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There's a town called New York City, a place where some other version of me believes that I could live happily.  In reality, it's a place I LOVE visiting once or twice a year when time and money allow.  The city really doesn't sleep, and I find myself consumed with adventure and exploration every time I visit. 


I'm quite often asked for advice on visiting NYC, so here is my "tourists" guide to NYC:

The Basics:

  • Getting to Manhattan (from JFK):  Take a cab or Uber. It'll cost you about $65 all-in to ride from JFK into Manhattan.  

  • Favorite places to stay (Midtown): 

    • Big Hotel:  Marriott Marquis in Times Square.  Close to everything, nice hotel/restaurant, big rooms (for NY standards)

    • Local Hotel:  Casablanca Hotel.  Small & nothing fancy, but they say hello to you everytime you walk in, reasonable rates, free continental breakfast and happy hour reception.  Close to everything!

    • Local Boutique:  Pearl Hotel (  Pretty reasonable for NYC, hip & mod.  Between Broadway & 8th on 49th st.

    • If you’re a baller or celebrity, stay at the Greenwich – Robert DeNiro’s hotel in Tribeca.

  • Subway:  If you’re an iPhone user, bet the iTrans NYC app.  It’s the BEST app for navigating the MTA Subway system.  You’ll need to buy an MTA swipe card at any subway station before entering.  I usually get an unlimited 3 day pass.  If you’re not ready for the Subway, you can walk, Uber/Lyft or hail a cab.

Above is a short video of a recent trip to NYC.  It might give you some insights into the "greatest hits".


NYC Quick Links:  Private (low cost) transportation to/from airport.  Central Park's official website.  Website to buy Broadway tix.  Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Museum of Modern Art.  Statue of Liberty tix.  9/11 Memorial & Museum tix.


Uptown Sights:

  • Central Park:  Tons of sites in Central Park - Belvedere Castle,  the Obelisk, Great Lawn, Carrousel and more. Pass on the Central Park zoo…it’s a waste of money/time.  The Central Park website is here and a quick history here.

  • Dakota Apartments/Strawberry Fields:  Dakota Apts is where John Lennon was shot and Strawberry Fields across the street in Central Park is the memorial.

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art: (Attached to Central Park)  Can take a whole day or more to see it all…just see the really big/important works.  Old European paintings and ancient Egyptian are my two favorite exhibits.  Some other cool things like the first piano etc.

  • The Apple Store:  Awesome store, check it out.  It’s on 59th (Central Park South)

  • Other Stuff near Central Park:  Columbus Circle, Trump Tower, 5th Avenue stores/shopping, Madison Avenue

  • American Museum of Natural History:  Neat museum, even if you just go to see the dinosaur bones, which is on the top floor I believe.  I like Metropolitan and MOMA better…this is my 3rd favorite museum in NYC.

  • Metropolitan Opera (at Lincoln Center):  If you like spending $500 on the opera – go for it.  Did it once, and that was enough for me.  You can see 2 Broadway shows for the same price…just my $.02.

  • The Apollo Theater in Harlem: Takes awhile to get to, but a lot of history here.

  • Yankees Game:  If a game is playing, there is nothing better.  We always take the Subway, but stay close to the stadium - South Bronx is scary.

  • Knicks Game:  Nothing like catching the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.  

  • 5th Avenue:  From midtown, I’ll just walk up 5th Avenue toward Central Park and check out all of the shopping. 


Midtown Sights:

  • Times Square: Actually my least favorite place in Manhattan.   Cool to hang out for awhile, but like the Vegas strip (and a zoo).  My tradition when I arrive is to get a hot dog from a street vendor.  Lots of stuff to see/do but be sure to get out of Times Square.  Definitely don't eat at any chain restaurant in Times Square :)

  • Museum of Modern Art:  Cool contemporary exhibits – Warhol, Pollack, Picasso.   Some pretty neat stuff at MOMA…worth the $20.

  • Radio City Music Hall:  Just cool to walk by and see from the outside.  Don’t take the tour.

  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral:  Amazing Cathedral – in fact, every church in NYC is amazing.  Take the time to stop and look inside…most are open during the day.

  • Grand Central Station:  Amazing and famous transportation hub.

  • Rockefeller Center:  If you want an incredible view, take the elevator to the Top of the Rock.  There are less crowds and as good of a view as the Empire State Building.

