The Best Way To Experience New York

By Go City Expert

This post originally appeared in World Within Her a travel blog focused on sustainable travel and a vegan lifestyle.

"New York is a cosmopolitan city, full of wonder and culture, but when you’re visiting for such a short time, what’s the best way to see the city and cram in as much as you can while not spending a fortune?"

THE NEW YORK PASS This is where the New York Pass came in handy. We picked them on our first day there. The pass allows you to get into 90+ major attractions, and, yes, we are talking about the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, The Met, The Whitney, along with walking tours of the different neighbourhoods. The price varies, depending on how many days you want the pass for; for one day it’s $109, if you buy the three-day pass it works out as $80 a day. I hear you say it sounds a lot, but most attractions in New York have about a $35 entrance fee. Needless to say I took full advantage of seeing the major museums; The Moma, The Met and The Guggenheim along with Top of the Rock, the Empire State Building and the New York City bus tour. These were all incredible to say the least, as you can see in some of my photos below. What I really enjoyed doing were the walking tours, which were included in the pass. I did the meatpacking district tour, which I recommend highly to learn about its history and why Samantha from Sex and the City that made it so popular. I also did the Soho, Little Italy and China town tours. It’s such a great way to find out how the city has evolved and why the neighbourhoods are so charming.

TWO BOOTS Right now, let’s talk about good vegan food.We all know that when you come to New York, it’s inevitable that you will gorge on food, because the food here is SO GOOD! Pizza is high on the agenda. I went to Two Boots in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s a well-known pizza place among the locals; they offer vegan and non-vegan pizza and, my gosh, the vegan pizza is incredible. It didn’t feel like I was missing out and it certainly tasted better than any vegan pizza I’ve had in London. I’ll even go as far as saying better than those in Rome! I’ve been told it’s due to the New York water... The crust is like no other. BY CHLOE By Chloe is one of the most talked about vegan restaurants in New York, so naturally on our second night, we headed on over to the one on Bleeker Street. Like any hot spot in New York, it was packed with a massive queue when we arrived there were no tables available, so I do recommend going at non-peak times otherwise you will struggle to find a seat. We waited 15 minutes until two seats became available, it was great to see so many healthy options on the menu. I went for the Kale Cesar salad, which came with shiitake bacon, avocado, maple wheat croutons and a Cesar dressing. It was a generous sized portion, which was to my liking it had a lot and tasted great, the shiitake bacon tasted scrumptious and it didn’t leave me wanting the meatier bacon.

My friend had the quac burger, which entailed black bean quinoa, sweet potato patty, corn salad, quac tortilla strips, chipotle, aioli with a whole grain bun. Before I could blink she had eaten it, it was bursting with flavour with a lot of juiciness to tuck into. I can certainly see why By Chloe was put on the map! B&H [caption id="attachment_988" align="alignright" width="980"]

Photo Credit B&H[/caption] Photography lovers you would have heard of the B&H flagship store in Manhattan, I can only describe it as being a kid in a candy store. We were very lucky to be given the grand tour by Jonah, who showed us the four floors, packed with photography and film equipment, computers, drones and printers and a hell of a lot more! From this tour I got a really good sense of how important every customer is to B&H, Jonah talks about the different process that are in place to make a customer have a good experience, from the above the head electronic baskets and the big demo stations to the knowledgeable staff available. The staff in store do not work on commission, so are free in selling you a cheaper product if is indeed better performance wise than its more expensive neighbour. They have a used section, if you so want to head over and get yourself a bargain, I myself own a few secondhand lenses. B&H also have events, seminars and workshops in store along with offering street photography tours led by professional photographers. My friend and I were very lucky to have a private street photography tour organised by B&H, portrait and street photographer Derek Fahsbender. He took us to Brooklyn for the street tour to commence, we walked around Bushwick and Williamsburg, which is highly recommended for the street art and the trendy hipsters, along with some colourful characters. People here have more time to stop and talk unlike the hustle of Manhattan. We ended up talking to a lot of the people we photographed, getting to know them and finding out what they would recommend from a local perspective to a tourist. Below are some of the photos taken on the day. Enjoy.

