New York For Newbies: A First Timer’s Guide To The Big Apple
Visiting New York is one of the most popular places on travel wish lists and bucket lists. After all, the skyline is iconic and there are many famous sights to see and cultural activities to indulge in. It is a relative smorgasbord for tourists! The Big Apple can be a little intimidating for first time visitors because of its size, but luckily, even if you are a first-time visitor, you can have an amazing trip!
Getting your bearings
New York is a surprisingly simple place to get the hang of geographically. This is because it is split into just five districts, called boroughs. The first is Manhattan, probably the most famous, and the one that is located on the island in the Hudson. Then there are Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Staten Island.
With New York’s excellent subway and bus transport system, it shouldn’t be too tough to find your way around, even without a car. In fact, the roads in New York are known to be somewhat hair-raising, even for the most confident driver, so newbies visiting the city may wish to skip hiring a car for their first visit entirely.
Another surprise for first time visitors to the Big Apple is that New York is one of the safest cities in the world! Of course, there are still the usual risks that you will encounter in any big city, and one in particular to avoid are pickpockets. I know all about pickpockets, as I have been a victim of them twice! They are good at what they do, so watch your bags and do not leave zippers exposed!
Pickpockets in New York operate on the subway or in crowded spaces like in Time Square or where street performance is occurring. They often use a bait and switch scam which is when one person creates a scene and while someone else relieves you of your wallet, smartphone, and valuables. With this in mind it’s best to avoid keeping things in trouser or coat pockets, and instead, use a bag that is worn and accessible only to you. I’ve had people get into my backpack, so keep your stuff on your front!
Also, concerning safety, it’s always smart to not mark yourself out as a tourist or newbie as much as possible. What this means is that if you need directions, ask a storekeeper rather than a stranger on the street, or use your headphone for Google Maps.
Lastly, keep the guidebooks to a minimum, and carry minimal cash, who doesn’t take credit or debit cards these days?
Don’t miss sights and attractions
Which of New York’s famous sites and attractions you should visit on your first trip? There are plenty of choices!
Be sure to head to the center of the city where you will be able to marvel at the structure of Grand Central Station, take a walk in the famous Central Park, and head over to 5th Avenue for some high-end shopping.
Then there the famous Lady Liberty herself, a gift to America in 1886 by the French and located on Liberty Island in the Hudson River. The Statue of Liberty is an iconic attraction that all New York Visitors must see, and you can access the site via a ferry tour, although it is worth considering booking before the day you go, to avoid long queues.
If you are up for a bit of culture on your Big Apple Visit, then there’s nowhere better than the rather spectacular MOMA or Museum of Modern art on 53rd street in Manhattan. You can make it a triple whammy by taking a trip to the Metropolitian Museum of Art, on 5th Avenue and the Guggenheim, designed by Frank Lloyd-Wright, also on 5th Avenue on, as well!
Last of all, if you are looking for some high energy fun, why not head on over to the theatre district and take in a show like Anastasia on Broadway, now showing at the Broadhurst? Such musicals are known for their stunning costumes, and substantial production values, making them a very entertaining activity to partake in.
Alternatively, if you would rather be out and about why not take a walk around The Bustling street of Chinatown? There you can visit the very vintage Nom Wah Tea Parlor, or The Golden Unicorn, and treat yourself to an authentic chinese meal.
New York delicacies
Talking of food, it would be a crime to visit New York without partaking of some of the particular delicacies that are “street food”.First and foremost this means hot dogs, which are pretty much available on every street corner, especially in central New York. Although Crif Dogs and The Cannibal Beer & Butcher are rated among the best.
There are other places to eat as well as thehot dog carts, and particularly popular right now are the food markets, and the Heartland Brewery on 8th Avenue. Try the soft pretzels with cheese dip, pulled pork sandwich, or the pastrami egg rolls which are getting rave reviews!
Alternatively, if you fancy something with a little more kick then why not head on over to Los Tacos No. 1, on 9th Avenue? There is often a long line! Luckily it moves quickly and is a favorite with locals for tacos, tortillas, and carne asada. Yum!
Last of all, with a strong Jewish heritage, it’s no surprise that you will find some fantastic bagel joints and delis in the Big Apple as well. You probably won’t have time to try everything on the menu as they are so vast! Don’t worry though because a classic pastrami Reuben is always a good choice, as is cream cheese and lox. Just remember to ask for it ‘easy on the pickles’ if you’re not into gherkins! Plus, no one will spot you as a newbie if you start to master the local lingo!
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Fun on the island of Cozumel!
I always have fun, fun, fun when I come to my second home, the island of Cozumel in the Mexican Caribbean! From friends to fabulous restaurants to great boat dives and great shore dives and tourist attractions like the awesome Cozumel Pearl Farm, there is always something to do! My 2018 summer trip is almost over, but the memories will last forever. Take a look at what I’ve been up to on Cozumel!
