New York City needs no introduction. It is one of the most dynamic, populated, cosmopolitan and significant cities of the world. In fact NYC is the most populated city of the United States. Before we move on, let’s just understand the geographical structure of the city.
New York City consists of five boroughs; The Bronx – Brooklyn – Manhattan – Queens – Staten Island
NYC has loads to offer for a visitor. Be it museum, history, arts, architecture, nature; you name it and New York has the best of it to offer.
It’s absolutely impossible to cover NYC in a single day. So, through this article, I will try to share my experiences on how you can draft a day in New York, and cover those iconic spots of the city. This involves a lot of walking, 4G internet, MTA (NYC Subway) Card, vigorous use of Google maps and a very clear mind on your preferences.
February 2017, I was informed by my organization that I had to travel US for a short business tour. Even before I received the business agenda, I made up my mind to visit the iconic NYC.
The aura of the city and the world famous spots like Times Square, Manhattan Building etc. encouraged me to research harder and draft a plan to cover as much as possible in a day. Unfortunately that’s the time I could manage to give NYC.
To be frank, initially I was very confused, as to which spots to pick and which ones to drop. I hope all travelers heading towards NYC will have the same dilemma. It’s pretty important to have a clear mind and an agenda when you are on a time and budget crunch.
I zeroed on the fact that I shall not visit any museums. Though NYC hosts some world class museums, but, it will be an insult to these museums, if you allocate just an hour or two for them. I decided to keep Flushing, Queens as my base since it was nearer and easier to reach from LaGuardia Airport.
Make sure to start your day early. The first thing you need to buy in NYC is a MTA Card. You can get a new card from the vending machines available across any metro stations.
A new card costs 1$ and then depending upon your need, you can recharge it (refer MTA website for more details). From Flushing, you can board Line 7 (Main Street in Roosevelt Avenue is the penultimate station for line 7). This line takes you to the iconic Times Square.
The Empire State Building
NYC is also known as ‘Land of Skyscrapers’, and what best it could be to witness the NYC Skyline from the open air observatory deck at 86th floor of the world famous Empire State Building.
Empire State Building is open from 8AM-2AM. The ticket prices for the 86th floor observatory deck is 34$ for adults. Kids under 6 years are free, and children between 6-12 years need to pay 27$.
You have the provision to buy tickets online (additional 2$ as Convenience Fees). Being an iconic building, it attracts massive crowds from all over the world.
You can plan to visit the building as early as possible to beat the crowd. If you want to experience the NYC view at night, then plan the visit as late as possible.
Not many are aware that Empire State Building is open throughout the year from 8AM-2AM. Empire State Building is hardly a mile away from Times Square. So, you can walk your way to The Empire State Building from Times Square.
View from Empire State observatory deck, with Chrysler Building at backdrop
New York Public Library
New York Public Library is situated hardly at a distance of half a mile from Empire State Building. New York Public Library is renowned for its grand interiors.
You will notice lion sculptures guarding the gates of the library. You can spend some time here to enjoy the rich architecture of the iconic New York Public Library.
As the New York Public Library is located at the Bryant Park, you can spare some time in this small but beautiful park to sip a cup of coffee and munch on some food. It’s a fantastic feeling to experience the nature’s tranquility in between huge skyscrapers.
Who doesn’t know or haven’t heard of ‘Times Square’ in this world. It is probably the most iconic and famous places in US.
Bright flashy bill boards, array of renowned theaters, multiple shopping complex, thousands of people from around the globe, tons of street food options, NYC’s very own Yellow Cabs are just the highlights of so called “The Crossroads of the World”.
You need to be here to experience the aura of Times Square. Times Square looks even more attractive at night when all possible LEDs from each building are lit. If you walk further North from the Times Square, you will be able to see the famous Madison Square Garden located just opposite to Pennsylvania Hotel.
There are loads of shops in a row in this stretch, from where you can buy souvenirs at a cheaper price from that of Times Square. The view of the road with tall buildings on both sides is fantastic. I would recommend you to walk till Madison Square Garden, if you are not running out of time and energy.
This is the theater district of the city and it’s a very popular tourist destination in NYC. From the Times Square you need to keep walking further south to reach here.
You can observe an array of several theaters lined up in this road. There are ample websites which will provide you details about the plays being played in these theaters. Apart from that, you will see several executives on your way selling tickets and broaches. Walking in this direction will lead you till Central Park.
It’s a massive park located at the heart of the city. Even a complete one day will not be sufficient to cover this park. You can rent a bicycle here and explore the park to certain extent.
