New York City, The City That Never Sleeps

Probably no city in the world has been sung about more than New York. From Frank Sinatra to Alicia Keys, they all paid homage to the “city that never sleeps”. And indeed: when you’re in New York, you feel like the city is buzzing with energy 24 hours a day. The neon lights flicker constantly, the taxis come and go, and the subway is crowded at all times of the day. However, there are also wonderfully quiet places to be found in New York, where you can take a moment to relax. The city has many highlights, actually too many to mention. You can easily spend a week here and still feel like you haven’t seen everything.

New York Pass

With the New York Pass, you have access to many top attractions in New York. You don’t have to buy a ticket every time you visit a sight. You can also use the “fast lane” at various attractions to get in quickly. This saves you time waiting in line and also saves you a significant amount on tickets. The NY Pass is available for 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, or even 10 days. You can order the pass online in advance and choose to pick it up at one of the pick-up points in the city. Our experience was that it was very crowded there. It’s faster to download the app. More information about the procedure, number of attractions, and fast lanes can be found on the New York Pass website. A free tour with the hop-on-hop-off bus is included with the NY Pass. This is a great way to get to know the city. We recommend doing this as one of the first things in NYC. In the following days, you can better orient yourself in the city.

There are also similar other discount passes available, but we have no experience with them ourselves. These include the New York Citypass and the New York Explorer Pass. For a long visit, where you want to visit many attractions and museums, the New York Pass seems to be the best option. Also because you get a discount at many dining establishments. For a short visit, where you only want to see a few of the main attractions, the New York Citypass is interesting.


Even though the distances in the center of Manhattan seem manageable, the subway is an ideal way to quickly get around New York. The metro network is very extensive, fast, and available 24 hours a day. You can buy single tickets for $3.00. As long as you don’t go through an exit gate, you can travel regardless of destination and duration.

If you plan to use the subway a lot, you can buy a “pay per ride” metro card. You can top up this pass, and then a ride costs only $2.75. You pay $1 once for the card. You decide how much you put on the card. If you put $5.50 or more on the card, you get a 5% bonus.

If you really want to use the subway a lot, you can also buy an “unlimited ride” metro card for 7 days. This costs $32. If you take 13 rides or more, this is the cheapest option. The subway network is generally safe, reliable, and clean. In the summer months, it’s nice to take the subway because almost all of them are equipped with air conditioning. However, it’s not wise to ride alone to remote neighborhoods (such as Harlem or the Bronx) late at night in the subway. You can find more information about rates and the subway network on the MTA website.

City Views

There are several places to have a magnificent overview of the city. The two most famous are the observatory deck at the Empire State Building and “Top of the Rocks” at Rockefeller Center. We visited both. At the Empire State Building, you can enjoy the view of the Big Apple from the 86th floor. The observatory deck at Rockefeller Center is “only” on the 70th floor. But you can also overlook its big counterpart. The line was also shorter here with the New York Pass because we could use the fast lane. The line at the Empire State Building was very long, even for pass holders. Plan this visit on a day when the weather is clear for the best view. Since some time, you can also visit the One World Observatory on the 102nd floor.

Little Italy and Chinatown

New York has many immigrants from many countries. As the name suggests, Little Italy was the neighborhood where the Italians settled. Now it’s a nice neighborhood with many Italian eateries and shops selling fresh pasta, sausages, bread, pastries, and delicious ice cream. There is a relaxed atmosphere in this part of the city. Chinatown borders this neighborhood, which is expanding more and more and almost “swallowing” Little Italy. It used to be a dangerous neighborhood. Now it’s nice to walk around and see all the Chinese shops. You can still find various Chinese monuments here, such as the Confucius statue and the Church of the Immigrants.

