Welcome to New York, its been waiting for you
New York is the city dreams are made of, and this past Christmas my dreams came true as I spent the festive period wandering the streets of NYC. This was my third time to New York in the past year, the first time was when I first arrived for orientation, the second time was to spend some time with a friend from Ireland living in New York, and my most recent NYC trip was at Christmas, along with a good friend.
Back in Ireland, id always dreamed of seeing the real life times square and central park. At the beginning of this journey, I spent 3 days in the city in preparation for being an Au Pair. This was a great experience and everything was planned out for me so I didn’t have to worry about where to stay or how to use the subway. Fast forward 11 months later and I was returning to the city. This time round I had to choose where to stay, how to get there and I had to navigate the subway system.
If you’re like me, then I am a planner and like to have plans set in place when it comes to travel. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a spontaneous trip, but for larger trips, I like to know in advance so that I am prepared. As I was in NYC in November for the day, I was somewhat familiar with the subway system – although id like to mention, if it hadn’t of been for my friend, i’ve no idea where I’d have ended up lol. Therefore this slight knowledge was beneficial when we were deciding on accommodation as we knew we would be able to use the subway to get around. As a result we didn’t mind being out of the city, as long as we were in close proximity to the subway.
Although I have mentioned the importance of planning ahead, that is mostly in regards to travel and accommodation. Everything else we did was decided on the day. Our conversations went something like ”What do you want to do today?” ”I don’t mind. Lets go to Times Square and decide”. We knew what we wanted to see and do on our trip, but we didn’t set concrete plans as things could come up, for example the weather.
The one event that we did plan, was seeing the Rockettes at Music City Hall. We went to the show on Christmas Eve and the tickets were a gift from my Host Family. If you visit NYC and the Rockettes are having a show, then I’d highly recommend going to see them. They are amazing !
Its New York. Its a big city and like any big city there are multiple forms of transport including the subway, uber/lyft, public buses, yellow taxis and bicycles. Before leaving for your trip, figure out the route and distance from the airport to your accommodation. Decide whether you feel comfortable enough to use the bus / subway combination or would feel more relaxed having a Lyft / Uber. During my November visit I used Lyft* to get the the city from the airport. The recommended fare was between 35 – 40 dollars one way, for the 25 minute journey. On this particular occasion, I had a 50% discount code, so my fare was around 17 dollars. Once I reached the city, we used the subway and I purchased a 1 ride pass for 3 dollars. As I was staying one day, this was my best option. When I returned a few weeks ago, I was staying 5 days and would use the subway frequently in one day, therefore purchasing a 7 day pass for 33 dollars was my best option on this visit.
At first, the subway can seem a bit daunting, but after your first day, you understand the workings of it. Use your google maps on your phone. This will direct you to the correct platform. If you do get on the wrong subway, never worry. Get off at the next stop and get on another carriage. We did this on a few occasions. Don’t be afraid to ask
Of course like any big city, Christmas is a hectic period and prices for accomodation and travel increase. We reserved our hotel in early September, along with booking our flights. I use booking.com whenever I travel. It allows me to find accommodation and make a reservation with no upfront payment. You reserve your hotel and pay when you arrive. If you change your mind, there is also free cancellation.
We stayed at The Comfort Inn . This is a great budget friendly hotel with free breakfast and within close proximity to Queensboro Plaza station. The hotel is 4 stops from Times Square with approx. a 15 minutes travel time. This hotel / location will be my go-to whenever I visit New York.
New York Attractions
It is all happening in New York. The city that never sleeps. Although New York is such a big place, it is very manageable to get around and visit the tourist attractions. On our recent trip we visited Times Square and every Sephora in a 5 mile radius lol, Brooklyn Bridge, the City Skyline, Chelsea Market, Rockerfeller, 5th Avenue, Grand Central Station, Ground Zero and we had the best coffee in an Italian food market, Eataly
We skipped over the Empire state building and central park because a) it was realllllyyy cold and b) we have both visited these attractions during our orientation week but both are a must see for first time visitors. Ryan has highlighted the social hotspots of NYC if you fancy a few nights out on the town.
The main goal is to enjoy your NYC visit and see as much as you can. If you have any questions regarding the information above, or any other questions, get in touch and I will happily help. Keep up to date with my experiences on Instagram – Beccawhi
Lyft* is an app that you can download to your phone. The app allows you to request a ride and pay with your card. There is an estimated arrival time and estimated fare price. You can share a Lyft with other people that are going to the same location and direction, at a reduced price. I use Lyft when I need a ride because it is reasonable and I can book in advance.