For many, a trip to New York is prime Bucket List material, with cinematic scenes and countless different cultures available at every turn. And food. So much food. Oh God, the food…
But the Big Apple can also be an incredibly daunting experience, even for a seasoned traveling veteran, let alone a first timer.
With Manhattan alone housing 1.6 million residents inside an area of just 23 square miles, space can be hard to come by in NYC, which isn’t made any easier by the fact the average New Yorker has a default speed of FOURTEEN THOUSAND MILES AN HOUR.
Also, the sheer scale of things to see and do in Noo Yawk is, to say the least, pretty staggering, so the overwhelming sense of FOMO is very, very real.
But do not let these potential stresses cause your time in the five boroughs to be anything less than unforgettable.
So, as we here at AmeriCamp have more than a few visits to NYC under our belts, we thought we were well versed enough to offer some helpful hints of how best to spend your time in the City That Never Sleeps.
Don’t Be Too Much Of A Tourist
OK, we’re not trying to be deliberately contrary or snobby, here, but there are SO MANY tourist attractions in New York that they can easily end up dominating your trip without allowing you to truly appreciate the real soul of the city.
A venture up one of the Empire State or Rockerfeller Center will offer you all those views you’ve seen a million times on insta and, in fairness, they are spectacular in living colour, while a ferry ride out to the Statue of Liberty allows you to take in the rich history associated with Ellis Island.
Outside of these, once your eyes have adjusted to the neon clad enormity of Times Square, you’ll want to swerve away from there before you end up buying tickets for a questionable comedy show off an incredibly persistent stand-up. Grab a few photos and avoid getting swallowed up in the crowds and overpriced tourist shops. Central Park is well worth a large amount of your time, however.
Ideally, the best way to enjoy the prime tourist attractions in New York is with AC’s legendary New York After Party, which provides the perfect mix of tourism and culture and, with 30 days available to travel, gets your NYC adventure off to a dream start.
Explore Until Your Feet Scream
Yes, the Subways and yellow cabs are incredibly useful and offer a sense of Hollywood romance, but New York was built to be admired and explored, no matter what the weather.
The sheer scale of Manhattan and its seemingly infinite array of world famous skyscrapers is breathtaking and certainly an experience you will want to absorb every last drop out of. But not every part of the city requires you to look up, with the Bronx, China Town, Greenwich Village, Chelsea, the Lower East Side and Brooklyn providing no end of can’t miss culture, whether it be shopping, museums, street art, atmosphere or food. Oh my God, the food.
Eat Absolutely Everything
So, we’ve mentioned it a couple of times already and no doubt it’s already something you’re religiously researching if you’ve got a trip to NYC planned, but yeah, the food is sensational and you need to eat all of it.
Seriously, all of it. There’s so much to choose from. Don’t just focus on the places that dominate all the online listicles you’ve already devoured in preparation.
Eat your way round Chelsea Market, throw a bodega Bacon, Egg and Cheese into your face one morning, destroy a Halal Guys at 1am, don’t be afraid of dirty water hot dogs, take on a pastrami on rye bigger than your head at Katz’s, become best mates with as many bagels as possible and, most importantly, have a religious experience with ALL THE PIZZA IN BROOKLYN.
There is no end of world class pizza parlours in New York, but, for our money, the concentration of ‘za in Brooklyn is unbeatable. Trust us, the queues at Di Fara are well worth the wait. Book early at Lucali and then head over to Best Pizza. Maybe with a stop at Roberta’s in between. Then top up at Totonno’s. Before piling into Paulie Gee’s. We could go on…
Head To The Highline
An old, abandoned railway track may not sound like the most appealing location to spend a couple of hours, but The Highline is no ordinary abandoned railway track.
Built on a historic, elevated rail line, the High Line allows you to walk through gardens, view art, experience a performance or just savour the views and architecture of this phenomenal city.
The space, on the West Side of Manhattan, is owned by the city and is both a nonprofit organisation and a public park. Once earmarked for demolition, the High Line is now one of the most fulfilling experiences in the city, becoming an inspiration for cities around the world to transform unused industrial zones into dynamic public spaces.
A stroll along this modern marvel of green ingenuity will eventually lead you into Chelsea and, most importantly, the unmissable Chelsea Market – a thriving indoor space choc full of vintage shops and street food.
Hit The Beach And Boardwalk At Coney Island
Given the limitless experiences available within the ‘concrete jungle where dreams are made of’, many people don’t associate New York with golden sands and seaside strolls, yet all this is freely available in Coney Island.
Located in the southwest of Brooklyn, Coney is a fair trek from Manhattan (Take the D, Q, N or F train to Stillwell Avenue. This takes about 45 – 60 minutes from midtown) but during your summertime post-camp travel, you’ll be so glad you made the pilgrimage.
Once there, you’re in the birthplace of the hotdog, so make sure to stop by Nathan’s Famous for a dog or five, although maybe wait until you’ve ridden the iconic Cyclone at Luna Park before indulging.
When you’re all coastered out, relax and take in the scenery from atop Deno’s Wonder Wheel, see if any of the shows at the Ford Ampitheater take your fancy and then hit the boardwalk, which has no end of nostalgia driven attractions to keep you entertained until you head down to the beach where, at 9.30pm every Friday, you can take in a fireworks display to cap your day off. Then maybe get another hotdog? It would be rude not to.
So what are you waiting for? All this spectacular adventure and more is awaiting you in the Big Apple, this summer. And remember, to enjoy the perfect beginning to your NYC experience , hit up our New York After Party and start things in style.