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Travelling to New York? Best Airports & Where to Stay!

January 23, 2020

Hey guys.

A lot of people have been asking me recently for advice and tips on getting to New York and the best places to stay. In todays blog I have taken some time to tell you about about the different options out there and everything I know about visiting the Big Apple.

AIRPORTS & FLIGHTS

There are 3 airports you can fly into from New York. The 2 mains ones are John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in Queens and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. LaGuardia Airport in Queens is another but this one is mainly domestic.

In my opinion the key to looking for flights is to start looking about 6 months in advance to get the best price. Obviously visiting in peak season aka Christmas and Summer is going to be more expensive so be prepared for that. Aer Lingus fly twice daily from Dublin to JFK and daily to Newark direct which is great because you have no layover. They also fly direct daily from Shannon to JFK.

You can also look at other cheaper options with other airlines. Some of the best places to look online are Skyscanner, Kayak or the app Hopper. You can also keep an eye when prices go up and down. Apparently Tuesday is the best day of the week to book flights but this could just be a myth.

TRANSPORT FROM THE AIRPORT

Once you land in either of these airports you have many choices on ways to get into Manhattan.

Trains

From JFK the cheapest option is to get the subway. First get the air train which costs $7.75 plus a $1 metro card fee. Once you transfer to the subway you can either buy a weekly pass which works out a good deal especially if you plan on taking the subway a lot to do tourist things or else you can top it up with how ever much money you want. A single fare costs $2.75. Visit this website to learn more.

From Newark you also get the air train first and then transfer to the NJ Transit train. AirTrain Newark costs just $5.50 as you enter or exit the system at the Airport Station. The fee is included when you purchase a ticket from NJ Transit their train stations. One ticket does it all.

Buses

Bus service is available from Newark Airport through NJ Transit Bus Lines. For schedules and information, visit the NJ TRANSIT website. An Express Bus runs between Newark Liberty International Airport & New York City. The Express Bus runs from 5 a.m. until 1 a.m./ 365 days. The cost is $18 for one way, or $30 for round trip.

The MTA (NYC transport authority) also provides regular bus services between JFK Airport, Brooklyn, Queens and beyond with subway connections. It takes between 50-75 minutes and costs $10.50.

Taxis

If you don’t want to take public transport another way to get to Manhattan is by taxi. If you’re taking a taxi to Manhattan from Newark you will be charged a metered fare (approximately $69-75) plus tolls and a $15 surcharge. 

JFK to Manhattan there is a flat fare $52.80, plus any applicable toll (about $8)

*If you take a taxi don’t forget to tip. For good service the taxi driver should be tipped approximately 20%.

Apps like Uber or Lyft can be a cheaper way to get taxis to the city and not have to worry about dragging your luggage around. Especially if you select their carpool option. Most airports have free wifi you can connect to if you want to do this – and they have special Uber pick-up points (separate to where the yellow cabs are) – if you ask in the airport or google it you should be able to find it.

HOTELS

There are sooo many hotels to choose from in the city – so many amazing ones. It actually wouldn’t be fair to say I have a favourite. I don’t, it just depends what you want.

I think for site-seeing Midtown/ Times Square is a good location, it’s also where you’ll get more reasonably priced hotels.

For eating, drinking & hanging out I love Soho. The last two times I came to the city I stayed here in the Citizen M & I loved it!

The city is so well connected by the subway that it doesn’t really matter that much where you stay as long as you have access to a train! I’ve broken some hotel options down into luxury hotels, budget hotels & centrally located hotels – hopefully this will help you narrow it down.

Treat yourself to a stay at a famous New York hotel

New York definitely has some of the nicest and most luxurious hotels in the world. Renowned for their design, service, and fabulous amenities. If you have a little more to spend and want to splash out and treat yourself on your New York experience, there are many famous fancy hotels to stay in. Below I have listed a few of my favorites in the city.

