To live the incredible experience of being in New York, prepare your trip in advance. There is so much to see and visit, so much to choose from and decisions to make.
Going to New York for the first time is like being in that dream place we know so well, but where we’ve never been. The city is the setting for hundreds of movies and series that are so familiar to us and that makes it even more enchanting.
We started planning our trip 7 months in advance and we were going with everything well thought out. The fact that we have friends/family there helped a lot.
The first thing to buy is airline tickets and a balance between the most appropriate and the cheapest date.
WHAT DOES NEW YORK MEAN?
The Dutch were the first Europeans to settle in the region and named it New Amsterdam, in honor of the Dutch capital.
Manhattan was under Dutch rule for nearly half a century until, in 1674, through the Treaty of Westminster, it passed to the English, who renamed it, New York, in honor of the Duke of York.
WHY VISIT NEW YORK?
Among the dozens of places to visit are world-renowned museums and restaurants, Hollywood scenarios, references in the fashion world, among several other attractions.
NEW YORK, GLOBAL CITY
New York exerts a powerful influence on world trade, finance, culture, fashion, and entertainment. New York is thus an important center of international affairs, being considered the capital of the world. Around 800 languages are spoken in the city, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. It is also here that the headquarters of the United Nations (UN) is located.
NEW YORK, THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS
With a bustling nightlife, it is known as “the city that never sleeps” and offers day and night attractions for those who want to enjoy. Walking the streets, visiting its parks, and riding in yellow cabs is like stepping into a Hollywood movie. Stage for countless series and movies, New York is enthralling!
HOW MUCH DOES A TRIP TO NEW YORK COST?
I traveled in September and it was a great time, both for the weather conditions and for the flight prices at this time.
There are direct flights from Lisbon or flights with a stopover. Obviously, flights with a stopover (and I opted for one of these) are cheaper, so the choice depends on the willingness of each one to take a few more rides before reaching the final destination.
In September, Air France offers very affordable flights to John F. Kennedy International Airport, around €291 with a stopover of about 3 hours in Paris. We made a stopover in London (over there) and Philadelphia (over here) and, honestly, 3 hours of stopover go by, it’s time to disembark, find the new boarding gate, and get back on the plane.
At the time, the price difference compensated for the ‘upset’, but now the Virgin Atlantic you can get direct flights for €341 (in September), a difference of €50 per person. Do your math and choose what suits you best.
September is the month with the most pleasant average temperature in New York, which can vary between 14ºC and 23ºC. An ideal temperature for those who want to explore the city outdoors. It is a great option for those looking for the city in low season and without a lot of people, despite being sought after all year.
Of course, Christmas in New York is magical, with the city lit up, snow and shops decorated. If you’ve prepared for freezing temperatures, go for it! Flights vary between €318 and €411 at this time.
WHAT TO VISIT IN NEW YORK?
One of the most famous streets in New York, also known as Avenue of Millionaires. An extremely busy avenue. It is one of the best and most expensive shopping streets in the world.
Empire State Building
In the center of Manhattan is a 102-story skyscraper. Built-in the 1930s, it is one of the tallest buildings in the world. You can go up to the 86th or 102nd floor, where you have an unforgettable panoramic view of the city. We went at the end of the day to catch the sunset and the view at night. It’s spectacular!
I advise you to take a look at the Flatiron Building. It was one of the first skyscrapers built in New York and is currently the oldest building in Manhattan. The building has only 22 floors and is triangular in shape.
Bryant Park is a park with luxurious gardens, free activities and events. Make the most of the stop for a refreshing drink in one of the cafes that are there.
Grand Central Terminal
Opened in 1913, it is the largest railway terminal with 44 platforms spread over two floors. With an architecture and decoration worthy of a painting, anyone visiting New York must visit the Central Station and remember the film Madagascar.
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
An emblematic neo-Gothic Catholic church, built-in 1879, is directly opposite Rockefeller Center. Visit the interior because it is very beautiful.
In the summer months, Rockefeller Center has plenty of outdoor events. The highlight for the many purchases that can be done is the 19 buildings (it’s an authentic shopping complex) and the Top of the Rock, which has one of the best views of the city and, especially, of Central Park.
Times Square is the heart of New York, where everything happens: plays, musicals, shops, concerts…
I visited during the day and came back to visit at night and it’s amazing! It was, for me, the most magical place in New York, full of lights, brightness, excitement, and where I felt the true ‘city that never sleeps’.
Battery Park is a 10-hectare urban park located on the southern island of Manhattan. It was opened in the 19th century in an old landfill. From here you can have the best views of the Statue of Liberty. The boats that make the trip to the statue depart from this park.
The Statue of Liberty
Built by Gustav Eiffel, the statue is an icon of liberty and the United States, as well as being a symbol of welcome to immigrants arriving from abroad.
Over the East River is the Brooklyn Bridge which links Manhattan to Brooklyn.
Wall Street is one of the best-known streets in New York. It is the financial center of the city, where the New York Stock Exchange, the stock exchange building, is located.
Nearby is the Wall Street Bull, a 3.5-tonne bronze sculpture that represents the most aggressive investors who invest in the stock market.
Rubbing the Wall Street bull’s testicles is said to bring a lot of luck, prosperity, and money in life. There, dozens of tourists gather there ready to rub the bull’s private parts and take a photograph.
One World Trade Center
The One World Trade Center is the new World Trade Center, created to replace the one destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 2001. At 541 meters, it is the tallest building in New York and has an interior viewpoint completely lined with glass.
September 11th Memorial
This memorial is located on the site of the World Trade Center’s twin towers, destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Built-in honor of the victims, the September 11 Memorial remembers the past and gives hope to the future. The museum keeps objects and information from this sad episode.
Chinatown is a neighborhood that is home to one of the largest Chinese enclaves in the Western Hemisphere as well as being one of the oldest Chinese ethnic enclaves outside of Asia.
Icon of New York City, Central Park is a refuge from the bustle of the metropolis. An oasis with 340 hectares of lawns, lakes, ice skating rinks, sports fields and even a zoo (the famous zoo in the film Madagascar).
WHERE TO STAY IN NEW YORK?
We were lucky to have relatives in Newark (which is very close) and stayed with them, but I leave you with some accommodation suggestions.
Book the accommodation through Booking. This is where I find the best deals and allows, in most cases, to cancel the reservation free of charge.
Low Cost/Economic Accommodation
For travelers on a tighter budget, here’s the HI NYC Hostel – a place to stay in a bed in a shared dormitory. For 39 euros/night, the hostel is located a 10-minute walk from Central Park and the metro station.
Accommodation with excellent quality/price ratio
Within the economic segment, the Leo House is a good option. For around 82 euros/night a double room with a private bathroom and internet access is available.
They can access lines C and E from the 23rd Street Tube Station, just a 2-minute walk away. Central Park is 3 km away.
High Quality Accommodation
Element Times Square West, located 650 meters from Times Square, is an accommodation with more quality and refinement. With breakfast, Wi-Fi access, air conditioning, fridge, microwave, and coffee machine in the room, for a price of around 169 euros/night.
- Take a Free Walking Tour in your language.
For those who do not yet know the concept, a Free Walking Tour is a free tour organized by local guides, who usually know the city very well. It’s a free tour, however, at the end of the tour you decide if it’s worth leaving a donation to the guide. The value depends a lot on what you are willing to pay.
Reservations in: Free Tours by Foot
- Take out travel insurance
The insurance supports the traveler, covering expenses with unforeseen events during the trip, such as medical expenses, accidental death, health repatriation, loss of documents, flight cancellation or delay, loss or loss of luggage, among others. Check with your insurer.
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