I once did an interview for Boingo.com (I use their wireless internet access plan all over the world) about my top five tips on traveling in the Big Apple and since I was just there I thought I would update them.
1. Pack light
Pack light so you can take public transportation. When I land alone at LGA, I take the M60 Bus to 125th Street and then either take the subway down to my family’s apartment or the train to Connecticut, where I grew up. The bus takes 30 minutes and costs $2.50 and the subway transfer is free. From JFK I will jump on the Air Train to Jamaica Station and then the E Train to 53rd street – total price is $7.50. From Newark I will usually take The Newark Airport Express Bus that leaves every 15 minutes and costs $15 to the Port Authority or Grand Central.
2. Grand Central Terminal
I’ve been fortunate to travel through some incredible train stations around the world but my favorite is Grand Central Terminal. Thanks to Jackie Onassis, the station was saved and it’s been completely restored back to its 1913 splendor. Now there’s a market, fine restaurants and bars in addition to transportation and the glorious ceiling. One secret place many locals don’t even know about is The Campbell Apartment. It was formerly the private office and salon of 1920s tycoon, John W. Campbell but it has been reborn as a chic cocktail lounge. Go there for a drink but be sure to dress up (no baseball caps, t-shirts, athletic shoes, etc.).
3. Yankees Stadium
You can’t go to New York when the Yankees are in town and not visit the house that George built. The $1.5 billion stadium opened in 2009 and I was lucky to be in attendance when the Yankees christened it in grand fashion by winning the World Series. To get to the game, either take the subway or ferry.
4. Central Park
Every time I spend the night in the city, I always take a stroll through Central Park. It’s a haven for New Yorkers and it’s so big (843 acres) I’ve actually gotten lost, cutting through from the East side to the West side. I recommend getting picnic food from Agata and Valentina (79th and 1st) and walking to the boathouse to rent ($15 an hour) a row boat for an hour or two. Or eat on one of the benches along Poets walk.
The first thing I do when arriving in the Big Apple is get a slice. My favorite is Don Filippos on 78th and Lexington but you can find hundreds of tasty joints throughout the five boroughs. For a carb-overload, find a place that serves baked ziti pizza. Yum.
There you have it! I could go on forever about what to do and see in New York City but these are my top choices.