New York City Tips

I have a post like this on Memphis, but it is time for New York City.

We have only lived in "The City" since September 2016, but I get asked what to do in NYC. Here are some of my thoughts on that.

So you've found yourself in New York City?
  • You'll want to get a MetroCard for getting around the city. Each swipe is $2.75, but if you are with a group and it is only a day or two, you can save a buck or two by just sharing the same card. If you are going to be here for 3 days or more, I suggest considering a week unlimited pass at $33 ($1 for the card + $32 after that dollar price hike recently) if you are going to hop on and off over a long weekend or for the week. Any unused time on the card could be given to someone on your way out of town. This would be a huge pay-it-forward for any local.
  • Prioritize what you want to see and think about where each location is. You may not be familiar with the geography in Manhattan, but you don't want to be going Uptown (north) and Downtown (south) several stops. Time is important.
    • Downtown: World Trade Center memorial (free if you don't go to museum), Oculus Westfield Mall/Brookfield Place (free to walk around but super fancy - Chelsea works at BFP), One World Trade Observatory, Statue of Liberty views, Wall Street, etc.
    • Chinatown: Canal Street is where you can get some stuff (usually stolen/fake).
    • Midtown: Herald Square Macy's/surrounding shops are cool, Times Square is a must - not if you've been before, Theatre district if you have time for a show - more on that below, Empire State, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station, New York Public Library, Carnegie Hall, Columbus Circle, 5th Ave flagship stores (my personal favorite is the Apple Store) - Tiffany's is really close for any lady friend
    • Upper East Side: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (donation), amazing parts of Central Park
    • Upper West Side: Lincoln Center, Museum of Natural History, Julliard
    • Farther Uptown: I've only been to a few neighborhoods uptown, but it's definitely more residential and "quiet uptown"
    • Queens: We're just across the East River in Astoria/Long Island City, Bagels and Pizza are our favorite closer to home
    • Brooklyn: I've only been to Williamsburg, DUMBO and IKEA
    • Staten Island: I've never been
    • Bronx: I've not been there yet
    • New Jersey: We've only been to Hoboken to visit family - the PATH train wasn't that bad!
  • Being a huge fan of live theatre, I have to recommend waiting to get Broadway/Off-Broadway tickets (Go lotteryrush/SRO [standing room only] or an app like TodayTix) until the week of unless you score Hamilton tickets or something else that is hard to get - this article on Playbill is updated to give you the latest news on shows.
  • Google Maps is your friend. You don't want to pay for a cab everywhere you go, so knowing what subway train to get on and what stop to get off at is crucial and it is much faster to figure out with a smartphone. Knowing which direction you are wanting to go when you exit the train to go back above ground can save some time. Ex: I need to be above ground at the SW corner of 57 st/7th Ave.
  • Uber/Lyft/taxi can be helpful if you are really turned around. When hailing a cab, don't try if the light isn't on - a light on means it is unoccupied.
  • Yelp! or Google Maps can also be helpful when trying to figure out where to eat. You'll want to narrow down by price. A good rule of thumb is everything is expensive, but especially near Times Square. Even chain restaurants that you are used to will charge more.
  • Keep your receipt if you need a bathroom. Even if you don't at the moment, you may need to later in the day. Yes, you will usually need to buy something to use the restroom in Manhattan.
Local Favorites:

Bagels/Coffee: New York City Bagel & Coffee House (Astoria), Brooklyn Bagel (Astoria), Best Bagel & Coffee (Midtown)
Burgers: New York Burger CoBareburger, Shake Shack - in that order
Pizza: Joe's Pizza, Rizzos thin, also $1 pizza (we frequented one at 55th/Broadway - CASH ONLY)
Chinese Take-out: Demo One (Astoria)
Mexican: De Mole (Astoria), Rosa Mexicano (Union Square)
Venezuelan: Arepas Cafe (Astoria)
Tea: Harney & Sons Fine Teas (SoHo)
Seamless: Anything you could ever want delivered

I'm sure I'll update this from time to time the longer we live here, but I wanted to get some bones for this post to build on. Please let me know if there is anything you suggest in the comments below.

Chelsea and I have started a Vlog channel for our adventures in NYC: http://bit.ly/BrownsBigApple