After Covid-19 rocked everyone’s world, New York City is back in action. This was my third visit since most of the travel restrictions were lifted – and I am happy to report that vaccination cards are no longer being checked and masks are optional. It is not the same as it was in 2019 (and probably never will be), but stores and restaurants are starting to reopen. Although there is no longer a Starbucks on every other corner (maybe every third corner) and help wanted signs are everywhere, places of business are now open longer hours.
I use my daughter (who has been there since college) as an excuse for visiting so often, but in truth I am a Broadway and museum junkie. And the shopping isn’t bad either. Seeing as many Broadway shows as possible is a must, but museums come second when there are no matinee performances. And there is always time to walk down 5th Avenue to pass by St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, Saks Fifth Avenue and other store fronts.
This trip was a quick one - only three nights. But it was filled with three Broadway shows (Some Like It Hot, Funny Girl with Lea Michele and Good Night, Oscar with Sean Hayes), two museums (the new Museum of Broadway and a return to MOMA) along with the New York Public Library, Bryant Park, Central Park and Rockefeller Center.
Although this visit was in the spring, autumn with the changing colors in Central Park is my favorite time to visit. If you can handle the very unpredictable winter weather, December is also a beautiful time to visit. You can see the gorgeous display windows of the large department and jewelry stores, the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, and drop by Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular. And not to be missed is Macy’s Herald Square on 34th Street to see the decorations and Santaland.
Take time to visit the New York City Library located in Bryant Park at 476 5th Avenue (at 42nd Street). Easily recognized from television and movies, the library opened in 1911. Not to be missed is the Polonsky Exhibition of the New York Public Library’s Treasures – which include Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Dickens’ writing desk and chair, a Gutenberg Bible from 1455 and my favorite – Christopher Robin Milne’s teddy bear that inspired Winnie the Pooh, along with friends Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger and Kanga (sadly Roo was lost). This beloved story was written by Christopher’s father A.A. Milne.
- After visiting the Library, take time to take a break in Bryant Park. Vendors are available throughout the park or stop across the street at Whole Foods to grab a lunch to enjoy in the park. There is an event every day - check the calendar on the website for activities: https://bryantpark.org/
- Bring your favorite athletic shoes and take a walk in Central Park. Located in the heart of the city, it will look like you are miles away from everything, but you can still see skyscrapers and hear horns honking. The most visited park in the United States, there are actually four larger parks in the New York City area. I visit every time I am in NYC and it always different - especially with the change of seasons.
- Visit a museum – if your schedule only allows time for one museum, make the 9/11 Memorial and Museum a priority. The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) is my second choice, but children of all ages will enjoy the American Museum of Natural History with the giant dinosaurs and blue whales.
- If you are interested in seeing a Broadway show, download the TKTS app for information on discounts for same day tickets. Although blockbusters like Hamilton and Wicked are never discounted, many new shows are available at the TKTS location under the big red stairs at Times Square.
- Take a cruise out of NYC – I cruised from NYC to Bermuda on a previous trip, but there are other cruise destinations including New England & Canada, the Caribbean and transatlantic out of this port. Contact your Travel Central Travel Advisor for more information.
- Visit Times Square by day and by night – if only to say that you have been there. On a side note – Raising Canes will be opening a restaurant there this summer.
You can be in New York City for a month and not do it all. My best suggestion is not to try. Pick the most important things on your list and start there. Just remember to allow time in your schedule to watch a parade you weren’t expecting or visit a street market. Take time to people watch. If you are walking The High Line Park – don’t miss Chelsea Market only a few blocks away. Forgot to get tickets for the Statue of Liberty? See it from the Staten Island Ferry. And be patient – it is a city of over 8 million people trying to get to work, to see a show, to get to the gym or just head home. It is hustle and bustle 24/7, but it can be magical if you just take a minute to stop, look and listen.
Need more info on NYC? Please feel free to give me a call at 504-587-1644.