Friday, May 1, 2009

Reason #44: New York City Travel Guide

My best friend Emily and her husband Joel are coming up next week from Virginia to spend four days in New York City. Emily was my roommate in college, was born and raised in Tennessee and is a true southerner – she loves the mountains, country music, and is even related to Kenny Chesney. I have such fond memories of when she took me to the mountains and to her boathouse on the Tennessee River, and I want her to experience an equally wonderful time in New York (picture of us at her wedding in beautiful TN).

Now, New York is a lot for a visitor to take in all at once. I remember a few years ago when I brought Emily to New York, she immediately looked sky high at the tall buildings and flashy billboards and ended up walking straight into a garbage can. This time around I do not want to set her sights too high and instead wanted to give her a focused guide. Emily has asked me to come up with a list of things to do, to see, and a few restaurants to go to that are “trendy, with drinks, style, and have NOTHING that resembles the country or mountains.” So to Emily and any other visitors, here is my NYC Guide:

First off here are a few tools that will make your stay easier:

Transportation: To get around the city there are three options: by foot, by cab, or by subway. If you want specific directions on how to get around (either by foot or by cab), use You will simply put in the starting address and destination address and you will receive step by step directions and a map.

Also if you are venturing all over Manhattan, you will want to buy a Metrocard down in the subway station. Pick a 1-Day Pass which entitles you to unlimited use of New York City’s subways and buses for one day. A street map may also be helpful.

Wish there was a one-day itinerary already set up for you?
There is! Take this recommendation, One Day in New York, which is a suggested itinerary that explores all of Manhattan in a single day.

Sites to see:

Empire State Building (350 Fifth Avenue)

Rockefeller Center (between 47th -50th Street on 5th Avenue) – While most popular during Christmas time with the tree and ice skating, there is numerous shopping and dining opportunities here. Venture up to “Top of the Rock” which has an observation deck situated on the 70th level of Rockefeller Center.

Fifth Avenue Claimed to be the “most expensive street of the world,” walking up this avenue is a shopper’s paradise. Walk north up Fifth Avenue from Rockefeller Center and pass such stores as Saks Avenue, the NBA Store, Cartier, Bergdorf Goodman, FAO Schwarz, Apple Store, and the Trump Tower. At 59th Street, check out the Plaza Hotel and walk across the street to enter the southern end of Central Park. If you walk south from Rockefeller Center, you will see New York Public Library, Bryant Park, and my office!

Central Park – Take a walk, boat ride, or have a picnic. The park is landscaped with ponds and lakes and covers an area of 843 acres. Are you an animal lover? Check out the Central Park Zoo in the park near 5th Avenue.

Soho- One of my favorite places in New York. A perfect place to walk around, shop, and get a bite to eat.

Metropolitan Museum of Art* – Hands down my favorite museum in NYC with over 2 million works of art.

Madison Square Garden (4 Penn Plaza) – My friend Emily stated that she wanted to bring her basketball loving husband here. Fortunately, her train brings her to Penn Station which is right next to Madison Square Garden - make this your first stop!

* If you are visiting on the first full weekend of every month, from May 09 to December 2010, Bank of America customers can show their Bank of America ATM, credit or check card and enjoy free admission to over 100 participating museums (includes Met, Bronx Zoo, NY Aquarium, and more)

Other things to do:

Broadway Show
Broadway shows are a great experience and a must for tourists. For all the information you need to know about buying Broadway tickets, check out Broadway Discount Tickets Site 101. Recommendations for shows include: Wicked, Avenue Q, Jersey Boys, Sleepwalk with Me, and here are Other recommendations

Comedy Cellar I recently went here for my boyfriend’s birthday, and the whole time I thought this was a perfect activity to do if you were visiting New York. First off, the comedians love tourists and will often use you as the center point in their jokes. Second, it is fairly cheap - $15 plus 2 menu item minimum (choose between drinks, dessert, food, etc). Third, the comedians are very funny and sometimes there are surprise superstars (Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart – when I went I saw Jim Norton.)

Looking for an adventure?

While I have never done this myself, a coworker highly recommended Accomplice New York. Participants compare this game/tour/theater to the Amazing Race just in New York City...

Food Tour
If you are looking to see and taste New York City, try a food and culture walking tour around Greenwich Village. During the three hour tour, you will try the neighborhood's delicious foods while exploring the area and its history.

When it comes to eating, I highly recommend three things: 1) to skip all chain restaurants and try out one of the thousands of amazing and delicious restaurants the city has to offer, 2) to make sure you eat a NY bagel, and 3) to eat some NYC pizza. Heck, while you are at it you must try either the word famous Junior’s cheesecake or a Magnolia cupcake for dessert (both have numerous locations in NYC).

A post on my favorite NYC restaurants and bars for visitors is to come!

1 comment:

  1. I love it, I love it, I love it! I'm so excited to see you! You're the BEST Gilly Bean! (sans publically announcing my garbage can moment). LOVE YOU