First Time in New York City

My First Time In New York City

A city of endless possibilities, high energy, and great diversity, New York City had always been on the top of my bucket list and I knew I would love NYC before I even visited it (thanks to all the TV shows set in NYC).

People from all walks of life call the 5 boroughs that make up New York City their home. One borough in particular, Manhattan, served as the location for our trip to the Big Apple.

Whether you’re a foodie, an art enthusiast, a theatre lover or just someone who loves a fast-paced life, New York City is the place for you.

First Time in New York City

Day 1

Our trip to New York City started in Queens as we landed on a nice and sunny afternoon at LaGuardia Airport. We hopped into the iconic yellow cab that took us to our hotel – The Hampton Inn. The drive from the airport to our hotel gave us a good feel of the city and it was exactly how we’d imagined it to be.

The Hampton Inn is conveniently located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan and is just a two-minute walk from Times Square. After checking in to our hotel, we had the entire evening to start experiencing all the great things NYC has to offer. We walked around Times Square, which is the most touristy and frenetic part of the city. Even after dark, the lights from all the billboards trick you into believing it is still daytime.

First Time in New York City
The view from our hotel room

On our first night in New York, we decided to watch The Lion King on Broadway, at the lovely Minskoff Theater, and boy, it was everything we’d imagined and more. Right from the music to the costumes and set design, everything was just spectacular, making The Lion King a must-see show on Broadway.

First Time in New York City

First Time in New York City

We decided to get some pizza for dinner (because duh, we were in New York), and after a lot of walking around, we stopped at this small pizzeria and enjoyed some delicious NY style pizza.

We also ran into the actor who plays George Washington in Hamilton (yay!).

First Time in New York City
With Christopher Jackson (who plays George Washington in Hamilton)

Day 2

Our second day started with an exciting three hour walking tour of NYC along with a private photographer. New York City is best explored on foot and this tour, conducted by PhotoTrek Tours, is a great way to do that. This tour also helped us figure out the grid system of Manhattan and how to use the subway, which really came in handy during the rest of our stay in NYC.

First Time in New York City
At Times Square

In just three hours, we managed to see Times Square, Central Park, Grand Central Station, the Upper East Side, Brooklyn Bridge, and Downtown Manhattan. What’s more, we got some incredible photos out of this and Marc, the tour guide, did a good job of making it look like we were the only tourists in all the pictures he took.

First Time in New York City
Riding the subway
First Time in New York City
At Central Park
First Time in New York City
On the Upper East Side
First Time in New York City
On Brooklyn Bridge

Because we wanted to have all the pizza we could while we were in NYC, at the end of the tour, Marc dropped us off at one of the best pizzerias in town – Bleecker Street Pizza in Greenwich Village. Voted ‘Best Pizza in NY’ by the Food Network several times, this place is small, casual and has a wall lined with photos of celebrities who’ve visited the place (this includes Steven Tyler, Mike Tyson and the Kardashians among many others). After eating a large pizza pie and having a nice conversation with the man behind the counter, we decided to continue exploring the city on our own.

First Time in New York City

We took the subway to Brooklyn and spent some time walking around the area, checking out the brownstone buildings. The view of the New York City skyline from Brooklyn is definitely worth checking out.

First Time in New York City
Walking around Brooklyn

Continuing our touristy escapades, we went to the Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Center to check out the stunning view of New York City that is truly one of a kind. We chose the Rockefeller Center over the Empire State Building because the NYC skyline somehow looks incomplete without the Empire State Building in it. Also, they have a shorter wait time, which really appealed to us.

First Time in New York City
View from the Top of the Rock

After a long day of sightseeing, I met my friend from high school, Anjana, who took me to the Upper West Side for dinner at Café Lalo, which is the adorable café where Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks meet in the movie You’ve Got Mail.

First Time in New York City

Post dinner, we just walked around a lot and took the Subway back to Anjana’s place in Queens. You’d think two really good friends who were meeting up after ages would do something more exciting but we just sat and binge watched episodes of The Mindy Project till we couldn’t keep our eyes open anymore. Fun times.

Day 3

Our third day started with an early morning train ride from Queens to Times Square. A trip to New York would be incomplete without visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art so that’s where we first headed. A pro tip for anyone visiting the Met – their $25 entry fee is only ‘recommended’ and not mandatory, so if you can’t afford that but would still like to visit the Met, by all means pay what you can to get in.

First Time in New York City

The Met houses one of the largest art collections in the world and I could have easily spent the entire day there, but we only had about 3 hours. A few of my favorite things to see there were the Egyptian Temple of Dendur, the façade of the branch bank (part of the American wing), the marble patio from a Spanish Renaissance Castle, and the Chinese Garden Court.

First Time in New York City
In front of the façade of the branch bank

We then decided to revisit Central Park. Although we did see a bit of it during our walking tour, we wanted more. Central Park is one of New York City’s most breathtaking attractions and a must-see for anyone visiting. This 843-acre green space includes meadows, lakes, forests, monuments and good architecture! It’s hard to see all the park’s attractions in a day, let alone a couple of hours, but our stroll down Central Park was delightful.

First Time in New York City

After that, we went on a spectacular sunset sail to experience NYC’s beautiful skyline from the water, and also to see the Statue of Liberty. We set aboard a stunning yacht, where we were served some champagne, and given blankets because it was an unusually cold day. Despite it being grey and foggy, we completely enjoyed our sailing experience.

First Time in New York City
Check out the Statue of Liberty in the background

First Time in New York City

Even though we had a long and tiring day, we decided to hang around Times Square post dinner. We had some delectable cheesecake from Junior’s, and shopped at Forever 21 past midnight before calling it a day (it was my first time shopping at a store past midnight so that was exciting).

Day 4

With just half a day left, we decided to devote our last few moments in NYC to some good old shopping. We visited the iconic Apple Store on Fifth Avenue and did the rest of our shopping in Times Square. We ended up shopping for longer than we had planned to so we had to get our lunch packed (pizza and cheesecake, of course) before we headed to Penn station to catch our train to Philadelphia.

First Time in New York City


New York City totally lived up to our expectations and we left with a heavy heart and lots of good memories. Honestly, there’s A LOT to do in New York and no amount of time is enough to fully experience the city. NYC stole my heart and I can’t wait to go back.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you could check out more of my travel posts.

 

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  • Keerthana Jeet

    Wow no wonder you enjoyed your best… I have lived in NYC for 5 years and every time we visit the downtown it’s a complete new experience… There is no other place like NYC 😀

  • Oh I’ve always wanted to visit NYC and this post only makes me want to go more! And I am totally with you on eating all the pizza possible!

  • What lovely photos! It shows that you had a fabulous time!

  • I’ve only been to NYC once and that was 15 years ago. I’d love to go now that I’m an adult. When I went it was winter, so it would be nice to go when the weather is nice. I saw The Lion King on Broadway too, and I loved it!

  • Brittany Strawbridge

    What a beautiful place! It looks like you had a great time! Hopefully I can go for the first time soon! Thanks for sharing your trip!

  • Yulissa Rosario Santiago

    What an amazing trip! I have to do NYC again, and this time the right way. The first time we went it was a little chaotic for us.

  • alyxsheerheart

    I absolutely loved my two trips to NYC! Grand Central Station and off-Broadway were my favorite things, other than the food of course!
    I was surprised at how helpful most people were!