I'll be visiting NYC for the first time during the last week of June. Solo traveler, for a mix of business and pleasure. I've been following the valuable advice and tips on this forum for a while now, read all the FAQs, and even watched some clips on YouTube (helped me to better understand "The Idiot’s Guide to the Subway", for example). Based on all my research, I came up with the following itinerary, and would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. I'm vegan, so food required some extra planning.
Day 1 – Saturday
My (12 hour long) flight lands in JFK at 05:15am. Planning to take a taxi to my hotel (Yotel, 42nd st & 10th av). Guessing I'll arrive around 8-9am. What's the traffic situation on Saturday mornings?
Too early for check in, but I'll be able to store my luggage (FYI, this hotel offers a special deal on their Facebook page).
Planning to visit Bryant park, the public library, Grand Central Station, circle Rockefeller center to look at the various art pieces around it, then go up to TOTR. I'm hoping to save a little standing-in-line time by purchasing a Go Select pass. I realize I will have to exchange the pass for an actual ticket, but the line for that should be shorter than the general tickets line, right? Finally, I'll do a quick tour of Times Square.
Is it reasonable to cover all that (by foot) in about 8 hours? I want to check in at the hotel around 5pm.
If the weather is nice and I feel up to it, I'll go on a night tour by bus. Otherwise, I'll just call it a night.
As for food, planning to grab something on route. I read that there are some delis offering vegan options around Times Square. After I settle in my hotel, will probably do some basic shopping at the Food Emporium around the block.
Day 2 – Sunday
Buy a weekly metro card and try out the subway for the first time…
Planning to look at the Guggenheim building (from outside), visit the Met (actually going inside), Central Park, and then walk back to my hotel through 5th avenue, with short stops at FAO Schwartz, Trump building etc. Is it reasonable to cover all that in about 8 hours?
Need to be back at the hotel around 17:00 for freshening up, as I have a ticket for Avenue Q at 19:30.
Day 3 – Monday
First part of the day – MOMA.
Then the business part of my trip begins - near Union Square Park. I'll probably be done around 19:00 or 20:00, so plan to explore the park area, and then visit Whole Foods to buy some yummy vegan treats.
Day 4 – Tuesday
Working until 18:00 or 19:00, again near Union Square Park. Afterwards, planning a walk to see the Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park (for the view of the Empire State Building), then dinner at "Terri" (vegan place on 23rd st).
Day 5 – Wednesday
Full day of work, and then a tour with colleagues in Queens. I'll be back at the Union Square Park area around midnight. Anything special I need to know about taking the subway to Times Square at this hour?
Day 6 – Thursday
Working until 18:00 or 19:00, again near Union Square Park. Afterwards, planning dinner at "Peacefood Cafe" (vegan place on 11th st), then visiting Strand bookstore.
Day 7 – Friday
Done with work, yay!
I'm planning to sign up to the "All in one walking tour downtown" with free tours by foot, covering the Financial District, Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park, SoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown, Chelsea Market and the High Line. I read on previous posts that a typical tip for this tour is 20$, but that was for a 2 hour tour, while this one is a 6 hour tour. Can anyone please advise what's a respectable tip?
I think the tour ends somewhere on the Highline, so planning to walk all the way up, then grab takeout from "Loving Hut" (vegan place on 7th av., between 29th and 30th st) and back to my hotel via 5th avenue. I have a ticket for "Wicked" at 20:00.
Here's my big question – I want to ride the Staten Island Ferry, and obviously this is the best day to do it as I'm already downtown. The walking tour starts at 10am near the Federal Building, so I thought about taking the ferry at 8am (to be back in Manhattan at 9am). However, this is rush hour, and I'm afraid something will go wrong and I'll be late for the tour. Is it possible to do both or too risky?
Last day – Saturday
Visit Hell's Kitchen flea market, conveniently located near my hotel. Check out from hotel at 11:00 and store luggage. I might go on The RIDE, not sure yet. Afterwards, a nice lunch at V-note (vegan restaurant on the upper east side), then a quick visit to Conservatory Garden. Back to the hotel to pick up my luggage, take a taxi to JFK. My flight leaves at 23:30, so when should I take the taxi – is 19:30 a good time? Does the fixed price of 52$+toll+tip applies both ways, or only when taking a taxi from JFK to Manhattan?
I would love to hear your tips and suggestions, especially regarding the time I allowed for the various activities.
Thank you so much in advance, you truly are the best!