New York in Instagram

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

We made it to the Big Apple this summer, trying to take in the town many have tried to capture in film and books over the decades and the real, beating heart of a home to millions. Who knows if we succeed, but it was sure fun trying. If you follow my Instagram account, some of these might seem familiar to you, but this was New York through the eye of my (cellphone) camera. Below are some our top tips for The City that Never Sleeps.
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1New York Passes- so worth it. I know most people don't like to do "touristy" things and no one likes crowds, but the pass allowed you to bypass lines on many of the must-see attractions. This was good for about 80 sites or tours. There is a City Pass, but that is only good for 8 sites, which, clearly, is not the same thing.

2) See New York from above, at least once. Thanks to the Pass, we visited both the Empire State and Top of the Rock. If you can only do one, do Top of the Rock. The employees were all so knowledgable and helpful. They had pre-timed tickets to cut down on waiting in line and a ton of art (you could take a tour of the buildings just for the art!). Plus, from Top of the Rock you can see the Empire State, which lights up in different colors. We saw it in rainbow to celebrate the Supreme Court decision about gay marriage and in patriotic red, white and blue.

3) We saw four shows, three of which were Broadway musicals. We'd pre-booked Book of Mormon, knowing it was the most popular show in town and a must-see for The Boy who loves South Park. We got tickets for the two other shows (in our case, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, and On the Town) with really great orchestra seats for a great price by looking at the  app Today Tix. 

4) New York is known for the Great White Way, and we'll never have the chance to see such shows out where we live, so we decided to take a advantage and see a a ton, but it is good to remember there are lots of performances of all kinds in New York besides plays. We bought tickets to see the American Ballet Company perform Swan Lake and- wow. Not only a stellar performance, but the whole thing from the building (chandeliers that moved and TWO Marc Chagall murals) to the people (all dressed to the nines) to the performers themselves were part of the experience. So, look up what is happening and maybe think of trying an Opera, a concert, a ballet or other performance too.
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5) There are so many museums in New York and I'm sure all are worth going to. We limited it to four, but to avoid getting burned out on museums, also made a decision to alternate days where the main activities were indoor or outdoor. 

6) Use the subway. Fast. Cheap. And Google will help you get there if you're unsure. Actually, Google Maps will also help get you there (They will also tell you what is open and when).

7) Time Square has a ton of people. Its great they've turned the area around from the mess its portrayed as in Midnight Cowboy, but it is very family oriented and a lot of chain stores. New York has many cool neighborhoods. Go check out some of the others for shopping, or try getting of Manhattan to another borough, but- research first. Most of you will agree the cool, funky, small business is fun to shop, but we noticed that A) these cool shops are all over. There may be one on a block and the rest are dry cleaners, lawyers offices and restaurants. So, once again, google can be your friend in finding out what people think is worthy checking out. Pinterest or Yelp can be too, but we ran into the issue that if an article was more than a month or two old at least one of the recommended stores or eateries were out of business. So- Google it.

8) If you want to go up in the crown of the Statue of Liberty, you'd better be booking way in advance. But it is still worth seeing even if you just are outside it.
9) The New York Public Library has free tours and audio tours. It is gorgeous and right next to the enchanting Bryant Park (that's where the cute carousel was. I mean, we saw carousels in every park, but that was the cutest).

10) Go boating in Central Park. 

11) You'll be hearing more about the art museums later, but Yes, the Met is worth going to. Ask someone who works there though, rather than use the map, as exhibits may not be only where they say. Also, the Guggenheim is very worth going to; the MoMA is too, but in both cases be prepared for very experimental art. Always take a sweater to a museum, even on the hottest days, as they air condition you within an inch of your life and always get the free audio guide. 

12) We took a walking tour through Real New York Tours and loved it. We've found we really enjoy taking a walking tour within the first few days of visiting a place because it gives you a sense of direction/placement of sites. This tour was funny and well-paced, allowing you to see a lot.
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The TL;DR version? We had a great time in New York. Seriously though, if you plan to go, hope this advice helps!


  1. Looks like you fit in a TON! I'm impressed! Also that you did quite a bit of preplanning which is always good I find.

    I'm keen on checking out that app for the Broadway tickets as I'll be there in Sept. I hadn't heard of it before. Also that Google can help with taking the Subway. We'd try to take it and always managed to be standing on the wrong platform taking the train the wrong direction.

    Great photos!


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    1. Well, we were there for 10 days, on the assumption we probably wouldn't be back again. Honestly, that was a little long for a trip, but it was all fun.

      Hope the trip is fun!

  2. I've been on NY a few times but never seem to have enough time to do everything.... boating in Central Park sounds so much fun! Looks like you had a fabulous time!

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  3. Sounds like you had an awesome time! I've never been to NYC (ridiculous, I know), so I'm saving this post for when I plan my trip :)

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    1. Not so ridiculous- this was our first trip. For much of the country, NYC is really far away.

  4. I miss New York City so much! It was one of the most memorable trips I've taken, and I'm just itching to go back already. So glad to see you had a beautiful time there!

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  5. Ah, that's so incredible that you were able to see the empire state building decked out in rainbows! I saw an entire Tumblr post dedicated to US structures that were lit up in rainbows at night and during the day and they were absolutely gorgeous. And just wonderful to see!

    Number 11 sounds right down my alley. Mmmm, conceptual art. So strange, but so thought provoking. I can only hope I'll be weird and minimalist enough to be able to make it one day. Hahahaha.

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    1. I think you'd really love the MoMA and Guggenheim; some of the stuff seemed a bit like the art you create.

  6. Rad! Totally taking notes, because I've been wanting to visit New York forever! I went there for a few days when I was 12 and that doesn't count. I wanna do adult stuff! Hehe. I'm glad that you had a fantastic time! <3

    - Anna

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    1. I hope it helps you when the time for your own trip comes!

  7. I live 9yrs in NYC and I have never been to Top of the Rock! lol I dunno whats wrong with me :) nxt time you here you should go to Coney Island and Corona Park in queens :) love the pics you took :) so happy to live here :) beautiful place

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    1. We did actually go to Coney Island (and to Brooklyn in general. It was, sadly, one of the neighborhoods we had a lot of outdated information on and every recommendation had closed up shop or moved to Manhattan), but aren't really big boardwalk people, so we didn't stay long. New York definitely seemed like one of those places where there is always more to explore, so I hope others consider your suggestions!


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