The Plaza – 5th Ave

The Standard – High Line

The NoMo SoHo Hotel – SoHo

Mandarin Oriental – Upper West Side

Ritz Carlton – Central Park

Public Hotel – Soho/LES

Budget Friendly Hotels

If you want to save your money for shopping, fancy dining experiences or maybe a Broadway show and don’t want to splash out on a hotel, there are plenty of cheaper options too. Below are some hotels that won’t blow the bank but are still really nice and in good locations too!

Citizen M – Bowery/ Soho (for solo travellers or a couple)

Pod 37 or Pod 51 – Midtown (for solo travellers)

Best Western Soho

Row NYC – Times Square

Chelsea Inn – Chelsea

The Frederick Hotel – Tribeca

Embassy Suites by Hilton – Times Square

Best Location

If location is the biggest draw to which hotel you choose, then below I have listed some for you. All are centrally located for top sights and tourist attractions. If you want to be in the heart of it all, my advice is to look in neighborhoods like Midtown or the Theatre District (West 42nd Street to 50th Street) While there’s much to see everywhere in the city, the most sights in one neighborhood by far are those in Midtown, the heart of New York shopping and theater and home to some of its most iconic buildings. Especially if its your first time.

Merrion Row Hotel – Times Square

Fitzpatricks Grand Central or Midtown East

W New York – Midtown West

The Westin – Times Square

Arlo Nomad or Arlo Soho

I hope you found this helpful guys. If you’re looking for things to do check out my last blog post here and check out the New York tab on my website which has lots of recommendations.

If you have any of your own tips you think would help others please write them in the comments below. Happy travels!

Chat soon,

Louise xx

New York

Touristy things to do in New York in Winter

January 10, 2020

Hey guys,

Since moving to NY in September there has definitely been a lot of questions about things to do in New York, where to stay, where to eat… all that kinda stuff. So I’m starting a new mini series with lots of recommendations for you all!

If I’ve left anything out do let me know and I can add it!

Hope it’s helpful for any of you planning a trip,

Lots of love,

Louise xx

Things to do in Winter in NYC:

See the views from above

The observation decks at Top of the Rock, Empire State Building and the One World Observatory. No matter what the weather these famous skyscraper buildings will always provide breathtaking views from the top. You will also have an easier time getting tickets and won’t have to fight the crowds to get to the windows.

See a Broadway show

Winter is off peak time for Broadway shows so you may find cheaper ticket prices. You can also experience the madness of Times Square whilst you’re there. It really is breathtaking, especially at night. Lots of photo opportunities.

Winter sports events

Now is a very good time to go see a Winter sports game. Ice skating, basketball and football are all very popular American sports over here. The atmosphere at the games is electric.

Staten Island ferry

See the best view of the Statue of Liberty as well as the Manhattan skyline from afar. Bonus is, it’s free!

Museums

New York has many incredible museums. Visit The Met, The Natural History Museum or the 9/11 Memorial and museum to escape the cold.

Shopping

If you’re coming to do some shopping and get some good deals now is a very good time because of the January sales. Visit the post Christmas sales at Woodbury common or Jersey Gardens. As you maybe saw in my recent vlog there are lots of bargains and discounts to be found at the outlet malls. Or if you want to stay closer to the city there is plenty of shopping to be done at Herald Square, 5th Ave and Times Square.

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Central Park

Even though it may be chilly outside Central Park looks different every season of the year. Grab a takeaway coffee, wrap up warm and stroll around the park. Especially in the snow, you will see how really stunning it can be.

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge or the Highline

If you want to get some steps in then I highly suggest walking the famous Brooklyn Bridge or The Highline in Chelsea. Neither take a very long time and both provide incredible views. Just remember to layer up.

Hop on Hop off bus

If you’re stuck for time Hop on Hop off bus tours are a good way at any time of the year to see a lot of the city in a little bit of time. In Winter a bus tour has the additional feature of keeping you warm on days when it’s especially cold outside.

