A Quick Bite At the Big Apple

A Quick Bite At the Big Apple - The Ultimate New York City Break

So, you’ve got a long weekend and instead of taking a quiet option in the countryside, you’re going to take the bull by the horns – or the Apple by the branch – and ‘do’ New York for the first time.

Fortune favors the bold! Given that you won’t see ‘all’ of New York in a week or a month, you may as well go all out for two or four days. When you come down to earth, you will have had your New York baptism. You’ll have had a taste of The City That Never Sleeps and be able to plan your next trip – which might be longer – using this initial orientation. And you will have polished off the main sites, so you’ll be able to big deeper.

It's All in the Planning

But that still leaves the question of how to use that first short trip. How can you avoid being swept away on the tide of New York City attractions – just to be washed up on the other side of your weekend tired and overwhelmed? The answer, of course, is planning. You need to plan short trips in more detail because, for all the attraction of whiling away time in whatever takes your fancy, there is less time available to ‘waste’. You can still budget time for wandering, though you’ll need a structure of a few planned activities a day to hang that time on.

Here are a few ideas that we hope will get you involved enough in the hurly-burly and the main sites to have ‘felt’ New York, while also giving you the perspective to have a confident overview.

The Fun Starts Here

It’s with the second aim in mind that we suggest you start by taking The Circle Line. For any Londoners reading this: no, that’s not an underground railway – not the best way to see things – but a river cruise around Manhattan. New York rises sheer out of the water, so knowing where the waterways are and how they dictate the different neighborhoods is a great short-cut to understanding the geography. It will show you where the other four New York boroughs are that lie around Manhattan. You are likely to spend the rest of your trip in Manhattan, so it is good to have an early glimpse of the equally famous and emotive boroughs of Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. The cruise will also take you right past the Statue of Liberty, so you can tick that off the list. And it’s not too strenuous an option for those who’ve just arrived, perhaps off a night flight – though the sea breeze is guaranteed to wake you up! The full circle takes three hour but you can also opt for a two-hour option limited to downtown.

Once you’ve seen the boundaries of Manhattan Island from the outside, you’ll be more comfortable seeing it from the inside. However widely you’ve traveled and however familiar you think checkered cabs and sky scrapers might be from the movies, nothing compares to the real thing. You will be craning your neck for the first hour and marveling at it all, whoever you are!

Must Visit NYC Neighborhoods

You might want to pass through some of the famous downtown Manhattan neighborhoods like Little Italy, SoHo, Chinatown, Greenwich Village and Chelsea – all of which have famous musical and cultural associations – as well as seeing the original ‘bright lights’ of Broadway. This is the only diagonal street in Manhattan and cuts up past the neighborhoods just mentioned, as well as equally famous Times Square, all the way to Central Park. Because it is diagonal, you will be able to see both the numbered ‘streets’ coming off East-West and the longer Avenues extending North-South, including Park Avenue, 5 th Avenue and Avenue of the Americas.

Whether you walk all the way – it’s a few miles – or hop in a cab, you will end up at the corner of Central Park, where you will be able to take a break. The park will also remind you of the many films it has starred in.

Essential New York Attractions

From then on, cultural New York is your oyster. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection and the Guggenheim, with its famous spiral design by Frank Lloyd Wright, are all positioned in or around the edge of the Park. You can even check out what’s on at the equally famous Metropolitan Opera, in the Lincoln Centre on the southern edge of the park.

By then you should have got started and have a fair idea of where things are and what you might want to do for your remaining time. We haven’t touched on many of the famous destinations like the Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Center and Grand Central Station – let alone the shopping in NYC! But we hope we’ve at least given you an idea of where to start.