How to do New York City in 5 days

Monday, January 19, 2015

When I got back I hit the ground running and swore I had posted this but nope it appears I never did so here it is. Better late than never.

I recently had the opportunity to go to New York City for business reasons which were only one day so had to make the most of being there and that I did by having 5 days to play.

19 years ago I moved to the city for work and spent almost a year there. It now seems like someone elses life. I was a different person then and the city was a different place. The madness is still there but I was so disoriented due to all the changes. I swore I would come up out of the subway and know which way to walk to my old apartment. 2 different businesses on 4 different corners was very confusing. Luckily I lived across the road from a fire station so googled that and found where to go.

First up, the city is expensive, so expensive to stay in. My travelling companion Gail and I wanted separate beds which meant that a lot of B&B places did not suit. We absolutely did not want to stay in midtown Manhattan so chose  The Cosmopolitan hotel in Tribeca. There was a Starbucks on the ground floor...tick for great tea for me. There was a subway stop right outside the door...tick and a Wholefoods around the corner...tick. Nice and quiet and less touristy than midtown. Our room was tiny and very basic and you could barely swing a cat (which I would never ever do) in the bathroom. Honestly it didn't matter as we were out from 8 am till midnight every day and the beds were super comfy.

I HIGHLY recommend getting a CityPass before you go. BEST value ever and will make your life so much easier. I also had these in California last year and it was amazing value there also. With a CityPass you get discounted tickets to major attractions and the best thing is you do not wait in a regular line with everyone else, you have a priority line. Saves an amazing amount of time and you feel a little rock star'ish'.

You should absolutely get a subway pass as well. 7 days for $29 was hands down the best value ever. We took the subway everywhere and at all times of day and night. Very safe.

Our first day was pouring with rain, like torrential and we have never ever seen as many Hunter boots as we did. We headed straight to the amazingly glorious Grand Central Station that has an Apple store in it now. It was built by the Vanderbilts and is very opulent. I walked through here every morning to get to work back in the day and it never lost its wonder.

Next stop using our CityPass was The Metropolitan Museum. This is an incredibly building (easy to get lost in, even with maps) filled with amazing art. Well worth the visit and if weather permits the roof top garden is worth a peek.

We got there to HUGE lines and managed to find another entrance away from the main one and were once again faced with big lines inside but spotted a CityPass representative walking around who took our tickets and off we went. About 30 minutes saved.

I really love the Egyptian exhibition

And you simply must get a hot dog from one of these guys.

Day Two was a slow (stopping at shops) up 5th Avenue towards The Empire State Building. Always an amazing view and a super impressive art deco building. We passed the iconic flat iron building on the way.

Once again the lines were long and we were told out front it was a 90 minute wait but we zipped through with our passes. Flatiron building from above.

Miss Liberty


The Chrysler Building is equally grand

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is located 10 minutes walk from our hotel and was high on our list to visit and is not included on the CityPass. The memorial is free for anyone to visit but if you would like to see the museum which really is a must then you need to make a booking in advance. It is a very sobering experience that left us feeling pretty broken. We both had lots of tears, there are plenty of tissue stations around. We all remember the day and where we were and all those images we were confronted with.The museum has been done in such a caring, thoughtful and provoking way. The memorial itself is stunning, the noise of the waterfalls drowns out the city noise so it is just you and it. I had 2 friends lose close friends here and I shed extra tears for them here.

After a beautiful dinner we head back to the Empire State Building for the night view. You can do this for free after 8pm on the same day you visited.

Our super decadent treat was a helicopter ride, I was a total pauper when I lived in New York so things like this were just a dream. It really was very cool to see New York from above and all the surrounding boroughs. If you cans wing in, do it.

Through one of my gorgeous Australian friends we got to have a tour of still my beating heart. You can read the full post on the visit here.  A big highlight of our trip.

One thing that Gail really, really wanted to do was a bike ride around Central Park. I was lukewarm about the idea but man am I glad we did it. It was an awesome way to see this amazing space and one of my very favorite places in the city. If there were no park I don't think New York would be as amazing as it is. It would just be a huge metropolis with nowhere to escape to. We took the bikes for 2 hours and did the 8km up to Harlem and back. Warning, lots of surprisingly big inclines. If only we had time to just lie on a blanket and people watch like I used to do.

A new addition to New York is The Highline, an elevated freight rail line transformed into a free, public park on Manhattan’s West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues. We bought delicious cupcakes at Chelsea Market and parked ourselves on a park bench to have them for breakfast. Make sure you make this a priority, it is a great way to see a new part of the city and peek into people's apartments if thats your thing. (It's soooo mine). Even in the dead of winter there are activities going on.

Last stop for us on the morning we left was Top of The Rock, that is also part of the City Pass.  Yet another amazing view from a new and unique perspective. Situated at the top of the iconic Rockerfeller Centre, this has the best possible view across the Park.

We followed this with a trip to Tiffany's, an absolute must even if it is just for a look and to feel like Holly Golightly for a small while.

Although I have not mentioned much about it, we did ALOT of shopping. We walked everywhere and brought home most of New York. One does tend to get a little carried away here.

We also ate at some of the most amazing restaurants and cafes but I will try my hardest to get that out in a new post.

I still love New York as much as I ever have and can not wait to return.

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