A New New York

In the Big Apple, it is easy to bite off more than you can chew. There is simply too much to do, so enjoying oneself is less about what to put on the To Do list than what to leave out. What is more, some discernment will save you from running out of money early and resorting to an all-pretzel diet. The weak dollar makes New York more accessible than ever, with food and travel easily half as expensive as in Europe and, with a new president on the way, the city is alive with that which drives the American dream: possibility. After a long stint in the tourist’s dog box, New York is back on the map.

Make a point of seeing:
Staten Island Ferry – City boat tours are always extortionate and seldom worth it. But the Staten Island Ferry is free for commuters between Lower Manhattan and Staten and its route passes the Statue of Liberty. On the way back, there is a panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline, made all the more pleasant by the fact that you would not haven’t parted with a cent.

The Museum of Modern Art – At around $20 a shot, it can be pricey to attempt to visit all of New York’s magnificent galleries, but if you see one you could hardly do better than MOMA. The selection is breathtaking – Matisse, Warhol, Monet, Kandinsky, Rodin, Picasso and just about everyone who is anyone is exhibited. You will need an afternoon, possibly an entire day, to take it all in.

Grand Central Station – A thousand movie scenes flood to mind when you walk into the foyer at Grand Central. You will find two kinds of people there – those who have somewhere to go and ceiling-gazing tourists who get in the way. Get in the way. Not only will you see an architectural masterpiece, but you’ll probably also annoy someone to the point of being insulted. And nobody does insults like New Yorkers.

Make a point of avoiding:

Trump tower – Ever since Donald Trump became a household name as the star of The Apprentice, his headquarters have become a tourist attraction. But would you rush to visit your nearest Pick ‘n Pay if Raymond Ackerman was hired to replace him? No. Exactly. Trump Tower aims at classy, but falls horribly short – there is a garish Starbucks on the ground floor and the “highly exclusive” members bar offers 2 for 1 Happy Hour specials.

Wall Street – To be avoided because, well, it’s a street. That’s it. A long street lined with buildings. It used to be the stop for the World Trade Center, which was worth seeing. Curiously, since 9-11, there have been more tourists gathering at the site than ever before. Gathering, you understand, to look at nothing.

Central Perk – Let’s get this out of the way nice and early; Central Perk doesn’t exist. It is a fake coffee shop built in the Friends studio. If you find that revealing it might be worth pointing out that Chandler and Monica aren’t actually married in real life, that Rachel’s name is Jennifer and, while we’re at it, that Arnold Schwarzenegger is not in fact a murdering cyborg.

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