Well its time, lets drop a #NInja Destination Review on arguably the most recognisable city in the world, the city that never sleeps, a concrete jungle where dreams are made of, the BIG Apple itself … NEW YORK CITY!!
New York City is on the eastern seaboard of the United States of America. It is the largest city in the state of New York and also the most populated city in the US with an estimated 8.6 million living in its 5 boroughs – Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, the Bronx and of course, Manhattan. NYC is arguably one of the most commercial, financial and cultural centers on the entire planet.
Getting to New York from NI is probably easier now than ever before. There is one direct flight, the recently introduced Norwegian Air flight from Belfast International Airport which flies into Stewart International, approx 75-90 mins from Manhattan. There are many indirect options from Belfast which involve flying to London and then connecting to a direct flight to one of the other 3 major New York airports – La Guardia, Newark and Kennedy (JFK). Another option which is very popular is flying direct from Dublin (only a 90 min drive from Belfast) who have several airlines flying there every day. And a big benefit of flying direct from Dublin is going through all the US immigration and customs control on this side of the pond, meaning that you can simply pick up your bags upon arrival Stateside. The #NInja advice here is shop around and be as flexible as you can – NYC is probably the best value location in the USA to get to from the golden shores of NI.
Yes there are just a couple of hotels in NYC to choose from … 100s upon 100s!
All different accommodation options for you ranging from 2,3,4 and 5 star hotels to self catering apartments. The most popular area to stay on Manhattan is around Times Square / Midtown. On this particular occasion the #NInja checked out the Doubletree Metropolitan in Midtown East – a delightful modern 4 star hotel in a great location – only 8 blocks from Times Square – and the perfect spot to base yourself for a trip to NYC in equal distance to all the major attractions. The standard in this hotel was in keeping with most Hilton branded properties and a much more slick feel than the numerous boutique lower standard cheaper hotels in the area.
The weather in New York is the proper descriptive of 4 seasons – in the spring and autumn it can be very pleasant and prob most like our NI weather. However, in the winter months (December to February) expect the extreme winter temperatures and snowfall that you would perhaps hope to see and feel in a visit during one of these months. The summer months can be VERY hot and humid, and in this particular #NInja visit the July heat was sticky and very hot with the temperatures peaking at over 37 degrees!! Although that doesn’t stop the odd rain shower and when it rains, boy does it rain!! On our last day it pretty much rained all day and it felt like a standard August day in Belfast haha!
Things To Do
Where do you start with this one?! There is LOADS to do in New York from the sights and sounds that you have watched on your TV screen all your life. Skyscrapers, statues, famous buildings, live sporting and music events, there is soooo much to do. Even something that sounds so simple like visiting Central Park could almost be a full day event given the scale and size on offer.
Something that the #NInja would maybe recommend doing is purchasing a multi-attraction pass or ticket – this gives you better value than paying for individual attractions per person.
On this occasion, the CityPass was purchased through American Holidays. This is great ticket that allows you access to a choice of 6 different tourist attractions on Manhattan. For this particular visit, the #NInja visited:
– The Statue of Liberty
– Empire State Building
– 9/11 Museum
– “Top of the Rock” Observation Deck
– The Beast PowerBoat Cruise Tour
– National History Museum
And entry to all of these were covered by the CitYPass! Would highly recommend getting something like this before you leave – means you don’t need to worry about costs for attractions when you are there! Some of those attractions speak for themselves but the absolute highlight for this #NInja was the Beast Powerboat Cruise – a high octane speedboat down the Hudson and past the Statue of Liberty (within 100 feet). You will get soaked but have loads of fun as you race at speeds of up to 45mph on water – its billed as the “most fun you can have in NYC that isn’t illegal” and this #Ninja would have to agree!!
Food & Drink
NYC has something for everyone. Literally every type of food choice and option is on offer to you to salivate your mouth to the highest degree.
#NInja Tip – restaurants and eateries around all the main tourist attractions will be more expensive. For example, around Times Square you will have a lot of choice (including some chain favourites that you may be familiar with) but the basic prices will be more than you are maybe expecting. My advice would be head 2-3 blocks back from these attractions to get more bang for your buck. A lot of the best food choices are usually away from the crowds! For example, the Little Italy / Chinatown area will offer superb value on pizza / pasta and Asian dishes, and there are numerous “hidden” restaurants all over Manhattan that will tickle your tastebuds – do a bit of research before you arrive, NYC is one of those places that all your friends who have been will offer different suggestions! This #NInja loves his popular chains and if you like your chicken, bbq ribs and steaks then NYC has a great one in Dallas BBQ that is not only very good value but an unreal amount of food that will stuff you right up! There are 2 or 3 locations through Manhattan inc Times Square and West Village that I would definitely recommend a visit to.
Couples, Groups of Friends
#NInja Tips & Tricks
Hit the key tourist attractions as soon as they open, less crowded and less frantic – especially the skyscrapers (Empire State, One World Trade, Rockafella).
The subway will always be your best value way to get around – you can buy an unltd travel 7 day ticket for $32 and that would cover all your travel. The subway system itself may be quite daunting at first but you will pick it up quite quickly and be an expert by the time you are leaving.
Wear comfy shoes- you will do a LOT of walking around! Those leg muscles will go through a good session alright!
For night tine entertainment, venture south to the likes of Chelsea or West Village where there are so many bars, clubs and restaurants that will serve a pint of beer for a good bit less than $15 like in other more expensive areas of the island.