There are seemingly countless articles about New York City, one of the greatest and most visited cities in the world. Still, with a city as exciting and diverse as this one, there could be a few extra tips that you haven’t heard yet. I lived in New York City for several years, so I feel pretty confident in sharing these tips that are not commonly found in the "typical" articles about New York City.
Central Park is quite a sight, not only for tourists but also for locals. On the weekends, the park gets incredibly crowded, especially if it is a sunny, warm day. If you’d like to avoid the crowds to feel like you have your own piece of nature while still being in the city, head to Prospect Park in Brooklyn. It was designed in the 1870’s by the same architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, and while it may be slightly smaller than Central Park, it contains all the elements that characterize Central Park as one of the best urban parks in the world.
Most tourists don’t head to Staten Island, and that’s okay. The truth is you don’t need to go there unless you have family or are looking for something specific. But, some tourists do take the ferry just for the experience as it gives you pretty nice views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, as well as the Manhattan skyline and the bridges of Lower Manhattan. But, what many of those tourists don’t know is that the ferry is free. Sadly, scammers like to stand in front of the ferry terminal selling tickets for up to $100, and even more unfortunate, many unsuspecting tourists fall for the scam. Now you know!
Think eating out in New York City is expensive? Yes, it can be, but it can also be very cheap if you know where to go. Here’s a tip – go back to school. Most college students in New York are broke and can barely afford to eat out. That’s why all around college campuses like NYU, Columbia University, Parsons, and others, you can find many cheap eateries offering $1 pizza slices, kebabs, burgers, hot dogs, and many others. Sure, it is not fine dining, but you won’t die of hunger if you’re running short on money. And here’s a "super secret" tip. If you go to Rudy’s Bar and Grill around happy hour or even late at night, buy a beer, and you'll get all-you-can-eat hot dogs for free!
I know that you like to walk slowly because you’re in awe, looking up at every skyscraper, or just because you’re lost. But let me tell you one thing that will make your life easier there, and annoy fewer New Yorkers: walk fast. Or, if you’re going to walk slowly, do it at the edge of the sidewalk. New Yorkers hate, and I sincerely mean hate, slow walking tourists, especially groups of tourists who tend to occupy the whole path, blocking the pedestrian flow. Life is New York is fast paced, and everyone has to be somewhere "right now" all the time, so they don’t have time to waste asking tourists to step aside. We understand your reason to go slow, but for the sake of everyone, keep with the pedestrian flow, or step aside to reduce your speed or stop to admire your surroundings. That way, everybody is happy!
Queens is home to The Beer Garden at Bohemian Hall, one of the best places in the city to drink beer and have a nice meal with some entertainment. This is the oldest beer garden and one of the largest outdoor drinking venues in the city. Beers cost about $6 a mug, which is standard for New York, but their quality is much better – especially if you’re into European beers.
I know, I know, I know… the Empire State Building is an icon. It is, but it does not have the best observatory in the city. Know where you can get the best view of the city from above? The Rockefeller Observatory, also known as Top of the Rock. From there you’ll be able to see the Empire State Building, beautiful Central Park (which you can’t from the Empire State Building), Midtown, and even the WTC. Trust me, the view is much more beautiful.
With these tips, you’re a step closer to enjoying New York more like a local than a tourist!
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Norbert Figueroa is an architect who hit the pause button on his career in 2011 to do a round the world trip. He's been blogging for over three years at globotreks.com, where he shares his travel experiences, budget travel tips, and a good dose of world architecture. From hiking Mount Kilimanjaro to diving with great white sharks, he is always on the search of adrenaline and adventure. Norbert is originally from Puerto Rico and he is currently based in Milan, Italy... when not roaming around the world, that is. He has traveled to more than 80 countries in 5 continents and his goal is to travel to all 193 U.N. recognized countries. Follow Norbert on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus.
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