It was once famously said; if you stand at Times Square long enough, you’ll see the entire world walk by. New York truly is the greatest city in the world. Packed with life and energy, the city never sleeps. If you haven’t visited already, I tell you this: you’ve been missing out on something big in life.
The best time to visit New York City is from April to June, it’s neither too hot nor too cold. Another option, which I’ve always wished for, is to visit around Christmas to be wrapped up all that holiday spirit (albeit have your toes frozen and blue). If you plan your trip well in advance, you’ll probably get an excellent airline fare with great tourist discounts. If it’s an impromptu visit while you’re in the States, your variety of options include numerous air carriers, trains and greyhound and other buses (A bus from China Town in Boston would cost you only $20). Try to locate someone you could stay with. Trust me, there’s so much to do you’d barely impose on them anyways. If not, there are a variety of hotels ranging from cheap to lavish. Take your pick.
Now that the ground work’s covered, I’ll move on to tourist attractions. There’s the Statue of Liberty, of course, and Ellis Island. You could either take the ferry if you want to climb up or the 2 hour Circle Line cruise that takes a full circle around Manhattan. The Empire State Building observatory is also worth a visit. The only downside is the incessant lines, but nothing the seasoned traveller can’t handle. The museums, however, should take up most of your time. Head up to the Museum of Modern Art (The MoMA) and the Museum of Natural History. My favourite, however, was the Metropolitan Museum of Art (also known as ‘The Met’). It’s a monstrosity of a structure and has an unbelievable collection spanning every conceivable geographical area and dating back to time unknown. It would probably take you two whole days just to cover this mind-boggling sanctuary. You could work your way around the city by taking a hop-on hop-off bus tour for three days. But I find that to truly get the feel of any new place, walking is the best way to do it. Or take the subway like a true New Yorker. Take your time to discover each area. Downtown, Ground zero, China Town, the Upper East Side, Brooklyn, I could go on and on.
There is no dearth of entertainment options in Manhattan. A show on Broadway is an absolute must. Although tickets are expensive, there are a few ways to one can manage to go easy on your pocket. The TKTS counter at Times Square sells discounted tickets of same day shows. You could also look online for discount codes that could get you a good $40 off your ticket. But be careful while purchasing you ticket, there are many fakes making their way around. My personal favourites are the stage shows from Disney. (the last two lines seem to be out of sync)
To just head out and have a good time, go down to the Greenwich Village and NYU. You will find every kind of cuisine your heart desires: Tapas. Ethiopian, Mexican, Lebanese. There are also numerous little bars that have had the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan perform before they hit the big time. Drinks should cost you about $10 on an average. In the daytime, visit the cities numerous and well maintained parks: Central Park, Madison Square and Washington Square with a great book and pick up a delicious hot dog on your way to spend a great lazy day.
New York City definitely ranks in as one of my top five favourite places in the world. It can’t get better than this. There’s something for everyone: art, history, entertainment and adventure. Whatever you need, the city will offer. Go on; discover yourself in the city that houses a million dreams.
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/grufnik/2390171915/]