Cities, Practical Information

First time to New York | We help you on your way!

For the first time to New York City you are probably stunned by the impact of the Big Apple, or you are hoping to get a glimpse of the strange side of NYC.
No question surprised a New Yorker more than the most common question of a first-time visitor: what should I do in New York City? There is no right answer ……… ..

What to do in New York?

For some, seeing well-known cinematic scenes, such as taking down Melanie Griffith’s Staten Island Ferry from the film Working Girl, is sufficient or others prefer to peek into Tiffany’s display windows on Fifth Avenue. For others, eating a hot dog at Nathans or in the stands at Yankee Stadium, or experiencing the diversity of the neighborhoods is enough. And for some it is just theater, theater, theater. You probably already have a few images of New York City in your possession with sights to visit. For starters, you want to see them in real life, and then be open to where the city takes you. Keep in mind that if you really want to “understand” New York, you should visit the Big Apple for at least a second and possibly third time.

Where to stay?

It does not matter where you are going to stay, expect less space and higher prices for hotels and motels in New York – it is just that and there is nothing to do about it. There is no high or low season. The price for a hotel room regularly exceeds $ 300 per night (but do not be put off, there are cheaper ways to stay if your budget is less adequate).

People who want to visit New York for the first time are understandable, close to Manhattan’s attractions and restaurants, and particularly the Broadway Theater District around Times Square. The only part of Midtown with a lot of life when the evening has made its appearance. A block away from Times Square is the Casablanca Hotel with a Moroccan theme and comfortable rooms from about $ 249 per night. Just north, the Upper West Side, is a good safe choice for a more ‘neighborhood’ feel with many theaters, restaurants and bars besides it is close to Central Park. There you will also find the Country Inn the City located in a limestone mansion from 1891 surrounded with trees; rooms have a kitchenette and start at $ 220. The south, Chelsea, the Meatpacking District and Greenwich Village offers more crowds and nightlife. There is easy access to everything, but there are fewer hotel options and often higher rates. Many visitors will take a trip to the Statue of Liberty, visit “Ground Zero”, the 9/11 Memorial and Wall Street in Lower Manhattan. It is best to go by day because nothing happens in the evening.

When are you going?

Summer can just be horrible in New York. Sidewalks are overcrowded, and the temperature can reach up to 90 ° F (32 ° C). Spring and autumn are the best times to go to New York City. Spring is the time to take a trip to the beautiful Cherry Blossom Festival in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (in April). There are many great events for the autumn period, including the New York City Marathon in early November. And do not forget the winter – it is cold, but the city is completely free around Christmas and New Year.

Four classic NYC experiences

Walk from Times Square to Grand Central
Just an hour to do something in New York? This is it. Yes, the locals have their nose for ‘the touristy, high Disney-level Times Square,’ but secretly they are all still surprised that it is all possible. Go see it (and come back when it is illuminated at night). During the day just sit on the chairs or benches and let the New York feeling happen to you. Head east on 42nd Street, past the beloved Bryant Park to Grand Central Terminal on Lexington Ave. Inside are free tours. The best thing is to only look at commuting traffic.

Obtain at least a glorious view
Everyone loves the iconic Empire State Building, but most residents will tell you: the view from Top of the Rock is better. The art deco NBC building has a better (out) view, with multiple open-air floors, you look out over Central Park and you can view the Empire State Building from there. A view with less view can be made from the walkway over Brooklyn Bridge, with astronomical views of the famous bridge and over the New York Harbor and Lower Manhattan skyline.

Eat street or take-away food
Many locals take their lunches off at and from the many mobile street vendors in the city. Even street vendor competitions are organized annually. Get a nice sandwich with a real champion and eat it in Central Park. Another form of ‘take-away’ is a bagel, for example with the beloved Ess-a-Bagel. Then there is the PizzaSlice. New York has many opinions about the best pizza slice, but never call it a ‘piece of pizza’ here. See where it is busy and get a slice for $ 2.50 or $ 3.50 each. There is no best slice or pizza tent, although everyone has his favorite and finding your own favorite pizza dealer is part of the fun.

Go by bus and Subway
Many first-time visitors opt for the double-decker coach tours, as offered by Gray Line. You can get on and off at important points in the city and also with different overlapping circuits. Handy to explore the city, especially on your first day. But it is not cheap. For one day you will lose about $ 55 per person. Compare that with a MTA (airline) pass for New York subways and buses for $ 29. (for a week!)

The metro is an attraction in itself first in New York. Try to take the metro at least once. Agents distribute metro and / or bus tickets for free. Make sure that you understand the terms ‘uptown’ (generally, but not always, in the north of Manhattan) or ‘downtown’ (to the south). Express trains only stop with a white circle of marked lines, as opposed to a black dot on “normal” lines. Ask someone which metro line you should take for your (final) destination and, seriously, everyone in New York will help you. Do you still want car rental in New York? Of course you can!

The four biggest NYC first-timer misunderstandings

Misunderstanding 1: NYC is far too expensive.
There is so much to see, free or cheap in New York that complete lists have been compiled (and to be found on the internet) of free attractions in NYC. Despite all the expensive restaurants there is no more classic New York meal than taking a hotdog or falafel sandwich at a street vendor in Central Park on a nice day. You are familiar with all kinds of accommodation? Then consider skipping a hotel and limit yourself to renting a private or shared flat with the locals through a reliable site like You save more if you are willing to stay in pretty neighborhoods of Brooklyn or Queens, unlike the center of Manhattan. There are comfortable apartments, with kitchen and private bathrooms, for less than $ 100 a night in Brooklyn and Queens

Misunderstanding 2: NYC taxi drivers are scammers
There are organized taxi lines at all airports, with fixed rates to Manhattan. Take that and ignore the innocent looking guys who offer a taxi when they leave the baggage carousels. Taxis will use a meter that starts at $ 2.50 and then increases by $ 4 for about every 20 blocks. It can help to let the route run on your smartphone or you can print it in advance, but you only do that to give yourself the comfort that you follow the right route. See for more information.

Misunderstanding 3: New Yorkers are rude.
This little myth is immediately invalidated as soon as you ask for directions. Everyone will help you. Everybody. That said, New Yorkers, especially during rush hour, have less patience for people wandering the sidewalk or (even worse) sudden stoppers, so expect a few annoyed muttering residents, if you choose to do so. So take a seat on the side as you study the map.

Misunderstanding 4: ‘I have to see that …’
No, you do not have to. There is too much to do to focus on a certain thing. Open up everywhere and do not try to repeat the same routes every day. Stand up and mix between the New Yorkers, drink coffee and breakfast on the street. Do you want to see a lot? With us you will find an excellent description to make a perfect city trip New York in 4 days.

Misunderstanding 5: Flying to New York is expensive.
This, too, is another misunderstanding that lives among many people. Flying to New York does not have to be anything but expensive. All you need is creative search and flexibility in terms of travel dates. Use the following tips to get a cheap flight ticket to New York.

1) Avoid popular days and dates.

2) Be open for departure from other airports

3) Flying with a stopover can be cheaper.

4) A lot of free time? Look at the rates from a foreign airport and book a cheap return here. Sometimes you are much cheaper at the bottom of the line!


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