Day 1 - Manhattan (well some of it anyway)
Manhattan is comprised of numerous neighbourhoods, each with their own characteristic. What they do share is a certain quality that makes Manhattan that little bit different to the city’s other boroughs. So after dropping your bags in your room, walk outside, take a moment to realise that you are right in the centre of New York, and begin your wander.
The financial district on the lower part of the island is where you can get ferries to other boroughs of the city – Staten Island, Brooklyn, and the Statue of Liberty, but we’ll get back to them. Sadly, where the World Trade Center once stood is now Ground Zero, the gaping hole in the ground since the buildings were knocked down on September 11th. Just as the Twin Towers were one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions, so too is Ground Zero, although sadly, visiting the site is now more of a sombre experience than joyous one.
When you are at the southern end of Manhattan Island, you may as well travel up to Brooklyn Bridge. Walking across it should take no longer than twenty minutes and from the other side is probably the best place to look at the Big Apple’s legendary skyline. Once you cross you now have the opportunity to explore the immediate parts of Brooklyn such as Brooklyn Heights and downtown Brooklyn, before walking back over the bridge.
New York has so much to offer in terms of eating out, particularly Lower Manhattan. You can go for a Mickey D’s (McDonald’s) or some other fast food chain (they are everywhere), you can get a hot dog on a stand or you may want to make a short trip to Chinatown or Little Italy, both with an excellent selection of restaurants for their particular country’s culinary delights.
Each of Manhattan's suburbs have endless places to dance/drink the night away, just some offer different things than others. On this first night, try checking out one of the grungy/rock bars in the East Village.
Day 2 - Become the typical tourist
At some stage during your stay you are obliged to see the city’s most famed landmarks. If you make Times Square your starting point, try to make it your finishing point also as it has to be seen after dark.
From Times Square wander down to Broadway and travel south (from Times Square this should be a right. Now don’t rush yourself as New York is one of the few city’s in the world where the streets, the people and atmosphere in the air are just as big an attraction as the most famous buildings. So as you meander through the pedestrians on the sidewalk, enjoy it. Once on Broadway you will be able to see the Empire State Building standing high in the sky. The easiest way to reach the landmark skyscraper is to keep walking until you can’t see the top anymore. This way you know you aren’t far away.
After a trip to the top of the building you should now head straight back down to Broadway and keep going south. Your next destination is the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. The ferry to see her leaves from the very southern tip of Manhattan in Battery Park. At this stage, if you are feel your stomach becoming somewhat disgruntled with you, stop in Little Italy or Chinatown for a quick bite before making your way to the park and embarking the ferry.
During your stay in New York it is a good idea to spend at least one night socialising away from Manhattan and try and go into one of the city’s other boroughs. Possibly the most famous internationally is Brooklyn, and there are organised tours which will bring you into the best bars in the area’s best neighbourhoods, before ending up back in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Day 3 - Central Park
Walking around Manhattan with taxis zooming in and out of lanes and people coming dangerously close to walking into your face is surprisingly appealing. This is New York after all. But what is even more appealing is that right in the middle of the island is a park to retreat to when you want to be in more peaceful surroundings.
Central Park is the perfect place to get lost in. Spanning over an area of 843 acres, the park is separated into different sections and full with various attractions. Spending a whole day in the park isn’t very challenging.
The Great Lawn is a huge patch of grass where loads of events take place during the summer months. If there isn’t anything on when you are there, just across the 86th St Transverse is the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. Previously known as the Reservoir, it was renamed after JFK’s widow as she used to run around the path frequently.
One of the nicest parts of the park (visually and recreationally) is The Ramble. Extremely hilly, it is the best part of the park to enjoy its wildlife. Elsewhere in the ‘New York’s Lung’, don’t avoid North Central Park at Harlem where you will find the Harlem Meer where children fish and the North Meadow. Down at the southern end of the park is the Carousel and the famous Wollman Rink. For the best way to see the city rent a bike inside the park or take a bike tour.
If you get are up early enough, you may be finished exploring the highlights of the park by the afternoon. If you are, take advantage of the rest of the afternoon by going on one of the Manhattan TV tours. They visit the Friends apartment, the famous steps in front of the Cosby house and the diner from Seinfeld.
New York is famed for its sports teams. One of the best known baseball teams in the world are the New York Yankees (if solely for their logo which can be seen on half of all baseball caps across the globe) while the New York Nicks are just as famous when it comes to basketball. And, of course, the Giants are the city’s better known American football team. No matter what time of year you are in the Big Apple, you can always go to see one of the teams play as the basketball season runs from October to June, baseball from February to October and football from August to December. As so many games are played at night it is a good way to spend a night instead of getting rubber drunk.