Day One - NYC 5th Avenue at night
New York's 5th Avenue at night; This is the NYC Public Library on 5th Ave.
When you go to New York, there are two important things to plan: how to get there and where to stay. If you don't have a full size car, you had better rent one - it is a 7-hour drive to New York from Cleveland. Of course, you can get the plane but it's much more expensive and some people say that the only way to get to know the place is to drive to it. The drive to NYC is relatively easy until you reach the city itself. Basically, it's 430 miles on I-80 E, and then the local I-95 and I-495 to the Lincoln Tunnel. Pay the $6 toll before you enter, and on the other end of the tunnel is...Manhattan. The traffic is seriously bad here, so please drive carefully. Most streets are one way, so pay attention not to enter the wrong way. New Yorkers are not rude, they are just "direct" - expect to hear the horns when you do not start right away at the green on the traffic lights. Where to stay is the other question... Most people choose Jersey City but it's better to stay in Manhattan, I guess. The drawback is two-fold: the hotels are expensive (so use Priceline or Kayak.com to get the best price), and you have to pay for the parking. There are a lot of parking lots in Manhattan but they are outrageously expensive. A hotel-validated 24-hour parking tickets is no less than $ 32.
Your best bet to see New York is to take a walk down 5th Avenue. First, we will see the NYC at night and then during the day.
The Empire State Building - the tallest building in the Empire State - New York
These pictures are from the Empire State Building - the tallest scyscraper in NYC. You have to pay $ 13 for adult ticket to get the elevator to the 80th floor. Then you go to the 86th floor where the observation deck is. See the Chrysler building. There are explanatory panels so that you know which part of the city you are looking at.
Explanatory panels; Empire State Building souvenirs
Empire State Building is south of Central park, on W 32nd St. Going back to Central park on 5th Ave., you pass by the famous Rockefeller Plaza from where the NBC Today show is broadcasted. Going north on 5th Ave., you will see the lights of the Times Square on your left. You cannot miss it. Even the NYPD office has a neon sign right in the middle of the square.
Rockefeller Plaza; Times Square
Day Two - Central Park and 5th Avenue
This is our second day in NYC, it is daylight, so let's go to central park.
Central park is not as big as it looks on the map. It is a long rectangular piece but it is so narrow that you can see the Manhattan skyscrapers on both sides.
This is the Gates project by the avantgarde Bulgarian artist Christo - 24 miles of orange gates at the cost of $ 21 million paid by the artist himself. The project cost was nearly one million per mile and it lasted only two weeks. All Christo's art projects are temporary and involve some grand landscaping ideas. Check out the NY Times (1), USA Today and NPR stories (there are also photo galleries).
Walking north in Central park, you will reach one of the lakes there. You can see the Castle in the distance.
New Skyscrapers Will Cast Dark Shadows Over Much Of Central Park http://buff.ly/194gA9C and http://buff.ly/194gC1f
NYC skyscrapers behind the Central park trees. This is one of those building with $ 4 million apartments where famous people like the actor Jack Nicholson live. Robert De Niro and David Letterman live in TriBeCa which is the Triangle Below Canal street.
Probably the best way to experience Central park is by getting a horse and carriage. They are wating at the southern tip of the park on 5th Ave. The park is too big to walk from end to end in south-north direction..
The omnipresent yellow cabs rule in Manhattan. They are the most common cars you see there. Two colors are on the streets - the yellow of the cabs and the black of the clothes New Yorkers are wearing. They think that black is cool and tough at the same time. The secret is simple though - the dirt of the NYC streets does not show on the dark-colored clothes. New Yorkers are definetely in better shape than many other city dwellers. The reason? They walk a lot every day. Business suits and sneakers combination is very common.
Going south from Central park, you will see Tiffani's and the Trump tower. It's all golden finish at the entrance and magnificent orange-red marble inside. You could not believe that homeless people sleep in paper shelters just across the street from Trump tower every evening. As Raul says, "you feel like you are in a movie when you walk on 5th Avenue."
The turn of fortune is totally different for Fortunoff and the homeless, altough they are inhabiting the same street, and this is very sad. De Beers of South Africa - the biggest diamond manufacturer in the world.
St. Peter's cathedral on 5th Ave.
It is almost impossible for the sunlights to reach Manhattan streets through the skyscrapers. One of the many underground parking lots in Mahnattan - the land is just too expensive.
Last look at Manhattan after the Lincoln tunnel going north and west towards Clevelaland. Hit the road again...7 hours and we will be back in Cleveland
Of course, there are many more things to see - the Statue of Liberty, the Bull on Wall Street (NYSE), Brooklyn bridge but alas, not enough time...Well, there is always a next time, we hope...
Going to NYC is not cheap. Factor in $ 100 for a rental car (for 2 days), $ 80 for gas and the hotel bill ($ 80-150 per night). Actually, there is only one Manhattan hotel for $ 80 per night - the Habitat but it is not recommended. Also, the Manhattan garages charge $35-45 per 24 hours even if the ticket is stamped at the hotel.
Top 25 Free New York Experiences. Fodor's.
NYC in Wikipedia
Lonely Planet NYC guide
USA Today NYC guide
Fun on a budget: Big Apple's bargain bites - USA Today
Central Park to be a wireless hub starting in 7/2006. BBC.
Photo gallery: About Town: New York City. Nick Genes, 2007.
Street View revisits Manhattan. Google Maps Blog, 05/2008.
Every apartment in NY, and there are a lot of them, has room service. Scripting.com, 2010.
The $100 New York City Weekend - Frugal Traveler - NYTimes.com.
The $100 New York City Weekend - Frugal Traveler - NYTimes.com.
Gotham Gal: Just when I thought I knew NYC http://bit.ly/1k5QlF3