The Big Apple. New York City. NYC…If you can make it there, you’ll make it…anywhere…
Home to over 8 million people, New York City truly is a multicultural wonder. It’s estimated that as many as 800 languages are spoken there, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. The many districts and landmarks of New York City have been made famous through films and TV, and it’s thought that over 50 million people visit every year.
From the bright lights of Broadway, to the hubbub of Times Square, towering skyscrapers, and the world-famous Wall Street, Fifth Avenue and Statue of Liberty – there’s so much to see and do. The good news is that the city really can be done in a weekend if you plan correctly, so why not sit back and read a handy guide by global volunteer holiday agency Original Volunteers. Before you know it you’ll be booking your trip and taking in the sights yourself.
Touchdown in NYC – Friday morning
Landing at JFK airport on the Friday morning, which is the busiest passenger airport in the USA, you’ll be 12 miles from the centre of New York the moment the wheels touchdown. The airport was originally known as Idlewild Airport, until it was renamed after President John F Kennedy in 1963.
Once you’ve for your bags, jump on the AirTrain for $8 and you’ll be in the centre of the city in about an hour. Alternatively, if you don’t fancy public transport, you could always hail one of those famous yellow taxis – although you’ll pay around $60.
Friday afternoon in NYC
If you don’t mind where you lay your head, there are plenty of cheap hostels available, and many have hearty breakfasts! If you prefer a hotel, make sure you’ve booked in advance – but if you are going down the hostel route you can just walk in with a smile on your face.
After you’ve checked into your hotel or hostel, you have to see the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island. A world famous symbol of freedom, the Statue was given by France to the United States in 1886 in celebration of friendship. Although the Statue is currently closed to visitors until October 2012, you can get a perfect view and take some memorable photos. Once you’re done, grab yourself a famous “pizza pie” at one of the many Italian eateries.
Friday evening in NYC
By now you’re probably shattered after the flight, so take it easy in the evening with a stroll around Times Square. A major commercial intersection in Midtown Manhattan it’s beautiful when lit up at night and the scene of so many famous movie scenes. Lap up the atmosphere before heading back to crash for the evening.
Saturday morning in NYC
New York City has over 28,000 acres (110 km2) of municipal parkland and 14 miles (23 km) of public beaches. So, after a good night’s sleep, why not start the day with a jog through the world famous Central Park? No matter what time of year you visit, Central Park is a stunning sight. You’ll be in good company, as so many New Yorkers start the day this way. The park, which receives around 35 million visitors a year is the most-visited urban park in the USA.
Run done, make sure you re-fuel with some world-famous hash browns, eggs ‘over easy’ or pancakes with maple syrup!
Saturday afternoon in NYC
Saturday afternoon should be spent with a visit to the Empire State Building – a world-famous 102-floor skyscraper and cultural icon. Standing at 1,250 feet (381 meters) high, it was the world’s tallest building from 1931 – 1972 when the World Trade Centre was completed. After 9/11 the Empire State Building was again the tallest building in New York. When visiting, be sure to buy your e-tickets on the official website before your trip – you can print them and avoid the queues and go straight to the elevators. Be sure to buy an audio guide, it’s worth the few extra dollars and makes your visit memorable.
If you’ve got time, swing by the National September 11 Memorial on your way back to your hotel. A sombre a place of remembrance it consists of two massive pools set within the original footprints of the Twin Towers with 30-foot waterfalls cascading down their sides.
Saturday evening in NYC
Have an early dinner, and then spend your Saturday evening on Broadway and take in a show! The best way to get your Broadway tickets at a reasonable price is to get them online on the Friday afternoon under last-minute deals. You’ll then be able to tick “see a Broadway show” off your list!
Sunday morning in NYC
Spend your final day shopping. After a good breakfast, head on over to see the multitude of stores on Fifth Avenue – a definite must for your stay. Located in the center of Manhattan, the best Fifth Avenue shopping takes place between 39th and 60th Street. Whatever you want, whether it’s the latest fashions, one of those gloriously tacky “I (heart) NY” T-shirts or useful housewares, you’ll be sure to find it on Fifth Avenue.
Sunday afternoon in NYC
By now your trip will almost be complete, so you’ll need to wave goodbye to NYC. Your Sunday afternoon will unfortunately need to be spent getting back to JFK, but before you go, make sure you fill up with a hearty lunch in Chinatown. Located in Manhattan, Chinatown is home to the largest number of Chinese people in the Western hemisphere. Make sure you try one of the “all you can eat” buffet restaurants before you leave.Once back at JFK airport you’ll have plenty of beautiful pictures and amazing memories to speak about before catching your flight home.
So there you have it – our guide to the Big Apple in a weekend. With a bit of forward planning it really can be done. Have a safe trip!
This guest blog was written for Travel & Leisure Group, Europe’s longest-running timeshare reseller.