Welcome to New York- Part2

Jerry’s Grand Tour


This tour had great reviews. Maybe it was great at one point, but I wouldn’t say it is now. Jerry, the guide, gave no true facts about New York. He would just randomly talk about things or tell stories that had nothing to do with the tour. The only positive was that he was able to navigat us through the city to see a lot of sites. I will say that this tour could have been 3 hours shorter. It goes at a slow pace.


The tour is $10. The tour begins at the hostel in Harlem. From there we took the subway to Brooklyn. This took a good 20 minutes. Once off the subway, he walked us to a local deli to grab lunch to have a picnic on Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Pretty sure he got a commission from that place, but I still enjoyed my sandwich.

The Brooklyn Promenade

The Brooklyn Promenade is a 1/3 mile walk along the East River. You will see the best panoramic view of the city from here. You can see the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Brooklyn Bridge

After lunch, we walked to the Brooklyn Bridge. We entered on the Brooklyn side at Tillary Street and Admas Street. It takes about 25-30 minutes to walk the 1.3 miles across the bridge.

National September 11 Memorial

There were only 3 Americans on this tour. Josh and I cried at the mere sight of this. All the feelings of that day came rushing over me. As shitty as our guide was, he actually had some good facts about 9/11. He pointed out a name and began talking about them. He said “Isn’t that a nice name. Think of the life they could have had.” That is just when couldn’t control myself and just started crying. One of the girls on the tour told me that seeing the emotion of Josh and myself made the memorial more real. I would say that this is a must see! It is free to see the memorial. The museum is $24 to go into. I did not go to the museum, but I have heard it’s moving. For more information, click here.

Wall Street and the Bull

Wall Street is the center of the financial center of the USA and home of the New York Stock Exchange. While you can’t go in and take a tour, (the floor has been closed to the public since 9/11) you can walk around the outside. The street is cut off from cars for security reasons.  To the left of the stock exchange is the site where George Washington was inaugurated. The is a statue of him there to honor him.

The famous Wall Street Bull is not on Wall Street. It is located on Broadway & Morris.

Ferry Ride⛴

Our tour guide, Jerry thought it’d be a good idea to see the city lite up at night from the water. The ferry is free. The ferry departs from Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan. While Jerry was off about a lot of things. He was right about how beautiful the city is at night. You can always see the Statue of Liberty 🗽 from the ferry, which was a highlight. If you have 20 minutes to spare, why not do this free activity.

Time Square

A tour of New York wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Time Square. Most subway lines have a stop in Time Square, so it is easy to get too. I would walk all the way to the red stairs and then take a moment to to take in all of the lights. With the stairs behind you, you can see the nye ball. Also just walk past all the people in costumes. If you take a picture, they will charge you.

Central Park

My hostel offered free tours of time square on Tuesdays and Saturdays. I think a tour is the best way to see Central Park. I tried to wander around the park myself the day before the tour and just felt lost. If you do try to explore on your own,  start from the southern end of the park. Here are some highlights of my tour.

Strawberry Fields.

Located on the west side of 71st and 74th streets. You will find the famous imagine mosaic in honor of John Lennon.

Alice in Wonderland

Located on the east side of 75th street is a large bronze statue that was gifted to the children of New York in 1959. When I had seen pictures online I had no idea how big it was!  You can climb up on it like I did and get a great picture.

Central Park Zoo

On the east side of between 63rd and 66th street is the Central ParZoooo. I did not go into the zoo, but I did walk through to see the clock. The Frederick G. R. Roth’s Honey Bear and Dancing Goat bronze sculptures dance on the hour and half hour from 0800 to 1700. For more information on the zoo, click here.

Wollman Rink

Even if you don’t like to ice skate, you need to come for the beautiful view. Located on the east side of 62nd and 63rd street is Wollman Rink. For prices and hours, click here.

Bow Bridge


This romantic bridge spans over the Lake, located midpark at 74th street west of Bethesda Terrace. The bridge is a great backdrop for pictures.


The People

Coming into this trip I thought I’d probably become better friends with Josh and see some sights. I never thought I’d meet the amazing people that I did. I am so happy that I made the decision to stay at a hostel. If you ever get the chance, DO IT!

