How Cinzia &me, we have discovered The Big Apple – Tips to get around New York

This December I was lucky enough to spend with my friend Cinzia a longer time in New York.

I would like to share some tips and tricks and  make it easier for those who visit city for the first time…

New York not to miss:

Liberty Statue1. The Statue of Liberty

You can have an amazing view on the statue from the FREE ferry from the South port to Staten Island, our suggestion is to visit it inside,Sunset from the top of the Empire State Building it was one of the best thing we saw. You need to book ahead, costs 17 USD including visiting the Liberty Island and audioguide. Ask for a ticket with entrance into the statue and museum inside. Same price, amazing experience.


2. Empire State building (USD 27 entrance, audio 5 USD, map 5USD)

Take your time and make sure you have an audioguide, makes a difference looking at New York with explanation. I suggest to do it not in the first days, we really liked to recognize places we have already visited.

Harlem Subway

3. Gospel (FREE, Wed 6pm, Sun 11am)

Address: The Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, 132 Odéll Clark Place

Make sure you are there well in advance, like an 1-1,5 h earlier. It’s worth it. We arrived on time and almost could not get in as we were not in the first 300 people…

MET NY4.MET   – The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Donation – you give how much you want for the ticket, Fri-Sat open till 9pm)

I think this is the best museum in the world. If you do not believe, go and check it out. Extremely big and very well organized, with fresh flowers in the entrance hall. There are guided visits every hour, I would suggest the highlights of the museum first then any you like. They are all very interesting. The museum is massive, better to have an explanation when you go around. I went back twice, you can do the same as the ticket is free donation.

Imagine - John Lennon memorial in Central park

5. Central Park and the Strawberry Fields – John Lennon Memorial

New York snowy December version 6. Seeing any musical at the Broadway (full price: 120-200 USD, 40-50% discounted tickets at TKTS)oh, yes, in New York you meet the Beatles all the time. Their pictures, their music in the subway or in Central Park.

Tickets are available discounted daily for the same day at the TKTS (in the middle of Time Square). Be there by 2pm so you have a good position at 3pm when they open. We were lucky enough to have 5 nights out to see Broadway shows and concerts and could have done it every evening.

Brooklyn Bridge7. Crossing Brooklyn Bridge Amazing views, prepare your cameras!!! 🙂

8. Going around SOHO, Little Italy, Chinatown

Yes, we did it, it was freezing cold and snowing hard… interesting experience

9. Wall street (the Stock Exchange cannot be visited)

10. Rockefeller Center centre (

During Christmas period it is a must. This is the place with the big Christmas tree and the Skating rink.

NYGeneral must TRY and DOs: get lost on the Subway :), have a NY bagel for breakfast, have a cupcake (muffin), go to Hard Rock Hard Rock Café NY - U2 :)Café and check all the things they have from U2, RHCP, The BEatles, Guns&Roses and many more… , have a bite at the dining area under the Grand Central station (we had Chinese and Indian – both nice)

Only for girls: adjust your manicure at any of the Sephora shops at the ‘Nail deck’ or have a quick make up – FOR FREE

We have seen and loved it – Tips if you have more days and time

11. Have a drink at the Roof-top bars: Also worth mentioning that many of them are found at the top of classier hotels.  The name of the bar at the top of the Dream Hotel was called the Ava Lounge:

12.Staten Island Ferry – beautiful views, not only on Lady Liberty, but also on the Verazzano bridge, named after the guy from Tuscany who discovered the Manhattan bay


13. Guggenheim museum (25 USD or donation on Saturdays from 17,45-19,45) IMAG2741

Nice and relatively small. If you have time, go during the donation time, no need of more then 2 hours, still the building is amazing.

14. Macy’s Department Store

Immense. Maybe the biggest in the World. Definitely the biggest I have ever seen or could imagine.

To have an idea: It took us a while to find on the 6th floor in the children department the McDonald’s. It wasn’t small.

15. Shop like locals do:

Check the places like Century 21 or T.J. Maxx Shopping malls with unbelievable discounts on every American brand. Check clearence shelves at any of the big malls.

16. Magnolia cupcake shop from Sex and the City – no comment 🙂 (West Village, on Bleecker Street)Magnolia Cupcake shop
NY Yankee's Stadium :)

17.Yankee’s Stadium – Interesting to visit something in the  Bronx area. Possibly do not go alone if you are a girl.

18.Grand Central Station

19. Watch films of/about/in New York, before and during your stay : Manhattan, When Harry met Sally, Eternal Sunshine, Love story, 25th Hour, Annie Hall, Carlito’s way, Gangs of New York…

20. Jazz – Village Vanguard (20-30USD entrance + 2 drinks) or other Jazz bars, or in the Ghospel church or watch the musical After Midnight at Broadway

21. 9/11 Memorial – we did not go in due to the weather. Open air monument and museum with 2 waterfalls.Central Park

22. Churches we checked and liked: St James (Madison Av/71), St Patrick, Virgin Mary of Pompeii, St Vincent de Ferrer


The subway – ask for a metro map at any station where there is a ticket office, make sure you understand the system before you get on any train as it can become a nightmare 🙂


Metrocard 25+USD for a week, Metrocard 1USD then you top it up with the amount you want – 2,50 USD is valid for one entire ride NY Subway including changes and 2hours on buses in addition and only after the metro ride. Uptown goes North, Downtown goes South. There are different lines on the same track, doublecheck before you get on. Some lines with the same letters go different ways. (in two weeks we could not find out the reason) Not all lines work on the weekends (M line no). Left and right sides can be Experess/Local or two different directions. Express not always stops everywhere – normally as mentioned at the stop…

NY December

I would also mention re: subways that although the subway runs 24 hours, late at night and on the weekends the train routes change due to track work/repairs.  You can check online for any changes in service here:

Always better to ask, possibly at the ticket office as also locals get confused with the subway. Good luck 🙂


ps. Special thanks to Alex and Elvira who made our stay even more special with their suggestions and tips 🙂


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