New York is one of the most famous and known cities in the world. It fascinates travellers and inspires filmmakers. People either love it or hate it. If you are dreaming about a trip to New York, you probably already know the most iconic and worth seeing places. But this mind blowing city is not only about places, but also about the unique experience. The vibe, people, music, food… These things also can’t be missed in NYC!
10 Unique New York City Experiences
New York Pizza Slice
Trying a slice of pizza is a must in New York. It’s also one of the fastest and cheapest ways to get a meal. The price range varies from $1 to even $8 for a slice, depending on toppings and place. In my opinion the best New York City pizza slice costs $3-4. There’s no point to neither overspend in a fancy eatery nor buy the cheapest, low quality slice.
All That Jazz…
Even if jazz music is not exactly your thing, having a drink in a jazz club and listening to some local musicians would make the perfect New York City evening. Harlem would be the best spot, but finding a jazz club elsewhere should be also easy. There are several places with free music. In others visitors have to buy at least two drinks. If you’re willing to pay more, visit famous clubs such as Blue Note or Village Vanguard among many more.
Observation Decks In New York
It’s an incredible thing to wander around New York, but Manhattan must be seen from above, too! There’re number of options, cheaper or more expensive. One World Observatory in the World Trade Center gives a great chance to see Lower Manhattan with a good view of the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge. The most famous buildings in Midtown Manhattan are also visible, but not too well. Observation deck in the Empire State Building would let you see Upper and Midtown Manhattan and WTC on the horizon. The visualisations on the way to the top are also worth mentioning. Unfortunately from there you don’t see… well, the Empire State Building. My personal favourite, despite the lowest, would be Top of the Rock in Rockefeller Center. It allows you to enjoy both Midtown and Lower Manhattan with the best view to Central Park and ESB.
Cycling in New York City
If you want to cycle in New York, there is some good news for you! NYC has plenty of cycling lanes and pretty easy city bikes system. For $15 you can have as many 30-minutes rides as you want (but if you exceed that time, you’ll pay more). I truly recommend Manhattan Greenway, which I tried for a few kilometres. It allows you to round the whole island of Manhattan with stunning views on the way. This is really fun! Just stop every 30 minutes for a meal, drink or to take some pictures and simply swap bicycles to avoid extra fees. I also used city bikes for Central Park but I wouldn’t do that again. The main and only road that is accessible for cyclists is not interesting at all. For the best views and famous spots you need to use paths that are available only for walkers, anyway.
If you’re in Brooklyn, visiting Green-Wood would be an interesting alternative. This historic landmark looks more like a park than a cemetery. In fact, “it inspired a competition to design Central Park in Manhattan, as well as Prospect Park nearby” according to Wikipedia. I visited Green-Wood Cemetery in May during the blooming season and it was so beautiful that I almost felt like I was walking in botanic gardens!
The Old Ale House
McSorley’s Old Ale House is an institution. The oldest Irish pub in New York. One of the longest continuously operating bars in the city (since 1854). Unique, dark wood interiors are reminiscent of the old times (no piece of memorabilia has been removed from its walls since 1910). Only cash is accepted. They sell two beers served together; light and dark ale. (Pretty cheap food menu is available for hungry visitors, too!). All of that makes McSorley’s an atmospheric and genuine spot. This New York experience can’t be missed.
New York From The Water
The most popular way to see the New York skyline from the water costs nothing. The Staten Island Ferry would take you from the terminal in Lower Manhattan to Staten Island and back in approximately 90 minutes. You will see not only a fantastic skyline of Manhattan, but also go close enough to take decent pictures of the Statue of Liberty. Have I mentioned that it’s for free?
Another idea to enjoy the skyline is to take the NY Waterway Ferry. It runs on the Hudson River on several routes and costs just a few dollars, but buying an online ticket is required. It’s a great chance to take a closer look to both Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, as the ferries from Pier 11 to the East 34th St or to North Williamsburg run under them.
Flea & Food Markets in New York
New York City has to offer a variety of flea markets, food markets and food halls, which apparently are very popular among Americans. It would be a shame to miss out on this experience.
For beautiful crafts, antiques and vintage stuff I recommend the DUMBO flea market, which takes place every Saturday after 9 am under Manhattan Bridge. Surprisingly, it’s quite affordable. I found the best food (and great atmosphere) in Chelsea Food Market which you can visit wandering in Soho or walking on the High Lane, as it’s one of the exits. Other places I tried and enjoyed are Dekalb Market Hall in Brooklyn and smaller Urbanspace in a few different locations. New York has, however, much more to offer!
Famous Film Locations
You don’t have to be a cinephile to associate a hundred of places in New York with a certain movie or TV series. You’ve definitely seen the skyline, skyscrapers, parks and some streets on the big or small screen many, many times… When I was wandering around the streets of New York I felt like I was on the movie set. It’s truly remarkable and weird at the same time. Try to find locations from your favourite movies and shows, especially those less visible and obvious. It’s really easy, fun, and believe me – you won’t be alone!
Picnic (With A View!)
You can spend hours taking a walk on every path in Central Park, visiting one famous corner after another. Or you can see the most interesting parts and then go to The Great Lawn or to the Sheep Meadow and have a picnic! Take the food you like, relax and enjoy it with a view! It is better, however, to bring a picnic food and drinks from one of the shops outside Central Park. There are not too many of them in the park and they’re overpriced. Also, some of the lawns may be closed which is really frustrating, therefore be prepared and patient.
This is just the first out of three articles I’ve published after my visit in New York City. That’s how amazed I was! If you’re also about to go, read my 6 Days New York City Itinerary and Pros & Cons: What To Expect in New York. Also, visit my Instagram for much more pictures from NYC.
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