Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Affordable Musts in New York City

Photo by Greyling Design
Going to Book Expo America? ThrillerFest? Other NYC conventions? There are many book-related conventions in NYC each year and a lot of writers shall soon be descending upon the capitol of the publishing industry. Considering that I live here and spent some time as a NYC tour guide, I was approached last year to write this article for an out of state writing group, so I thought I should share it as many are planning summer trips. Here's a welcome to my fine city and a list of low-cost entertainment ideas to really take in the city that never sleeps.


Leanna's top ten affordable musts in NYC: (In no particular order - please note how very few of these adventures cost money!)

1. Best vista from atop the world: Choose the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center over the Empire State Building. - What's the most impressive building on the whole skyline? The Empire State Building. You can't SEE it if you are IN it. Besides there are a lot of unnecessary distractions with the Empire State ticket. Top of the Rock is simple and efficient, tickets are timed entry for crowd control, it's glass versus the steel cage of Empire, Top of the Rock is all around a better view and experience for your money.

2. A trip to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty. You don't have to go to Liberty Island to appreciate Lady Liberty on the waterfront, Battery Park is a lovely park with nice views, places to stroll and street vendors.

3. Ethnic food. Whatever your pleasure, NYC has it, and then some. Don't get stuck eating at chains that you can find everywhere, whether its Little Italy or Little India, there's something unique for everyone. If you are in Time's Square, do yourself a favor and go West to 9th Avenue, (Hell's Kitchen) there are tons of options there. And no, Hell's Kitchen in no way refers to the safety of the area. It's safe. Quite trendy, even. The nickname is a century old.

4. Grand Central Station, 42nd and Lexington Avenue. Just go and take in the interior vista. The Information kiosk alone sports a priceless opal-faced clock. Just walk through, you won't regret it. It's one of the most grand and impressive buildings in the city. Enjoy the beautiful astrological ceiling and incredible arches. Wonderful restaurants there too.

5. Central Park - it's safe, it's beautiful, it's the most important and beloved asset to the city. It's 843 acres of pure man-made natural magic. There's tons of stuff to do inside. The Central Park zoo is adorable and fun, the Conservatory Gardens are gorgeous, be sure to stroll the Bethesda Terrace, perhaps rent a rowboat over the boat pond! You can eat at The Boathouse, it has two restaurants, a pricy nice side and a cheaper other side, perfect options for every mood and budget.

6. The TKTS booth. Want to see a Broadway show? The TKTS booth right in the heart of Times Square is the way to do it if you've time to wait in line, also be sure to check in in person with the theatre box offices of shows you're interested in directly to see if they've any rush ticket or ticket lottery options.

7. A walk around City Hall Park, downtown. NYC's City Hall is a gorgeous building from the early 1800s, and City Hall park is a gas-lit charming space. Gorgeous architecture surrounds City Hall Park, see the unparallelled Woolworth Building (A Gothic styled skyscraper that was the tallest building in the world in 1913) and please visit St. Paul's Chapel, which was the makeshift HQ for rescue workers during 9/11, it has an amazing memorial there and as the chapel is one of the oldest buildings still standing in the city, it has amazing, spectacular history. George Washington prayed there after his inauguration in the city as our first president.

8. South Street Seaport. A fun area of history, museums, shops, cobblestone streets, restaurants with a lovely view of the East River. While you're in the area go up into the financial district just a little bit and try Stone Street for a little downtown glimpse of historic NYC (great bars and restaurants).

9. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. This iconic bridge, the most beautiful in all of New York, (and I think the world) will provide you a stunning, breathtaking view of the Manhattan Skyline as you interact with one of the world's great wonders of engineering, completed in 1883 this massive suspension bridge was the tallest man-made structure in the world when it was completed.

10. Saint Patrick's Cathedral and Saint John the Divine Cathedral. Whether you're in midtown (St. Patrick's) or up by Columbia University campus (St. John) you must at least visit one of these stone wonders of Gothic architecture, they are truly breathtaking buildings and also integral to the history of NYC.

New York City is the safest big city in the country. Be alert, but don't be scared. It's a city to be utterly treasured. See you in my adopted hometown I love so much! P. S. The Subway is the easiest and cheapest way to get around town. Also, not scary. Just remember, trains go uptown or downtown and familiarize yourself with the system like you would any transit.

In town for BEA - Book Expo America? I'll see you on Monday at the Book Bloggers Convention Lunch, on Thursday at the RWA Booth at 11:15 signing DARKER STILL, and TBA at the Sourcebooks booth signing THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART!

If you have stumbled across my blog as a tourist looking for tips, I hope you'll check out my novels, as all of them feature a historical setting with fantastical intrigue!


Anonymous said...

Just what I needed! A very timely post indeed.

I will be leaving my beloved Australia and coming to visit the US this July. I was only going to be stopping in NYC for a few hours to change planes, but when I realised that I extended it to a few days - 29th July-1st August. Not a long stop, but long enough to take advantage of your wonderful list! Hooray!

hilarygraham said...

Great list! Thanks for sharing. I took the fam to Top of the Rock when we were in NYC last summer. Fun!

hilarygraham said...

Great list, Leanna! Thanks for sharing with the Apocs. I tok the fam to Top of the Rock when we were in NYC last summer.

Teresa said...

Love the advice! I'll be at BEA--and at the Sourcebooks booth Weds morning signing my book The Dog Lived (and So Will I). Chances seem good we will meet--I'm looking forward to it. This is only my 3rd time ever in NYC so I'm going to print out your post and use it as my guide. Much thanks!

Leanna Renee Hieber said...

I am so excited you'll be here!
*muppet dance*

Yes, Top of the Rock is my super-fave. :)

Yay, I can't wait to see you! Glad to be of service.

Another thing I want to recommend is some time in the Metropolitan Museum of Art - if you're short on time you can't possibly see the whole thing, but at least hit the ground floor / Egypt wing. On the Affordable side, while it says $20 admission, that's suggested admission. You can pay whatever you like.

Caroline Bock said...

Staten Island Ferry -- greatest views of city by water. Don't forget a fabulous bookstore like Books of Wonder on 18th Street.
Truly, author of LIE. www.carolinebock.com

Paperback_Princess said...

I'll be at BEA this year and at BBC! I think Grand Central is great especially The Whispering Wall!