My first full time job was working in television back in Australia. I was in the programming department and one of the joys of this job was having the preview tapes of Sex and the City. Ever since I watched that series, I dreamed about visiting New York City.
For Australians, the trip to Manhattan is long and expensive. However if you live in Houston, you can take a 2 and a half our non stop flight for sometimes under $250. This makes a quick trip to New York affordable and convenient.
The first time that I visited NYC I did the recommended 3 day tourist spots, but when I had a longer trip with my sister and her friend, we decided to try and experience New York like the New Yorkers.
To get to New York there are 3 main airports that you can fly into. Some of them provide easier transport options to get to Manhattan. La Guardia airport is the closest airport and is located in Queens so is the cheapest cab fare. JFK and Newark have access to the Airtrain. I find the Airtrain from JFK efficient, simple and cost effective. If you are travelling with a full cab, it is sometimes cheaper (and easier) to just go the cab option.
If you are looking for apartments in New York, I usually use vrbo.com and read the reviews. Often it is more cost effective renting an apartment for a longer stay and it provides you with more space including a kitchenette so you have the option of eating in.
I like staying in the West Village, Greenwich Village area. This area is filled with funky restaurants, clothes stores and beautiful brownstone homes. To me this is what I think highlights the best of New York.
Eating and Drinking Out
Pastis for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This gorgeous cafe located in the Meat Packing District and was made more famous by appearing regularly in Sex and the City.
Buddakan for drinks or dinner. This restaurant appears on Sex and the City a number of times. It is very funky and has a great menu. This place does book out so if you plan to visit book in early.
Café Gitane for breakfast or lunch. I went here for brunch and thought it was amazing. It is located in NoLita, a great part of the city.
The Jane Hotel Bar for late drinks. This cozy very New York lounge was gorgeous. The drinks were beautiful and you felt as though you were in a private club.
Bar Pitti for lunch or dinner. This is located in the West Village Area and is good for celebrity spotting.
Café Cluny is a really cute cafe located on a corner in the West Village.
Dirty Bird for a tasty quick to go lunch.
Magnolia Bakery for cupcakes. This cupcake shop was made famous by Sex and the City. My favourite location is the one on Bleecker St
Wallse is an Austrian Restaurant located near the West Village / Meatpacking District. This was a small intimate restaurant with great food.
Empire State Building. A trip to New York is not complete without a trip to the Empire State Building. Be prepared for long queue times so it is best to go first thing in the morning.
Top of the Rock. This is a great alternative to the Empire State building. It has shorter lines and most people believe that it is a better view as you can see the Empire State building from the observation deck.
A Broadway Show. Whilst in New York it is so wonderful to see a Broadway Show. You can purchase tickets from many ticket re-sellers online, or directly from the company. At Time Square there are many people trying to sell cheap tickets on the night of the show. Make sure that you are purchasing from a reputable dealer as it can be great way to purchase tickets last minute for a good deal.
Central Park. This iconic oasis is great to visit all times of the year. They also do horse and carriage rides throughout the park, these are very popular for tourists.
World Trade Center Memorial Site. This newly opened memorial is very important to New Yorkers and sits fresh in the minds of people who visit the site.
Times Square. Of course you have to witness this amazing tourist spot that we see so often on the television.
My favourite type of shopping is more the strip style shopping and boutiques that New York is famous for. I therefore recommend shopping on Bleecker St for your small boutiques and cute stores.
I know many people like going to Century 21 for discount shopping. But I think that the selection available in the discount malls is far better in Houston, so I tend to give this place a miss.
Tiffany and Co. Made famous by the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the heavily tourist visited location on 5th Ave is a must visit.
5th Avenue has many of the high end brand names. I found it was easier to purchase many of these products in Houston (and sometimes they were cheaper). However this strip is iconic.
I think New York City is a place you can visit again and again and you will find more places for you to enjoy. The amount to see here is just endless.
Let us know your must see spot to visit in New York. Where are your favourite restaurants and bars?