro and attractions (you can get for less than 10 dollars in any bookstore) and begin to familiarize yourself with it from the time of planning the trip, marking the place where you go To stay and all the places that you plan to travel. Another excellent option, if you want to go even further, is to buy a city guide that will provide you with very detailed and timely information about places you would not otherwise discover (a Lonely Planet can cost around 25 dollars, although there are Cheaper options).
2. Do not even think about renting a car in NYC
The reason for this is that there is no better way to tour the city than the real newyorkers: in the subway. Traffic is almost always chaotic, so most people prefer to travel by subway. The system works 24 hours and is much cleaner and safer than what movies show, plus it travels a great distance through the 5 districts that make up New York City, making it possible to reach virtually any Place with only one or two combinations. Even if you have an adventurous spirit, it is quite common and easy to get to and from the airports on the subway to save yourself about $ 30 which can cost a transfer approximately.
3. If you do not want to spend your money foolishly, here’s the deal:
To say that NYC is an expensive city is a no-brainer. What is not so obvious is to know some ways in which you can save money and time:
– Do not buy individual subway tickets every time you want to use it, it is better to buy a MetroCard of weekly duration that costs $ 31 and can be used unlimitedly for 7 consecutive days, both for the subway and for the buses.
– To save on tickets to museums and attractions, there are cards like this or this one that guarantee you access to the iconic sites at a lower price and also give you preferential access, which will save you long queues. They really work very well! The discounts are real and it is literal that you can go through the side of the long row of income and overtake them all (with a huge smile on your face).
– Most museums have a day where access is free, or they allow you to enter paying the rate you want at will, it is a question of finding the correct information on when to offer this benefit in each place.
– Do not pay internet at the hotel, it is usually expensive and not very good, it is preferable to take advantage of the fact that the subway has free wifi in all the stations of Manhattan, and also in places like Macys, McDonalds and Starbucks, where you can connect without necessity To buy anything.
– In the summer free activities are held at Bryant Park as movies and concerts, it is worth taking a look at the programming.
4. Tell me your budget and I’ll tell you where to stay
Although staying in downtown Manhattan may be the dream of many, the truth is that it is not the cheapest option. Everything is relative to the budget of each person, but if you are looking for cheaper options in your case, you can consider staying in Queens or in Brooklyn where there are many quality hotels and hostels, which because they are not in Manhattan, are more Cheap. You do not have to be afraid! Neither is unsafe, nor is it far, it is simply a matter of not being in a hurry and in 20 or 30 minutes by metro you will be in Central Park. Important: be close to a mouth of the subway. There are also excellent alternatives such as Couchsurfing or Airbnb where you can stay in local people’s houses for much cheaper prices than in traditional accommodations. On Airbnb you can find rooms in Manhattan for USD100 or apartments for USD600 a day. Yes, it is expensive.
5. The gringos do always have their web pages updated
If there are people who specialize in having reliable information always at hand, it is the Americans. So take advantage of it and before you take any step go to the most direct source of information. Whether it’s a museum, an attraction, an event or a service, be sure to always check the official website where you will be informed of costs, how to get there, availability and even tell you what happens in case it rains. Better spend ten minutes doing a search on the internet, than to waste an hour or two on going to a place to meet some surprise.
6. If you stay only in Manhattan you can not say that you know New York
It is true that Manhattan concentrates much of the activities of the city, but the reality is that your trip will be incomplete without the other four districts that compose it. Not leaving Manhattan will make you miss many interesting things that the city has. In Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and even in the Bronx there is a world to discover. Examples: Staten Island’s children’s museum, botanical garden and free ferry; In Brooklyn the Luna Park of Coney Island and the neighborhood of Dumbo; In Queens the Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the NY Hall of Science; In the Bronx the zoo, the Yankees stadium and the famous “tour of contrasts”.
7. Yes, it is obligatory to see some spectacle
If you like musicals and you have a work that you have wanted to see your whole life, it is best that you buy months in advance those tickets in the front row that you always dreamed. Now, if you just want to have the experience of seeing a musical on the legendary Broadway Street and you do not care what you see, you can take advantage of the last minute offers that are offered here in Times Square, where tickets can be purchased until For a quarter of its normal value (always to attend on the same day). There is also the option of Off Broadway circuit, where there are works less famous but cheaper. Now, if yours are not the musicals, New York also has something for you: give a check to the events schedule in the city (for example in Madison Square Garden) because surely some equipment you like or your band Have a scheduled date during your trip.
8. It’s time to go back to see that movie that you liked and what happens in New York
No matter what genre you like, you probably have at least one favorite movie to happen in New York. Before traveling it is worth going back to see that movie or series in which the city is shown. When you are there you will see everything as if it were a deja vu. A listing would be endless, but a few examples to begin with are: Men in Black 1 before going to the Guggenheim Museum, The Avengers before touring the Grand Central Terminal, Woody Allen’s Manhattan, My Poor Angel 2 before going to Central Park, King Kong, Gangs of New York, Ghostbusters …
9. Empire State or Top of the Rock?
These two are the most famous viewpoints of the city. Visit one? Visit the other? Visiting both? Here are some general ideas for you to decide better: The Empire State is a icon of New York and its 360 degree observatory is located on the 86th floor. Being the most famous, it is always very crowded, so it is recommended to visit it First thing in the morning or late at night, to avoid a bit of crowds, as many people do not know that it is open until 2:00 am. On the other hand, the Top of the Rock is the gazebo located on floors 67, 69, and 70 of the Rockefeller Center and has the advantage of never filling as much as the Empire State and also from there you can see two things that The Empire not: Central Park and the Empire State itself. So if you want to visit both, ideally take a night view from the Empire State Building, and a daytime view of the city from the Top of the Rock.
10. The Statue of Liberty, yes or no?
The most iconic statue in New York can be a mystery. You can enter? Can you reach the crown? Here’s my perspective on this: If you are interested in the history and subject of immigration, you will like to take a tour to get there. The basic tour costing around 25 dollars allows you to explore the surroundings of the statue and also visit Ellis Island, where formerly immigrant-loaded boats arrived, all with audio guides included in the price. The basic tour does NOT include entrance to the pedestal or the crown, these accesses must be purchased months in advance. So if your idea is to walk the statue inside and peer through the windows of your crown, you better reserve it with the necessary anticipation because you will not be able to buy them when you arrive. Now, if your interest is simply to spend close to the giant green woman and take a nice photo with her in the background, you do not need to spend time and money to get to the island, just take one of the many navigations that exist since they will all give you The possibility of doing that selfie to climb Instagram. Do you want a free option? Here it goes: check the public ferry to go to Staten Island here. Yes, you read well, it’s free.
11. Do not even think about taking photos of police officers
Be compliant with the law, do not take photos where you are told not to do it and NEVER to police officers since the 2001 attacks are very rigorous with security issues. I tell you from experience! To get to do it you will be approached very kindly to ask you to show the photos to erase them themselves. Other general recommendations I can give you are: do not drink alcoholic drinks in the street, wear your shoes more comfortable because there are many miles you walk, you get what you can most early, because sleeping until 11:00 am is not A good idea in NYC. When you see that “something” that you liked, take advantage and buy it at the moment, because I can assure you that coming back later to buy it is going to be almost impossible and you will be left with the desire. Ah, last and for your own good: DO NOT BLOCK THEMSELVES! Or you will be the victim of an angry look accompanied by an “oh my goshhh”.