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New York Travel Tips

Image of the Metropolitan Museum’s roof by Central Park One of the city’s most famous roofs, the Met offers stunning views of Central Park. (Photo Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Hyla Skopitz)

More than any other city, New York is oriented vertically, with shining glass canyons and sweeping bridges dotting the skyline. There’s no better place to enjoy the unique vistas that NYC offers than on one of the city’s many rooftops, whether above a furnished apartment, a cultural icon, or a nightlife hotspot.

See the city from above with our guide to some of the best rooftops in town. You can take in all that the city has to offer! Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of love sign in Midtown An iconic piece of pop art in New York City located in Midtown West!

Whether you’ve been to the Big Apple before, or this is your first time, nothing compares to spending a romantic evening or getaway with your significant other in New York City. Whether it’s a first date, an anniversary, or even a marriage proposal, keep reading to find out our top 10 romantic activities in New York. Before you start planning your itinerary, be sure that you have a place to stay: check out our apartments for a romantic getaway to New York!

1. Central Park

Image of horse and carriage Surprise your date with a romantic horse and carriage ride through Central park!

Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States, and one of the most filmed locations in the world. With 843 acres, there’s plenty to do and see with your date! Start your night off right by having dinner at the Boathouse Café, which overlooks the lake and Bow Bridge, offering the most beautiful view of the park. Enjoy the tranquility this restaurant provides for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Head to the restaurant’s website to view its hours of operation and to book reservations. Following dinner, continue with a classic boat or gondola ride! Row boats are $15 per hour (cash only), and $4 for each additional 15 minutes, along with a $20 cash deposit. Life jackets are provided, and each boat can accommodate up to 4 people. If you want to go all out, Venetian gondola tours are available with host Andres Garcia. The gondola can accommodate up to 6 people, and can be reserved for $45 per half hour. Finish the night off with a romantic horse and carriage ride around Central Park. You can pre-arrange the ride and surprise your date with flowers or chocolate. Customized rides start at $155 for 45 minutes and can be booked on the Central Park Website. No matter the season, Central Park is magical all year round; click here to explore Central Park throughout the seasons! Don’t forget to book your vacation rental before you arrive to avoid unneeded stress! Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of Central Park in winter Central Park looks beautiful in any season, but the winter snow makes it extra idyllic

New York may be a city of millions that seems perpetually catered toward the young twenty something demographic, but that is an egregious oversight. There are plenty of reasons why people of all ages enjoy the benefits of being a New Yorker (or at least a temporary one). Lest you think the best hotspots are trendy bars and clubs, remember that New York’s best sights and activities are classics, whether it’s a spirited jaunt around a skating rink or a sampling of hot chocolate. Best of all, these activities are perfect for each member of your party! Here are some of our favorite family-friendly activities for wintertime in New York! (Don’t forget activities you can do with your family all year round, or activities for rainy days in New York City!)

1. Ice Skating

Image of Central Park’s ice skating rink Many people come to Central Park in the wintertime just to glide across its famous rink

A classic wintry day on the town, children love to glide (though you can expect more slipping and sliding from novices) across smooth ice.

  • The best rink combines wide skating space with a scenic view. Perennial favorites include the rinks at Bryant Park and Rockefeller Center (which are surrounded by loads of shopping and dining opportunities) as well as the open greeneries of Central Park and Lakeside at Prospect Park. (Why stop there for Central Park? Explore more of the parkland with our helpful guide to Central Park). Read the entire story here…»
 

Picture of the Staten Island Ferry  The Staten Island Ferry in the Harbor

Welcome to the third installment of our new series, New York City Boroughs! In the first article we introduced the Bronx, and the second offered insight into Queens. Now it’s time to talk about an often overlooked NYC borough: Staten Island. Sure, this borough might not be as conventionally urban as the others (the south shore is right next to New Jersey), but locals know its unique environment is what makes it special. The gems of Staten Island (beaches, a botanical garden, a waterside museum) remain unknown to most tourists and even most New Yorkers – and that’s the way Staten Islanders like it.

Welcome to Staten Island

Staten Island is the least populated of the five boroughs but the third-largest at 59sqmi (153sqkm), making it feel more suburban than the others. From the north shore islanders can get to Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens; New Jersey is reachable from the south shore. Locals consider the two sides to be very different; individuals take pride in their side while occasionally scoffing at the other side. But both offer attractive features: the parks of the south are some of the best in the city, and the Northern urban setting is definitively more city-like (not to mention closer to Manhattan). Read the entire story here…»

 

It probably comes as no surprise: New York City has the world’s best pizza. It’s one of the many things the Big Apple is famous for; a staple in the diet of every New Yorker. With so many variations (fresh mozz, grandma pies, and would you like some veggies on that?) there is surely a flavor to appease everyone in the family. Pizza is a relatively cheap meal, and an easy way to make your time in the city truly authentic. The streets are brimming with pizzerias to choose from; and though we swear, they’re all good, we’ve managed to pick ten favorites. Here is our list of the top pizza spots in NYC:

Lombardi’s Coal Oven Pizza

Picture of a fresh pie at Lombardi’s. Lombardi’s pizza pie.

