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New York City Tips

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by Jade Jackson (subscribe)
Author of Drunk Love Sober Death and Compass. I'm also a podcaster. Find all my work here >>
Published May 18th 2017
Time Saving Tips to Maximise Your New York Trip
Times Square New York, New York City, Manhatten, Arby's, Skyscrapers, Times Square Clock
Times Square, New York City. Photo by Jade Jackson Photography.

On my first visit to New York, I insisted on walking everywhere, which took up a lot of my time. On my second visit to New York, I queued up for hours for Broadway tickets only to find the show I wanted was sold out. On my third visit to New York, I took the train out to Coney Island, arriving late to find nearly everything was shut.

So you don't make my mistakes, here's a list of top tips to ensure you maximise your time in the most exciting city in the world, New York.

  • To save you traipsing all over Manhatten, write a list of your 'must do' sights and plan your day around attractions in a similar area. Be sure to check opening times before making a long subway ride somewhere.

  • Buy an attraction pass, such as the New York Pass as these can save you money and often allows you to skip queues. See which pass will suit you best at:

  • Check google for wait times. Expect to wait four hours to go up the Empire State Building at peak times, but later in the day you can get up to the observation deck within fifteen minutes.

    Empire State Building Wait Times, Empire State, Manhatten, New York City, New York
    Google shows busy times at the Empire State Building.

  • Head to the Rockefeller Center 'Top of the Rock' for a view that overlooks the Empire State Building. There's generally less queues as well.

  • Manhatten is huge and even walking a few blocks can take longer than you'd expect. Use the subway and bus system to maximise your sightseeing time and buy a metro pass to save money. The open top buses are good for commentary but are expensive when compared to local buses.

    Empire State Building, Manhatten, New Yorker Magazine, New York City, Manhatten, Skyscraper, building
    Empire State Building, New York City. Photo by Jade Jackson Photography.

  • Try not to over plan. You can spend weeks reading reviews trying to find the hottest bar, the trendiest cafe or the hippest restaurant; the choice in New York is astronomical, but the memorable meal may be at the tiny family-run restaurant you discover by chance down a side street.

  • Don't expect to do absolutely everything, first or even second trip. The more you read about New York, the more you'll find to explore, plus as you wander, you'll stumble upon places you recognise such as The Original Soupman, from the TV show Seinfeld.

  • Queueing at TKTS is not the only way to secure discounted theatre tickets, there are other options which you can find here

    New York, Manhatten Bridge, Manhatten, New York City, NYC
    New York City at dusk. Photo by Jade Jackson Photography.

  • Read New York by Edward Rutherfurd. It's a novel about the fictional Masters family covering multiple generations, who become entwined with key moments in New York history like the creation of Wall St, the building of the Empire State Building, and the terrorist attacks of 9/11. It brings history to life. It's a thick book, the e-book found on iBooks or Google Play is more convenient.

    New York, Edward Rutherfurd, Masters Family, New York City Novel, NYC book
    Read 'New York' by Edward Rutherfurd to learn the history before you go. Image courtesy of iBooks.

  • Head to the suburbs like Brooklyn, the Bronx or Queens to get away from the hordes of tourists. New York is not just Manhatten.

  • Take a river cruise or a ferry to get a different perspective of the city. It's particularly beautiful at night seeing the buildings lit up.

    There are some things that have to be done when in NYC, like eating bagels whilst reading the New York Times or eating a Nathan's hot dog at Coney Island. It's all part of the experience.

    Don't forget to make a playlist of all your favourite New York songs like Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z, Welcome to New York by Taylor Swift and New York, New York by Frank Sinatra.

    Nathan's Hotdogs, Coney Island, All you can eat hot dogs, hot dog eating contest, Jade Jackson Photography
    World Famous Nathan's Hotdogs at Coney Island. Photo by Jade Jackson Photography.

    Expect to fall in love with such a vibrant, culturally diverse and fascinating city like New York; and chances are, you'll start planning your next visit, before you've even left.

    New York City Skyline, East River, Manhatten, NYC, I heart NYC, skyscrapers, World Trade Centre
    Manhatten skyline from a river cruise. Photo by Jade Jackson Photography.
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    Why? It's an amazing city to visit.
    When: Anytime
    Phone: (0011 1) 800 2255 697 from outside USA
    Where: Manhatten, New York
    Cost: Varies depending on your budget.
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