(Part 2) An Englishman in New York…

An idea for getting around.


One of the main challenges of visiting NYC is how to squeeze in all of the wonderful things you are planning to see and do. Leading on from this is the distinct possibility that whatever you plan may go well out of the window if it rains or if you purely get caught up in what else NYC has to offer. The latter is a definite risk!

Whilst I would highly recommend making an itinerary to guide you before you get there you should also allow yourself a bit of breathing space as you never know what may divert your attention. Of course some of the things you’ll want to do are best booked in advance; Statue of Liberty Crown Tickets are a must! Factoring in the main objectives of your trip we found the best way to see as much as possible is to do it Neighborhood by Neighborhood. Manhattan itself is a beast! and if you want to visit any of the outer boroughs you will find that this adds further logistical elements to your trip. As mentioned in my previous post, the subway is your ally in this quest and makes the city somewhat smaller when it comes to getting about.

In order to avoid any disappointment and make the most of your trip I advise doing the following:

  1. Research exactly where you want to get to
  2. See what else is nearby
  3. Look at whether there is anywhere to get something to eat in the vicinity

One of the best ways to do this is to start with the Neighborhood; as there are less of them then there are individual places to visit (Obviously!)  The example below offers an explanation:

Visiting Liberty Island/Ellis Island and Financial District

Get up early (you’re in the city that never sleeps) and catch the subway (4 or 5 Train) to Bowling Green; there’s also a Starbucks on State St to set you up for your caffeine hit. Walk through Battery Park to the Castle Clinton National Monument and beat the queues by getting your tickets early. Once you’ve got them you have the chance to wander through the park and checkout the various monuments or just take a view out to Liberty Island before your ferry leaves. If you’re lucky you’ll have been early enough to get on the first ferry and will soon make your way to security and boarding onto the boat. The short ferry journey is an ideal opportunity to view Manhattan and get some good photos of the skyline from afar.

We stopped at Liberty Island first (not sure if this is always the case) where the lone inhabitant needs no introduction! The 3rd time we went we got organised and booked Crown tickets albeit 5 months in advance! and had crossed fingers for good weather in February. Luckily it was although don’t let the weather perturb you as the Statue is awesome and whilst it looks quite small from Battery Park it is behemoth! The statue has numerous viewing platforms and a museum in the base as well as the opportunity to go into the Crown if pre-booked. WARNING – The Crown is a climb! and not for everyone (they do explain when you book) The spiral staircase is a long way up and am told that in the summer can be up to 20 Degrees Celsius higher than outside! But wow! it is worth it.

Once you’ve absorbed the wonder of the Statue there is a restaurant on the island if you are peckish or thirsty. Once you are finished you can catch the ferry to Ellis Island. In my opinion whilst Ellis Island is not as captivating as Liberty Island it gives an interesting insight into the history of immigration into the USA and ultimately the people whom made NYC what it is today. You can also look up any ancestors you may have who came to the US in days gone past which is good and certainly a must-do in my opinion if you had any that crossed the pond. Now comes the first mistake to avoid – Make sure you get the right ferry back! There are ferries from NJ as well that dock here so make sure you get back on one that returns to Battery Park. Whilst I am sure NJ is lovely your day will be somewhat put out by a further couple of hours of travel!

Back in Manhattan and the right state, walk up Broadway and see the Charging Bull and then carry on until you reach Wall St. Wander amongst the historical financial institutes and imagine how much money is flashing around in this one street alone. Feeling hungry? there are plenty of places around to eat nearby or wait until the next destination. Walk over to the World Trade Centre (a few blocks West) and go into One World Trade Centre to visit the One World Observatory. If like me you love buildings and architecture, One WTC is a marvel of engineering, a beautifully designed building and a sign of the unwavering spirit of New York and the US. By now you should be feeling pretty hungry and what better place to enjoy lunch than on the top of One WTC. The last time we visited we thoroughly enjoyed eating our lunch and sipping a cocktail over 1250 feet above the city and would definite recommend it. In summary, the food was good and the view was amazing on a clear and crisp day.

View from our table at lunch

Following lunch and a good look around the observatory there are a number of things around the area to do and see including:

  • 9/11 Memorial
  • 9/11 Museum
  • Brooklyn Bridge (A reasonable walk away)
  • Trinity Church
  • City Hall

Hopefully this will give you an idea how ticking things off of your list area by area can not only reduce unnecessary travelling but allow you to soak up more of the NYC atmosphere. As you will no doubt find out, each neighborhood is different to the last and are worth giving a bit of time to complete your New York experience.

From the above you may find that in certain cases that some attractions do need to be treated individually as they will always be busy, the 9/11 Museum in particular. That being said, in all cases the early bird gets the worm and if you’re from the UK it shouldn’t be a problem if you are suffering with some mild jet lag!

Cheers, Paul.


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