Are copies ever as good as the original? No, and that’s why Lombardi’s pizza is still on top. Boasting the title of the first pizzeria in America, it has been on the same street for over 100 years and has more recently expanded the shop to fit its crowds of followers. You can’t miss this place – just look for the business with Mona Lisa eating a slice of pizza in the window! Each pie here is made in a coal brick oven and served with smoky thin-crusts that are crisped to perfection. Thanks to its now-larger interior, the long lines have been cut down, more tables are available for dining and a bar serves beer and cocktails. Lombardi’s is located on 32 Spring Street in Nolita and is accessible via the 4 and 6 trains at Spring Street. We love the White Pizza pie priced at $18.50 (small), served with mozzarella, ricotta, romano cheese, oregano, basil, black pepper and garlic infused oil and without sauce.

Hours: Mon-Thurs, Sun: 11:30am-11pm; Fri-Sat: 11:30am-12am.

Fun Fact: This establishment is cash only. Don’t have any dollar bills in your pocket? That’s okay; there is an ATM on the premise. Read the entire story here…»

 

It seems there’s never a bad time for ice cream. Thankfully, there are plenty of choices around New York to satisfy your taste buds for something cold, creamy and delicious!

Below is a list of our top 10 favorite New York ice cream spots (in no particular order)!

1) Melt Bakery

Image of Melt Bakery creamwiches Melt Bakery specializes in the aptly-titled “creamwich,” which combines an ice cream filling and cookie bun

Down in the historical Lower East Side you’ll find a sustainable bakery specializing in one unique treat: the creamwich. For the uninitiated, creamwiches combine a cookie bun with an ice cream patty. Co-owners Julian Plyter and Kareem Hamady began Melt Bakery at a street fair in 2010 before opening their Orchard Street store two years later. Regularly sized creamwiches will set you back $5, while miniature sized treats cost $3. The inside of the store is quite small and without seating, so think of the establishment as, essentially, a take-out spot; the signage is easy to miss, so pay attention as you pass by the shops on that branch of Orchard Street. The Melt bakers use local ingredients and dictate their menu based on the season – in other words, there’s always a new flavor (as of June 2014, there are six) for you to try! Why not spring for the “Classic,” a delicious combination of chocolate chip walnut cookies and vanilla ice cream? Or if you love red velvet, the “Lovelet” should hit the spot – melt-in-your-mouth cookies with a cream cheese filling.

Located at 123 Orchard Street, the bakery is open every day of the week, Sundays through Thursdays from noon to 8pm and Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 10pm. Melt Bakery is easily accessed via subway: the Delancey-Essex Street station is only a few blocks away and served by the F and J lines. While you’re there, take a spin around the Lower East Side with our handy guide. Read the entire story here…»

 

New York, a city whose reputation is legendary for the millions of visitors who pass through its streets each year — for the rest of us, is home. Like any other home, it can be frustrating, exhilarating and, at the most unexpected moments, magical. As with any metropolis, there are certain unspoken rules for getting around the city. Whether it’s your first, second, or twentieth visit to New York, here are some etiquette tips to remember when you are out and about in the Big Apple!

1. Know the difference between Express Subway Trains and Local Subway Trains. 

Image of the entrance to the Times Square at 42nd Street subway station The Times Square at 42nd Street subway station houses local and express trains with access to multiple districts across New York City

The MTA subway system in New York is perhaps the most efficient means of traveling through four of New York’s boroughs (sorry, Staten Island). It’s also the most complicated. Lines are either named by letters or numerically, and like many underground transport systems, it is color coded. Unlike other subways, however, multiple lines share the same color. For instance, the B and D trains are both labeled by an orange circle, though each runs differently. These two lines are perfect examples of an Express Subway Train and a Local Subway Train, the D representing the former and the B the latter. Express and Local trains may run along similar routes and perhaps even make the same stops, but make no mistake: they are not identical. Local lines will stop at every station along a particular route, while Express lines stop only at particular stations along the route; for example, while the B train (Local) pauses at each stop on the West Side of Manhattan, the D train (Express) skips the stations between 59th and 125th Streets. To add to the confusion, this schedule cannot be trusted to run 24/7. Route modifications are in place during construction, weekends, and rush hours. The one thing you can count on? The subway system remains open all hours of the day – it just might not be the train you’re hoping to catch. For up-to-date information, visit the official MTA website. Read the entire story here…»

 

Panorama of New York City’s the Bronx and Upper Manhattan The Bronx and Upper Manhattan in New York City

