I could live in New York I love it so much. My wife and I have been there about 5 times in the past few years. The photos and are not only from one trip.
If you are new to New York there is an organisation called Big Apple Greeters http://www.bigapplegreeter.org. This what we did on our first visit. It was a great and positive experience. This is a non-profit organization that matches visitors with friendly and enthusiastic New Yorker’s who are happy to share the city they love with visitors of all backgrounds. This left us with a lasting impression of the city and the warmth of its people. The Big Apple Greeter’s services are available FREE OF CHARGE, and there is a NO TIPPING POLICY. You can however consider making a donation on their web site. The New Yorker’s who serve as Greeters are all volunteers, come from varied backgrounds. Greeters and visitors are matched according to language, neighborhoods requested, and interests, where possible. It was Brad our Big Apple Greeter on our first visit that made New York so special for us. It was January, we had anticipated the cold so we went dressed for the part, the temperature was -18 centigrade and there was a biting wind blowing over the atlantic whilst we were walking over Brooklyn Bridge on our way to Brooklyn Heights, Brad’s neighbourhood. We spent most of the day being shown around many places around Manhattan. When it was time to depart company Brad left us with great memories and a couple of free subway day tickets to boot!
During our visits to New York we have stayed at the following hotels:
1. Ameritania just off W54th Street / Broadway. Probably the worst hotel we’ve stayed in. On the face of it, it seemed quite nice from the lobby. Room wasn’t great, I had a problem with the details. The breakfast by American standards was not the best. The staff alright and helpful. I suppose if you stay budget then you’d expect a few imperfections. It may have changed over the years. It does seem to rank #94 on TripAdvisor.co.uk scoring 3 / 5 stars.
2. Casablanca Hotel Times Square,147 West 43rd Street. http://www.casablancahotel.com . This is a gem of a hotel, although compact we couldn’t have hoped for a nicer stay. The staff were great. The continental breakfast was adequate. It was conveniently close to Times Square, just 50 metres away. It had an authentic Italian family restaurant right next door called Tony’s, great pasta! The portions were made to be shared. http://www.tonysnyc.com/. Not surprised the Casablanca ranks #1 with 4 / 5 stars on TripAdvisor.
3. Hampton Inn Times Square North, 851 8th Avenue. Stayed there twice. Not a lot to fault this hotel. The staff were really friendly, but this is true with most New Yorker’s. The decor was great, the rooms were great, the breakfast was amazing!! a nice touch was providing 24 hour tea & coffee just off the lobby. There were also daily free fresh apples in reception. The only problem we had there was we were given a room with an adjoining door which did not have any sound proofing. Even quiet telephone conversations were heard. Even though we had a nice comfortable room we couldn’t relax. Tip: So if you stay there don’t get a room with an adjoining door. Across the road was an amazing 24 hour diner called Cosmic Diner, 888 8th Ave. This was run by Greeks. The Greeks love their food and like huge portions, including the salads. We dined there on several occasions, well worth a visit. The Hampton Inn was also very convenient for Central Park as well as Times Square.
4. Residence Inn by Marriott Hotel, 1033 Avenue of the Americas was excellent. very clean, comfortable and great location. The bed was so comfortable it was a shame to go to sleep. The staff were helpful, polite and just wanted to please you. Nothing was too much trouble. Loved the idea that it had a laundry in the basement so it meant that I didn’t have to go home with dirty washing. Free internet in your room is a plus also. Location was superb. Can’t fault anything. Would definitely stay there again.
There are always things to do in Manhattan. We managed to find this great place for County Music & Southern food. Hill Country Barbecue Market. There was food, a bar and a stage downstairs where there was a great country music band playing.
The New York Police Department have a great bunch of cops. All the times we’ve been to New York we have never felt so safe. The police presence is very obvious with an officer within view at all times. All of the Officers we’ve spoken to were always polite and courteous only refusing my request to cuff the mother-in-law.
There are many tourist attractions that are a must do whilst in Manhattan.
Shopping is Great in Manhattan. Macy’s and Bloomingdales are a must visit. Make sure you go to the visitors centre/customer service with your passport and you will get an 11% discount card. This will give visitors an additional discount on already discounted purchases.
We have also discovered a couple of shopping malls which are worth a visit.
- Queens Mall at Queens at 90-15 Queens Blvd, Elmhurst, NY. You have to get there by the subway to Woodhaven Blvd. and turn left when you exit. You can’t miss it. You can find a NYC Subway Map here.
- Jersey Gardens outlet mall in New Jersey. Getting to this is by bus. The 0111 from The Port Authority Bus Station and stop right outside the mall. The journey is approx 45 mins but well worth the trip. There is also no sales tax there either which helps. You can find a New York Port authority Bus Timetable here.