All Photo Credit: Nyla Sammons

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Visiting Carnegie Hall

Like London’s O2 Arena and Sydney’s Opera House, Carnegie Hall New York is the place to go for live acts when visiting the Big Apple. This historic landmark dates back to the early 1890s and has been showcasing world-class performers since its opening. Carnegie Hall has hosted over 50,000 events, a world record, and continues to be revered as a place of legacy and prestige for all music lovers. Carnegie Hall history When walking through the streets of New York, you can’t miss the grandeur of Carnegie Hall in Midtown Manhattan. Designed by architect William Burnet Tuthill, it was built by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and was one of the last buildings of its size built entirely from masonry. Inside, its welcoming foyer and celebrated white and gold auditorium nods to a Florentine Renaissance inspired design and its lobbies are hung with signed portraits by those who headlined this renowned venue. Carnegie Hall has three separate performance areas; the Main Hall or Isaac Stern Auditorium, the Zankel Hall and the Weill Recital Hall. The majestic Main Hall is the largest and can seat an audience just shy of over 2,800. Also known as the Isaac Stern Auditorium, it was renamed after the violinist to thank him for his generous donations to save the hall from demolition in the 1960s. This hall is considered the most prestigious of all in the United States when it comes to classical music but now also headlines more popular acts, too. Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall has passed through many names and was even used as a cinema for over 30 years. It is one of the more adaptable performance areas and this new modern renovated space welcomes the likes of classical, pop, and jazz artists from around the world. The Joan and Standford I. Weill Recital Hall is the venue’s smallest but most intimate performance space. Decorated with large draping chandeliers and soft blue velvet curtains you’ll find chamber music concerts and debut performances here along with panel discussions. The latest addition to the Hall is the Judith and Burton Resnick Education Wing which hosts programs run by the Weill Music Institute and Ensemble Connect. The Rose Museum is worth spending some time in, too, to discover the 400 artifacts and exhibitions showcasing some of the most famous acts to have played in Carnegie Hall NYC. To name a few, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Nina Simone, Ike & Tina Turner... If that isn’t impressive enough, the Beatles performed here twice during their New York tour of ’64, and guess who holds the record for the most consecutive sold-out performances at this iconic venue? Liza Minelli – she sold-out 17 consecutive shows at the Carnegie Hall! Visiting Carnegie Hall One of the best ways to experience 125 years of this historic landmark is by tour and Carnegie Hall tickets are included in the purchase of a The New York Pass. The sightseeing pass offers a free tour (60-75mins) led by an expert guide where you can learn of Carnegie Hall’s three separate performance areas; the Main Hall or Isaac Stern Auditorium, the Zankel Hall and the Weill Recital Hall, as well as the Carnegie Hall Archives and the Rose Museum, too. You’ll learn anecdotes and stories of the famous performers to grace the stages, such as the long-standing folklore that a tourist pedestrian on Fifty-seventh Street asked the musician Jascha Heifetz as he was leaving on the day, "Could you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?" and Heifetz quipped, "Yes, Practice!" Location: 881 Seventh Avenue (at 57th Street)How to get there: Subway: Q R, to 57th StreetOpening times: Box office: Mon-Sat 11am-6pm, Tours subject to availability* Carnegie Hall tickets can be pre-booked online or by phone to avoid disappointment and their box office is open Mon-Sat 11am-6pm. Or, make the most of a free guided tour included in your The New York Pass.
Kirsten McCroskrie
Panoramic view of Central Park and the Hudson in New York
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Tourist Traps in New York to Watch Out for

