I used to be a flight attendant and I traveled the world many times. Even though we stayed on different destinations for short period of time, it was still a lot of time if you knew how to organize yourself. So basically we had layovers which means that you stay in the place when you land for certain time so you could get some rest before you fly back to your base. And so we had New York as well and the city which never sleeps, neither did I. Haha. The layovers were very short, even 24 hour short but I still managed to do a lot. Sightseeing, eating, shopping, visiting my friends and sleep as well. Amazing I know.
So, if you have the chance to go to New York even for just a stopover, do not miss out my favorite things and manage your time so you can see as much as I did.
For one day stay or 24 hours I would recommend you to visit:
Top of the Rock
Nothing beats the view from Top of the Rock and although it is not the quickest afternoon activity, it is worth it. Make sure to buy tickets ahead because there’s always a huge line there and have enough time to enjoy the view at the top. I was there during the day so I saw the 360 view when it was daylight and at the dawn to see the colorful sky and how the Big apple is bathing in numerous colors and then it was dark. At night this city is magnificent as the lights comes on and it’s magical when you see those little sparkles everywhere and the sky full of stars. My oh my how I love this city!
Central Park and Bethesda Arcade
Did you know that there is 843 acres (around 3.500.000 square meters) of paths, lakes and open spaces that are meant for escaping the din and chaos of the surrounding city? It is the most urban park in the world. I was impressed with its beauty and size, making it a wonderful place to enjoy a bit of relaxation in the center of concrete jungle and get a better sense of what it is like to live in New York City. It is a great place for picnicking, listening to music and exploration with many fun, free events, particularly in the summer. I think if you watched at least one of the series that was filmed in New York then it was most definitely showed in it and for me it is a place to be and a place to go and unwind. Take a Carriage Ride in Central Park – it might be one of the touristiest things to do in New York but there is nothing wrong with that! Have a picnic or take just a coffee with you to enjoy some quiet nature time. And go through the park to the stately red-brick Bethesda Terrace, where the beautiful ‘Angel of the Waters’ statue sits high above one of New York’s most famous fountains.
Even if you do not have any time or as little as possible go and check it out because you will be stunned by how it looks in real life. At least I was. It is so colorful, so crowded, loud and full of glowing billboards, but crazy and amazing at the same time. All day, all night, every single day. They say it is crossroads of the world and home of the New Year’s Eve ball drop and Broadway. There are loads of costume characters but note that if you want to take a picture with one of them you will have to tip them. My tip is to go on the stairs and soak the vibe by people watching and enjoy the moment or two.
If you are going to rent a bike go along Brooklyn Bridge and finish your tour with Brooklyn Bridge Park.
I guess everyone has seen Home alone movie and always dreamt about being there for holiday season. The big Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center it is one of the main reasons to visit New York at Christmas. Of course, a must is to go and see the Christmas tree that lights up the Plaza, and everyone should find their feet on the world famous Ice-Skating Rink. The skating is free if you bring your own skates.
Grand central Terminal
It is the busiest station ever and the largest train station in the world! Just be a tourist and be amazed, gaze at the celestial ceiling mural above the vast main concourse. And whisper into the wall in the Whispering Galley.
Statue of liberty
Take the Staten Island ferry for free that goes by very close to it. Just do not be surprised of its size because it is not as big as in the movies. Sorry.
West village Stroll and Perry Street
If you are a Carrie and Sex and the city fan, this is a MUST! Such a pretty and quiet neighborhood with amazing architecture and lovely boutiques. Treat yourself with a cupcake in famous Magnolia Bakery.
It is such a nostalgic place but at the same time so peaceful. I love the way they built the memorial fountain.
5th Avenue Shopping
That is all I must say. Maybe just for window shopping or to feel like in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. You will find iconic places of New York such as Saint Patrick’s Church, Rockefeller Center, Hotel Plaza, New York Public library and the Empire State among others.
My advice: Start your day early with a bagel and indulge yourself with a cup of coffee to go and maybe take a doughnut in case you will get hungry later and rent a Citi Bike or go for a walking tour.
My advice no.2: Stay in city center (Midtown Manhattan), it will cost you more but you will not waste your time with traffic. It is so worth to see where the action is! Or stay in Brooklyn for a lower price which will take you up to 20 minutes by subway.
No matter what time of the year you choose to be in New York, it has its charms in every single moment. Go and check it out yourself. I believe this concrete jungle will not disappoint you. Every time I see or hear mentioned New York I get this in my ears: “Neeeew Yoooork, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, Neeeew Yooork.” Go there and see it for yourself. But be prepared for crowds!