New York City 4-8 May 2012
Getting There: It’s roughly a 6.5 to 8.5 hr drive from Ottawa depending on construction and traffic. Once over the border, follow the I81 to the I80 into Manhattan. A GPS saved me driving into the city, takes the stress away and there’s enough traffic to worry about without looking at a map.
Getting Around: The subway isn’t as daunting as some make it out to be, be sure to grab a subway map. The main lines are the #1, #2, #3 trains. Trains will run as either local or express. Local trains stop at every stop along the route, express trains don’t. If you don’t pay attention you might end up a little further down than you expected.
Accommodations: The Jane Darling house (B&B) is my recommendation. It’s in Harlem, only two blocks away from the top of Grand Central Park. There’s two subway stations (a few blocks north for the #1, #3 routes and a few blocks south for the #2). There’s also an Applebees right on the corner that offers quick, cheap, good eats. Jane’s is a relaxed atmosphere B&B that has more of a community feel. It’s a traditional NYC row house, with grand architecture inside and high ceilings. There’s 5 rooms to rent, starting at the modest (and incredible) price of 125$/night. Jane herself is an interior designer with flare, which is apparent from the fabulous design of the house. Breakfasts are always different and a delight.
Food: I packed my own foods for the trip down in order to save money, and my health! There’s plenty of options within the city however, street vendors on every corner, restaurants and café’s in abundance.
Fitness: With the over 80 acres of Grand Central Park, you have your very own free outdoor gym. Be careful not to get lost, though there are plenty of people around to always steer you in the right direction
Temperature: I traveled in May when the daytime highs were pleasant (shorts and tee) but the nights quickly cooled off (pack a sweater!).
Money: Everything is in the US dollar, with every credit card accepted. Interestingly enough, the US has adopted a coin dollar and is phasing out the bill.
Shopping: There’s amazing shopping almost EVERYWHERE in NYC. My favourite was walking through SoHo (South of Houston) on Broadway St. The big name brand stores (Louis Vuitton, Coach, etc) are closer to Central Park. Little Italy is another great spot (with great eats) but we never managed to get there on this trip. There are two locations for Tiffany’s one closer to Central Park and one on Wall St. Century 21 and Macy’s are the leaders in department stores.
Attractions: This was a 5-day trip, which included two travel days. If you want to see all the major attractions, slip on some comfortable walking shoes (a must!) or opt for the Hop On/Hop Off bus that tours the city frequently and have a knowledgeable guide describing the sites.
I chose to walk 9 hrs the first day, and 12 hrs the following day, which left a whole day to relax and take the city in at a slower pace (choosing some shopping, dinner, and the symphony at Carnegie Hall.)
- Empire State Building
- Statue of Liberty
- World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial
- Trinity Church
- Wall St
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Times Square
- United Nation’s Headquarters
- Central Park
- Grand Central Terminal
- Carnegie Hall