Tuesday, September 1, 2015


It’s undeniable: I am a girl with an American Dream. The urge to visit New York and the rest of America sprung 5 years ago when I first came to Russia. I started planning the trip in June 2014 and got my happy feet on the American land for the first time in June 2015. Why did I start so early you asked? I want my first experience in USA to be memorable! And how do I feel after my first visit? I will be back.

Chapter 10 (New York City)

Day 1 : the Arrival

After a leisure day in the Niagara Falls, We arrived in New York City on a night bus. The bus cost me $20 but I saved on accommodation. Still a good deal.

From the bus stop, we took a metro ride to Harlem. It is wise to estimate how many metro rides you would take throughout your visit. Buy a unlimited card or a multiple ride card. great savings!
We managed to locate the building within 45 minute, check in and settle our stuff. Our host is a friendly man who took his time to chat, which is great as we are interested to know New York City through the eyes of locals. We got some rest and bought groceries for the next 4 days in Walgreen across the street.

After lunch we began our way to Time Square to pick up our New York Pass and Guide book. I bought my New York pass online prior to arrival, taking advantage of the 20% discount rate for 3 days (During promotion period). The New York pass is such a brilliant way to really experience New York, I’ve saved up to 300 $ for getting a 3 day pass.

Following a quick walking down Time Square, we went to Bryant Park to join in a Film Festival. Such a great way to end our first day! We got a good spot on the lawn and enjoy the comedy classic “I’m no Angel”. The organizer handed out free pop-corns, free bottled water, free shades and lucky draw tickets. Sweet! There were also various food to buy around the park. We also managed to visit the 5th Avenue Public Library before the movie, YOU’VE GOT TO SEE THIS: you will be in awe!

Day 2: Hitting the Must-Sees

Warning: It involves a lot of Walking, Start EARLY!
Savings with the New York Pass today: $152


Empire State Building ($32, Free with a NYP)
When I come to New York I came for the “Empire State of mind”. It’s the most famous, iconic building in New York City. The view from the Observatory was absolutely breathtaking.  The excitement of being up there is indescribable, especially when you grew up watching KingKong movies and listening to Alicia Keys/Jay-Z.

Skyride  ($42, Free with a NYP )
I would never go for this attraction if it wasn’t included in the package. Expensive?  Yes. But at the same time, a good exposure for those who are visiting New York for the first time. It covers all attractions in the city and if you look carefully, the Twin towers are still featured.

5th Avenue 
By the time you finish the Skyride, the 5th avenue starts getting busy. A scroll down this New York’s principal shopping street is a must, Have your own “breakfast at Tiffany's” moment or spent some time window shopping! Don’t miss the light show at Saks if you are visiting on a holiday!

Moma  ($25, Free with a NYP )
This museum is just along the way. Moma is the place to be for all Art Buffs. I took Art for my SPM and I was thrilled to see all those famous paintings I read about, right in front of my very eyes. It was a good experience.

12.00pm -7pm
Bike Central Park  ($ 45, Free with a NYP )
Central Park is the people’s Park visitors should not miss. Knowing that I couldn’t do this green oasis in one day, I rent a bike to explore as much as I could. I biked all the way to Harlem (yes I did) to explore the northern area. Well there are certain strands of road which is especially hard to bike and I fell 2 times due to my basket not attaching well to the bike and it was raining. Not for the faint- hearted but it was certainly a good work out.

Circle Line Cruise ($18, Free with a NYP )
I actually can’t feel my legs after the exercise so I opted for a cruise to take me to every possible attractions along the river. Good information and travel tips from the tourguide on the cruise.

Top of the rock ($30, Free with a NYP)
I know I’ve gone up to Empire State building, but something is missing from my photos: the Empire state building itself! I am just not ready to let it go, so I went up to the Top of the Rockefeller building. I was just in time to witness the lights transition from evening to dark. However, you won’t be able to witness the sun setting form the side of Empire State Building.

Time Square
I did not have enough of Time Square yesterday so I went back. Just sitting on the steps people-watching brought me so much satisfaction. There are lot of street art performance to enjoy after dark. The "crossroads of the world" truly live up to its name.

Planet Hollywood  (save $10 with a NYP)
I craved for good food after a long day. Believe it or not, I only spent 8$ here and most of it was tips for my waiter. Perks of having a New York Pass! Great dining experience, great food, great atmosphere.

As you can see, I did quite a lot within a day. This is my style of travel, particularly during my first visit somewhere special. I do my homework and usually am pretty precise in time management (although "accidents" do happen, sometimes). If you are a laid back person, give a pass at the pass.

Continue Reading (Part 2)

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