First time Visitors in NYC

The first time you visit the city you do not want to miss anything. I am sorry to tell you that you will. New York has so much to offer that it is impossible to be seen in just one visit. But I can tell you what you should visit the first time you put your foot in the big apple.

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  • WHAT IS NYC: New York city is composed of 5 boroughs -Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

  • LANGUAGE: English

  • CURRENCY: American Dollar

  • GETTING AROUND: There are many options to move around, Subway, train and taxis are the most common ones.

  • NY CITYPASS: If you plan on visiting so many things in a short time you should check out this pass.

  • WHERE TO STAY: Airbnb is a good option but sometimes I have found better deals in Hotels.

The MET- Metropolitan Museum of Art

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It is so hard to explain how big this museum is. The space presents millennia of humanity’s contributions to art, cementing its legacy as one of the greatest museums of the world.

I would recommend this activity for a rainy or snowy day because you will spend so many hours in here- Plan what you want to see because it is impossible to see it all in one day.

This, along with The MoMa, are my favorite museums in the city. 

You can buy your ticket here or your entrance will be cover if you got the New York Citypass

Times Square

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It’s been estimated Times Square is the world’s most visited tourist attraction. Tourists from all over the globe come to marvel at the neon billboards, see a famous musical, go shopping in the area and soak up the unique vibe. And of course take a picture!

Empire State

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Catch the sight of the Empire State Building and you have stepped into the Big Apple. The iconic building will celebrate its 90th anniversary on May 1st, 2021. 

When the construction was complete in 1931 it became the world's tallest building for 40 years until 1972 when the North Tower of the World Trade Center was finished and stood even taller.

The Empire State Building is considered to be an American cultural icon, designed with Art Deco style and being one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. 

Get to know the whole story inside the building and marvel yourself with the views from the top.

Tickets here

The Vessel

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There is always something new in New York City and this is one of the things that I mostly love about this city. The Vessel is part of the largest private real estate development in US history since Rockefeller Center, Hudson Yards. Located in the west side of Manhattan, it has both residential and commercial buildings.

One of the cool things about The Vessel is the free access. To enter, you need to book tickets online – for free – through the Hudson Yards website and select a day and time. Sometimes it can be hard to get a ticket. however, even if you do not get the tickets, it’s worth seeing from the outside. 

The Vessel is currently closed after three suicides in less than a year. It will reopen on 28th May. For more info visit the page.

 

Do not miss The Shops at Hudson Yards, a mall with nothing less than 7 floors and more than 100 stores. Check it out during Christmas time, the decorations are insane!

Recently they opened The Edge, the highest sky deck in the Western Hemisphere with a 360-degree view. I have not visited this place yet but it is on my plans!

The Brooklyn bridge

There’s no doubt about it – walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most quintessentially New York things to do, and most anyone who visits this city will eventually make the 1.3-mile trek.

I ha crossing many times and I have to say that sometimes there are too many people. I was able to walk it during last summer during the COVID lockdown and it was almost empty. A mix of feelings were inside me that day, excitement to be able to enjoy the bridge and sad because that is not the essence of this city.

Do you know why is this bridge so famous?

Crossing the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge was the world’s first steel-wire suspension bridge. In the 19th century, immigration, innovation and skyscraper architecture began to shape New York city's future and the construction of this bridge was a fundamental factor added to the city.

The bridge represents the past and the present of this marvelous city.

Dumbo

This is the neighborhood you are gonna see when you cross the bridge.

It is one of New York City’s hippest, historic neighborhoods with the best views and the city’s best pizza!

My favorite pizza is from Grimaldi's

Main street Park offers spectacular views of the East River and Manhattan. Prepare a picnic and enjoy one of the best sunsets in the city.

The Statue of Liberty

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A great way to see the city skyline and the Statue of Liberty is to hop on the Staten Island Ferry, which is free!

But, if like my first visit, you want to visit the Statue and Ellis island, there is a  ferry included in the NEW YORK CITYPASS. I made my way to the back of the ferry and got these spectacular views!

The High line

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photo by Mike Tschappat

The High Line is a public park on the West Side of Manhattan. Built on a historic, elevated rail line. You can walk through gardens, view art, experience a performance, savor delicious food, or connect with friends while enjoying a unique perspective of New York City. I love visiting this place during summer time.

The Flatiron Building

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In a city of striking architecture, the Flatiron Building is one of New York’s most celebrated skyscrapers.

Located at 175 Fifth Avenue, it has been the subject of paintings, photos, postcards and films, making it a quintessential symbol of New York.

Unfortunately, there is not public access to the building, but the view of its different shape is totally worth a trip.

Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center is the symbol of midtown Manhattan and easily one of the best attractions in New York. A complex of 19 buildings and plazas, located between Fifth and Seventh Avenues.

What to see here:

-The Channel Gardens

-The famous Christmas tree

-The Top of the Rock Observatory

Central Park

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What should I say about Central Park? This iconic part of New York is a free must-see. I have seen the park in every season and all of them are beautiful.

