I recently traveled to New York for a movie premier (I’m not that big of a deal, really) fortunately New York City is a short drive (3 hours give or take depending on traffic), on this trip I realized why I don’t go in the summer or anytime it has crowds.
Here are a few tips for you to think about before you plan your trip to the Big Apple.
- Unless you love people and I mean tons of people shoulder to shoulder don’t visit in the summer, at Christmas or New Years Eve. The sidewalks are so busy you cannot move. I don’t know how people live here with the influx of tourists that take over during these times.
- Have a plan–know where you are going, plan your hotel around the area you will be in and plan your transportation accordingly. You can’t just show up and do things on the fly. The kids don’t want to wait 3 hours to go to the top of the Empire State Building because you didn’t buy the right ticket.
- If you have some irrational fear of public transportation that makes you avoid it then I say DON’T DRIVE, do not drive to the city, don’t even think about it. Seriously I have never in my life seen traffic like this. Oh and did I mention parking on the low end is $11 per HALF HOUR! Take a bus, a plane, take a parachute just don’t drive there.
- If you want to see Times Square I suggest you do it at night, that’s when it comes alive. And by alive I mean street vendors, bright lights, loud music and naked women. It’s a sight to see at least once, oh and get a dirty water dog (you will thank me later)
- A trip to Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty is much like going to the airport, plan accordingly for security. Purchase tickets in advance (well in advance).
- If you want to see the city and are afraid to take on the subway or get in a cab I suggest a Hop On/Hop Off bus tour. You can visit anywhere in the loop it takes you. All you have to do is get off the bus when the attendant announces a stop, tour the area and then go back for the bus. No time constraints, so grab a bite in Little Italy, or shop in Soho all at your leisure.
- Spend all day in Central Park! You will thank me later.
- Follow the golden rule, no eye contact! Just mind your business and keep walking until you get to where you need to be. Don’t buy a fake rolex, or a flashy plastic handbag, just keep walking.
- Want to see a Broadway show and didn’t plan in advance? There is a site called TKTS that has valid tickets for same day shows. Seriously do not trust the guy in the alley with a clipboard, he just printed them at kinkos.
- If something seems to good to be true then please trust your instincts and don’t take the bait.
- Teach your kids to be street smart, don’t talk to strangers, don’t wander off. Honestly this sounds stupid, but a family from small town USA doesn’t have to teach their kids these things.
- You didn’t go to New York for McDonalds, Olive Garden, Ruby Tuesday’s or whatever other chain comes along. Ask your hotel for suggestions, ask people at stores or museums where they like to eat. Embrace New York and all of the amazing dining it offers.
New York is a great city full of history, architecture and amazing sights. It’s fast paced and always wide awake. You have to know what you are walking into before you go. Do yourself a favor and plan your trip out or you may be disappointed.
Oh and you won’t see everything in one day, you won’t see everything in a lifetime that this city offers. Take in what you can and enjoy every minute of your New York State of Mind.