A friend recently invited me to join in her New York, so I jumped on the opportunity. Below is my 5-day adventure in New York City.
I love theatre, so I researched ahead of time the best sites to get discounted tickets. For theatre shows these were my favorite websites:
http://www.broadwayforbrokepeople.com/ - This site has a great chart that lists the shows, theatre, days & times, and options to purchase discounted tickets, including digital lotteries. I entered the digital lotteries and won tickets for both Cher ($32/ticket) and Pretty Woman ($42/ticket) (but I only attended the Cher show).
https://www.theatermania.com/ - This site offers discounted tickets to numerous shows. I purchased discounted tickets to see Tootsie the day of the show. My tickets were in the last row center, but I still had a great view and the sound was great, so I was very happy with my purchase. This show was so funny and a great musical. Highly recommend it and it just opened the week I was there.
https://www.broadwayroulette.com/ - I didn’t try this but they give you a list of shows, and you can eliminate four of them. You let them know the date and time you would like to see a show and you find out the day of what show you are seeing. You have to be pretty openminded, but if I lived in New York I would try it out.
While visiting New York, as I met people I kept asking them what shows they were seeing, and it seemed everyone I spoke to was planning on seeing Sleep No More at the McKittrick Hotel, so I had to try it as well. It is an interactive show where you follow the characters around. This was such a crazy night. All guests have to wear a mask throughout the show so that you know who the actors are and who the guests are. There are multiple levels so you are constantly running (or walking) up and down stairs following the different characters. There is no talking by the actors, just movements, dance, and expressions. At one point I was pulled into a room by one of the actors and felt like I was a part of the show. The rooms all have a different décor and you are welcome to touch anything in the rooms. Before the show you start out in the Manderley Bar, where you can have a cocktail while you wait for the show to start. You can also stop here anytime you need a break, as well as after the show. They had live music playing in the room when I stopped in there a couple of times. This show was a very different and fun experience. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, clothes you will not get hot in running around, and if you have contacts I would wear them as it may be difficult to wear glasses with the mask. Also, there is some nudity in the show. https://mckittrickhotel.com/sleep-no-more/
One day I did a free city walking tour with Free Tours by Foot. I chose the 6-hour walking tour, which covered a lot of different areas of New York, including 3 subway rides. It was a lot of fun. There were 20 people in our group, and they were a fun group to spend the day with. Dante, the tour guide, was great. We had a 40-minute break to grab lunch, and I got to try Joe’s Pizza on Bleeker Street…yum!!!
One day I spent the day bike riding around New York. We went all over, including over the Brooklyn Bridge. We took the bikes on the Staten Island Ferry, which was free and a great way to take a ride on the water and see the Statue of Liberty. We got off and then got immediately back on the Ferry to head back. While riding over the Brooklyn Bridge it started downpouring rain, so we took the bikes on the subway to go to Grand Central Terminal and had lunch there. I rented a bike that day from Bike Rental NYC, which is located near Central Park South, by purchasing a discounted rate through Living Social.
I visited the 911 Memorial and Museum and also went to the One World Observatory. We had an explorer pass for the 911 Museum. What I didn’t realize is we had to wait in the really long line (about 40 minutes) to get the pass validated so be aware if you are waiting for your friend to show up, you should wait in line so you are not wasting precious time. When you take the elevator up to the One World Observatory, you are led into a room with a wall. The wall lifts up and you see a spectacular sight. Have your camera ready because it quickly comes back down. From there you are led into another room where they give you information, and then you are free to stroll around on your own and take as many pictures as you would like.
As for getting around New York I purchased a 7-day unlimited pass for $34.00. To get to the airport and return to the airport I used Dial 7 New York Car Service. I made reservations ahead of time. At the airport you click on a link when you have your luggage, and they let you know what car will be picking you up and where to wait for them. On the return, they picked me up at the hotel and took me to the airport. They were 10 minutes late picking me up due to traffic, so in the future I would request the car a bit earlier as I assumed they would be there early waiting for me. The cost was about $70 from JFK to Central Park and $80 from Theatre District to JFK, because we paid a toll on the return. https://www.dial7.com/
I flew Delta going to New York and American Airlines returning. Both flights offered a free snack, which I was really surprised about as usually I have to purchase the cheese and crackers snack. I used www.seatguru.com to pick out my seats for the flight (this site points out if the seat fully reclines, if there is a window missing, if it is near the bathrooms, etc.; great site for choosing seats on airplanes). If you are a gold member with American Airlines, 24 hours before your flight you can upgrade to economy plus for free, if available (which includes pre-boarding and free drinks). I also use www.gateguru.com to see what restaurants will be in the terminals I will be flying out of. If you have a Chase Reserve credit card, you have a free membership to Priority Pass, which gets you into the different airline lounges. JFK did not have a lounge in Terminal 8 but with my Priority Pass Membership I was able to have lunch at Bobby Vans Steakhouse. My pass gives me $28 credit for each person up to 2 people, so we shared a salad and a pasta dish and I only had to pay the tip, and the food was wonderful.
I stayed with a friend who was there on business, and the first night we stayed at the Park Lane Hotelhttps://parklanenewyork.com/, right across the street from Central Park. The rooms were very nice and they have a complimentary nightly reception where they provide wine, snacks (cheese, crackers, hummus, veggies, etc.) and warm dishes (pasta) for their guests. The first morning I was going to take a subway to get a crepe and I was informed there is a great food hall a couple of doors down at the Plaza Hotel called the Plaza Food Hall. They have quite the variety of food selections. I would definitely suggest you check it out if you are in the area. https://www.theplazany.com/dining/the-plaza-food-hall/
We also stayed at the Dylan Hotel NYC https://www.dylanhotelnyc.com/, which is located near Grand Central Terminal. This was a very nice boutique hotel. The room was a very nice size and the staff was really great.
My last night I booked a room last minute using https://www.agoda.com/ (a site I recently discovered to get discounted hotel rates) and found a great deal on a hotel in the theatre district called Broadway @ Times Square Hotel. This was in a great location on a side street, so it was quiet but 1 block away from Times Square and 1 block away from the theatre I was seeing a show at that night. Again the staff was really great, the room was small but comfortable, and they offer a complimentary continental breakfast.
I wish I had more time to explore the city, but I did what I could in the 5 days I had there.