Short, spontaneous trips can be great to revitalize one’s spirits.
In my continued work-from-home situation, I am finding it increasingly difficult to focus my attention on my computer screen. While I used to work for over an hour straight without distractions, now, anything longer than 15 minutes feels like a mental burden (yikes!). In these moments when time moves as slowly as Salvador Dalí’s melting clocks, I dream of going elsewhere, most specifically, to New York City. Maybe it was because I had just watched re-runs of “How I Met Your Mother” or, because I had just found out that “Starry Night” by Van Gogh (a beloved painting of mine) is located in NYC (and not Paris), either way, I was itching to take a trip to the big apple.
Clocking out of work after a pitiful 20 minutes of effort, I went down the rabbit hole of planning an NYC daytrip (which I was able to focus on for no fewer than 60 exciting minutes — go figure!). There’s so much to do and so much to see in just Manhattan alone!
If you plan to take a summer daytrip to New York City, here are a few things you should consider:
- The weather. If you can, try not to plan too early. Check the weather forecast and consider traveling only when the weather is fair (weather can really make or break one’s experience!).
- What’s open. Don’t visit on a Monday. Many museums and attractions are closed on select weekdays. For example, the catacombs under St. Patrick’s Cathedral (which I was super interested in) was not open for my visit. Similarly, the New York Transit Museum and even the small Mmuseumm were closed on a Thursday.
- Advance Tickets. Reservations fill up quickly in the city! If you plan to visit a museum or a particular restaurant, try to order your tickets online (at least a few days) in advance.
- Traffic/ Delays. Whether you are driving, flying, or taking the train, make sure to plan for delays in your trip. NYC traffic is notoriously unpleasant, and it can take you over an hour just to get in and out of the city. For this reason, it is best to avoid entering or exiting Manhattan during rush hour. Similarly, taking the subway can, at times, be much quicker than a cab. But even when you plan to take the train or plane, you are also not entirely safe from delays! On my way in via Amtrak, our train experienced a slight delay in Connecticut to allow passengers “rescued” from another train to board (their train broke down apparently). Also, JFK and LaGuardia are super busy airports and it’s not uncommon for planes to wait on the jetway for several extra minutes as plane traffic clears out.
- Bags. Don’t overpack for your one-day trip! Most museums require you to check large backs in the coat room. However, during the pandemic, some coat rooms are temporarily closed (which can leave you unable to enter the museum). Similarly, if you plan to carry a backpack, you will most likely be expected to carry it on your front or in hand during your museum wanderings. Finally, don’t pack too many snacks in your backpack, as your bags may be inspected by museum security.
- Public Transportation. Use it! But it can also be very confusing so, be sure to do your research beforehand. MetroCards (at the time of this writing) are $2.75 for a one-way ticket and $33 for an unlimited 7-day pass. To my knowledge, I could not find any sort of 1-day pass (which would have been useful for me). You can purchase MetroCards in subways stations or at other vendors (like in Penn Station). Transfers between subway – bus, bus – bus, and bus – subway within two hours are free when using the same card. Make sure to get on your exact train (taking note of your end destination and whether or not you need to take an express train, which skip many stops in-between).
As one may expect, there is loads to do in America’s most-populated city. Even “ordinary” places like malls can be grounds for exploration. For example, the Oculus building at the World Trade Center is designed by renowned Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava, whose buildings can be found all over the western world.
While Central Park is an often-recommended outdoor attraction, consider also visiting the High Line, which is a 1.45-mile-long elevated greenway that takes you from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street. Additionally, if you would like more exercise, you can visit the Vessel, an attraction that takes you up 16 floors and grants 360-degree views (unfortunately, at the time of this writing, the attraction is temporarily closed).
Of course, NYC also has boatloads of museums including the big ones like the The Metropolitan Museum of Art (aka the “Met,” the largest museum in the U.S.), located near Central park, and the Museum of Modern Art (aka the “MoMA”), which is home to works of illustrious artists including Frida Kahlo, Claude Monet, Marc Chagall, Vincent Van Gogh, and the like.
All in all, one simply cannot do New York City in one day, but if one must, there is certainly a lot to choose from!
Happy adventures 🙂