Monday, September 08, 2008

Sam's Guide to New York

As my cousin Pippi is off there this afternoon, I thought I'd put up the email I sent to my little brother when he was visiting the Big Apple a few years ago, hope it's useful!

Right, first thing, go buy a copy of TimeOut weekly magazine, and a TimeOut tourist guide book (annual). Be careful, there are lots of Timeout books, you want the standard tourist one that tells you where to stay, where to eat etc, the normal one.

Go through the Timeout mag, through the gigs bit, and pick out any music that sounds interesting - circle with a pen so you can find them later. It's very important that you take advantage of all the live music available, it's sooo much cheaper than London! Try to go to at least one gig each night!

Now, armed with your guide book, you can go "do" New York City, y'all!

1. Sights
It's like being in a movie. Walk around. Everything is within walking distance in Manhatten.

Empire State Building - go to the top. It's not cheap but you have to do it, view is amazing.
Chrysler Building
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island via ferry
Staten Island ferry
Brooklyn Bridge
Chinatown and Little Italy
5th Avenue
Downtown - Wall Street
Ground Zero
Times Square
United Nations
Central Park

Further afield:
The Bronx

2. Museums and Galleries
The Met in Central Park and MoMa not far away are two of the most famous in the world.
Check TimeOut for what else is on, there are tonnes of museums and galleries. Watch out for days when things are free entry.

3. Food
You're in one of the world's capitals of food! Enjoy it, and it doesn't have to be expensive.

Try some of these:

Go to delis on the street - there are little sandwich bars everywhere, try one of the places that has the world's biggest sandwich or something.

TimeOut has a list of brunch places - I think my favourite was Schiller's Liquor Bar in the Lower East Side, near Chinatown. Brunch is an institution in NYC, go enjoy that Eggs Benedict!

Chumley's was one of my fav pubs. Update: Closed indefinitely, so sad..

Lots of swanky places to try too. Timeout will be your guide. Go through the book and read all the bits, and try some out!

4. Shopping
5th Avenue is amazing but you won't be doing much buying there! Try some of the famous department stores too, like Macy's or Bloomendales.

Soho is a cool area for shopping - the area round your Apple store is nice.
Check out Katie's Paperie round there too. Try some independent music stores.

5. Trips out of NYC
You may want to take the train to:

Long Island (day trip)
Boston for the harbour, Quincy Market, MIT and Harvard etc
Washington for the White House, Capitol Hill etc.

There are a billion things to do, but part of it is just sitting in a cafe watching the world go by. Find a smoothie bar, a donut place, whatever and enjoy the view!


Anonymous said...

can you tell us about that eyeball scanning thingy you did to get through customs quickly?

Sam Crawley said...

Hello Anonymous. The IRIS scheme is in place at several UK airports including Heathrow. Before you can use it, however, you have to sign up, which can only be done on an outbound flight once you've passed security, at the Iris office. The opening hours are terrible - at T5 for example it's only 07:30-13:30.