New York City – walking through the coolest city in the world for 6 days
After what felt like 3 months of preparation the day has finally arrived, we were flying to New York City!
We went from Luxembourg to London Heathrow, where we had to stay one night in an Ibis Hotel, because our connecting flight was only the next morning. We would not do that anymore because in the end, we spent more money on the transfer and hotel as we would have spent choosing a direct flight.
The flight from London to New York went by pretty smoothly, unfortunately the service of British Airways was not that great, but nothing could change our good mood and anticipation.
Finally arrived, we had to pass customs first. It is very important to do all the formalities in your home country, in order to pass it without any problems.
Our time was limited to 6 nights in NYC, and we booked the Paper Factory Hotel . The Hotel is located in Queens, but very close to the metro station and it took us approx. 15 min to get to Manhattan’s Times Square. The hotel is really recommendable. In ancient times, the building, as the name suggests, was an old paper factory. The rooms were very nice designed, and in the lobby, you could find a smoothie and breakfast bar. The advantage of a non-Manhattan hotel is that you get more luxury for less money. And in our case, it was the best decision ever because we spent a lot on shopping.
The only mode of transport which we used was the New York Metro (subway). We bought a 7-day MetroCard for $ 31. You need to pay an extra fee for the trip to the airport but it’s very easy to obtain at the counter. We would recommend taking the metro as often as possible, the connections are good and the subway system is very clear for tourists in our opinion. Our companion was of course again an App, which did a very good service. Be sure to keep the metro card, you can re-charge it later.
Day 1 Sunday
Although we had jetlag, we wanted to go to Manhattan and eat something. We took the metro towards Times Square, picked up our New York card for the next day sightseeing and treated ourselves with a good meal at Applebee’s.
Day 2 Monday
There is a ton of stuff to see in a city like NYC. We chose to buy a New York pass for 2 days. We are rather doing 2 days of hard-core sightseeing (Tuesday + Wednesday) and chill the rest of the days than just visiting one or 2 things a day. The New York pass gave us free access to the main attractions in New York city and we paid $ 169 per person.
On first “real” day we decided to go on a long shopping trip followed by an ice hockey match in the evening. We took the metro towards Times Square and check out all the shops in this area. We bought many things from Victoria Secrets, American Eagle and of course the New York Rangers. We went to Union Square / 14th Street. We were definitely in a shopping paradise. A smoothie between 2 stores here and there kept us alive. Later that day, we strolled through little Italy hoping to find the first pizzeria of the city. Lombardi’s Pizza is located in Little Italy, and is probably the most famous pizzeria in the city. We had a very large and good Pizza & for an Italian pizza in New York, it did not taste bad.
We strolled a bit through little Italy and headed back to the hotel. We got ready for the upcoming ice hockey game at Madison Square Garden: New York Rangers against San Jose Sharks. We were immediately blown away. Although we are not necessarily hockey fans, it was just super to see a game live. But there could be some improvement in regards of the beer – we had to drink with straws. VERY unusual.
Day 3 Tuesday
Day 3 was our first real sight-seeing day. We made an agenda in order to be prepared for it:
In the end, we had to switch our agenda a little bit and visited the following stops:
Empire State Building
We were almost the first ones there in the morning, so luckily we had no queue. The view is breathtaking. Thank god that the weather was so good and we could enjoy it at its best. Since we had a lot of fear of heights, we just spent some minutes up on the platform.
New York Skyride
Located in the Empire State Building, the New York Skyride and is a kind of 4D theater. Super cool to watch, but without our New York Pass it would have been too expensive for what it is.
The Highlights of Midtown Tour
Our tour guide was a middle-aged French woman, super nice and friendly. About 20 tourists participated that tour. Starting at the UN headquarters building, we went towards Tudor City -Daily News Building – Chrysler Building – Grand Central station- New York Public Library and Times Square. However, we left the group after Public Library because the people walked so slowly, and we wanted to explore a few more attractions on your own.
For those who do not know it: Madame Tussauds is a waxwork museum, which is located in many major cities. The museum itself is pretty cool because you can take pictures with the waxworks of celebrities or politicians. Madame Tussauds is a classic tourist attraction, so it is good to be informed about possible waiting time in advance. The museum was nearly empty when we arrived. Well, this attraction was cool, certainly an alternative for rainy days, but when the weather is good, you should consider one of the many other outdoor activities.
