Ditch those bulky guide books and consider one of these alternatives to exploring New York City instead.
Avoid The Subway, Bus and Yellow Taxis
If you’re gonna take a yellow Taxi from JFK just to go over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan then so be it but if you just want to experience the Subway for the sake of experiencing the Subway you’ll be gagging for air by the time you exit. It smells and it’s incredibly dirty. A bus tour is overpriced and you will probably be bullied into buying a ticket but just ignore the salesmen and women with all your might. Whilst it may be tempting getting from A to B in a flash on the express subway you’ll miss so much and be stuck in some of the worst gridlocks known to America.
Instead, Walk or Jump on a Bike
New York City may look daunting at first but its easily walkable and cycleable from 57th street all the way down to Battery Park. Just think, you can buy 10 cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery and not feel guilty as you’ll be burning calories whilst you walk. Walking is also a great way to pick out all the little ornate architectural details adorned on the vast majority of New York City’s buildings. New York, after all is famed for its rich Art-Deco style architecture. Walks and bike rides are also the best way to soak some killer views of the skyline during your trip – selfie sticks ready!
Avoid a Trip up the Empire State Building
OK, there is this view and it has been in so many movies but you can’t actually see the Empire State Building from the Empire State Building! Get it? So that’s why you should…
Visit Top of The Rock Instead
OK, it’s another observation deck like the Empire State Building, so what’s the difference? The first is obvious, from “Top of The Rock” you will get to see the iconic Empire State Building and above all appreciate it’s architectural beauty. Then theres the fact that the GE building’s famous observation deck is split over 3 tiers, all of which are outside and uncaged. The first two tiers are covered by glass, whilst the third has no boundaries. From “Top of The Rock” you’ll be able to see unrivalled Panoramic views over Manhattan, Central Park Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey. on a really clear day the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are easily in view.
Avoid Times Square
Everyone’s favourite personal hell. Yes, Time’s Square is the ultimate tourist trap and one of the most iconic New York City attractions known to its visitors. Whilst the neon lights draw in thousands, everything is 20% more expensive and generally 20% crappier than everywhere else here.
Instead, Explore Greenwich
Forget the pandemonium of Times Square and explore Carrie Bradshaw’s domain. There is so much to see and do here. You are spoilt for choice when it comes to boutique shopping, salon hopping, coffee mopping and generally stalking other people’s beautiful colonial houses. It’s the home of Friends, the cutest dogs you will probably ever see and the original independent New York.
Avoid A Manhattan Hotel
Why pay what feels like 10 million dollars for a hotel in Manhattan when you can pay half the price to stay just outside it?!
Instead, Stay in one of the Boroughs
Go on AirBnB and see if you can get a bargain. Manhattan is easily reachable from Queens and Brooklyn on the LIRR (Long Island Railroad) as well as by the Subway from the Bronx or by foot. If you wan’t an extra special ride, then why not look at apartments to rent on Staten Island? You can catch the Staten Island Ferry every morning (for free) to Downtown Manhattan and enjoy magical views everyday of the iconic skyline. Queen’s was voted the top place to visit in America in 2015 by Lonely Planet! Surprising? Not really. There is so much to explore here including the likes of trendy Long Island City and a world class arts scene. So why not look at staying in places like the Bronx and experience what its like to be a real New Yorker for a week.
Avoid Central Park
What? Are you crazy?! Look of horror on face acknowledged but there are plenty of other beautiful Squares, piers and public places to explore other than the “big one”.
Instead, Explore Brooklyn Bridge Park
Now this all depends on the time of year. If it’s winter then avoid anything that’s near the water. Walking around the piers and the large trail that runs from the southern tip of Historic Brooklyn to The Dumbo will conjure up some beautiful views of Manhattan, particularly Downtown. You will be greeted by budding photographers, loved up couples, the cutest dogs and a fantastic view of the Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty.
Avoid Ellis and Liberty Island
You might be thinking we’re going too far. How can I not visit the symbol of freedom and liberty or experience the place where thousands of immigrants flooded into America? You don’t have to. Both can be seen from Battery Park and if you decide to take a trip on the free Staten Island Ferry you will see them both as you cruise along the harbour!
Instead, head for Coney Island
They say NYC was one of the most dangerous places in the world in the 1980s. Coney Island, now much safer than in the 80s serves as a reminder of New York’s true grit, along with other numerous locations in Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx. As you walk around this little mini beach resort you are transported back into what feels like quintessential and iconic New York life. Grab a hot dog at Nathan’s, take a ride on the Cyclone at Lunar Park or walk along the decks immortalised in hundreds of movies.