I went to New York at the beginning of April. I decided to go on my own because visiting this city was my biggest dream and I didn’t want to factor someone else’s plans into that dream. So I booked a flight and left to the city of lights. Turned out to be the best decision ever. In this article I will tell you all the things I did and how much money I spend during this amazing trip in NYC. In NYC you have WIFI in most of the streets so it’s easy to use Google maps to navigate from one place to another.
Day 1: Brussels – Dublin – Newark
I flew to Newark with Aerlingus, the cheapest company at that moment. At home I had booked a shared van with Go Airlink to pick me up in Newark airport. Worst idea ever. The airport was only half an hour away from my hostel but I arrived 4 hours later! So, as much as I wanted to discover NYC I was exhausted and went to bed after eating some fast food at Wendy’s, next to my hotel. I stayed at Jazz Columbus Circle Hostel where I chose a shared room with 4 beds.
Day 2: Times Square, helicopter flight & Financial district
Because of the different time zone (6 hours earlier than in Belgium), I woke up very early, at 7 am. I went to Top of the Rock (with my ticket I already bought in Belgium) but the weather was too foggy so they gave me a new ticket for the day after. My next stop was Times Square. I was quite impressed, it felt like walking straight into a movie. On Times Square I visited the most famous shops: Hard Rock, M&M world, Disney store,… One by one impressive stores.
As I love the sky, I spoiled myself with a helicopter flight. Okay, let’s be honest, there is no cheap way to do this. I paid 170 dollars for 15 minutes with HeliNY. It was awe-some! I saw all the famous buildings from New York. It’s the perfect way to start your trip because it gives you a good overview of the city.
As the heliport is located in Financial district, I went to see the Charging Bull, the famous bronze sculpture. They say rubbing his balls brings you (financially) luck… nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Next I walked straight into the Trinity church. Very beautiful on the outside and inside. I didn’t visit the 9/11 museum because I don’t like museums but I visited the 9/11 memorial which is for free. It’s an impressive place where you can still feel the sadness of the drama in 2001.
After that I decided to get lost in the streets of NYC for a while, it’s a must. In the evening I went for dinner in Hard Rock Cafe, one of my habits when I’m abroad. Fajita’s and a beer, great combination!
Day 3: Top of the rock, High Line, Greenwich village, Brooklyn & Empire state building
I could finally visit Top of the rock today and it was literally and figuratively one of my highlights during this trip. It was 8 am and I felt the morning sun burning on my skin while gazing at the Empire State Building, amazing! This made me speechless.
Afterwards I took the bus on 8th Ave and went for a walk on the wonderful High Line, a 1.45-mile-long (2.33 km) park created on an elevated section of a disused railroad spur. It’s a great way to escape the loud, yet fantastic, atmosphere of New York. When you really want to relax, take a book with you, find a nice spot and enjoy!
I’ve always been in love with the houses you see in the NY movies, and I definitely wanted to see them in real life. And I did, in Greenwich village. If I should move to NYC (I wish), it would live in this village. It is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of NYC for a while.
Afterwards I took the metro to Brooklyn. It was quite busy and in every restaurant there were long queues. I decided to buy a delicious burger at the famous Shake Shack. And of course I went back to Manhattan walking over the wonderful Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge made me think about a romantic novel even though I was alone. God I love this bridge!
As I was a bit tired of walking, I drank a coke on the square in front of the Iron building and took some time to enjoy my environment. It’s a quite impressive building. Next to it you find the LEGO store.
I decided to visit the Empire state building in the late evening to see the city lights and avoid long queues. But unfortunately I didn’t manage to avoid the queues. I had to wait about an hour and the whole experience was quite disappointing to be honest. I went to the highest level but that’s not worth the extra money. It’s small there and very outdated. I prefer Top of The Rock. But still it is great to see the city of lights by night.