I would recommend you to just stroll in the initial parts of the Central park to get a feel of this magnificent park or rent a bicycle to explore the park in a faster way.
People enjoying boating at Central Park
5th Avenue is considered one of the most expensive and best shopping streets in the world. In both stretch of the street you can see huge buildings (including Trump’s Tower) and fashionable shopping complexes around.
5th Ave. stretches from West 143rd Street in Harlem to Washington Square North at Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. In our case, we will walk till the 5th Ave. subway station and take subway for the Battery Park.
Statue of Liberty
Visit to NYC will be incomplete if you don’t see the Statue of liberty. Best way to experience the Liberty is on a cruise. From Battery Park (which itself is a renowned park) you can take Statue Cruise.
Tickets sell out pretty fast here. So look for options to get tickets online. It’s highly recommended to buy the cruise tickets from the official channels.
Please refer the Statue Cruise website for timings and pricing details. There will be ample private players operating cruises to Liberty, but remember that private players don’t have the permission to dock at the islands.
They will sail you close to the Statue of Liberty providing you ample photography opportunities of the landmark. But, they won’t stop for you to get down to the park.
So, it’s up to you to take a call on this. If the tickets for Statue Cruise are sold out, then I would recommend you to opt for a private one. It might cost you more, but don’t miss out of witnessing the Statue of Liberty.
Statue of Liberty standing tall
Everyone who has an iota of interest in finance will have heard of Wall Street. Wall Street is the financial district of Manhattan New York City.
The main point of interest in Wall Street is the Trinity Church, New York Stock Exchange, Federal Hall and the world famous Charging Bull of Wall Street.
Federal Hall was built in 1700 as New York’s City Hall. It served as the first capitol building of the USA. This is the site of George Washington’s inauguration as the first President of the United States under the Constitution.
Wall Street is pedestrian, where you can stroll around and witness some iconic buildings of the world. You need to walk a bit away from the NYSC to witness the charging bull. Be assured to see hundreds of tourist posing for photographs in front of the bull.
No one really cares about the girl child’s statue in front of the bull. You need to invest some time here to get a picture with no people in your frame.
Also don’t forget to miss the iconic Trinity Church which is in close periphery to Wall Street.
The famous Charging Bull in Wall Street
9/11 the unfortunate incident that shook the entire world, holds a very significant part among the Americans. Though you now have the new WTC building standing tall, but the incident lies very prominent among the citizens of New York.
From Wall Street you can walk your way towards the 9/11 Memorial. Once you reach this spot, you can witness the new WTC standing tall, on the back drop of the place, where the tragic incident took place. The memorial consists of a museum and two 1-acre pools.
These pools are created at the foot prints of the Twin Towers. You can witness a man made waterfall in these pools which ultimately flows down through a big square size hole. This depicts the void which was created due to this tragic terrorist attack.
The waterfall sounds is meant to mute the sound of the city and provide a sense of peace. You can see the names of all the people who lost their life in the tragic incident engraved in bronze plates around the pool. If you have time, I would recommend you to pay a visit to the museum here.
One World Trade Center building
0.6 miles away from the 9/11 memorial lies the most iconic bridge of USA, named the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge connects Brooklyn to Manhattan.
The views are fantastic if you walk from the Brooklyn side towards Manhattan. In our case, we will be entering the bridge from the Manhattan side and will walk our way to Brooklyn. On the left side, you can witness the Manhattan Bridge.
Three major bridges which connect Manhattan and Brooklyn are Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and The George Washington Bridge (famously abbreviated as BMW). Brooklyn Bridge is constructed in 1883 over NYC’s East River. This bridge is considered to be an Engineering Marvel.
The bridge’s construction took 14 years, involved 600 workers and cost $15 million. More than dozen of people died in the construction process of this 125 year old land mark.
Just walk your way towards Brooklyn, enjoying the Manhattan skyline on your back drop and the magnificent view of Brooklyn bridge pillars and cables accompanying you.
The world famous Brooklyn Bridge
Water Front (Brooklyn Side)
While walking your way on the Brooklyn Bridge you will witness a water front area. You need to visit this place at night to get the magnificent views of the Manhattan Skyline along with the Brooklyn Bridge.
The view looks absolutely awesome when the lights of Manhattan Skyline and Brooklyn Bridge are lit. Get to this Water Front area with your tripods and camera and get a proper slot to click some awesome pictures of the Manhattan Sky Line.