Want to avoid the Big Apple taking a bite from you rather than, you know, the other way around? Our guide to the tourist traps to watch out for in New York is here to help! We’re talking cartoonish scams on Times Square, totally avoidable Empire State Building queues, and the perks of side-swerving Central Park. Read on for our whistle stop guide to New York's most notorious tourist traps, plus how to avoid them and what to do instead… New York Tourist Traps: The Statue of Liberty We know, we know, but hear us out! Of course we understand that you can’t go to New York without checking out the Green Goddess at close quarters. That would be crazy, right? Right. But there are good ways and bad ways of experiencing *the* emblem of American freedom. Case in point: it'll set you back a cool $20+ to disembark with the tourist hordes at Ellis Island, have a poke around the so-so Immigration Museum then spend the next half hour taking awkward selfies that, at such proximity to Lady Liberty, are always doomed to failure. Sure, you can climb the spiral staircase inside to get a view from the statue’s crown. But a) there’s an additional charge for that; b) there are 354 steps and c) you can’t actually see the Statue of Liberty from here because, well, you’re inside it. Our advice? Save your time and dime and avoid this classic NYC tourist trap. There are fine views of the statue to be had from all over Manhattan: try the Brooklyn Bridge or indeed any observation platform (of which there are many). Better yet, take the free – yes, free – Staten Island Ferry for a 25-minute round-trip across New York Harbor that affords some of the best views of the Statue of Liberty in town. It runs 24/7, year-round, so there are plenty of opportunities to travel in lull periods. Oh, and did we mention it’s free? New York Tourist Traps: Times Square Like innocent moths to a particularly gaudy flame, tourists are drawn to Times Square in their multitudes. You can spot them a mile off: slightly bamboozled expressions, phone cameras held gormlessly aloft as they clog the sidewalks, all eager to secure that essential Insta-perfect selfie. But tourist traps don’t come much more crass, crowded and over-commercialized than Times Square.  Astronomical prices at glossy-looking chain restaurants like the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Olive Garden should be matched by out-of-this-world food. Alas you’re paying a premium for location only, and the distinctly average food is likely to bring you down to earth with a bump. Even the legendary Magnolia Bakery dessert store just isn’t worth the looooong wait. Stores hawk overpriced souvenir tat that’s seemingly designed to self-destruct five seconds after purchase and Broadway tickets offered by street touts at prices that seem too good to be true are precisely that. After all, $50 is *a lot* to fork out for a souvenir fake Hamilton ticket. Wanna see Mickey Mouse drop character and morph into a pushy, big-eared street rat? Course you do! Times Square is overrun with third-rate Mickeys, Donalds, Elmos, and Marvel and DC superheroes, i.e. characters designed to appeal to kids. None of these are affiliated to the entertainment companies that spawned them and all of them will try to trick you into having your photo taken with them before aggressively demanding ‘tips’ for their troubles. Avoid, avoid, and furthermore, avoid! New York Tourist Traps: Empire State Building The image of King Kong clinging to his beloved Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and batting away airplanes from atop of the Empire State Building is one of the most iconic in movie history. But does that mean you should visit this Art Deco monolith? No, dear reader, it does not. Sure, it’s an architectural masterpiece and yep, it’s bucket list material for sure. But popularity means queues as long as the tower is tall (1,453 feet). Ok maybe not quite that long, but you get the general idea. Prices are also sky high, and increase the higher up the tower you want to go. In short: it’s a classic New York tourist trap. But if astronomical prices, super-long queues, and being crammed into elevators like sardines is your thing, then go for it! Alternatively, johnny-come-lately observation platforms like Edge and Summit One Vanderbilt offer more modern, multi-sensory experiences as well as – perhaps critically – boasting views of the Empire State Building itself. Try the City Climb at Edge for a knee-knocking al fresco stroll across the roof of one of NYC’s tallest skyscrapers. Or enjoy rather more down-to-earth views from the Brooklyn Bridge, a New York must-see in its own right. New York Tourist Traps: Central Park Central Park is free to visit, and don’t the tourists (and scammers) just know it! It’s amazing how a tract of land that’s many times the size of Monaco, more vast than the Vatican City, and could fit upwards of 600 football fields can feel so incredibly… busy. Tourists flock to this Big Apple centerpiece for its indisputably fine collection of attractions. To wit: a cute miniature castle that doubles as a weather station, a tranquil memorial to John Lennon, the gorgeous neoclassical Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, and the extraordinary Metropolitan Museum of Art. And that’s just for starters. Pedicab drivers swarm the paths, charming unsuspecting tourists into taking rides that will likely end up costing you anywhere from $5-11 per minute! Frankly you might be quicker if you walk. You’ll certainly be richer. In summary: if crowds ain’t your bag, give Central Park a wide berth. In spite of its huge size, you’ll be hard-pushed to find a quiet spot here at any time of year. Instead, hit up the equally pleasant (and far less busy) Hudson River Park (great for cycling!) or Brooklyn’s pretty Prospect Park. The latter was designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, the celebrated 19th-century architects who were also responsible for – yup, you guessed it – our old pal Central Park. Prospect is a little over half the size of its more famous cousin and provides a tranquil retreat from the madness of the city, counting sprawling areas of woodland, great meadows, a lake, a zoo and a carousel among its many charms. Save on New York’s most popular tourist attractions Save on admission to New York attractions with the New York Pass. Check out @NewYorkPass on Instagram for the latest top tips and attraction info.
Stuart Bak
Manhattan
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Things to Do in Uptown Manhattan