In winter the snow covers the place and you can ice-skate. In fall the foliage gives all these colors to the city and spring and summer are perfect for picnics and walks.

Seaport

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The Seaport District is New York's original commercial hub, located on the East River in Lower Manhattan with unparalleled views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and the city skyline. 

It is the perfect place to spend the afternoon and watch the sunset.

Do not miss my post ROMANTIC PLANS IN NYC and have one of the most romantic dinners in the area, and in the city. 

Grand Central Terminal

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If you want to feel a taste of New York fast life and see a wonderful architecture, this is the place.

The Main Concourse of Grand Central Terminal is something you’ve seen over and over in films, but seeing it in person feels so special.

My advice, go to the middle and look up, and stare at the constellations, which by the way are wrong. Not a long ago a traveler discovered they were reversed.

Sex and the City and the West Village

Any fan of Sex and the City knows the iconic scene where Carrie and Miranda sit on a bench outside of Magnolia Bakery eating cupcakes while discussing Carrie’s newly-developed crush on Aidan and Miranda’s relationship with Steve.

Well, whether you are a fan or not you should visit this bakery because it is fantastic!

The original bakery is located at the West Village and just 2 minutes by foot you will find Carrie's apartment at 64 Perry Street.

After the show, and because the cupcakes are damn good, the bakery has opened other shops in the city.

Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center

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Get to see a 360 degree view of the NYC skyline from this observatory deck located at the Rockefeller Center.

The view of the Empire state illuminated is simply magical.

The Top of the Rock height is 850 feet from base to the top of the antennas. On the 70th floor, you’ll be 850 feet, on the 69th floor you’re at 840 feet, and on the 67th floor it’s 820 feet.

Tickets here

 

You might have heard of people saying that they prefer to go to a bar rooftop for free and they get beautiful views too. What is my opinion about this?

Well, first I have to say that going to a rooftop bar or restaurant is not free, in order for you to be there you have to buy something and they tend to be very expensive.

For instance, the price of the Top of the Rock general admission fee is $38 and a Manhattan cocktail at 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar $30. Now you are probably thinking " I am paying the same but at least I get a cocktail at the bar"

In my opinion both are worth it and different experiences. At the rooftop you get to enjoy a specific view with a drink  and at the Top of the Rock  you are free to move around and get a 360degrees view. 

If you have the money and the time for both, do both! If you do not, choose the place according to your preferences!

230 Fifth Rooftop Bar

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Radio City and Broadway

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Radio City Music Hall is an iconic musical entertainment venue and a symbol of Midtown Manhattan and the Rockefeller Center Area, located at 1260 6th Ave, on the corner of 50th Street.

Over the decades, it has hosted the most famous musicians and performers on the planet, as well as many show business awards, including the Tony and Grammy awards.

Without a doubt its most claimed show is THE ROCKETTES, a precision dance and a wonderful Christmas display . I was so lucky to see the show in 2019 and they are coming back this 2021!

The Theater District-Broadway- is home to 40 large professional theaters and believed to be the best in the world. 

9/11 Memorial

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Built in the footprints where the twin towers once stood at the World Trade Center, the 9/11 Memorial is made up of two large pools with man made waterfalls in their sides. The design, referred to as “Reflecting Absence,” symbolizes the loss of life that day as well as the physical void left by the leveling of the massive pair of buildings that once stood in its place.

Around the top of each pool bronze plates form a commemorative rim listing the names of the 2,983 souls killed in New York City, Arlington, Virginia and Stony Creek Township, Pennsylvania as well as the six victims who lost their lives in the February 1993 World Trade Center bombing. 

Helicopter tour

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Helicopter tours offer a bird's-eye view of the city's massive skyscrapers and varied architecture while providing terrific photo opportunities!

I cannot remember the name of the company we took the flight with, but I remember we took off  from Battery Park and paid $120 each/ 25 min flight.

Just Search Helicopter tour NYC on google and compare offers, there are so many.

It is indeed an unique experience!

New York's Pizza

New York's Pizza is worldwide famous and you gotta try it!

One of my favorites is from Grimaldi's in Dumbo. Add a view to it and enjoy!-This was last summer in Liberty park, NJ, one of the best view of the city's skyline.

Stop a yellow taxi and hop on!

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The city is brimming with yellow cabs, but you have to know what you’re doing to get a cab.

Go to a corner and be sure that you’re hailing in the direction you’re headed. Bear in mind, most avenues don’t have two-way traffic. Step into the street, but stay far enough from traffic. When you see an available taxi, extend your arm (like you mean it!) and as if you do it every day. In other words, pretend that you are not a newbie cab hailer.

Now feel like a New Yorker!

I hope you enjoy your first visit to the city!

Do not miss my NYC GUIDE -Free things to do in NYC & ROMANTIC PLANS