So, Arsenal. You've saved up enough in your vacation piggy bank to take the trip of your dreams - you always go to Portugal for a week with the family, and sometimes you and your mates head off to Dublin for a boozy weekend away, but this is the big one. New York City! Wow! You've seen it on TV, you've seen it in movies, you know it's big and crazy and loud and full of things to see and do, but are you ready to experience the REAL New York? Here's a few "can't miss" things to make New York your once-in-a-lifetime vacation to remember!
HOW TO GET AROUND
Cabs are plentiful, easy to grab, and quick, but you'll soon learn that the subway is your friend, particularly during rush hour, which in parts of Midtown and downtown can be defined as "all the time". The first thing you should do, Arsenal, is go to the nearest subway station and get a 7-day unlimited use Metrocard; it's the NY equivalent of an Oyster card, but doesn't require you to register. It's good for seven days from when you first swipe it, and you can ride as much as you want.
Cabs, as mentioned, are easy to get - stand on the sidewalk, put your arm in the air, and there's a cab for you. Dobn't be a noob - only cabs with their white number lights on are available!
If you're feeling adventurous, NYC is a great walking city - Manhattan's mostly flat, and above 14th St it's pretty much a perfect grid so it's hard to get too far lost.
WHAT TO EAT
What kind of food do you like? Great! NYC has that! Everything from cheese sandwiches to haute cuisine is pretty easily available anywhere in the city. NYC is also known for its street vendors, which you can find almost anywhere that tourists congregate, selling everything from pretzels made during the Ford Administration to hot dogs that may contain up to 2% real meat*!
But for something more New York-y, go to Ray's Pizza. They're everywhere! And they're all completely unrelated! For bonus points, tell the counter guy at Ray's Pizza that you heard the other Ray's Pizza a couple blocks over was claiming to be either the oldest or the best in the city. You'll soon get a slice of colorful New York you won't forget!
*don't ask what kind of meat
WHAT TO SEE
Oh, where to start? The Empire State Building, the Statue Of Liberty, the plaza at Rockefeller Center, Central Park - all things you'd love to see for yourself, right? Right! But those are the "no brainers" - you'll see those even if I say "don't waste your time at the ESB because it'll take you two hours to get through the line and to the top". No, Arsenal, here's a few "hidden gems" that you should check out after you're done!
- The Stickball Hall of Fame. As sports players, you'll love this! It's the history of America's greatest game, if by "America" you mean "Certain neighborhoods of New York in the 1950's and 60's". Sports is the universal language!
- The Mossman Lock Museum. "One of the most complete anthologies of bank and vault locks in the world." With a description like that, how can you pass this gem up?
WHERE TO SHOP
Oh, Arsenal, you know the drill. When you return from your travels, your spouse/kids/friends/whoever will invariably ask "What did you bring me?" In NYC, of course, there are a million places to buy things - you've got your Macy's, your Saks Fifth Avenues, your Bloomingdales, your Empire State Building Gift Shops, your Duane Reades, all that.
But you're a discriminating shopper, and looking for that something special, right? Well, look no more! The Evolution Store has all your unique gift needs covered! Replica skulls? Yes, sir! Taxidermy? You bet! Nothing says "I went to New York" like bringing your loved one a taxidermied rat - just like the one you saw in the subway station!
Well, Arsenal, hopefully this gets your NYC adventure off to a good start. Now go make some memories!