*mode of transport- flight, cab, subway
*Places visited- Battery park, Liberty island, statue of Liberty, Ellis island, Wall Street, broadway Street, charging bull, federal hall, Trinity Church, central park, Times square, Chinatown
*Food- Casa Bella, food station
*Stay- Hotel mulberry, Chinatown
We had the very early morning flight from Detroit to NYC which takes about one and half hours to reach new york. Operated by united airlines the check-in procedure is no nonsense and very fast. Reaching early in the city is good so you can avoid the heavy Manhattan traffic for the travel.
We checked into hotel Mulberry located in Chinatown, lower Manhattan. The hotel might look small on the outside but it's got some pretty decent rooms, competitive prices and the location is a killer with loads of restuarants nearby.
A thing to note is that if you are gonna be doing touristy things in New York its always better to pick a hotel in Manhattan. They aren't the usual cheap but you can always find some decent deal. Given the traffic that goes on here usually you might actually end up spending more if you stay somewhere far off as most of the sightseeing places are located in Manhattan itself.
First up with the statue of Liberty and Liberty island. The location is battery park to get onto the ferry and the queue for the same is just as huge. Took us almost 2 hours to reach the get the tickets and get on the ferry.
The ferry takes you around the island and gives for some breathtaking views of New York skyline. On the island the statue of Liberty stands tall unfazed and makes way for more photos. After some souvenir shopping we headed back on the ferry via Ellis island.
After getting off battery we walked to the charging bull and Wall Street. Now forget about clicking a photo at the charging bull, it's just too crowded and right in the middle of a busy street. Walk around Wall Street, admire the tall buildings, let your eyes pop out at Trinity church and head to Broadway Street if you want a small snack from the food trucks. Just like we did.
Next up was central park. We took a subway to get there. Word of caution- the NYC subway system is very very very confusing (atleast for a first-timer to the city) so be careful. Having a citymapper app on your phone helps. Central park is the biggest patch of green in the midst of the bustling high-rises of Manhattan. It's huge and definitely must visit for some relaxing walk around. Visit the Bethesda terrace and fountain but it's always gonna be crowded with tourists, photographers and painters.
Times square is a 15 mins walk from central park. Pick up an icecream from 'the real deal' icecream truck right outside central park and start walking. As you get closer you realise there are tons of souvenir shops and all kinds of electronic shops and some restuarants along the way. Times square itself is a brightly lit up place with the numerous ads and the flash boards. And it's crowded throughout the day, but try visiting by evening and night when it's the most dazzling thing in the city.
Dinner back in Chinatown was as Casa Bella, an Italian restuarant, which did have some yummy pasta and carrozza. With the company of Brooklyn lager and Peroni, you might even find some musicians playing soulful tunes into the night here.
*Hotel stay- 250 USD for 3 people with breakfast
*Liberty island ferry- 20 USD per head
*NYC Subway- buy day tickets for 15 USD. Each trip per person costs 2.75 USD
*Flights- 180 USD per person return flights, just check the baggage policies before hand.
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The long and the short of it......
1. Plan your trip well in advance and make the necessary bookings in advance too if possible.
2. Visa process takes time for the appointments and due checking, so don't rush into it in a hurry. Be patient. Once you get the visa you get it for 10 years. So that's a win.
3. Booking flight tickets atleast 3 months prior is beneficial cost wise. Try choosing flights through Germany or Paris as they don't require transit visa (UK and Canada requires the same).
4. Once in the US always consider car rentals or flights if you plan to visit places which are away from the major cities. The public transport connecting the distant places may not be great. USA is a vast country but given the excellent condition of the roadways driving around isn't hectic at all.
5. Make a choice between the calm and the crowded. Some lesser known places provide for great visits with relaxation. So research on these prior to going along with best time to visit as some places might be closed in certain seasons.
6. Visiting the east coast and the northern parts is good in the beginning of summer when the temperature have started rising but not too much and the days are pretty longer with sunlight till almost 8.30pm. More time to go around sightseeing.
7. Most of the places in suburbs and towns close by 9. So keep a check. Plus the alcohol vending times vary from state to state.
9. When travelling in major cities use some app like citymapper. Helps with the buses and the subways. Uber and Lyft are the other cab apps you can use.
10. On an average a meal per person will cost you 10-15 USD at most fast food joints. Drop in another 10 USD if you want to chug down two beers with it. At bigger restaurants you might end up spending an average of 35-45 USD per person for a similar meal and booze.
So try sticking to restaurant chains for a cheap and stomach full meal.
11. Even if you are short of time you can still visit a lot of places. But be sure to enjoy what you visit.
I'll be publishing the part 2 very soon and it will deal with some more touristy places and commercial aspects. Be sure to catch up on it too.
For more of my travels follow me on Instagram- drashutosh298