The Big Apple has everything a traveller can desire for a memorable vacation - Best Attractions, Great Shopping, Beautiful Beaches...name it and you have it.
You can find a lot of reviews about this great city, so here is a synopsis of what I believe are the best experiences ( i.e. An unbiased well weighed Conclusion after 6 visits to the City...all busy Business visits.. with weekends available for exploration).
Food, sight-seeing and shopping
Note: Do not forget to pick up a free NY quide from the airport on arrival. This has a lot of discount coupons and deals for Shopping and Attractions. You can easily use 50-60% of these coupons and save aplenty :).
Sightseeing : Apart from The Statue of Liberty, The Raging Bull , Madam Tussauds, Rockfeller Center, Central Park, et al, one HAS to experience the following :
1) A walk on Brooklyn Bridge. Its not tiring and is beautiful especially post Sunset.
2) A ride on the Staten Island Ferry. Its free and is an amazing experience. Again, I recommend a ride closer to sunset. You are bound to go crazy with your cameras.
3) Check out the Flea Markets. There are plenty of them. Check out the dates and venues on the internet as these change from time to time.These are good for unique souvenirs (you can get t-shirts, mugs, magnets , et al that say ' I Love NY ' anywhere...but these markets give you an opportunity to check out the local talent...you can pick up handicrafts for home decoration, paintings, antique pics, et al...that will remind you of NY for years to come ).
4) St Pauls, Trinity Church et al cannot be missed. The peace and tranquility will take away all the aches and pains acquired after loads of walking and shopping.
6) 9/11 Site: This would give you a mixed feeling of Anger , Pride to read about the bravery of people who helped save lives, Sadness when you see the memorabilia and personal items donated by loved ones of people that lost their lives in the attack ( this is likely to make your eyes moist...so best to keep a napkin handy to avoid embarrassment :( . One cannot miss visiting this site....its changed US and the World.
4) Shopping :
a) For Cosmetics, check out 'Cosmetic Market' on 37th St. You can pick up good quality discounted cosmetics, samples and small gifts.
b) For Electronics: BestBuy ( multiple locations ) and B&H are good but though the electronics are 15 % cheaper...they usually do not carry an International warranty. You can of course BUY an International Warranty but that makes the product MORE expensive that what you would pay for in India ! Best to buy Electronics from India itself. In fact they would be much cheaper from places like ' Alfa ' in Mumbai, India and would come with the company warranty.
c) Clothes : The branded clothes and shoes are surprisingly inexpensive ( cheaper ) as compared to India....and the range is AMAZING !!!! JC Penney, Century21, Filenes Basement, Marshalls, et al all carry discounted good quality clothes and shoes. Also, you would be able to use Discount Coupons from the NY Guide that you picked up from the airport. At Macys, you can show your ID and collect a 10 % Visitor Discount Card from the Customer Service desk.
Shoes: Century 21 near World Trade Center has a crazy collection of shoes. For Sports Shoes - Visit Modells and Foot Locker (Again check the Ny Guide for Discount Coupons ).
Perfumes: I Prefer Macys for Perfumes . Though, the 10% discount is not applicable on Perfumes, they usually have good deals...especially on the travel packs.
Activities & things to do
Loads on things to do ...You can go to Atlantic City ( Casinos)...which is 2.5 hours away by bus...closer home, you could visit the World Resorts Casino ( Racino ) in Queens ..ie NYC itself. If you enjoy Theatre...catch a play near Times Square, Do a Walking Tour, Visit the Pubs, Spend the evening on the Red Steps at Times Square and watch the World go past..amazing place for People Watching, Participate as live audience for the many shows recorded on a daily basis in NYC...good experience but most often than not...takes up a major part of the day, Visit Brighton Beach....beautiful Beach...lots of Rides, Good Food...you could request one of the many people with fishing rods to let you have a go at angling fish ...Its fun, hmmm...and always go through one of the newspapers to find the recent happenings in the city..dunno what you might stumble across....and above all ..create your own experience...keep a couple of days aside to do something that none of the guidebooks talk about....:)
Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc.
Best to carry an Umbrella. If you plan to use public transport ie buses and subway...invest in the weekly pass..( $ 29 ). Best to stay in a Hotel which is close to a Subway...you will be less tired and you will save commuting time. To save $$ stay away from Manhattan...I recommend Quality Inn, Jamaica, NYC..which is in Queens..is close to the AirTrain Stn, LIRR stn and Sutphin Blvd Subway stn..If you are travelling by yourself, do not shy away from staying at one of the hostels..they are inexpensive and better than what you expect from a hostel..and are usually closer to Tourist attractions. Do NOT buy from the SMALL ELECTRONIC stores...I do not trust them...Do Not buy expensive Jewellery..cant be sure about the quality ( 10ct /14ct/18 ct Diamond Quality ). Subways are usually safe....I have often traveled post midnight on subways trains ( esp. when returning from out of City meetings )and have had no negative experiences...but best to be careful. Post midnight...always ensure that you are in a coach which is closer to the Driver or Conductor's area..or one in which there are many passengers. Hmm, and lastly...if you are travelling during the colder months....dont buy winterwear from your home city...let it be the no.1 thing on your TO DO list ...i.e. shop for winter wear ( Macys/JCPenny et al ) as soon as you reach NYC....I have often seen that the fashion differs...and you are ultimately tempted to shop for the same....increasing baggage weight :/. If you are travelling for pleasure...I can VERY safely recommend that you pack just a couple of tshirts and a pair of jeans ...and shop for the rest of clothes in NYC...this is the BEST advice you can get !
Enjoy Digging into the Juicy Big Apple !!
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