If you’re fortunate to fly into New York City often, you have the luxury of knowing that whatever you miss on one trip, you can make up for on the next. But if you’re an infrequent visitor to The Big Apple like me, just remember, you can catch up on your sleep when you get home!
No matter how often I make it to the city, here’s what’s on my list of must-sees and do’s for the quintessential NYC experience:
1) For the ultimate stimulus package, surround yourself with the sights and sounds of Times Square at Night. The crowds, the noise, and traffic, the glitz and glamour, all coalesce here into one gigantic display of pulsating energy you won’t want to miss.
You don’t need to worry about looking like a tourist here. You’ll feel right at home with the thousands of others just like you who are trying to capture the moment in photos and videos.
2) Catch a Broadway show or musical in the Theatre District adjacent to Times Square. If you didn’t purchase tickets before your trip, you might be able to get tickets for shows the same day at the theatre box office. For half-price tickets, check out the TKTS booth at Broadway and 47th, but only if you don’t mind standing in long lines. On this trip, Mamma Mia was a big hit with my teenage daughter.
3) Light a candle for a loved one at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Midtown Manhattan. Stepping inside this magnificent church is the perfect antidote to the cacophony outside its doors. Whatever your spiritual or religious leanings, the cathedral offers an oasis of silence and serenity in The City That Never Sleeps.
4) Hail a cab like a true New Yorker. While the best way to explore the city might be on foot, when you only have 48 hours, you want to maximize your time. Claudette Colbert had great success by showing a little leg in the film, It Happened One Night, but I’m not sure this Wanderboomer would do as well.
Here’s how it done: Stand on the curb. Extend your arm. You know how to whistle, don’t you? No? Then just yell, “Taxi!” If the taxi doesn’t stop, it’s for one of several reasons: the driver is off-duty (You’ll know if the lights on either side of the center light on top of the cab are on), the cab is full (the center light is on), the driver didn’t see you, didn’t want to stop, or any one of a dozen other reasons.
Naturally, it’s more challenging during rush hour (generally 5 – 8PM) or in inclement weather. The key is not to give up. Sooner or later a cab is bound to stop for you.
5) Stop in for a bite to eat while sitting under a beautiful vaulted tiled ceiling at the Oyster Bar and Restaurant in Grand Central Station. Enjoy the catch of the day, an overwhelming assortment of raw oysters, or soups and stews brimming with your favorite seafood. If you’re not a fan of fresh fish, you can always order grilled sirloin steak, a half roasted chicken, or chicken fingers for the kids. The restaurant hosts three distinct seating areas, including the popular counter where you can watch the chefs in action.
Be sure, too, to try out the Whispering Wall just outside the Oyster Bar where two people can stand in opposite corners under the arches, whisper into the corner, and hear each other loud and clear. Way cool.
Coming up: Part II of my Must Sees & Do’s in New York City . . .
What are your favorite things see & do in NYC, Wanderboomers?