Top 5 Things To Do In New York

New York is home to several of the world’s best sites and attractions, but this list doesn’t include any of them – well… maybe one. This list contains a few off-the-beaten-track recommendations and personal experiences.

1 – Comedy Cellar

389284_10150597015996053_2112182189_nComedy and New York go together like ketchup and mustard, even if you’re not a big fan it’s hard to avoid it in New York. Luckily I love both, and the place for comedy in the big city is the Comedy Cellar, hands down. Tucked away in Greenwich Village don’t let this little venue fool you, it has a big reputation! We saw the 10pm show on a week night for a very reasonable $14 each. The line was around the block for a good half  hour before the show – best to reserve your tickets online before hand.

With the traditional brick wall backdrop, teeny tiny tables and a variety of cocktails we were laughing our heads off to several comedians including Aziz Ansari from Parks & Recreation and Judah Friedlander from 30 Rock. These comedians were a complete surprise as Comedy Cellar doesn’t advertise who will be performing on the night.

So even if you’re not a regular comedy goes – who doesn’t love a good laugh? – this venue comes highly recommended. Hot Tip – we also heard this venue does an ‘adults only’ comedy show at 12.45pm where the first few rows will get nudity.

2 – Self Walking Tour

394493_10150467133416053_1631744456_nWhen I arrive at a new destination the first thing I like to do is go for a walk and scope the place out a bit. Usually it’s just seeing a bit of the neighborhood and what’s within walking distance, but in New York there’s a site to see on every corner and I found myself checking off half my to-do list on that first walk. Within a few hours I saw Grand Central Station, Central Park, Times Square, Rockefeller Centre, Radio City Music Hall, Trump Tower, Studio 54, 5th Avenue, and F.A.O Swarz Toy Store.

I’m not saying you couldn’t spend hours at each of these places, but I do suggest you take out a map, plot the things that interest you and be amazed at how close they are to each other and how much you could see in one day. Several more times during my stay I simply walked out my front door, picked a direction and walked for hours to see what I came across.

And if sites and attractions aren’t your thing then the atmosphere and people out on the streets are a form of entertainment themselves. I think the term ‘people watching’ was born in New York.

3 – Basketball Game at Madison Square Garden

397100_10150540520771053_1536613868_nWho knew that professional basketball games have so little to do with basketball? The ketchupy hotdogs swallowed with beer, the cheerleaders and gymnast shows, the celebrity spotting on the big screen (we saw Paul McCartney), the T-Shirt throwing machine, the locals screaming cheers and abuse at the players and the loud rev-it-up music constantly playing all make this a great New York experience even if you’re not a basketball fan. The game was surprisingly good too.

I saw a game in the height of the ‘Linsanity’ fever of 2012, with Lin – the then shortest member of the New York Knicks – taking them on a streak of wins and capturing the hearts of fans everywhere. The hype that surrounded this game with Lin playing was linsane!

4 – Central Park

418677_10150494436716053_1222884357_nVisiting Central Park in New York is a bit of a cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason – it’s just so bloody fantastic! And believe me when I tell you that it is a park on a whole other scale than your little neighborhood patch of green. I visited 3 separate times for a few hours each and still only made it half way through the park. With a desperate lack of greenery in most of New York, Central Park is like taking a breath of fresh air, literally.

Weaving between the break-dancing buskers, acoustic singers and caricaturists you’ll find marriage proposals being given, ice skating contests and vendors selling you warm sugared nuts. And all this was in Winter… I can only imagine how alive it all becomes in Summer.

With the Metropolitan Museum to the right (just missed out on making my top 5) and the Museum of Natural History on the left you can plan a full day enjoying the park and get in a bit of culture on the side.

5 – Get out of New York City

imgYou’ve come to see the great New York City in all it’s glory? Well, you need to jump on a train and get out of the city, across the river to fully enjoy the unique – and impressive – skyline you’ve seen in so many movies. A New Jersian local, Danny, told me one of the best things about living outside the city is the amazing view he gets to enjoy every night as the city lights up.

He took me and a few other employees to a restaurant/bar called Waterside. As soon as you walk in you’re greeted with a floor to ceiling glass wall spanning the entire length of the venue with the New York City skyline lit up behind it. It’s breathtaking, and something you simply don’t see living in NYC where you can barley see the sky – unless you look directly up – for all the tall buildings that surround you.

I would suggest spending the day in nearby quaint Hoboken followed by a few sunset drinks at Waterside where you’ll get a real New York experience that makes you appreciate how big the city really is.

An extra one for the Foodies – Totto Ramen

544799_10150597003506053_535604816_nWe visited the line outside Totto Ramen 3 times hoping for less than a 45 minute wait before we finally tried arriving 20 minutes before it opened at lunchtime. We still waited about half an hour before getting seats but saying it was worth it is an understatement…

Part of the wait is due to the tiny venue which only holds about 20 people at any one time, but mostly it’s due to the flavoursome ramen noodles with perfectly crisped pork belly and surprisingly the seasoned avocado that sits right in there with the noodles.

Surrounded with the usual Japanese decorations you can sit and slurp away at the bar while watching the chefs boil the noodles and char the pork with a blowtorch. Totto Ramen ignited my love of Japanese Noodle soups (see also Top 5 in O’ahu) and I’d go back to New York just for the ramen.

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1 Response

  1. Paul Stark says:

    Do you have any recommendations on places to stay in NYC?

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