New York City, NY

New York has definitely been one of the places struggling the most during the COVID pandemic, but this Throwback Thursday is dedicated to focusing on happier times in NYC. We first visited the city over Labor Day weekend in 2015 during the same road trip as our last two travel posts; however, that was not the end of our visits to New York. We returned multiple times after that, including twice for New Year’s Eve.

Our first visit was by far the most productive though. We managed to visit every stop on the New York City CityPASS within 18 hours straight, including two stops to the Empire State Building (one during the day and one at night). Andre’s youngest son, Quinn, was along for the ride with his friend, Kieth. They were good sports for such a busy day. Needless to say, it would not have been possible without CityPASS.

CityPASS allowed to use faster lines and gave us cool perks like the double-entry to Empire. It was also a great way to save money because it reduced the price on all of the spots we were planning to visit by 50% at the time. Currently, the CityPASS Admission includes the Empire State Building, American Museum of Natural History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Top of the Rock Observation Deck OR Guggenheim Museum, Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island OR Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, 9/11 Memorial & Museum OR Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. It was an unforgettable visit.

We can’t forget our trips to see the ball drop though. Our plan for the first year was not as good as the second, which is why we had to go for round two. We stayed in NJ the first year, which we thought was smart because the hotels were much cheaper and they had a free shuttle to the city; however, that did not help when everyone was trying to enter the city at the same time. Therefore, we got a place off of Times Square the next year, and we actually booked it on January 1st since places fill-up fast. They block off sections of Times Square leading up to the drop, so you’ll want to make sure your hotel has an opening to the drop in order to see it. The best part about visiting during this time was getting to see everything decorated for Christmas. It was magical!

Visiting during the warmer months is obviously a must as well, so you’re bound to show up more than one time in NYC. Getting a CityPASS is certainly the best way to see the city and many others; checkout their website for other locations: https://www.citypass.com. We’ve used them in other cities as well, and they do not disappoint. While CityPASS covers most of the main attractions, New York City is enormous, so there is quite a bit more to explore. Whether it’s food or a show, it truly is the city that never sleeps, so you’ll never stop exploring. Check out our suggestions below:

FAVORITE FOOD FINDS

  • CASUAL: Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Katz’s Delicatessen, Sylvia’s, The Brooklyn Diner Times Square, Tony’s Di Napoli, Carmine’s, Havana Central Times Square, Stella 34 Trattoria, Grand Central Oyster Bar
  • DRESSY: The NoMad, Benjamin Steakhouse, Koi, The Lambs Club, db Bistro moderne, Ai Fiori, The View Restaurant, Osteria al Doge, Butter Midtown, Kellari Tavern
  • DESSERT: Serendipity 3, Dylan’s Candy Bar, AYZA Wine & Chocolate Bar, Schmackary’s, Eileen’s Special Cheesecake, The Doughnut Project

WHERE WE WALK

  • MULTI: Central Park, Pelham Bay Park, Inwood Hill Park
  • FULL: Washington Square Park, Riverside Park, Battery Park
  • HALF: Bryant Park, The High Line, Madison Square Park

ARTS AND ATTRACTIONS

  • HISTORY/ARTS: The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Broadway, Radio City Music Hall, American Museum of Natural History
  • SPORTS: Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden, Citi Field
  • ATTRACTIONS: Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Times Square, Top of the Rock, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Terminal, Brooklyn Bridge, Staten Island Ferry, One World Observatory, New York Public Library, Chelsea Market