This article is the first in a new series that will give an overview of all New York City boroughs! To kick off, we thought we’d start with a borough that’s often unjustly underrated: The Bronx. As the birthplace of hip-hop music and former home of famous artists and actors such as Jennifer Lopez and Al Pacino, you’d think the Bronx would be widely known as the incredibly diverse borough it is today. However, the Bronx is still often outshined by the world-famous NYC boroughs Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. Together with Staten Island, it is even at times referred to as the ‘forgotten borough’. This really is such a shame, as over the last couple of decades, the Bronx has developed into a culturally vibrant and bustling area of New York City filled with hidden gems. It’s home to the Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden, to name a few of its many fantastic landmarks. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the borough and show you some of the best attractions to see and do in the area. Hopefully after reading this, you won’t hesitate to pay the Bronx a visit on your next trip to the Big Apple!

Welcome to The Bronx

The Bronx is the only New York City borough that’s located on the mainland, and is separated from Manhattan by the Harlem River. It’s the northernmost borough of the city, and has just under 1.4 million residents. The borough is divided into the hillier West Bronx, comparable to the hills of San Francisco, and the flatter area of the East Bronx. The west and east side of the borough boast rich architecture, both old and modern, as many new residential homes were built in the past couple of decades. Besides the aforementioned landmarks, the Bronx also features great museums, lovely parks and even some beaches! When it comes to culture, there’s a great diversity in music and food. From hip-hop to Latin music, and Italian food to Dominican cuisine, you’ll find it all in the area. Join famous former residents such as Kerry Washington, Ralph Lauren, Edgar Allan Poe, Calvin Klein and even John F. Kennedy in discovering this culturally rich borough! Read the entire story here…»

 

Picture of a New York cup of cappuccino A perfectly brewed cappuccino in New York City

In the past decade, along with many other cities around the world, New York City has undergone a new wave of coffee culture. While well-known American chains can now be found across the globe, New York City’s coffee culture has moved away from corporate giants and towards an emphasis on specialty coffee. Specialty coffee means coffee that is made from usually fair trade and organic beans that are freshly ground for each individual cup of coffee. This so-called third wave coffee movement has made way for small, cozy neighborhood cafes where baristas know customers by name.

Not only do these cafes serve a mean cup of coffee, they also offer people a quiet workspace, great reading spot or a hang out for friends (very much like the cast of Friends always did in Central Perk). In the last couple of years, specialty coffee shops have sprung up all over the city, and there are literally too many to choose from. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 coffee shops in New York City, focusing on specialty cafes in Manhattan and Brooklyn. We hope it’ll be of use when you visit the city!

1. Café Grumpy

Café Grumpy is the spot to go for a fresh brewed cup of coffee. The café started out as just one coffee shop on Meserole Avenue & Diamond Street in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint, but now has four locations in the city. Meanwhile, the Greenpoint shop has become very popular due to it appearing on the television series Girls. In the show, creator Lena Dunham’s character Hannah works in a Greenpoint coffee shop, and Café Grumpy is used for the exterior. If you’re a fan of Girls, you should definitely head to the Greenpoint location. If you prefer a quieter spot, the Café Grumpy on 20th Street & 7th Avenue in Chelsea, Manhattan has a lovely and tranquil garden space.

Check out Live Like a Local in Chelsea for more information about Café Grumpy and the surrounding neighborhood! Read the entire story here…»

 

The hamburger is a real American classic, and like so many other foods, New York City has managed to put quite a spin on it. You’ll find countless burger joints across the Big Apple, from tiny neighborhood bistros to popular chain restaurants with lines out the door. In this article, we’ll take you on a tour of the city to show you some of our favorite places to get a burger. We’ll also give tips on what style of burger to try, and where to go to avoid standing in line! Without further ado, our top 10 burgers in New York City!

1. Shake Shack

Picture of the New York City burger joint Shake Shack in Madison Square Park Shake Shack in Madison Square Park serves some of the most popular burgers in New York City!

Shake Shack has become something of an institution in New York City. Founded by Danny Meyer in 2004, the popular burger joint started as just one diner in Madison Square Park. Nowadays, you can find Shake Shack at many locations throughout the city — but the original Shake Shack is still the best place to go to try your first Shake Shack burger. Each beef patty is made with all-natural Angus beef, so you can taste its quality. Try the SmokeShack Burger (approx. $8.80 for a double) together with a delectable milkshake. The ‘Shroom Burger (approx. $6.85) is a great vegetarian option!

The Shake Shack at Flatiron’s Madison Square Park is well known for its long lines. It’s open from 11 am to 11 pm, so if you go early in the morning or late in the evening will minimize your time standing in line. If you go in the evening, there is an excellent nearby rooftop bar, 230 Fifth, where you can get some delicious after-dinner drinks. Check out our Top 5 Rooftop Bars in New York City for more information. Read the entire story here…»