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Whether a movie, tv show or a friend’s holiday snaps, a holiday in New York is one of those lifetime must-do’s. Whether it be a romantic break, a sex and the city style girlie shopping trip, family activity holiday or a solo exploration, New York City is arguably one of the top wonders of the world. To find out what is happening in NYC right now we asked the people behind the official New York City tourism and visitor site for some insider tips.
1. – One night only in New York, where do we go, what do we eat/drink and what do we do?
If you’ve been to New York before, chances are you’ve done this already, but it never gets boring. With one night only in New York City, head to Times Square, but don’t just make a beeline for the nearest restaurant. Grab some take-out or some street food – a slice of $1 pizza, a tray of baked ziti pasta, or some chicken over rice or hot dogs from a street vendor. Then take a pew on the steps by the tickets booth in the centre of Times Square – a great perch from which to people-watch. Times Square buzzes with tourists until midnight or later. Enjoy the flashing lights and even get your souvenir shopping done as most of the clothes and souvenir shops are open until late.
2. – What is the New York attraction that people often miss that they really shouldn’t?
If you have half a day to spare, the Immigration Museum at Ellis Island is a fascinating insight into New York City’s history and the characters who made New York City what is it today. Another recommendation would be the Staten Island ferry. Although most people are aware of it, many don’t take time to enjoy the ride. The Staten Island ferry is free and gives a fantastic view across to the Statue of Liberty. New Yorkers will tell you the ferry is also the cheapest place to buy a bottle of beer in New York City, so you can enjoy a tipple while you cruise.
3. – What’s new in New York this year?
The second section of The High Line opened this summer. This is a new public park built onto an elevated rail line running from the Meatpacking District to Chelsea. It’s a great place for a stroll above the busy streets, with plenty of interesting things to see and places to sit along the way.
Also fairly new is Eataly – an Italian food court in the Flatiron District (entrances on 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue). You’ll find various Italian restaurants, delicatessens and food shops under one roof, plus a new rooftop beer garden, Birreria, which opened this summer.
Several new hotels have opened – the Aloft in Harlem is the neighbourhood’s first hotel opening in decades, showing just how much the area has opened up to tourism. The Yotel is another popular newcomer, boasting the biggest outdoor terrace of any hotel in Manhattan. It’s a great spot to enjoy an evening drink.
Coney Island in Brooklyn welcomed four new rides as part of the Scream Zone. Visitors in the warmer months should take a trip to the beach – it’s only a short subway ride away.
New York City is a constantly evolving city – there is no shortage of new bars, shops, restaurants, attractions and shows opening all the time.
4. – Top 3 New York souvenirs to bring back home?
The most popular souvenirs bought in NYC are probably anything with the famous ‘I heart NY’ logo on – although officially that’s a trade mark of New York State. A New York Yankee cap is another firm favourite – along with anything from the vast M & M store! In truth, most tourists return from New York with at least a few extra clothes in their suitcases, with brands such as Abercrombie and Fitch and Victoria’s Secret being popular draws.
5. – From where can we get the best view in New York?
The Empire State Building remains a popular place to see the New York skyline. Top of the Rock, though, is the observation deck at the Rockefeller Center and many would argue this gives even better views, with Central Park in one direction and the Empire State Building itself in the other.
6. – Best place for Happy Hour?
Ten or twenty years ago, Hell’s Kitchen was an area most tourists would have avoided. However it’s now a thriving neighbourhood with excellent and affordable bars and restaurants. Take a walk down Ninth Avenue from around 42nd Street to 57th Street – you’ll find plenty of options. Cocktails in a rooftop bar are another favourite in New York. If you’re in the mood to splurge, visit Jimmy at The James Hotel – but don’t expect Happy Hour deals!
7. – 5 essential items to pack for a trip to New York.
Comfortable shoes – this is a city made for walking!
A camera – obviously
‘Something nice’ to wear – people are out to impress in New York City!
Sunglasses – even in the winter, you can expect really bright, sunny days
A visitor guide – you can order this or download it from our site before you go to make sure you don’t miss any of sights! It contains useful maps for walking and navigating the subway.
8. – Why New York around Christmas over European destinations such as Prague or Berlin?
Only in New York City can you find the Christmas we’re promised by the Hollywood movies – think Home Alone 2, Miracle on 34th Street, Elf. Nowhere in the world offers such an overwhelming display of festive lights as all the shops try and outdo the decor of the previous year. As well as the fantastic shopping, NYC offers outdoor ice rinks, a famously huge Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center – and a 22% probability of a white Christmas! In addition, visitors can enjoy a varied programme of Christmas entertainment in New York. Some of the shows returning this year include George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker from the New York City Ballet; Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan at the theatre at Madison Square Garden starring Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby; and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular – the Rockettes’ Magical Journey.
Anyone else having serious urges to book a holiday to New York right now?
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Cheska is a resident blogger at Beat the Brochure who has spent many a good year backpacking round the world, as well as a stint living in Beijing. Cheska has visited 6 out of 7 continents and will, repeat will, visit the last one before turning 30. Cheska is an avid CSI fan, streetfood expert and cat lover who can often be found with chocolate on her desk.