Things to Do in Uptown Manhattan Looking for things to do in Uptown Manhattan? Manhattan’s northernmost territory known as “Uptown” is made up mostly of residential areas, world-famous museums, and iconic landmarks with lots of attractions and tours. There’s no shortage of fun things to do in Uptown Manhattan. One of Uptown Manhattan’s most popular features is Central Park, the first public landscaped park in the US now a hive of activity for locals and tourists alike. Whether you opt to take a guided tour of the 770 square acres or plan to have a picnic and just relax in the park, be sure to explore Central Park and see some its highlight features during your trip! Guided Tours in Uptown Manhattan South of the park, you can access guided walking or biking tours such as Central Park Bicycle Rentals & Tours or Central Park Sightseeing Walking Tour that allow you to explore the park with an expert or journey along at your own pace with a rental bike. Central Park isn't the only area of Uptown worth exploring; the creative and historic borough of Harlem is also located in Uptown. Get to know the neighborhood by taking one of the many tours offered in the area, like the Hallelujah! Gospel Wednesday Tour , Harlem One Stop Cultural & Heritage Walking Tour,or Step-On Group Tour Packages. These are great introductions to the area that explore the history of cultures within the borough. Museums in Uptown Manhattan Museum Mile is located in Uptown, consisting of a section of Fifth Avenue from 105th street to 82nd street on the East side of Central Park. This portion of Fifth Avenue's nickname is due to the many great cultural art museums located there. Some of the museums along the Museum Mile include the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, and El Museo Del Barrio. On the West side of Central Park, you’ll find gems like the New York Historical Society, a great resource to brush up on New York specific history, and the American Museum of Natural History, which features changing exhibits that focus on the history and development of multiple species on Earth through lively artifacts and interactive displays. Further uptown, in Manhattan’s Inwood neighborhood, a few of New York City’s most unique historical museums reside: The Dyckman Farmhouse Museum and the Cloisters Museum and Gardens. The Dyckman Farmhouse Museum is the last farmhouse located inside of New York City and visitors can view the old colonial farmhouse and get to know the rural history that existed in New York prior to the large skyscrapers. The Cloisters Museum and Gardens in Fort Tryon Park is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art where you can expect to see breathtaking art pieces with a bit of a twist. Its collection of over 5,000 objects exclusively features art and architecture stemming from the medieval ages, including sculptures and written text from the 12th to 15th centuries. Get a taste for the rich culture and history instilled in Harlem, a neighborhood that was at the forefront of artistic creations with Jazz musicians and poets by visiting The Studio Museum in Harlem. Many of the art exhibits featured in the museum were created by artists of African descent and some native to the Harlem region.
Shashia Mitchell

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