The LAYOVER: New York City for the First Time

“New York City is all about sex. People getting it, people trying to get it, people who can’t get it. No wonder the city never sleeps. It’s too busy trying to get laid.” 

-Carrie Bradshaw

There’s a reason why New York City is the location of several TV shows, songs, books and movies. The big apple is many things, but for a first-timer like me, it can be overwhelming.

Had to start this post off with a Sex and the City quote. When I talk to people about NYC: Some people praise it, and some people would rather die than spend anytime there. My sister and I had our heart set on visiting the city. It was our first time. What we did, what we saw and what is must-see is all below in our six-day trek through the big apple.

Day 1 – Getting Settled

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Fitness

There is a ton of walking to be done during a trip to New York. Which is kinda awesome! It’s not one of those trips where you feel lethargic and you know you need to hit up the gym everyday for a year to feel better. The walking keeps it you active. Although I worked out the first 3 days of the trip, I didn’t really need it when I realized we were walking 20 km+ a day.

Accommodations

For this trip we went with an Airbnb in Brooklyn. Nothing is cheap in New York, whether it’s through Airbnb or Expedia; it’s going to cost $150 or more a night ($150 is cheap btw). We opted for an Airbnb, it ended up being cheaper for last minute accommodations, and we saved even more money by making breakfast each morning (and it was probably healthier).

Transport from the airport (JFK)

There’s a few ways to get out of the airport and get to your hotel. We took an Uber to our accommodations, and we took the train back to the airport. It really depends on the time of day that you are leaving, where you are going, and how many of you there are. Our Uber cost us $50ish and took about 30 minutes. The Skytrain and Subway would have cost us less, but would have taken about 1.5 hours. I suggest looking up the cost of an uber and the time it would take to get to your destination and see if it’s worth it.

Check out a local bar or restaurant

Once we settled in, we were starving! And definitely craving a bevy. I popped open trip advisor to find a cool place nearby we could walk to. We ended up in a fancy-yet-low-key bar and it might even had been our favourite place at the end of it all.

 

Day 2 – See all the Sights

Statue of Liberty

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There’s two ways to see the Statue of Liberty. The cheap, easy way. Or the expensive, wait-in-line-all-day way. We opted for the first option, seeing as we are cheap AF and didn’t have a lot of time. The simplest way to see the Statue of Liberty, is on the Staten Island ferry. The ferry is FREE. Yes, I said it. This will be the cheapest thing you’ll do in NYC. Stick to the right side of the ferry to get the view coasting by. Make sure you get outside and that you stand along the edge. Otherwise, you won’t see a thing. We immediately took the ferry back, but you could easily make a day out of Staten Island if you have the time.

9-11 Memorial

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Most people can remember what they were doing when 9-11 happened. I remember we were staying at my grandparent’s house and I woke up and saw havoc on the news. The 9-11 memorial is beautiful, historic, and worth seeing. They turned the wreckage sites into beautiful fountains and have the names written all around of those who passed. I would recommend checking out the survivor tree as well, it has a pretty good story to it and is beside one of the fountains. We never had the chance to check out the museum, but I’ve heard from a few people that it’s worth the visit.

Brookfield Place

Brookfield place wasn’t the most exciting for us. It helps to be here when there’s a market over the weekend. It’s basically a big beautiful shopping mall right on the harbour. It’s not too far from the 9-11 memorial, so why not check it out. It also has bathrooms inside, which is very useful.

Stroll through Soho to little Italy to Chinatown

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If your feet can handle it, walk your way through three very different areas. Soho is great for shopping. There are tons of stores and it is a very beautiful part of lower Manhattan.

Walk straight on through and you’ll hit Little Italy. This street has tiny boutique stores and Italian restaurants. The menus here were a little out of our price range, but it is really beautiful at night. Streaming romantic lights and patios all along the street, it really does remind me of Europe.

Didn’t spend much time in Chinatown, But it’s a great place to grab some dim sum and a cheaper meal. During the day you’ll see fruit stands along the streets.

 

Day 3 – See the Last of it All

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

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The Brooklyn Bridge is bussssaaaay. So be prepared for lots of people and even more people. Ugh. But it’s such an amazing view and an attraction you have to see in person. You can ride a bike across the bridge as well, but since everyone is tourists and have no common sense, you might be dodging people on the bike track not trying to get injured (can you tell I HATE tourists? Even though I am one…lol). Yes people there is a road for bikes and a road for walking! When you are walking across the bridge, take it all in and enjoy! But keep off the bike track as much as possible. On the bridge you will get a great view of Manhattan and you’ll even see the Statue of Liberty. We chose the walk the bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan. This has a much better view as well as tied in with the rest of the day.

Get Food in the east village

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I freaken love the east village. It is by far my favourite area of NYC. There are so many cool restaurants and bars. I would recommend this area for nightlife and a great meal. We ate at Marzanos. Good pasta and sangria (yassssss!) and very reasonably priced.

See a Mets Game (because the Yankees weren’t in town…)

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After a few beers, we took off on the subway to Citifield to catch a baseball game. Tickets are anywhere from $4 and up. I’m all about sporting events. Anytime I go somewhere new I HAVE to check out something. This time of year is baseball. I’ve been dying to go to MSG to a Knicks or Rangers game. If that’s the time you go, do it. MSG is one of the most famous sporting venues. If you get there, let me know what it’s like (still haven’t seen a game there *crying*).

