New York & the Silver Screen

Taking New York off the Silver Screen

Most people who haven’t been to New York still have a picture of it in their head – a picture that might depend on their favorite films. It might be the Ghostbusters grappling with supernatural forces on top of an art-deco skyscraper, or King Kong batting away the fighter planes from Empire State Building – or Audrey Hepburn or Meg Ryan falling in love atop the same building. It all depends on what sort of films you like. For me, it’s Woody Allen scurrying among the brownstones and waving his hands while he tries to explain himself to a woman who he has outrageously betrayed – and succeeding. It’s not a picture of America – it’s a picture of the very specific nation-within-a-nation that is New York. And it’s a picture with a soundtrack – from West Side Story to New York, New York, most memorably sung not by Frank Sinatra but by the Gremlins.

From that point outwards, other impressions will spring to mind – yellow cabs and their fast-talking drivers, water hydrants spraying the streets in summer, a whole panoply of different food from bagels to pizzas to submarine sandwiches. And places – Chinatown, Central Park, Greenwich Village – where Bob Dylan first played – Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn.

So of all the places in the world we haven’t been to, we know more about the New York than anywhere else. But we also know it’s a tough-talking, fast-moving kinda place – a place where visitors might easily get lost or worse. Although most of us might feel a visit to New York is one of the most essential experiences in life – how, indeed, can anyone claim to have seen the world without seeing the city that never sleeps? You need to be well-prepared.

Sightseeing in New York City

Even if you move there for the rest of your life, you won’t see everything. So you’ll need to plan, to avoid being swept along on the tide of bright lights and persuasive salespeople. But you’ll also need to be flexible and open to things that come along. Seasoned tourists know the most memorable experiences happen out of the blue. You might miss your trip to the Guggenheim because you get caught up in a street parade. So what? Maybe after a few busy of sightseeing in New York you decide to cancel everything to laze around in Central Park – and that’s the day you remember for the rest of your life.

New York City Hotels

Visitors shouldn’t forget they are holiday-makers first and tourists second. Be on holiday – it’s the main thing.

But you’ll still need the basics in place. A reliable, well-placed New York hotel to go back to is probably the most important. It needn’t be a big part of your experience; given the place you’ve really come to see it outside the front door. But the hotel still has the potential to become a big part of your experience if it’s poorly-serviced, unfriendly or in the wrong place. A big, bad part of your experience. You’re choosing a place you’ve never seen in a city you’ve probably never been to – so it will be difficult to have any certainty without some help from people that know the city.

Then there are all the little details that could make the difference between feeling at home and feeling out of place. What if you leave and everyone who has served you has made you feel bad – just for the sake of not knowing who should tip them? Or getting stuck on the wrong side of town because you can’t figure out the travel system? Or shopping in the wrong place and paying more than you had to? Or missing one of your favorite performers because you didn’t know they were playing?

This where local knowledge comes in – the more you have, the more welcome you will feel and the better time you will have. And the Internet provides better access than ever before; with New York travel blogs like New York Journey’s one providing a stream of up-to-date insider knowledge. With information at your fingertips, it’s time to take New York off the silver screen and see it for yourself. Who knows, you might end up starring in a movie all of your own!