The queue for to get into the museum was too long, so we walked through downtown and checked out the 9/11 Memorial and the Wall street (bull).
We couldn’t do any more sightseeing because we were too exhausted after this long and impressive day. Without our New York Pass, we would have spent $ 146 per person for all the visited attractions on just one day.
Day 4 Wednesday
We woke up early in the morning in order to continue our hardcore sight-seeing experience:
Liberty Island & Statue of Liberty
We took the subway downtown to go on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately, at least 1.000 other tourists were on that boat as well which was pretty annoying. We were glad when we finally arrived at liberty island. We didn’t visit the Statue of Liberty itself because it was closed that day. After 1h at liberty island, our trip continued towards Ellis Island, the island where the immigrants in the 19th century were registered. A local guy told us that we should go to Staten island ferry instead the next time, it’s for free and there are almost no tourists on board. Too bad, we didn’t know this before.
We went from downtown up to the Bronx via subway. The Bronx have the reputation to be the most brutal part of the New York boroughs. OK, we were only at Yankee Stadium, but it didn’t occur very brutal and criminal to us. Of course, the borough of Manhattan has visually much more to offer, but the Bronx evolve slowly to a cool place to be. Yankee Stadium was very cool to visit but our next New York trip will definitely include more adventures outside of Manhattan.
After our visit to the Bronx we headed back to Manhattan. We visited the Guggenheim Museum. Pretty cool museum, absolutely worth seeing, even if you’re not really into art.
Exhausted from the Guggenheim, we wanted to actually borrow bicycles on the south side of Central Park and explore the park a little bit. Unfortunately, we underestimated the walk from the Guggenheim to the south side area. In the end, we walked for almost 2 hours through the park. while eating ice cream, we thought about how it would be to be able to go for a run there every day.
In the afternoon, we found a nice organic burger restaurant in Hell’s kitchen, where we had some good food and cocktails. We wanted to go out but were too tired.
Day 5 Thursday
Shopping – shopping – shopping. We headed towards Greenwich Village and shopped the streets empty. Exhausted, we found a cool bar that sold beer at happy hour for about $ 3, which is very cheap for NYC. The Off the wagon was a great pub / bar. We made it to our local pub because the atmosphere was so cool od and our favorite pizza place where we ate the best pizza in the US was right next to it. Okay maybe we exaggerate with the pizza, but in case you should ever be in NYC, please check out Ben’s Pizzeria in the Macdougal street. In the evening, we met up with friends from Luxembourg (they were on vacation as well) at Shake Shack to eat a burger. The Burgers were ok, but not outstanding.
Day 6 Friday
We met a cool guy at a bar the evening before and he gave us the tip to go to an outlet in Brooklyn. The Barclays Center is approximately 3km away from the Brooklyn Bridge. We walked the whole way because we didn’t want to miss the chance to see amazing Brooklyn. It is a pretty cool borough of New York; unfortunately way too little attention is being paid to it. The mall was totally fine, I found a very expensive bag for just 20 USD.
Day 7 Saturday
Shortly before our departure we strolled through Manhattan. Unfortunately, time has passed by too quickly. We hardly had any time for nightlife or the LGBTQ scene, since we were always busy with sightseeing or shopping or too exhausted in the afternoon. We met some amazing people on our trip and we will definitely come back!
Food & drinks
234 W 42nd St
The food was serviced quickly although it’s a big restaurant and tasted very good. We had quassedias and a steak. Applebee’s is a food chain and there are around 4-5 restaurants in NYC. We went to the one on times square and totally recommend it – its typical American.
32 Spring St
Lombardi’s claims to be the oldest known pizza place in Manhattan. The walls are full with picture of famous people, who ate there. The pizza is very delicious, the dough is super thin, like in Italy but the restaurant is full with tourists. Nevertheless, our favorite place in little Italy.
Off the wagon
109 Macdougal St
Amazing after-work location. It’s the best place for a party in the heart of the city. We loved the area of Greenwich village. The beer is very cheap at happy hour and the staff is very cool. A great place to turn an after-work drink into a party.
123 Macdougal St
This pizza place is next to Off the wagon. The best pizza we had in NYC so far! The pizza is typical American: fad, full of oil and delicious peperoni. Great hangover cure!
NYC is a very colorful and open minded city. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to check out Lesbian places. We saw a lot of rainbow flags in Greenwich Village. We will give a better conclusion after we have visited again.