I just want to thank everyone I met on this trip. I feel like I have a better understanding of myself and the world around me due to each and every one of you. From hearing about life in South Africa.

To hearing about what life was like in a communist country.

To just having fun with people all around the world.

I want to gave a special thanks for spending your time with me. I hope that we will see each other again ❤



Welcome to New York Part 1

Of all the places I’ve been, I have never been to New York City. I remember the times I’ve been to Europe and telling locals I’m from the states and them asking, “Oh how is New York?”. When you think of America, you think New York City. I felt it was time to finally go! I had a break in my work where I had 5 days off, so this time seem like the perfect time. This trip was originally going to be a solo trip, but my friend Josh said he’d come.

Where I Stayed

I stayed at a hostel for this trip, HI New York City Hostel. I have stayed in a hostels before in Europe. This trip I took full advantage of the hostel experience, I signed up for the events and tours the hostel was hosting. I was open to meeting and connecting with new people. Josh was worried about staying at a hostel at first, but by the end of our stay, he was in love with the idea. I stayed in a 10-bed female dorm. Josh stayed in a 4-bed male dorm.

One thing I love about this hostel is that you are able to get to a good cheap breakfast every morning at the cafe downstairs. The prices were right and the coffee wasn’t terrible. However if you hate their coffee, there is a Dunkin’ Donuts right across the street.

My only complaint was that you could not control the temperature in the room. Some nights I’d be so cold I’d wake up in the middle of the night. And others I’d be hot and just use a sheet. But there were extra blankets on the lockers I learned later in my trip. For more information click the hyperlink above.

Top of the Rock

Located in Rockefeller Center (look for the red carpet), the Top of the Rock is in my opinion, the best view in NYC.  There are 3 levels of observation. The 70th floor is an open-air roof deck. What I think makes this better then another building is it’s free of a cage enclosure. It is surrounded by glass. This makes it better for pictures and to see the city.

I went at night with my friend, Nikki. It was nice to see all the lights of the city. I would like to someday go up during the day to get a different view. They actually have a ticket option that lets you go up during the daytime and the nighttime. Basic tickets start at $34. I would buy them in advance online to skip the line.

For more information, click here

Ice skating at Rockefeller Center

When I think of New York City in the winter time, I think of ice skating in Rockefeller Center.

As you can see by this video I am not that good, but at least I didn’t fall and I had a blast! It was a little pricey for how long we actually were on the ice (30 mins).

$25 to skate, plus $12 for the skate rental. To me, the $37 was worth it to live out one of my New York Dreams, even if I wasn’t as graceful as I hoped.

For more information, click here

NBC Studio Tour

I love the news. I love politics. I get my news from NBC News and MSNBC. So you can possibly already guess my excitement about this tour. I went on a Sunday at the 12:40 tour. I would highly recommend going on a Sunday. Most of the shows are not in production on Sundays. This means that you will be able to see more studios. They do not allow photos so I have no cool pictures of all the stages. 🙁 I got to see The Tonight Show, The Late Show, Nightly News, and the most exciting, SNL! At the end, they have an interactive studio interview. I, of course, volunteered to be the host. If you’d like to see me look ridiculous click here, nbc show

The tour is $33 and lasts about an hour or some. For more information click below

Broadway 🎭 Wicked

When going to New York City, you have to see a Broadway show. I saw Wicked on a Friday night.

After the play, I learned of some ways to get cheaper tickets. Wicked has a lottery where you can get 2 lower level tickets for $35. Enter the lottery at this link.

I paid $141 for my lower level tickets from broadway.com. Broadway.com is more expensive, but they have a good seat guarantee. For example, when I first booked my ticket they gave me a refund because they found out a prop blocked my view. I think that is a good thing for the premium price.

But if you are on a budget, go can go to TKTS. TKTS Discount Booth is located under the red stairs in Time Square. You can get same-day tickets for up to 50% off. The only catch is that you need to get there early.

ChinaTown-Dim Sum VIP

Take the Subway to Canal Street and you’ll end up in Chinatown. If you are looking for a bargain or knock-off handbag this is the place to go. Just know as you walk you will be asked “handbag, glasses” a million times. If you are there just to walk around and get food, just keep on walking. I think its worth the walk.

