New York is breathtaking, beautiful, big and confusing- especially if it’s your first time there. Everyone dreams about seeing NYC at least once in their lifetime and spend a few days the “New York style” with a late Saturday brunch, late nights out and sunrises on the docks admiring Manhattan.
This all sounds amazing, however, visiting for the first time a city of such scale can become a true nightmare! Your late nights out can turn into blind walks around the city being lost. Your Saturday brunch can become the most expensive, horrendous meal you have ever had. All of that is because there is so much to do in NYC! So much that you will feel overwhelmed, lost and will want to run around the city trying to do as much as possible in the short period of time you stay in The City That Never Sleeps!
I recently came back from New York and even though I didn’t have such a horrid and traumatising experience, I was close enough to it at some point, so I would share a few tips on how to make your New York trip a pleasant and unforgettable experience for yourself.
So, you may ask “how should I not get lost in New York?”
Well, the answer is simple- you PLAN. Now I know that planning may not be the most exciting thing, but trust me- it will save you a lot of nerve and time! Take your time to research and decide what you would like to do while in the Big Apple and you’ll have the best NYC experience you wanted.
But how to plan efficiently? Well, my advice is- think of what New York you want to see. After all, it’s an iconic city and everyone has different images and expectations about it. For your travel partner NYC can be an enormous film set of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sex and the City or the Godfather, while for you it might be the place where fashion week takes place… I suppose you get the idea- having a good NYC experience requires deciding what type of New York you would like to see. After all, this is what makes it a city of everyone’s dreams- because it can appeal to so many different tastes!
So, once you’ve decided what really attracts you in New York and what kind of experience you would like to have, you can start researching places to visit, tours to take and food to try!
I never associated New York to either movies or fashion week or King Kong, I always wanted to see the city life- the unpolished life of the people living in New York, the places where locals actually go and spend their time, how the city became the dream place of the entire human population… And, fine, a place of my favourite New York movie- August Rush 🙂
So, once me and R. discussed what we would like from our New York experience, it was pretty easy and fast to make our “to do” list for our stay. In particular, we focused on:
1. Understanding the history of the city through the great waves of migration and the architectural developments of the city;
2. Living “like a local” by enjoying the vibrant neighbourhoods, the off-the-beaten-track places and,
3. Of course, by eating like locals do!
To quench our thirst for history, we went ahead and booked tickets to see the Ellis island and its museum, the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State building. What really helped us to save time standing in lines is that we got one of the many NY city passes which allowed us to visit 3 attractions of choice avoiding us huge queues or early reservations.
We had a great opportunity to meet some lovely locals since we rented a place via Airbnb in a trendy neighbourhood in Brooklyn. The owners, Joshua and Inga gave us some very useful tips about the best places to go and have brunch, where to hang out in the evenings and what to do around the neighbourhood. What is more, we also did some research about the hip places we wanted to go and we were lucky enough to wonder around the beautiful Dumbo and Chelsea districts as well as to enjoy a lovely walk on the High Lane!..
As you can easily imagine, there is an unimaginable number of restaurants spread all across the city. Locals rarely prepare their own food at home, which makes it super easy to find options for all budgets and preferences! You can have a culinary trip around the world by just walking around the neighbourhood.. Sweet, isn’t it?
As an Italian who’s always been fascinated by Italian-American culture, R. insisted on trying some true New York style pizza slices, and in the few hours preceding our bus back to D.C., his wish was granted. Joe’s Pizza in The Village was the place, and although there were no Italians in the shop, those slices where pretty darn good!
But what is the perfect New York experience for you?..
Want to hear more about what happened in New York? Follow me on social media and I will let you know!