  • Empire State Building:  Can be busy at times, but a classic. I like Top of the Rock better - usually shorter lines, plus you can see the Empire State Building.

  • NBC Studio Tour:  Again at 30 Rock.  You need to sign up for this tour ahead of time, but it’s really cool.  I got to see the studio of SNL, Jimmy Fallon and some other behind the scenes stuff.  I loved this tour!

  • Seth Meyers Show.  I've been in the audience twice for SM - fun experience and easier to get on than Fallon and SNL.

  • Broadway Shows:  Hamilton, Book of Mormon and Jersey Boys are my favorites.  Other great shows you should consider are:    Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, The Producers, & Lion King.  

Downtown Sights:

  • Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island:  Get tix ahead of time.  Never get tired of it.

  • Ground Zero:  Be sure to stop by the new memorial and museum, it's incredibly moving.

  • One World Trade:  Go up to the top of the Freedom Tower and get the best views in NYC.   

  • Trinity Church:  Amazing church near Ground Zero.

  • Federal Reserve Tour:  Really cool tour and free if you book in advance.  Get to see a huge supply of gold and a $7.5 million gold coin. 

  • Financial District: NYSE, Wall Street, the Bull etc.

  • Little Italy:  My favorite restaurant is La Mela.  Also hit Caffe Pallermo for the best Canolli in NYC.  I also like Ferrara’s for dessert/Canolli.  You can cruise through SoHo as well….it’s next to Little Italy.

  • China Town:  A little sketch, but you can buy a Rolex for $20.

  • Brooklyn Bridge:  I always take the Subway over to Brooklyn, get off at High St., eat pizza at Grimaldi’s (famous pizza joint), and walk back across the Brooklyn Bridge. 

  • Greenwich Village:  Cool to walk around and off-beat shopping.

  • Washington Square Park:  Great urban park near NYU

  • South Street Seaport:   On the base of the Brooklyn Bridge.  Cool shopping and sightseeing.  Not the coolest thing on the planet, but worth looking at if you’re coming across the bridge anyway.

  • Tenement Museum Tours:  See the history of the early 20th NYC century residents.  Awesome tours:  We’re history buffs and LOVED this tour.

  • The Highline:  Great outdoor walk on once-used subway tracks on the west side through the meatpacking district/Chelsea.  

  • Chelsea Market:  Our favorite food market in Chelsea.  MUST SEE in the winter time.  

Favorite Food Spots:

  • Katz Deli - Duh.  205 E. Houston St.  Best Jewish Deli in NYC in my opinion.

  • Shake Shack (several locations).  Fast food goodness - better than In N Out.

  • Le Bernadin:  Favorite high end restaurant in NYC.  Need to plan weeks/months ahead of time, but worth the money.

  • Pizza #1:  John's of Bleecker Street.  278 Bleecker St in the Village.  

  • Pizza #2:  Juliana's Pizza.  19 Old Fulton St in Brooklyn.

  • Grays Papaya:  Hot Dog place in uptown.  Yum.

  • Jimmy's Corner.  Dive bar near Times Square.  Not a ton of seating, but awesome if you can get a barstool.  140. W. 44th St.

  • Num Pang Sandwich Shop (several locations - one at Chelsea Market too)

  • Fraunces Tavern.  One of our favorite bars in NYC.  Great stop in downtown. Lots of history.  54 Pearl St.  

  • La Mela.  Not in LOVE with anything in Little Italy, but this place might be my favorite.  167 Mulberry.

  • McSorley's Old Ale House.  Kind of a trap, but NYC's oldest bar, so you have to go at least once.  Order your beer light, dark or light and dark :)  15 E. 7th St in the Village.

  • Russ & Daughters.  Best bagel & lox in NYC.  Long lines typically.  179 E. Houston.

  • Los Tacos.  If you have to get tacos in NYC, this is the only place you should go.  Inside Chelsea Market.  75 9th Ave.

  • Halal Guys (Street vendor).  Best middle eastern food in NYC.  W. 53rd St/6th Avenue.  You'll find 'em on the sidewalk and there will be a long line.  Worth it!  

  • Bar:  Tanner Smiths.  204 W. 55th St.  GREAT spot - food & drinks.

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