The Streets of Chinatown
Fake Handbags for sale on the streets

I knew I wanted to get lunch when I was here, so of course, I look up the best place on Yelp. I found DIM SUM VIP. The information below from YELP

I had never had Dim Sum before. I would compare it to tapas, but Chinese. The food was great! Know that when you go to Chinatown, most places are cash only


Little Italy – Caffe Roma

After lunch, Nikki and I wanted coffee and dessert. What better place to go then Little Itay! We went to this cute little cafe, Caffe’ Roma. This place is cash only. For a cappuccino and a desert it was under $20 and the servings were filling.

Empire State Building

For $37 you can go to the top of one of the most famous buildings in the world. Built-in 1931 in only 11 months, was the tallest building in the world till 1970 when the World Trade Center was built. Towering over 1,250 feet in Midtown Manhattan, you get a great view of the city. Before you go make sure to download the audio guide app. When you get to the top there are numbered signs that go with the app that will tell you what buildings you are looking at. I found this helpful and interesting.  For more information or tickets, click here.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah- How to Get Tickets

The First thing to do is to go to this website to get tickets to The Daily Show. Click on the date you want and pick the ticket. There are 2 tickets you can choose from, guaranteed and standby. Both tickets are free I got my ticket a month in advance, so I had to get standby.  How standby work is: doors open at 5pm for guaranteed tickets, once all these people go in, they will start taking from the standby line. I got there at 4pm and there were around 20 people in front of me for the standby. IT WAS SO COLD! I waited about an hour and a half before I knew if I was going to get in or not. Once you know you’re in there give you this ticket.

After you get this ticket, you wait another hour while you go through security. Once in the studio, you wait another 1/2 hour or so for the “opening act”. The opening act is a comedian that does a set to get the crowd “hot”. Once he starts, no photos are allowed. They are serious about this and will ask you to leave. After this, the show starts. They film the show straight through. The show is around 21 minutes.

SO is all this wait worth it?
Yes and No. If you are like me and grew up watching The Daily Show, then yes. I lived out a dream of mine seeing this show. I do wish that Trevor Noah would have interacted with the crowd more. But I understand its a taping, not a meet and greet. That being said, I would have paid to have had done that.


To see the show I watched live, click here

Kate Spade Flagship Store

If you are into fashion, there is probably a shop in NYC for you. I love Kate Spade. I like that her items are reasonably priced, good quality, and some of her designs are fun. As a fan of the brand, the store was an amazing experience. I highly recommend finding your favorite designers flagship store in New York and checking it out. And yes I got a bag. 💁🏼

Booking a flight

Everyone wants a good deal. There are so many places I want to go in the world. Where I go first a lot of the time depends on the deal I can get.  I am going to share with you some of the tips I use for getting a great deal on plane flights.


Skycanner. This is, in my option, the best search engine for finding flights. Skyscanner can also be used for hotels and car rental. If you used the website all three functions are available there. If you are using the apps, you will need to download each app to assess each service. One feature I enjoy about the flight app is  the whole month chart view. It shows you the cheapest dates to fly. This is great if you are flexible with your dates.

Book Direct. Skyscanner is a great starting point when booking a flight, but I always book directly through the airlines. Once I find the flight I want on skyscanner, I go directly to the airlines site and book through them. I do this for many reasons

  • Hidden Fees. When you book directly with the airlines the fee are more visible. Budget airlines like Frontier (which I am not a fan of) and Spirit (which I like) tack on carrier one fees and seat fees. While they may have had the lowest rate at first, after adding all the fees a major airline like Delta, that includes 1 carrier one, maybe a better deal.

Know When to Book. The best day to book is the best day to buy airline tickets is Sunday, especially if you’re booking more than 21 days in advance. Purchasing tickets over the weekend more than 21 days in advance can save more than 30 percent to Europe and 17 percent on travel domestically, according to Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation.

Red Eyes. Red eyes leave after 9 PM and arrive before 5am. I love red eyes. Since they leave later in the day, I can get a extra day of vacation before my flight. On top on having almost an extra day of fun, red eyes tend to be cheaper.

Happy Booking!