Biking and Running through Central Park

Central Park is perfect for a bike ride. Various companies offer bikes for rent. It’s also possible to take a guided tour. We found it more enjoyable to determine our own route and pace and cycled through the immense Central Park for half a day. Of course, you then visit “Strawberry Fields”, the monument in memory of the nearby murdered John Lennon. But Belvedere Castle, Bethesda Fountain, and The Dairy are also beautiful places to see in the park.

Also take a look at Heckscher Ballfields. There are 6 softball and baseball fields here. There’s almost always a game going on, especially on weekends. It can be as intense as a Major League game.

Biking in New York is becoming increasingly popular. So it’s also nice to cycle along the Hudson River or over the Brooklyn Bridge to Brooklyn. In addition, you can choose to go with a guide. This way, you’ll learn your way around the city and see the main highlights. We always book our bike tour at Baja Bikes. An excellent Dutch guide who knows everything about the city, good equipment, and a wonderful safe route through the city.

In addition to cycling, you can also run excellently in the park. We make it a habit to run at least 5 or 10 kilometers in strange cities. For Central Park, there are even websites that describe many running routes! If you want to do this, download the free map with various routes and their distances from the official Central Park website.

Beautiful walks through quiet neighborhoods of New York

Although the hustle and bustle of the city can be enormous, you can easily escape it. For example, if you take a walk through the neighborhoods of NoLita, Soho, and West Village, you’ll see a completely different New York. Beautiful streets with nice shops, large warehouses with cast iron staircases, old factory halls that have now been transformed into cozy markets, it’s wonderful to walk around here. End that walk with a visit to the High Line. This is a park built on a former railway viaduct. You walk about 10 meters above the road and have a beautiful view of the old warehouses in the area, the streets of Manhattan, and the Hudson River. You can get inspiration for walks, among other things, from the practical guide Time to MoMo New York. There’s also an app.

Other Highlights

– Many famous museums. Guggenheim and MoMa are definitely worth a visit.

– A visit to Liberty Island (Statue of Liberty) and Ellis Island (former immigration depot).

– Attending a Broadway theater performance. Often, cheaper tickets can be booked on the same day.

– A free crossing with the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline at sunset.

– A boat tour with the Circle Line around Manhattan (tip: sitting on the left provides the best view!).

– Even more special, but expensive: a helicopter flight with a view of Manhattan.

When planning a trip to New York, there are some important things to keep in mind:

1. Safety Awareness: New York is a bustling city, so it’s important to stay vigilant, especially in crowded areas like Times Square and subway stations. Keep your personal belongings secure, avoid carrying large amounts of cash, and steer clear of walking alone in secluded or unsafe areas.

2. Traffic Regulations: Traffic in New York can be hectic, especially with cars and taxis. When crossing the streets, wait for the green light and pay attention to traffic signals. Follow the instructions and signs when using the subway and public transportation.

3. Weather Changes: New York’s weather can be unpredictable, especially in winter and summer. In winter, prepare warm clothing and windproof, waterproof jackets; in summer, stay hydrated and use sunscreen.

4. Reservations: If you plan to visit popular attractions or restaurants, it’s best to book tickets or make reservations in advance to avoid long waits.

5. New York Pass: Consider purchasing a New York Pass, which provides discounts on many popular attractions and can save you time and money.

6. Food and Drink: New York is a culinary hub, but restaurant prices can be high. Explore some local eateries or food markets to sample authentic cuisine while saving some money.

7. Etiquette and Culture: Respecting the culture and customs of the local people is crucial. Maintain politeness in public places, avoid loud behavior, and be mindful of cultural norms.

8. Medical Insurance: If you’re traveling from abroad, make sure you have adequate medical insurance coverage in case of emergencies.

9. Travel Insurance: Consider purchasing travel insurance to provide coverage for unexpected events during your trip, including trip cancellations, lost luggage, and emergency medical assistance.

10. Enjoy the Journey: Most importantly, relax and enjoy the unique experience that New York, a city filled with vibrancy and diversity, has to offer!

New York has so many highlights that you can easily stay here for a week. This is just a small selection of everything the city has to offer.

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