Times Square After Midnight

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If you hate crowds…this is the worst place ever. Which is why we went down wayyyy late – at 2:00 a.m to be exact. But if you haven’t seen Times Square…you gotta. Lots of shopping (if thats what you’re into) and the big bright lights of NYC. We stopped by…took a few photos…and got the hell outta there.

Day 4 – Funny & romantic

Grand Central Station

Start off the day by checking out grand central station. The station is massive. With beautiful arches and windows and art on the ceiling. There’s a cool little food court in the basement as well if you want to grab a quick bite to eat. Be prepared to see wedding photos being taken at this venue. That’s how you know it’s worthwhile seeing…

Empire State Building or Rockefeller…

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God I love all the Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks movies. I legit have seen them 100 times and I can still to this day, watch them again and again. All the romantic stories that feature the Empire State Building kinda made it one of those bucket list things for me. To get an amazing view of the city from way high up you have two options: The Rockefeller or the Empire State Building. The Rockefeller is cheaper and I’ve read that it has better views then the ESB. Butttttt…it’s not the Empire State Building. See both or make your choice. We chose ESB. We didn’t take it all the way up to the 102 observer actors ($20 extra). This trip to the 86 floor will cost you $30 each. We went on a drizzly day, which was awesome. Only had to share the terrace with a handful of people. It’s busy on weekends and nice days. If you can’t find the perfect gloomy day for it, other blogs suggest going right before it closes or right when it opens.

See a Show at the Comedy Cellar

I love to laugh. What’s more NYC then a straight up stand up comedy show? We’ll probably going to Times Square and seeing a Broadway show, but were too cheap for that. Legit a Broadway show would be super awesome too, but this was a lot more underground and let’s face it, funny. This was the highlight of our trip. There are two comedy cellars, the original and one down the street called the village underground. We went to the village underground and I wasn’t sure what to expect. At first I was a little disappointed because it’s not the original one and I wasn’t sure what it would be like. But it was amazing. A lot of the comics are the same, and we lucked out and had a special guest. Ray Romano showed up and did a set. It really does happen!

Some quick tips and info for you about the comedy cellar:

First, it costs $14 per person and there’s a two-item minimum. That’s either drinks or food. Roughly for two, it comes out to $60 for the experience. Still cheaper than a Broadway show. Also I highly recommend you make a reservation online. We first attempted to attend the 730pm show at the comedy cellar and we were turned away after waiting in a very long standby line. At least with a reso, you’re guaranteed to see the show. Luckily if you miss out on the first one, there’s lots of bars and restaurants nearby. Just grab a drink and wait for the next show. Or if you’re like me, grab a drink somewhere with wifi and book a reso for the 10pm show. I recommend the red lion. They have wifi and pretty sweet drink specials during happy hour ($3 house beer whaaaaaa????).

Grab a New York Slice

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Yessssssssssss!!!! It’s so damn good. The slices are massive and delicious. This was our cheapest meal. We stumbled down to nicks??? After the show and grabbed two slices for $8. I’m know there’s lots of amazing pizza places in NYC. This is definitely one of them. Make sure you have cash.

 

Day 5 – Stroll and enjoy Central Park

Central Park Day

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It really does take an entire day to see Central Park. And it’s totally worth it. From large ponds to beautifu bridges and views, there’s lots too see!

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This is the place to grab a legendary street dog. We were damn hungry after walking around the park for a few hours…so why not? its cheap and delicious.

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Also…if you’re a huge fan of Friends the TV show…You can checkout the fountain that inspired the fountain scene in the opening credits of the show! I’m legit OBSESSED with friends…so this was a must-see for me!

Check out the MET – Especially the Rooftop Bar

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So we failed here. We finally made it to the met around 600pm. Unfortunately it closes at 530pm during the week. Going to the rooftop bar at the MET has been everyone’s number one recommendation. Don’t be like me. Get there before it closes. Weekends it’s open until 10pm. Have a drink and enjoy the beautiful views of the park.

Get a BIG Delicious Dessert at Serendipity

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After walking around for what feels like your entire life, you deserve a reward. Only a few blocks away from Central Park is the world famous serendipity. You want an ice cream that’s bigger than your head? Here’s where you can find it. It’s cute, it reminds me of how a 16 year old me would decorate a restaurant. Hungry for more than dessert? Serendipity has a massage menu with entrees and appetizers as well.

Day 6– Really soak in the last day

Brunch in Dumbo & Boutique Shopping

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We spent our last day having a delicious brunch in Dumbo at Egg Shop. In this area there are a few brunch spots in less than a two-block radius. I was sold on the fact that they sold their own hot sauce. After we finished, we grabbed a coffee and trotted around between all the boutiques before we had to check out of our airbnb and head back home.

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5 thoughts on “The LAYOVER: New York City for the First Time

  1. Sounds like you guys had a great time in New York! I have wanted to visit there forever but I have been skeptical because I heard it was pricy lol I will definitely go in the future though. Great content! 🙂

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