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One day in New York

One day in New York post image

You have 24 hours in New York – Not long to explore this amazing and vibrant city. How can you fit so much into such a small period of time? Assuming you landed late the previous night and are leaving the following day you have one complete day to do what you please. OK, this might be an unlikely scenario, but many people do have a quick stop over on route to other U.S. destinations and it may be hard to know what to do with so little time when there is so much to do and see here. My personal take on this situation tries to fit in as much as possible without killing yourself rushing around.

In this scenario, you’ve already checked the sunset time (this will become important later). You’ve also booked any necessary tickets. The first thing I would suggest would be to get a fantastic (and large) breakfast in one of New York’s traditional diners. This will set you up for the day ahead and give you a culinary experience of the great American breakfast. All neighbourhoods will have good diner options and recommendations can come from hotel concierges or web searches. A walk in New York’s beautiful Central park starts the day- a gentle introduction to the city.
Catch a subway up to 81st street (B or C line). The exit is right outside the very beautiful American Museum of Natural History and by an entrance to the park. Inside Central Park, walk in a general south easterly direction, taking in views of the boating lake, Bow bridge and the Mall (a beautiful avenue of American Elms). You could detour to a rocky outcrop above the Wollman ice (winter only) rink for great views of the park with the skyscrapers behind, or walk through the Zoo to see the Sealions playing. The aim is to exit the park at the South East corner where you can access Fifth avenue and see the famous Plaza hotel. Walking down Fifth avenue, will reward you with more iconic sites and high end shops such as Tiffany’s, St Patrick’s Cathedral (nip inside for some serenity), Saks (nip inside for some perfume) and the Rockefeller center with it’s Art Deco glory. When you reach 42nd street, head East towards Grand Central station.
Outside Grand Central, on 42nd and Park avenue, be sure to look up at the gorgeous Chrysler building and the impressive exterior of the station. Try to ignore the ugly Met life building. Inside, Grand central has a stunning concourse of creamy marble topped with an aqua sky complete with astrological symbols and constellations and not a train in sight! Surely one of the prettiest train stations, partly due to the hidden nature of its very purpose. Be sure to seek out the whispering gallery and nip down to the food court to grab some lunch, maybe in the famous Oyster bar, opened in 1913. Non-oyster options are also available in the food court.
From Grand central station you can access the 4 or 5 subway line downtown to Bowling Green. From here you can either grab a Liberty island boat trip (pre-book tickets to avoid queues at the fort). Note that liberty island tours have an airline style security system which could eat up valuable time, especially on a weekend! Alternatively, jump on the free Staten Island ferry. It doesn’t go as close or stop at Liberty island but you get to see New York’s most iconic symbol. Staten island ferries run every 30 minutes so, if you arrive at Staten island and get the next ferry back, it will take about 1 hour. With Liberty island tours, if you stay on the boat, rather than walking around either of the islands, the trip will take about 1 hour 15 minutes.
Back on Manhattan, walk up Broadway (passing the Charging Bull statue on Bowling Green and Wall Street on the way plus some dramatic views of the Freedom Tower – One World trade center) or, if tired, get the subway instead. At Fulton street catch, or change on to, the A or C to High Street and walk back across the Brooklyn Bridge for amazing views of the Manhattan financial district skyline. Walk back down to Fulton street past City Hall to grab the A or C to the 14 street station. If you have time, wander the Meatpacking district or Greenwich village or hop on to the High Line – a beautiful garden space created on the old raised train line. Chelsea Market, located on 9th avenue between 15th and 16th streets, would make a great place to stop for some food and a drink and grab some New York related gifts.
Getting back to the subway station at 14 street, take the L train to 6 av and change for the BDFM Uptown exiting at 47-50st Rockefeller centre. You’ve already booked your Top of the Rock ticket (if you leave it until you get there you may be disappointed). My choice would be to get a ticket about 30 minutes before sunset as this gives you the best of both worlds with stunning daytime views of Manhattan and the Empire State Building followed by an incredible sunset and then the night time light show that is New York city. TOTR entry is timed so this is the one element you have to be aware of in all your wanderings – if you are following this plan you would want to allow about 40 minutes to get from Chelsea Market to the Rockefeller with some time to kill. The timing of this has been based on a later spring/summer/early fall visit. If you are visiting the city in winter, you may need to miss Chelsea Market etc in order to make the much earlier sunset viewing.
Once you have enjoyed the breathtaking views from the top of the Rockefeller, head back downtown and west towards Times square. Times square is best appreciated at night when all the Neon lights shine out. After so much excitement (and walking) you deserve a rest and probably a drink. Hail a taxi and head back to your hotel neighbourhood. New York has some amazing cocktail bars and there’s sure to be one close to the hotel. You’ll have walked several miles and ticked off a whole bunch of amazing New York landmarks so you definitely deserve a Long Island Ice Tea or a Manhattan! New York in one day? Done…!
Recommended equipment:
Map of NYC
Smartphone subway app.
Metro card
Comfortable shoes

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Marie Alway May 1, 2016, 7:00 am

    WOW I’m exhausted just reading your itinerary. Very satisfying day though. Don’t think you missed anything. A day to remember. …

  • LEON ALWAY May 1, 2016, 8:04 am

    cant wait to do all this on our next visit!!!

  • Gretchen Ball May 1, 2016, 2:29 pm

    Wow! That packs a ton in!! Now can you add two-three whiny boys who are no longer watching a hockey game at the Garden? 😉 We only got the Empire State Building in before having to head back to Grand Central to head home! Fun Fact: the statue of Vanderbuilt on the South Facade, was done by my great great great grandfather Ernst Plassmann!! There might be one more great… Anyway… We are related! 😉

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