New York was the 11th state of the USA. It is now the nerve centre of the nation, leading in manufacturing, foreign trade, commerce and banking, book and magazine publishing and theatrical production. New York City is home to three airports, one of which (John F. Kennedy International Airport) is one of the busiest airports in the world. With incomparable museums, attractions, restaurants, hotels, theatres and shopping venues, New York City attracts visitors from all over the world. It is estimated that 56.5 million people visited New York City in 2014.
New York state is America’s top apple growers however the city’s nickname of ‘the Big Apple’ has nothing to do with the fruit. It is said that in 1920 a New York City newspaper reporter, John Fitzgerald, overheard a stable hand in New Orleans saying that he was going to the ‘Big Apple’, referring to New York City, whose race tracks were considered to be big-time venues. John Fitzgerald then began mentioning the ‘Big Apple’ in his newspaper columns and later the term was adopted by jazz musicians, indicating that the city was home to big-league music clubs.
Where to Stay
The futuristic Yotel New York is located approximately five minutes on foot from Times Square at 570 Tenth Avenue. The automated check-in and check-out system is quick and easy and the reception area features a bag-storing robot that is well worth watching, even if you don’t need to store your bag!
The hotel offers a wide range of ‘cabins’ from the ‘Premium Cabin’ to the ‘First King Cabin’. We recommend the Executive City View Queen Cabin, which features a floor-to-ceiling corner view of the Manhattan skyline and the Hudson River. We were also given a free upgrade to a higher floor, which made the views even better!
The hotel offers free tea, coffee and muffins for breakfast on ‘Four’ although guests may also opt to pay extra for a traditional, cooked breakfast. There is free wi-fi throughout the hotel and computers on ‘Four’ which can be used for the internet or to print out your theatre tickets!
Where to Eat
Toni’s di Napoli is a wonderful Italian restaurant near Times Square. The ‘family style Italian’ has been been serving the best ‘Old New York Italian favourites’ since 1959. The portions are designed to serve two or three people and are huge and delicious! We recommend the Black Linguini Seafood.
The Playwright Irish Pub is located in midtown Manhattan. The menu offers a selection of Irish and American dishes and over 25 rotating draft beers and countless more options by the bottle. This is a great place for a quick lunch or a snack. We recommend sharing the sampler platter!
A trip to NYC would not be complete without a Cheesecake at Junior’s. There are Junior’s restaurants in Brooklyn, Grand Central, Times Square and Foxwoods. Their slogan of ‘Home of the World’s Most Fabulous Cheesecake’ is very apt and we highly recommend a large slice (and the slices really are large!) of their ‘Famous No. 1 Original Cheesecake’. Junior’s also offer delicious sandwiches, burgers and milkshakes.
What to See/Do
Hop on the Big Bus Tour – This is a great way to see the city and to get a layout of where all the sights are on your first day in NYC! We recommend Liberty Package, which includes the Uptown, Downtown, Brooklyn and Night routes as well the ferry to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. You can hop on and hop off as many times as you like and the buses stop at all the main attractions including the Empire State Building, Ground Zero and One World Trade Centre, Chinatown, Little Italy, Times Square and Central Park.
Take a Helicopter Tour – Zip Aviation Tours offer a selection of unforgettable helicopter rides over the Statue of Liberty and up the Hudson River with great views of the city. This is a great way to make your trip to New York truly unforgettable! Zip Aviation Tours also offer a personalised, high definition video so you can replay the experience again and again.
Visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island – Remember to plan ahead and buy tickets – skip the line tickets if possible! To climb to the pedestal or the crown of the Statue of Liberty you will need pedestal or crown tickets and you may have to book well in advance. Allow a few hours to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and remember that the ferries will be busy at peak times so you may have to wait a while! You will get great views of the city on the ferry on your way to Liberty Island so get a seat on the top deck if the weather is good.
See New York from the Top Deck of the Empire State Building – The VIP express tickets are well worth it and could save you from waiting in a very long line. The open-air observatory on the 86th floor offers wonderful, 360 degree views. We recommend purchasing tickets that also allow you to visit the 102nd floor, which you will reach in a manually operated Otis elevator.
Catch a show on Broadway – an absolute must in NYC! We recommend Les Miserables, which is currently showing at the Imperial Theatre. The performance is simply spectacular and the scenery is magnificent.