Go iceskating

The number of iceskating rinks in New York grows every year. There always seems to be a new one popping up. The three most popular are Wollman Rink at Central Park, Rockefeller Rink and the Rink at Bryant Park Winter Village. These are all open in Winter. You can even go ice skating at night for a magical experience.

Heated rooftops and patios

If you want to enjoy the view whilst also enjoying a drink during Winter, heated rooftops and patios are the one for you. The Lodge at Gallow Green, La Birreria at Eately, Clinton Hall, Bookmarks Lounge, The Lodge at STK and Orsay are all great heated spots to stop in at during the cold Winter months.

Fashion, New York, Travel

New York New York

July 13, 2017

Hey guys,

As you may have seen on my social media, I spent the last 5 days in New York City and what an amazing week we had!!! With having just finished work last week, I couldn’t think of a better place to spend a few days. We literally spent our time eating, drinking, laughing, dancing, sunbathing and catching up with friends – both of our favourite things to do!

New York is without a doubt my favourite city in the world. I spent 3 summers out there before moving out for a year in 2014. I was reminded as soon as we arrived absolutely everything I loved about the city: the lights, the energy, the weather, the people and most importantly, the mindset. I actually got emotional walking around the first day, just remembering all the (mostly) good and (occasional) not so good times I had while living in the city, away from all my family and friends. I grew up a lot in New York and when I left in 2015 I definitely wasn’t ready to go.  Continue Reading…

New York, Travel

The Best Free & Paid Tourist Activities in New York

August 29, 2015

Last weekend marked the completion of my New York to-do list for the year. New York is the most exciting city in the world to visit so after taking part in almost every tourist activity this city has to offer over the past year I thought I would do a recap of some of them – my favourites both free and what you can pay for.

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Continue Reading…

Lifestyle, New York

NYC Restaurants – Part II

June 6, 2015

As I’m sure you know, New York City is home to people from probably every nationality in the world, with this comes all of their amazing food. There are so many different types of food and cool restaurants to try that I’m never short of ideas for where to eat (but I may be short on the budget to do so haha). Back in January I did a quick recap of some of the best restaurants I had tried since being here, you can see that post here. About time I did another update of SOME of the amazing places I’ve tried. I try to take pictures of all of the nice restaurants I go to, so I remember them and can go back or recommend them to friends – but as I’m sure you understand sometimes I’m just too hungry to take pics haha. Here are some of the places that made the cut:

1. Motorino – Pizza

4172848_orig Continue Reading…

Lifestyle, New York

NYC Restaurants

January 29, 2015

So as you can see I haven’t been very active posting recently. I’m enjoying NYC too much to find the time to sit at my computer for more than ten mins.

The food in NYC is without a doubt the best in the world. The variety, the experience and the presentation are just totally different to what you get anywhere else in the world.

I thought I would compile a list of some of the places I’ve been that really stuck with me:

Cafe Gitane

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This was my first brunch experience in NYC when I arrived. I mean can you blame me for loving brunch so much. This restaurant, situated right beside the Highline, is definitely one of the prettiest brunches I’ve had.

http://www.cafegitanenyc.com/

Jack’s Wife Freda

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I’m not sure which was better here, the food or the people watching. Soho’s most popular brunch spot is definitely worth a visit, even if there is an hour and a half of wait time before you get a table.

http://jackswifefreda.com/

Two Hands

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If you haven’t tried Avocado toast – you need to. I’m getting hungry even looking at this picture.

http://www.twohandsnyc.com/

Buddakan

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This Chinese restaurant is where Carrie and Big had their engagement party in the Sex and the City movie. Need I say more? It definitely was a splurge, but the food was the best Chinese food I’ve ever had.

http://www.buddakannyc.com/

Aria Wine Bar

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Italian Tapas, Wine and Fairy lights in the West Village. The perfect girls night out.

https://www.facebook.com/NYCaria

Those are a few of the places I’ve visited so far that I really loved. Not included in this list is my local bagel shop, where I get my favourite meal of the week every Saturday – an everything bagel with scallion cream cheese and bacon. If anything is going to be my downfall in NY it’s them!!!