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48 hours in New York City - how to squeeze the most juice out of the Big Apple

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You could live in New York for years without managing to see everything the bustling metropolis has to offer, but with some clever planning you can see the city’s greatest sights in just 48 hours. Here’s a suggested itinerary for how to get the most out of a short break in the Big Apple.

Friday

5 p.m. - Depending on your point of arrival in the city, there are a variety of different routes you can take to get into the center of town. New York has three major airports – JFK, LaGuardia and Newark. LaGuardia is close enough to Manhattan to make taking a cab a risk-free option, but Newark’s situation in New Jersey can make a taxi ride an expensive choice and JFK is famous for its traffic.

 

Fortunately both JFK and Newark have convenient rail links to the city, including AirTrain services which connect directly into the subway system. All three airports also have cheap and rapid private bus services like NYC Airporter, which will take you into the city for around $16. There are also plenty of apps like Via and Bandwagon that make ride-sharing into town a cheap and easy option.

7 p.m. - Once you’ve checked in, plunge into the heart of town and get stuck into some fragrant grilled lamb or steak frites at Balthazar in trendy SoHo. Don’t forget to book in advance though, as the French-American bistro is unsurprisingly popular – especially with celebrities.

 

9 p.m. - After dinner, hop in a famous yellow cab and take in the dazzling neon sights along Broadway as you head uptown to The View, a restaurant and lounge with – you guessed it – a great view of the city. Sip on a Manhattan and have your breath taken away as a galaxy of lights twinkle into life across the cityscape.

 

Saturday

9 a.m. - Take the subway down to bustling Battery Park bright and early to avoid the queues for the ferry to New York’s most iconic attraction: the Statue of Liberty. If you book in advance you can even get access to the legendary Lady’s crown, which has beautiful views back across the bay to Manhattan. Your ferry will then take you on to Ellis Island, the original landing point for immigrants arriving in the US, and now home to a fascinating museum that tells their story.

 

1 p.m. - Now you know the history of the people who built New York, you should go and sample one of their most enduring legacies: the exotic varied cuisines of the Five Boroughs. Go and grab a gigantic Italian sub from Pisillo Panini, or a saucy Reuben sandwich on the Lower East Side at Katz’s Deli - the very spot where Harry met Sally.

 

3 p.m. - After lunch, head into the thrilling heart of the city. Head to the top of the Chrysler Building or the Empire State Building for breathtaking views, but once again make sure to buy tickets online in advance to avoid the rush.

 

6 p.m. - If you’re in a more cultural mood, check out the Van Goghs at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), enjoy some swinging sounds at Radio City Music Hall or the lush greens of the High Line Park that runs up the West Side.

 

9 p.m. - Once night’s fallen and you’ve had your fill of the downtown sights, make your way to Times Square and absorb the brilliant colors and lights at the “crossroads of the world”. Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant round the corner at The London NYC is the perfect place to end your day.

 

Sunday

9 a.m. - Start your day at the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum. The beautiful reflection pools and museum are a moving tribute to the victims of the tragedy on the very site where it happened.

 

11 a.m. - No trip to NYC would be complete without a visit to Central Park: if it’s winter go and watch the ice skaters at the Wollman Rink; if it’s summer go and smell the flowers at the Conservatory Gardens.

 

1 p.m. - Once you’ve worked up an appetite in the world’s most famous green space, head out of the Southern end of the park and you’ll find yourself just three blocks from Le Parker Meridien, the hotel built around cult restaurant Burger Joint NY, where the juicy cheeseburgers have a well-earned reputation as the best in the city

 

3 p.m. - A walk across Brooklyn Bridge is not to be missed. The structure itself is a stunning piece of architecture, and the views over the East River and Governors Island are breathtaking. On the far side stroll south to the New York Transit Museum to get an insight on the history of the bridge, as well many of the other feats of civic planning and engineering that made this vast city possible.

 

5 p.m. - Finish your whistle-stop tour of Brooklyn with a relaxing walk in Prospect Park followed by an icy beer or a brightly-colored cocktail at Erv’s on Beekman . If you’re hungry, grab a slice of pepperoni pizza or a chili-oil drizzled calzone fresh from the oven at Lucali.

 

If you have more time…

This guide is just a taste of what New York has to offer, and there are countless other things to do. If you find yourself with a little extra time, check these places out:

 

Top of the Rock – If the queues at the Empire State Building are too long, the Rockefeller Center offers a less crowded place to see the city from.

 

Grand Central Station – A wonderful piece of architecture, full of rich history and great places to eat.

 

Frick Collection – Fabulous art collection in a lovely building conveniently placed on 5th Avenue.

 

Old Westbury Gardens – Don’t miss these gorgeous gardens if you visit Long Island.

 

Montauk Point Lighthouse –This well-preserved historic attraction sits in the middle of a state park at the farthest tip of Long Island.

 

Walt Whitman Birthplace – The birthplace of one of New York’s finest sons, preserved as a fine museum.

 

Dumbo – “Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass”, a picture-perfect part of Brooklyn full of design stores and antique shops.

 

Williamsburg – Hipster capital of Brooklyn, home to countless coffee shops and cool, unique places to eat.

 

Coney Island – A Long Island classic: a seaside resort that’s home to several amusement parks and a famous boardwalk.

 

Location/contact details:

Day one

Balthazar

80 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012

balthazarny.com

(212) 965-1414

 

The View Restaurant & Lounge

1535 Broadway, New York, NY 10036

www.marriott.com

(212) 704-8900

 

Day two

Pisillo Italian Panini

97 Nassau Street, New York, NY 10038

(212) 227-3104

 

Katz's Delicatessen

205 East Houston Street, New York, NY 10002

katzsdelicatessen.com

(212) 254-2246

 

Chrysler Building

405 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10174

www.tishmanspeyer.com

(212) 682-3070

 

Empire State Building

Empire State Bldg, 350 5th Ave, New York, NY 10118

 

The Museum of Modern Art

11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

www.moma.org

(212) 708-9400

 

Radio City Music Hall

1260 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10020

www.radiocity.com

(212) 465-6741

 

The High Line

New York, NY 10011

www.thehighline.org

(212) 500-6035

 

The London NYC

151 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019

www.thelondonnyc.com

(212) 307-5000

 

Day three

9/11 Memorial Museum

80 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10007

www.911memorial.org

(212) 266-5211

 

Burger Joint

119 West 56th Street, New York, NY 10019

www.burgerjoint.nyc

(212) 708-7414

 

New York Transit Museum

Boerum Place & Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

www.mta.info

(718) 694-1600

 

Erv's

2122 Beekman Place, Brooklyn, NY 11225

 (916) 936-2122

 

Lucali

575 Henry Street, New York, NY 11231

www.lucali.com

(718) 858-4086

 

Other tips

Rockefeller Center

45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111

www.rockefellercenter.com

(212) 332-6868

 

Grand Central Terminal

87 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

www.grandcentralterminal.com

 

The Frick Collection

1 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021

www.frick.org

(212) 288-0700

 

Old Westbury Gardens

71 Old Westbury Road, Westbury, NY 11590

oldwestburygardens.org

(516) 333-0048

 

Montauk Point Lighthouse

2000 New York 27, Montauk, NY 11954

www.montauklighthouse.com

(631) 668-2544

 

Walt Whitman Birthplace Association

246 Old Walt Whitman Road, Huntington Station, NY 11746

www.waltwhitman.org

(631) 427-5240