Day 4: The Bronx, 5th Ave & Broadway
At home, I had bought a Hop on hop off 48-hours All Around Town Tour. I started with the Bronx tour. People say the Bronx is a dangerous district but nothing is further from the truth. It must have been dangerous in the past but not in 2017. The bus also stopped at the Yankees Stadium, Apollo theater and Guggenheim museum. To be honest I would never do it again, I felt like a real tourist so I hopped off on 5th Ave and went for shopping in heaven (Victoria’s secret). I didn’t use the buses anymore after that experience.
As I like tattoos and traveling I decided a few years ago to bring these two together. So this time I got inked in NYC at Fineline tattoo. I’m very happy with the result.
The Phantom Of The Opera has always been my favorite movie so I decided to spoil myself with a ticket for the musical on Broadway. The best musical I’ve ever seen, really!
Day 5: Movie & Museum of Natural History
I went to the Museum of Natural History at 10 am but the queue was extremely long, like minimum 2 hours waiting. Therefore I decided to go to the movie instead. It’s also something I like doing in every country I visit.
Tip: Buy some real American nachos with cheese, they’re delicious.
I went back to the museum at approximately 4 pm. The queues were gone and I had more than enough time left to see everything. So one tip don’t go early in the morning if you don’t want to wait for hours. For me the museum was a disappointment but I guess museums just are too boring for me.
Day 6: Roosevelt Island, Little Italy, China Town, Central Park & The Mets
If you love to visit ‘hidden places’, go to Smallpox Hospital Ruins at Roosevelt Island, one of the most atmospheric secret places in New York. You can reach the island by the Roosevelt Island tramway. The tram itself is a nice experience and you can use your metro card. Next to the hospital you find Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. A nice park without tourists.
Afterwards I went for dinner in Little Italy. A cozy place with lots of Italian restaurants. Check out the prizes before you enter, there are big prize differences between the restaurants. When you want to buy souvenirs, buy them in Little Italy, they’re 10 times as cheap as in other districts in NYC.
From Little Italy you walk straight into China town. A nice place to walk around and eat some Chinese food. People who like to buy fake brands need to be here.
Today also was the day I fell in love with Central Park forever. I went for a walk and read a book in the grass. I could forever admire the skyscrapers that emerge above the trees. I’ve never felt as stressless in my entire life as I did in Central park.
In the evening I went to the opening season of The New York Mets in the Citi Field. I bought my tickets in advance for 30 dollars at Ticket Monster. It’s a must do when you visit NYC. The atmosphere gives you a nice kind of energy. Just grab some food and drinks, sit down and yell and sing together with the locals. I felt like a real American at that moment! Unfortunately I’m not.
Day 7: Shopping in Soho & Times Square by night
As the weather was rainy my last day, I decided to go for shopping in Soho. You can shop in Soho for everything from cheap street fashion to upscale designer garb and stylish items from home-decor stores. I also visited the famous Century 21 outlet. You have a few of them in NYC but downtown you have the biggest one.
In the evening I wanted to see Times Square by night for one last time.
Day 8 & 9: Newark – Dublin – Brussels
I had ordered a shared van to go back to Newark airport but I didn’t trust these guys anymore so I took the express bus. The cheapest and easiest way to go to the airport (17 dollars). One day later, I arrived home with a broken heart and memories that will last a lifetime. New York is definitely my favorite city in the world!
Flight tickets: 533,19 euro
Transport from and to the hotel (shared van): 46 euro
Hostel: 525 euro/7nights in a dorm room
Metro: 32 euro/week
Empire state: 55 euro
Top of the rock: 33 euro
Visa: 14 euro
Mets baseball game: 30 euro
Helicopter: 162 euro/15 min
Phantom of the Opera: 131 euro
Hop on hop off 48-hours All Around Town Tour: 62 euro
Express bus to Newark Airport: 17 euro
Museum of Natural History: 20 euro
Movie: 10 euro
Food: you can spend as much money as you want on food in NYC so it’s difficult to say.
Total (food and shopping exclusive): 1670,19 euro
So NYC definitely isn’t a cheap city but for me it was all worth the money. In New York you can save a lot of money on food and shopping, therefore I didn’t include it in the budget.
Find out my favorite restaurants here.