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This summer I had the opportunity to travel to New York City with one of my closest friends in the world! I was in New York to shoot Brian and Jocelyn’s wedding in Bath, and since my friend Elisa is a close friend of theirs, we decided to go together! My sister-in-law and her family lives in Manhattan, and Elisa is from Lancaster, PA, so we decided to extend our trip and visit NYC to stop at both of those cities! I had never been to New York before, and we only had one full day in the city, so we had to be super selective in what we decided to see!
Visiting a new place without having a lot of time can be overwhelming! How do you decide what to see and what not to see? In my experience, I have learned to have a few things in mind that you’d definitely like to see when traveling to a new place, but then to also have some flexibility and not be too tied to your expectations! I always enjoy myself better when I come into a trip not really knowing what to expect. When I have high expectations or a million things on my list of things to see, I tend to be disappointed because there is no way to see everything! If something unexpected comes up and I have to make a detour or a change of plans, I have to learn to not sweat it and accept it as all part of the experience of traveling! I want to share some tips with you on how to travel in the city and make decisions on what to do if you only have a short amount of time!
With a city like New York, there are SO MANY POSSIBILITIES. Do we go shopping? Do we see a show? Do we just walk around? Do we want to spend a lot on food? If shopping is your thing, then be sure to plan time to visit one or two stores on your list! If you want to see a show, find one that is open! Elisa had been to NYC before. We knew that seeing a show or spending time shopping would take up a lot of time, so we decided to not do that! I am also not a big fan of tourist attractions, so we decided to avoid many of “the big things” to do there! For us, we just wanted a fun, relaxing day in the city! I knew that I wanted to see Central Park, but that was about it!
For starters, look at a MAP! Find out where the big things on your list are located in relation to one another. Then, learn how to use the subway! If you don’t know, ask someone who does! I always like talking to a real person better than just Googling it, so if you know someone familiar with getting around, ask them! Google Maps actually can tell you which train to get on and which station to go to so that you reach your destination the quickest! Using the subway was really much easier than I expected! As long as you know which direction the train you get on is heading, getting around is really easy! I was much more worried about this step than I needed to be! Definitely plan more time than you think you need to get around! After looking at a map, we decided that the main things to see on our list were Central Park, the Greenwich Villiage/SoHo area, and the lower east side.
Some of the best adventures I’ve been on have always been when I didn’t have a plan! Stop at that little shop on the corner. Take a detour to a park you see in the distance. Visit a coffee shop! Elisa’s brother lives in Brooklyn, so he came over to spend some time with us. If I had been super tied to my plan of where we were going, I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself! He told us we needed to try some $1 pizza, so we did! Then we stumbled upon a Ukrainian festival that was going on! It was so neat because Elisa and her brother actually have relatives from the Ukraine! We stayed there for a little bit and enjoyed some food and watched some dancing! He also drove us through Times Square so that we could see it. Like I said, I don’t enjoy most touristy things, so I didn’t want to spend a ton of time in Times Square, but I am so glad that we saw it!
One of the things I love about traveling is the break from the daily grind that it provides! I didn’t bring my camera into the city because I just wanted to have a blast and not worry about taking the best photos! All the photos I’m sharing at the end of the post were taken on my phone. This trip was truly just about having fun and spending time with my future family (I wasn’t married yet at the time of the trip)! We were able to spend the last half of the day with my sister-in-law and her sweet family! She mentioned to us that they recently took the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty and that it was fun and free! I LOVE water, so I was so excited when she mentioned this! It was so much fun to be able to relax with them and not worry about a schedule or getting back at a certain time. We really had a perfect day!
Now for the photos!
Central Park was amazing and so much fun! I’m a Doctor Who fan, so honestly most of the things I wanted to see were influenced by The Angels Take Manhattan!
The city was so much greener than I expected! There are trees and parks throughout the city, and it is certainly not short on exciting sights!
The architecture was also so much more diverse than I expected! It’s not all skyscrapers. Greenwich Village was beautiful!
Times Square is definitely busy! I do NOT recommend driving in the city, but we did have a blast having Elisa’s brother drive us around!
The Staten Island Ferry was a blast. I loved being able to see the Statue of Liberty and go out on the water!
Notice the tennis shoes on the right! Good walking shoes are a must when traveling in the city because a lot of walking is involved!
The 9/11 memorial was heartbreaking, beautiful, and moving.