New York, New York.

New York is one of my favorite cities with non-stop energy. If you want excitement, night life, great food, amazing shopping and the hustle and bustle of people, taxis wailing their horns and people everywhere, this is the place you have to visit.  There is so much to see and do, how do you choose?  Well  here are a few tips and tricks that I learned and loved!

nytimessquareOne of my favorite tourist points is definitely Times Square.  It is just amazing with screaming tall skyscrapers that light up the city with so much energy.  I love people watching and this is the place to be — day or night.  There are cool street vendors putting on shows for tips.  The restaurants are outstanding.  But there are so many to choose from.  I always go online and look at the reviews in the area using Yelp.  Also, I use Open Table  to make a reservation ahead of time.  Who likes waiting?  Not me, especially on vacation.  If you can’t make it or running late, you can just cancel!

I enjoy staying at a hotel in Times Square, so I can be where the action is and be in the heart of the city.  I never pay full price.  I use Priceline every time I visit any large city.  You just choose a location and how many stars and get a last minute deal on a room.  There is also an app called Hotel Tonight.  This is great for last minute hotel rooms at discounts up to 50%.

Everyone loves a brilliant Broadway show.  You can purchase tickets ahead of time on your local website – NYTix.  But if you want to go last minute and save money, head down to Times Square and get in line for same day tickets at nearly half off.  Go to the TKTS booth.  Check the website for times and go early.  It is well worth standing in line for an hour or so!  I’ve done this multiple times and it’s well worth it.

A great way to see the city is taking a Bus Tour using New York Pass and using a Hop on and off pass.  This is a fast way to see the city and you can just get on and off at your leisure and visit different landmarks.nystatueliberty

One way to travel FREE is by the Stanton Island Ferry, which has been operated by the City since 1905. The Ferry carries over 22 million passengers annually on a 5.2-mile run between the St. George Terminal in Staten Island and the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan. The Ferry runs 24-hours-a-day, 365 days a year.  If you want a nicer boat ride past The Statue of Liberty, give it a try!  Of course if you want an up close and personal tour of Lady. Liberty, then try a New York Tour 1 tour.  You can even take a trip to Elis Island.

nyhelicMy husband and I took a helicopter tour around the city.  This was one of the most exciting times of my life.  It was scary, but so smooth.  It was my first time in a helicopter and I absolutely loved it. This is an amazing way to see the Statue of Liberty and all the landmarks around the city.  We purchased tickets through Manhattan Helicopters.  I came across another discount helicopter website called Adrenaline.

We had a fantastic boat tour through Circle Line Sightseeing.  There are many to choose from, but we went with the landmark tour. Our tour guide was hilarious. He told so many funny stories and was so informative with history of landmarks around the city.  I never laughed so hard.  We tipped him well.  : )

nytheviewMy visit to New York Citnykellyandmichaely last year with my daughter was a amazing trip highlighted by visiting a couple live TV shows. We planned a last-minute trip and weren’t able to book tickets for Kelly and Michael and The View, but I kept checking the website they released last minute tickets to The View. A great website to get Free Tickets is Iota. We found out about a “Standby line,” which is an overflow line that you stand in before the show and once everyone with tickets enters, they let the remaining people in line for the show.  This isn’t a guarantee, but it worked each time for us!nymichael

On the Kelly and Michael show we were brought upstairs for the first show.  During commercial breaks they were looking for dancers for their show. Of course I raised my hand, but I unfortunately was not chosen.  Kelly is one of my idols and I was so excited to meet her. I have wanted to have her job for years!  People say we resemble each other – maybe being the same age, bubbly, and both being libras!  I couldn’t wait to see if there was a chance she’d leave her post and mingle with guests. I went over and talked to the usher and worked my way down to an empty lower seat for the second show.  I was pretty close to the front of Kelly and Michael. During commercial breaks she never visited the audience and was very standoffish.  I was really hoping to meet her, but maybe next time!.  But Michael was very open with the audience and came over near us and I yelled, “Michael, can I have a picture” and he walked right up to me and took a selfie. He’s even more charming in person than on TV. This was one of the highlights of my trip.nygma

I think Jimmy Fallon is the most talented and funny guys in the world.  We tried to visit the Jimmy Fallon show, but no tickets were available that day.  One morning we went down to Good Morning America and stood outside and watched a show.  I had my husband DVR the show and yep, we got on TV.

 

We were so excited to get on the set of Law & Order SVU.  Long story on how I made it happen, but I will just say we knew someone and emailed them.  Mariska Hargitay is my daughter’s mentor and we supportnysvuchair the “No More” campaign, so this was a dream come true!  nysvuWe met with a tour director and signed a confidentiality agreement.  She took us around the set, showing us the court room, props, dressing rooms and more. All of a sudden we’re walking down the hallway and Mariska and LL Cool J are coming towards us.   I thought my daughter was going to faint.  She was so star struck, I should have taken a picture of her face.  Anyways, Mariska came up to us and introduced yourself.  She was so sweet and stunningly beautiful.  She showed us around the set they were going to film and she brought us into the filming room to view the next episode.  We actually sat in the director’s chairs and watched the filming. They gave us a paper with all the notes and action so we could follow along.   Once the filming was over, Mariska brought us into the main area and took multiple photos with us. She was one of the most amazing people I have met. I love everything she stands for and how she’s helping victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Please make sure to visit “No More” website for more information.nycentralpark

Ok, if you are now ready to relax, then head over to beautiful Central Park.  You will forget all of the hustle and bustle of the city.  There areso many things to see and do.  Check out Visiting Central Park website.  I love the Central Park Zoo, water fountain, (where the TV show Friends was filmed), and a beautiful lake where you can rent a row boat for a little romance.  A must visit is the Strawberry Fields, which is a living memorial to the world-famous singer, songwriter and peace activist, John Lennon. There is the Belevedar Castle, Calvert Vaux created the miniature castle in 1869 as one of its many whimsical structures intended as a lookout to the reservoir to the north (now the Great Lawn) and the Ramble to the south.  You can rent bikes and tool around the lovely park and admire the scenery.  But if you’re looking for a more relaxing way to see Central Park, then take a Horse & Carriage ride or find a rickshaw ride.  We used Central Park Pedicabs and our local guide was very informative.

I know this is just a small portion of what there is to see and do in New York, but hopefully you can use a few of my tips and make it a vacation you will never forget!

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