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Cozumel is a Fantastic Culinary Destination!
I love Cozumel, Mexico, a beautiful island in the Mexican Caribbean. It offers so much to visitors like world class diving, snorkeling, and yes, fantastic culinary delights! I know people in the USA are on edge about visiting Mexico these days, but let me tell you, I feel safer here than I do in my home in Dallas, and I’m betting you will too!
First Class Fine Dining Experiences
Yes, you read that correctly. What are fabulous restaurants doing on a casual, breezy island in the Mexican Caribbean? Well, why shouldn’t you have fine dining along with an easy going ambiance? I love these establishments, and I would love them anywhere in the world! Here are my top three:
- Buccanos at Night. Original, inventive, delicious culinary masterpieces overlooking the Caribbean ocean, owned and managed by a creative, talented family. The scenery, ambiance, and traditional yet casual elegance is a plus to the main event: the food! How can I describe it? How about with photos? And of course, check out their incredible menu, plus they always have nightly specials! You simply cannot visit the island without dining at Buccanos. Period!
2. La Cocay
My family has been dining at La Cocay for many, many years. We have celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, and just good times at this fantastic Cozumel restaurant. It is Mediterranean, with tapas and my favorite salad on the planet: the Napa Salad. Don’t miss La Cocay when you visit!
Another fabulous Cozumel institution! No one can visit the island without eating at Guidos! A family favorite, I cannot count how many people we have taken to Guidos over the years. They are famous for their garlic bread! Guido’s is an iconic Cozumel eatery!
Come on down to Cozumel, and bring your appetite!
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I had never heard of Monkey King Noodle Co until they contacted me on Social Media! As a matter of interest, I wanted to head over to Carrollton, Texas (a suburb of Dallas) and check out their old Main Street, which has been incredibly revitalized. Interestingly enough, one of the Monkey King Locations is in downtown Carrollton. I think it was meant to be, so I grabbed my daughter, a professional photographer (Alexandra Minton Photography and @SweetSweetDallas on Instagram), and we headed to Monkey King Noodle Co, camera and hunger ready.
My daughter informed me that it was her favorite noodle restaurant in its Deep Ellum location, and since she is a foodie, I was excited to try the Carrollton location. I was not disappointed!
Adorable customer drawings. Photos Courtesy of Alexandra Minton Photography
First, the building is adorable. It is in an old garage, a Mercedes business, and it couldn’t be any cuter. It has an indoor space, but in the summer or on warm days, they open the glass garage doors and they have an outdoor seating area with picnic tables and an ordering window. I was so impressed with its originality, it truly is one of a kind. We were greeted by Xitlalli, and my daughter ordered for both of us. Since I am a vegetarian, she ordered me Spicy Garlic Peanut Noodles, which are wok-toasted peanuts and garlic, house chili oil, super-fresh cilantro and green onions. My daughter ordered the pork version of Spicy Garlic Noodles. We also had their scallion pancakes and Edamame Dumplings. Everything was very tasty and perfectly served. Monkey King Noodle Co is a northern Chinese food based restaurant, with hints of Chinese street foods and Taiwan cuisine. Their noodles are hand pulled, and absolutely amazing. Obviously, we took plenty of food home!
Angela Pellacchia, Manager, tells us that they also have pint nights and awesome Happy Hours! There are locations in Deep Ellum, Legacy Plano, and Carrollton downtown, so be sure to go to one, or all, of them.
Thanks to Angela and Monkey Noodle King Company for hosting us!
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Adventurous women also love good food! The #4TravelChicasinCozumel had the honor of a tasting at Cozumel’s Buccano’s at Night restaurant, and it is a tasting none of us will ever forget! The food at Buccanos was not only good, but outstanding! Ines Falkenberg and her two children, Carina and Bosco Barbachano are a trio of incredible talent. Ines and Bosco have an incredible creativity when it comes to food, and Carina is an excellent artist in her own right, and her art is very evident at Buccanos. She also does graphic design for the restaurant. (Check out her art at https://www.facebook.com/art.caribarbachano/.)
What an incredible afternoon we had! Ines and Bosco paired food and wines for us, and just thinking about it makes me want to grab a plane back to the island! Prepare to be blown away by creative, delicious food in an elegant yet friendly atmosphere.
I must say that although I am not a cook, and don’t recognize culinary terminology, I do know good food. Buccanos at Night is sensational food in a lovely setting. I urge you to enjoy Buccanos at Night when you are in Cozumel, but make a reservation in advance because they fill up very quickly! They are open Wednesday through Sunday. Tell them Tam, or the #4TravelChicas sent you!
Also read A Whirwind Week with #4TravelChicasinCozumel!
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