Five must do's in New York
- Walk above Manhattan. The High Line is an elevated walkway built on a historic freight rail line that runs from the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street. This urban park, which stretches over 2km of Manhattan, features beautifully landscaped gardens with many of the original plants that grew over the rail line over the years incorporated into the garden beds. The 23rd Street Lawn is a great location for a picnic or to simply sit and watch the world go by.
- Visit Liberty's crown. Since reopening to the public in 2009 after its closure in 2001 after the September 11 terrorism attacks, each day a limited number of visitors can take the stairs to visit the Statue of Liberty's crown. There are 377 steps from the main lobby to the crown platform but it's well worth the climb if you're able to secure tickets. You must book well in advance (in our case, several months) and there is a maximum of four crown reservations per order.
- FAO Schwarz. Remember the movie Big starring Tom Hanks and the toy store he visited with the big piano? This is FAO Schwarz, the legendary toy store on 5th Avenue. If you are travelling with children, book a Breakfast with a Toy Soldier - a 45-minute tour of the store before it opens at 9am. It's an experience both kids and adults will enjoy. Plus you get exclusive time on the big piano! *See note
- Eat. There is no shortage of good food in New York. From the warm, chewy cookies straight out of the oven at Levain Bakery in the Upper Westside to the little cafes in the West Village, you certainly won't go hungry. Consult Tripadvisor or the local Time Out guide for tips on where to dine.
- Shop. The current exchange rate isn't working in our favour, so make sure you're getting a good deal. Discount department stores such as Century 21 and Nordstrom Rack offer deals that may save you up to 70% off the recommended retail price.
Hotels aren't cheap in Manhattan so it's worth looking at other options such as airbnb. A possibility for longer stays is Brooklyn.
The best time to visit New York is "any time". Be mindful of the cold winters - the average maximum temperature in January is 4C.
*Note: Sadly, just after this issue went to print, it was announced the FAO Schwarz flagship store located at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street would be closing down as rent was too high. The toy shop will close on July 15, 2015. Parent company Toys "R" Us says it has plans to open a new FAO Schwarz flagship store in a more affordable location, still within Manhattan.